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Big Blue View mailbag, 4/11: It’s all about NFL Draft scenarios

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The mail’s here!

The 2020 NFL Draft is drawing closer, and New York Giants fans have a lot of questions. Let’s see what we can answer in our latest Big Blue View Mailbag.

Marcus Mewborn asks: I really liked Darius Slayton‘s rookie year and chemistry with DJ last year. It helped him stay on the field and get more reps. You mentioned the Giants picking up another WR in the draft bigger body that can go up and get 50/50 balls down the field. Do you think by adding another receiver will cut into Slayton’s reps and development? Or is that more up to how he continues to perform and could help push him?

Ed says: Marcus, it can’t be about Slayton. Fact is, Golden Tate is getting older and I doubt he will be a Giant after 2020. Sterling Shepard missed a lot of time with multiple concussions last season. He has a wife and two young children. One more could be the end of his career. The Giants have to protect themselves at wide receiver. They Giants invested the No. 6 overall pick in Daniel Jones a year ago. They have to make sure he has quality guys to throw to, and at some point in this draft they have to add to that group.


Austin Willis asks: With most of the talk being about the Giants trading down in the draft, there’s not much discussion about the Giants possibly trading up to get another first round pick. This seems like a DG move to me, he did it last year in selecting Deandre Baker. What scenarios would you see this happening in? Are there any players in particular you could see the Giants trading into the bottom of the first round to secure?

Ed says: Austin, I addressed this earlier in the week. Wide receiver is one scenario, with Justin Jefferson and Denzel Mims being players I have heard the Giants like. Another scenario could be offensive tackle if they don’t get one with their first pick. A name to watch is Ezra Cleveland of Boise State.


Matthew Grimes asks: Isaiah Simmons is undoubtedly a unique talent on defense. I’m still a proponent of picking an OT in the first round (especially if it becomes possible to trade down once or twice and accumulate second day picks). My question is about players who can fill that type of Simmons role if the Giants do go OT in Round 1. Do you see anyone on the giants roster (like Jabrill Peppers) or elsewhere in the draft (like Patrick Queen) who has a similar skill set to Simmons?

Ed says: Matthew, as you said Simmons has a unique skill set. He is a linebacker who can be moved occasionally into roles at safety or in the slot depending on matchups. Peppers and anyone else you can think of are probably safeties who can sometimes be moved forward, rather than linebackers who can be moved backwards.

Versatility is versatility, though. Two guys I am really intrigued by are the small-school safeties, Kyle Dugger (Lenoir-Rhyne) and Jeremy Chinn (Southern Illinois). Of course, without a pick from No. 36 to No. 99 it might be difficult for the Giants to get one of those guys.


Joel Story asks: Last year, on the night before the draft, I noticed a significant increase in the number of mock drafts that had the Giants taking Daniel Jones in the first round. In retrospect, I find this disturbing — not because the pick was Daniel Jones but because so many in the media seemed to know the Giants’ draft plan. If I were an NFL GM, I’d want to keep my cards close to the vest in order to keep other GMs guessing right up to the last minute. Why would you show your cards and increase the risk that another team might trade up in front of you and snatch your player, right?

So my question is this: How and why does something as important as a team’s preferred first round pick get out to the media prior to the draft? Are folks in the team’s organization talking when they shouldn’t be, or is leaking this information to the media an intentional part of the team’s draft strategy? Or is there something completely different going on here?

Ed says: Joel, no organization wants its plans to get out. Fact is, though, there is a group of NFL media insiders with access to pretty much every coach and GM, and the more people you have access to the more you can piece together what you believe a team might do. Teams will occasionally plant misinformation with someone they know will talk. Still, the more times you hear from people you trust that “Team A likes Player B” the more you begin to believe it.

What happens near the actual draft is analysts stop telling you what they think and start trying to be right. They start telling you what they are hearing and what they actually believe teams will do. It’s a huge signal when a whole group of the more well-connected analysts begin to coalesce around an idea.

Want an example? Did you notice Daniel Jeremiah’s recent mock draft? He has been banging the drum for Mekhi Becton as OT1 in the draft class for months now. Suddenly, in his last mock he has the Giants taking Tristan Wirfs of Iowa instead of Becton. Did his opinion of those players change? No. What he’s hearing about what the Giants think is probably what changed.

In terms of Jones, that was really no secret. Think back and that move was easy to see months in advance, even if the Giants tried to hide it. GMs don’t attend the Senior Bowl game. Remember Jones’ Pro Day? If you watched it, the Giants were all over it. They had a ton of people there. If they were taking a quarterback it was always going to be Jones.

Here’s another example. Why do you think Tua Tagovailoa has been sliding in some recent mock drafts? I think it’s a pretty safe bet that it’s because people with connections to the Dolphins are hearing that Miami, without being able to work Tagovailoa out or give him an in-person physical, is worried about what they would be getting. They may still select him, but that doesn’t seem like a lock.


Pb Dorfman asks: My question is why didn’t Gettleman use the transition tag on defensive tackle Leonard Williams instead of the franchise tag? My understanding is that the transition tag was about $13.3M and the franchise tag is $16.6M.

Williams registered 34 tackles-for-loss and 17.5 sacks in his first five NFL seasons. I cannot see another team coming along with an offer more than the transition tag number and if they did the Giants could alway match it.

Seem as if Gettleman left over $3M on the table for a player who is good but not great.

What is your opinion?

Ed says: PB, whether fans and media agree or not Gettleman (and apparently also new head coach Joe Judge and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham) value this player. It is true that using the transition tag rather than the franchise tag would have saved the Giants $3 million against the salary cap. It is what I had recommended. The Giants, though, did not want to risk losing the player. Tagged players can still negotiate and sign with other teams. Under the transition tag if a player signs with another team and his current team decides not to match the offer that team (the Giants in Williams’ case) gets no compensation. Under the franchise tag if the players’ current team does not match an offer they receive two first-round draft picks as compensation. That, of course, is a monumental difference. Whether anyone agrees or disagrees is irrelevant. The Giants felt the $3M was worth making sure they didn’t lose the player.


Bryan Camacho asks: I was looking at the “Top Remaining FA” and I was wondering if there were any names you think the Giants should take a look at for a short term deal? Specifically, I was wondering about signing Everson Griffen, Tony Jefferson, and Cordy Glenn? I know they are trying to save money for the draft, but do you see any of these names, or others, as an inexpensive investment?

Ed says: Bryan, it’s possible something could happen between now and the draft but we don’t generally see much movement with remaining free agents this close to the draft. What we will likely see are teams, the Giants included, going back into the market for stop-gap type players if they look at their rosters post-draft and realize there are still positions where they need options. This is what the Giants did last year with Mike Remmers. Who they might look at would be easier to assess once the draft is done.


Bob Donnelly asks: With the changes to the coaching staff there has been much talk about the Giants taking on more of the core traits of the Patriots.

When it comes to protecting against the pass there are two basic philosophies; get to the QB or defend the point of reception. NE seems to be a system that values covering the receiver over getting to the QB.

The Giants HC and DC both come out of the NE system which would suggest the defense will take on more of the NE style, but the GM is of the opinion that you need to get to the QB. (his 3 keys: run the ball, stop the run, get to their QB). How do you see this developing?

Ed says: Bob, that question sounds to me like you are looking for a wedge between the head coach and the general manager before they have really even had a chance to field a team together.

There is a of chatter these days about whether pass rush or pass coverage should be prioritized, with analytics sites like Pro Football Focus leading the coverage charge.

There are certainly arguments for that position. The game is more horizontal now, with teams spreading the field, looking for matchup advantages, throwing the ball quicker and shorter and looking to create big plays with run after the catch rather than downfield shots. Many times, teams won’t emphasize the downfield pass until they are a couple of scores behind and time is growing short. That puts a premium on coverage and de-emphasizes the importance and impact of the pass rush.

Disrupting the quarterback by making him move, hitting him, making him uncomfortable, making him throw sooner — or later — than he wants to, batting down passes at the line of scrimmage, getting sacks remains important. It always will.

I disagree if you think New England doesn’t value the pass rush. Yes, they have played good defense some years when they haven’t had it. That’s a credit to Bill Belichick and his coaches. There is more than one way to play, and more than one way to disrupt the quarterback.

New England was sixth in the league in sacks (47) and Adjusted Sack Rate (8.1 percent) last season despite not having a single player with more than 7.0 sacks. Great pass rushers are hard to find, and the Patriots have often been an example of how to play great defense without one. They would, I’m sure, love to have one if it worked out. So would the Giants.

I think the Giants will add as many good defensive players as they can, which is what they did during free agency. It will then be up to Patrick Graham to get the most out of whatever he has. By the way, check the amount of money and draft capital the GM has invested in the back end of the defense the past couple of years. He understands the importance of quality coverage guys.


Ed says: A Twitter question! How about that? Yash, if the Giants could pull that off I think Giants fans would want to host a parade for Dave Gettleman. I have even toyed with that scenario as I’ve messed with some mock draft simulations.

Thing is, I don’t think it’s realistic. At least not in terms of the returns you are expecting from the Miami Dolphins and LA Chargers.

In the right circumstance, of course Miami would swap picks at No. 4 with the Giants. They aren’t giving up another of their first-round picks (18 or 26) to do it, though. More likely, the Dolphins would be willing to give up their second first-round pick (No. 56) OR their third-round pick (No. 70). Using the Rich Hill Trade Value Chart, either of those is a win for the Giants in terms of point value per pick.

Now, for Part 2 of your scenario. I think moving from No. 5 to No. 6 with LA would be tricky. If Miami jumps the Giants and takes a quarterback, what real incentive do the Chargers have to move up? Who else is going to jump them for a quarterback, if that is the direction they want to go?

For argument’s sake, though, let’s say they are willing to move up from six to five. Using the Hill chart, again your are overshooting in terms of what you are asking for. The Chargers aren’t giving up their second- and third-round picks. The appropriate value to expect is the Chargers’ third-round pick, 71st overall. That, again, would be a win for the Giants in terms of points and would basically recoup the 68th pick they sent to the Jets for Leonard Williams.

Let’s say Miami gave the Giants pick No. 70. That means in this scenario the Giants end up with picks 6-36-70-71-99. That would work.


Bruce Frazer asks: Let’s assume that in the first round of the draft the Giants take one of the top four tackles. If in the second round they have a choice of either a top center such as Ruiz or Cushenberry, or Baun the linebacker, who would you go with if you were making the decision?

Ed says: Bruce, I would have no problem with the selection of Cesar Ruiz if he’s still available. He is the top-rated center on most draft boards, and the Giants have a need for a long-term answer at that position.

If it’s purely Baun vs. Ruiz? I’m taking Baun. I want to get a center eventually, but Baun is a kid who could be moved around the front seven and make an impact in a number of ways. You aren’t going to drop him back and play him at safety like you would Isaiah Simmons, but you can use him a lot of ways. He would be a terrific consolation prize for those disappointed if the Giants don’t draft Simmons. Then again, Ruiz could be the Giants’ Week 1 starting center. So, there isn’t a wrong answer here.