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Pro-ready? Forget that — Giants coach Joe Judge says draft is about long-term upside

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Judge reminds that draft is about the future

NFL Draft Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Joe Judge on Wednesday shot down the idea that the New York Giants will, because of the interrupted NFL offseason, need to look for players who are “pro ready” in next week’s 2020 NFL Draft.

“You’re always looking for the best player available. To me that means long-term upside,” said the Giants’ rookie head coach. “If you think you’re taking someone who’s pro-ready, what all these rookies find out the second they step in the building is none of them are pro-ready.

“That’s why they need the spring program. That’s why they need training camp. That’s why they go through growing pains as rookies.”

That’s a stark reminder that the draft is not necessarily about the upcoming season. It is about the long-term success of your football team.

“To me it’s about finding the upside in the player, of looking down the long scope of a career and seeing who is going to be the best player with the most upside for you,” Judge said.

“There’s really no short-term fix or bandage. ... No one’s a finished product, whether they are a college guy who is getting drafted or someone who is in the league right now.”

Judge said one of the things he learned with the New England Patriots was to evaluate players based on future projections rather than past performances.

“The biggest part of the draft is evaluating the players not for what they’ve done in the past, but for what they can do in the future,” Judge said. “You’ve gotta have foresight to see how their skillset can really add to your team and how you’re going to use them.”

Judge added that without Pro Days, 30-man visits and other meetings or workouts, having trusted contacts at various college programs is critical.

“To me it’s important to not just talk to someone at that program but talking to someone you trust at that program that’s really going to tell you inside and out what that player’s like as a person, as a teammate, and as a player on a daily basis.”