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Valentine’s Views: Musings about Teddy Bridgewater, Combine, more

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Random Sunday thoughts

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Washington Redskins
Teddy Bridgewater
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Combine is rolling along. Free agency is almost here. There is much to discuss when it comes to the New York Giants, and not a whole lot of consensus. So, let’s chat.

Teddy Bridgewater a Giant?

Adam Schefter reported Saturday that the Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos, New York Jets, and Arizona Cardinals were the four “finalists” for free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins. The fact that there are already finalists points to the absurdity of the idea that there aren’t supposed to be negotiations between NFL teams and prospective free agents until the March 12 legal tampering window begins.

That, though, isn’t what I want to talk about here. What I want to talk is who Giants fans should be rooting for in the Cousins Sweepstakes. From my vantage point, the easy answer to that is the Minnesota Vikings.

Why?

Teddy Bridgewater, that’s why.

If the Vikings go all in and sign Cousins, they certainly won’t bid to bring Bridgewater back. In that scenario, the view here is that the Giants should go bang on Bridgewater’s door.

They need a succession plan for Eli Manning. Maybe Davis Webb is eventually the guy. Maybe that guy is in the 2018 NFL Draft class.

Maybe, though, it could be Bridgewater.

He was Minnesota’s first-round pick in 2014, made the Pro Bowl in 2015 and appeared to be on his way to stardom. All. of that, of course, before wrecking his knee in a non-contact drill before the 2016 season. A one-game cameo this season is his only action since that devastating injury.

Bridgewater will turn 26 in November. After spending two season in Minnesota, Giants coach Pat Shurmur knows Bridgewater as well as anyone. If his knee checks out and Shurmur believes he can still be a quality NFL quarterback, why not give him a chance?

The debate over positional value

The idea that some positions are more valuable than others is part of NFL lexicon. Quarterback is always at the top of the pyramid. Left tackle occupies a high rung. So do pass-rushing defensive ends. Running backs and guards? Not so much.

Well, the Giants’ selection at No. 2 in the 2018 NFL Draft will lead us into a full-on discussion of positional value in the coming weeks.

Must you always take a quarterback above all else when you have a need, even if that might not be an immediate one? Can you pass up a quarterback for a running back? Can you draft a guard with the second overall pick? A guard hasn’t gone in the top five of the draft since 1985, when the Atlanta Falcons took Bill Fralic. Can you draft a guy with the second overall pick who wouldn’t be expected to play as a rookie?

I am not going to get deeply into the topic today. I am just going to put it on the table. Are you a believer in positional value, or one who believes good players are good players no matter what position they play?

DRC to safety

The Giants apparently want to move Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to safety in 2018. DRC, apparently, is cool with that.

This is significant on several fronts. First, it means the Giants are intending to keep the 31-year-old Rodgers-Cromartie. He had been considered a candidate to be a salary cap casualty. Perhaps the Giants will re-structure his contract — it’s hard to imagine them wanting to carry DRC with an $8.5 million cap hit. It does, however, seem that he is in the team’s plans.

That may also mean Eli Apple is really in the Giants’ plans. Ross Cockrell is a free agent. With DRC moving to safety that means the Giants don’t have much corner depth behind Janoris Jenkins, even including Apple. That could change, but to me this move is a clear signal that Apple will be part of the team.

In my view, the move to safety is a good one for DRC. He still has the speed to play centerfield, and with 30 career interceptions the ability to find the ball and create turnovers. He will compete with Darian Thompson, and the guess here is the two end up splitting time.

Hoping Giants give Shaquem Griffin a chance

After Griffin, who has only one hand, did 20 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press during Combine workouts on Saturday I tweeted that I want him on the Giants. How can you not love this guy? He used a prosthetic hand to balance the bar, and knocked out six more reps than the 345-pound Orlando Brown. And 14 more reps than he apparently thought he could.

“My goal was six [reps]. I think I beat that by a lot. When I first started training, I was doing 11 reps, and usually, when you train with guys who bench a lot, they might add three or four reps. I added more than three or four to my actual max,” Griffin said. “Just being able to do that, it was amazing. Hearing the crowd and getting the juices flowing, I felt it. I didn’t know I had it in me, but it came out today.”

NFL Draft Scout says Griffin, who played at Central Florida, is “absolutely a Sunday player.”

Here is what an NFC team scouting director told NFL.com:

“He doesn’t have a left hand. That’s going to limit him with some things and that’s going to hurt his draft value, but he’s fast and athletic and makes a ton of plays.”

This kid deserves a chance. I hope the Giants are the team that gives it to him.