Will New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman, holding the No. 4 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, be willing to trade back for the first time ever in the eight drafts he has conducted as a GM?
Gettleman said Friday on a pre-draft conference call with New York media that trading down is something he “will very seriously entertain.”
Perhaps adding fuel to the trade-down fire Gettleman said he was still “working through” the options when asked if there was a single player — like Daniel Jones or Saquon Barkley — he was prepared to bang the table for as the team’s Round 1 pick.
Gettleman admitted that the logistics of working remotely could complicate making on-the-clock decisions to execute trades.
“I’m going to make calls. Anybody that wants to move up I’m going to say listen we don’t have much time, we can’t fool around and I’d like to get the parameters of a deal in place before we get on the clock,” Gettleman said. “That would be the best thing.”
Gettleman added that time limits as the draft gets later will make it “tight” to try to execute trades in the middle to late rounds.
“I think what’s going to happen is what this is going to force everybody to do is to do deals before their pick is up,” he said. “Make a deal off the clock and then if a guy is there for the team that wants to move up then they’ll consummate the trade.”
Offensive tackle with first pick?
I wrote Monday that I felt some of the general manager’s remarks were hinting that, while the organization may not yet have identified the player they can all agree on, the Giants are leaning toward selecting an offensive tackle with their first pick.
I came away with the same impression while listening to Gettleman on Friday.
“You know my theory. It’s very, very difficult for Saquon to run the ball if he doesn’t have holes and it’s going to be difficult for Daniel to throw the ball when he’s on his back,” Gettleman said. “We’ll continue to build in the offensive line.
“Is it a pressure point? To a degree, I’m not going to deny that. ...
“We’ve just got to keep working at it. Joe [Judge] and I are of the same mentality that really and truly the offensive line sets the tone for the team.”
Calling a position group “thick” is Gettleman’s way of saying there is depth at that position. He used that term in reference to the offensive tackles in the 2020 draft class.
“There are tackles throughout the draft,” Gettleman said. “There’s a lot of talent there.”
Who is making the call?
Gettleman has always said he makes decisions in collaboration with coaches rather than by dictating to them which players will be chosen. There has been some question of how much influence Judge, a 38-year-old rookie head coach, will have. Gettleman reiterated his stance on Friday.
“It’s the New York Giants decision. That’s what it is,” Gettleman said. “It’s completely collaborative. We just talk it through, that’s all there is to it. This is my eighth, ninth draft and I’ve never had a problem, a big difference of opinion with a head coach. ... It’s about coming to a consensus.
“We’re not arm wrestling to see who gets their way.”
Gettleman added that the Giants are “still discussing” who that first pick will be. If only Judge’s dog, Abby, could speak.
Some have theorized that the lack of Pro Days, 30-man visits and other assorted meetings and personal time with players gives this draft a sort of retro feel that harkens back to when teams didn’t have so much information on players. Also that it might give an experienced hand like Gettleman who remembers the old days a leg up in the evaluation process.
Here is what the GM said about that when I asked him:
“This is like back in the late ‘70s when they drafted with absolutely no contact with players,” Gettleman said. “I think at the end of the day it is a little bit old-school because you’re not getting the personal touch points that we’re used to having.
“Really and truly at the end of the day it’s all about what the kid does between the white lines, It’s not about running around in your underwear or running the 40-yard dash and doing the vertical jump or whatever. It’s really about putting a lid on and playing ball. It is a little bit more old-school like that, and that’s not all bad.”
Impact of college coaches
The Giants have a staff filled with coaches who were in the college ranks a year ago. Does that give them an inside track on player information?
“It’s a big help. You think about it, we hired Burton Burns. Joe hired Burton to coach the running backs and he’s been at Alabama, so just think about all the insight we get into the Alabama kids,” Gettleman said. “A number of our coaches are coming directly from the Southeast Conference. You’ve got great contacts and it’s very helpful. It gives you insight.
“Our college scouts do a great job of digging out information, so between the information the college scouts have and Burton and fellas like that we’ve hired that are coming from college it really gives us a good handle.”
Need vs. best player available
Every coach and GM says he wants the best player available whenever it is his team’s turn to select. Gettleman admitted on Friday that “best player available” for your team might not always mean the highest-graded player on your draft board.
“When you’re splitting hairs it’s OK to take the 96 (grade) instead of the 98,” Gettleman said. “It’s when you have a 98 and then you’ve got an 88. That’s not splitting hairs any more. Even if the 88 is a bigger position of need ... once you’ve started reaching you’ve created issues for yourself. Part of it too is you can never have too many great players at one position. That doesn’t scare me, it doesn’t bother me. What you’re trying to do is build the best roster you can.”
If you want to read that as justification for taking an offensive tackle even if Isaiah Simmons has a higher grade, you can.
If you want to read that as justification for perhaps drafting defensive tackle Derrick Brown despite not needing a player at that position, you could do that, too.