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Big Blue View mailbag: Pre-NFL Draft edition

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The mail’s here!

We have come to the final edition of the Big Blue View Mailbag prior to the 2020 NFL Draft. Let’s dive in!

Marcus Mewborn asks: Now that the draft will be virtual and so different then what we are use to. What is something you will miss about witnessing the NFL draft that makes it such a great experience to witness?

Ed says: Marcus, this is a really interesting question. My answer, I think, is going to hopefully give some insight into the different perspective a fan may have on the draft than someone like me who is covering/writing about what a team does in the draft.

I do not actually “watch” the draft. I haven’t done that in years. There is no television set in my office (come to think of it I’ve been asking Mrs. Big Blue View for a nice flat screen for one of the walls in here). I don’t care about the glitz, the glamor, the spectacle. I care about the picks, and about getting as much information and analysis about what the Giants have done and might do next out to Big Blue View readers as quickly as possible.

I use a tracker, Twitter, and I might flip the TV on when I know the Giants’ pick is coming up. I’m busy writing, editing, trying to get quotes from Giants press conference or conference calls, and coordinating what our staff is going to do next.

I have no time for, or interest in, the “show.” I’m working. As long as the picks come in and I get the information I need to pass along to our readers where or how the draft is conducted means nothing to me.

That said, I feel awful for Las Vegas, which is going to miss out on a huge festival and take a major financial hit due to losing this year’s draft. I feel bad for fans who really enjoy the pomp and circumstance of Round 1.

While I’m on this topic, I am just going to say that I think I hate the Saturday of the draft (Day 3) more than any work day I experience all year long. Often times, that is a beautiful late April day when I would love to be outside playing some golf, messing with my grand kids, or doing just about anything that involves getting away from my laptop.

That day, though, starts before 7 a.m. ET as we prep for what will happen during the day and doesn’t end until late evening thanks to the tracking of undrafted free agents connected to the Giants.

I’m rooting like crazy for Dave Gettleman to trade at least some of his four seventh-round picks. The last thing on earth I really want to do is sit at my desk on a Saturday afternoon and write four “the Giants picked so and so in the seventh round” posts. Please, Dave, for the love of God trade some of those picks.


Elliot Goldman asks: With all the talk at OT, C and even WR as potential early picks in the draft, it seems people are forgetting how bad this defense was last year. Are people forgetting how bad the defense was last year?

Martinez is a small upgrade over Ogletree, but other than that I do not see how this D has really improved (Jackrabbit for Bradberry, Golden for Fackrell are lateral moves IMO). Do you think the Giants can adequately address the many glaring needs on defense AND land an OT of the future in this draft?

Ed says: Elliott, I don’t think anyone is forgetting how bad the defense was in 2019. It’s why the Giants spent the majority of their money in free agency on defense with the signings of Blake Martinez and James Bradberry. As GM Dave Gettleman acknowledged early in the week, though, “There is still more work to be done.”

Now, how much of that work can the Giants get done in the draft? I always remind people that a team can never address every single need it has in one offseason. The perfect roster with no holes has never been built. Whether they do it in the first round or later, I think we know the Giants will draft an offensive tackle. If they don’t draft Isaiah Simmons, I’m sure they will try to add to the defense in the middle of the draft.

The many needs they have is why it will interesting to see if they trade down and accumulate more picks.

The Giants won’t get everything they want, or need, but as Gettleman says they “will just keep building it.”


Jay B asks: Give me your top 5 to 8 sleeper draft selections meaning guys who might go in the second round or later that people might look back and say damn why didn’t we draft that guy?

Here is my list: Kyle Dugger, Jeremy Chinn, Derek Tuzka, Carter Coughlin, Matt Hennessy, Marc-Antoine Dequoy, Matt Peart, and Adrian Killins.

Thoughts?

Ed says: Jay, I’m going to cheat on this one. You mentioned Dugger, Chinn, Peart, and Hennessy. There are a lot of guys. One I like is Rhode Island wide receiver Isaiah Coulter. We have done a lot of work on sleepers or Day 2 or 3 picks.

Chris and Joe did this podcast on sleepers:

There are several other things you should read, as well:


Jason Robbins asks: So, I am going to ask a question that may seem ridiculous. I get it. He’s a generational player, talent wise. But, as good as Saquon Barkley is, how does he fit on a rebuilding team? By the time they are ready to compete, he will be ready to cash in on a contract. And, as the Rams just showed, you can’t afford to spend $15 million on a running back. That is not responsible salary cap management.

So, while I know it won’t happen because it would be admitting he made a mistake, shouldn’t the Giants be considering trading Barkley? Shouldn’t he be worth two first-round picks if not three? Or two first and a second? Stefon Diggs got three first-round picks. With an extra first round pick, they can get Simmons — the defensive player they need — AND a starting OL who they desperately need. Even if the extra first-round pick is for next year, they are rebuilding and that should be fine because an extra second-round pick for this year would allow them to address both center and WR.

Like I said, I know how good he is. But, does he really fit on a rebuilding team?

Ed says: Jason, let me turn that question around. Who in their right mind is going to give you two first-round picks, plus other draft assets, then pay Barkley the kind of money we’re talking about? I think Bill O’Brien has used up his stupidity quotient for this offseason, and I think any other GM in the league would laugh at the Giants if they came with that asking price for Barkley.

As great as he is, Barkley is a running back. That kind of trade just isn’t happening. In today’s game I don’t think anyone values a running back enough to do that.

As for paying Barkley, Christian McCaffrey is making $16 million annually and Ezekiel Elliott $15 million. So, yes, you can pay Barkley that kind of money. Should you? Everyone will have an opinion on that, but the Giants knew they would face that type of decision when they drafted him. To keep him, that’s probably what they are going to have to do. Besides, if you can pay Leonard Williams $16 million what is Barkley worth? More than that, I would think.

As far as how he fits, he’s the best player on the roster. That’s how he fits. The question is whether or not the Giants can add enough pieces around him to become a consistent contender while he is still at the top of his game.

Also, Diggs did not fetch three first-round picks for Minnesota. Buffalo gave up a first-round pick along with a fifth and sixth-round pick this year and a fourth-round pick in 2021 in return for Diggs and a 2020 seventh-round pick.


Jason Lyn asks: Would you consider trading down from No. 4 if Miami called and offered picks 18, 26, 39 and a first in 2021? (This way Miami would have picks 4 and 5 this year!) is having multiple picks better than a high pick?

Ed says: Jason, I think that is going to be too far for the Giants to drop down. I‘m looking at the draft guide published by Dane Brugler of The Athletic, and he has 17 players with pure Round 1 grades (not Round 1-2 borderline guys). That means by dropping that far you risk really taking yourself out of the conversation for the absolute top-tier talent.

I would like to see the Giants trade down and add more picks, but I would also like to see them stay in the top 10. The exception to that would be if the Las Vegas Raiders offered picks 12 and 19 for the fourth pick. Two picks in the top 20 would really tempt me. Dropping all the way to 12 is risky, but one of the top-tier tackles might still be there.


Michael Poulin asks: How realistic do you think that the simulator trade valuations are? I have run simulations for trade-downs for #4 to each team from #6 (Chargers) through #20 (Jaguars). The simulator offers that team’s first pick plus {typically) a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th or a 2nd and two 3rds. Trading down to #6 through #11, I had the choice of Wirfs or Thomas; and from #12 to @16 still could get Thomas. In the second round Ruiz and a DE (Gross-Matos or Zuniga) and in the 3rd round - Claypool and Kmet. Frankly, I would consider that draft outcome a great one if we stopped there, but we would have 5 to 7 additional picks. Again, how realistic do you think this is?

Ed says: Michael, there are three simulators I have used that allow trades — Fanspeak, Pro Football Network, Pro Football Focus. Each of them are somewhat different in what they allow and how they work. Reality is that when you use these simulators you are dealing with a computer algorithm based largely on the values whatever trade chart the programmer input. I think you can get some idea of what I will call “base lines” for trades should look like. The computer is going to try to match point value as closely as possible.

The human element is unpredictable. How badly does a team or GM want a certain player? Is he willing to lose the trade based on point value — by throwing in extra assets — to get a player he loves? Whatever Big Board you are using also impacts these things, and we just don’t know how teams have players ranked.

The simulators are fun. They give you scenarios, ideas, possibilities and let you play amateur GM. They are a starting point, but what people will do when the clock is ticking and emotions are running high is something no one can predict.


Gregg Wanlass asks: Trying to look at the draft objectively and I do see a bunch of repeated themes. First, on the defensive side of the ball there is universal sentiment that Young, Simmons, Okudah and Brown are immediate impact players and future stars. Further, there exist some questions as to whether Tua and Herbert are sure shot successes. And while there seems to be universal support for the top 4 OTs, there are some experts who think none of them are HOF caliber and there exists a history of great OTs chosen later in the draft, along with lots of huge first round busts. Given all of that isn’t it possible that the draft could (or might) unfold with 1) Burrows 2) Young and 3-5 being a combo of Simmons, Brown and Okudah — with no QB or OT in the first five picks. This almost makes perfect sense to me in terms of their perceived excellence against an objective standard. I realize this doesn’t necessarily reflect the tendency to overdraft QBs or address the needs of the individual teams (such as our Giants) but might it not play out that way?

Ed says: Gregg, anything is possible in the draft so of course your scenario could play out. I don’t think it will, but it could. Listen, a “sure shot success” has never been drafted. I don’t care who it is or how great a player he became, no one ever knows exactly what a player will be when they select him. You gather as much information from as many knowledgeable people as you can, make your projection of what you think a player will be able to do for your team, make your choice, then cross your fingers that you were right. Sometimes you get it right. Sometimes you get it wrong.

Using the Giants as an example, you can make a valid argument for any of about a half dozen players at No. 4 — the four tackles and a couple of defensive players. There is no absolute way of knowing who is right or wrong on draft day.

Remember one thing about scenarios, though. Need ALWAYS impacts how teams value players and how they set their draft boards. They will tell you it doesn’t, but that’s fantasy.


Eric asks: I was looking at all the projected first round picks, but have not heard anything about the Giants drafting Tua Tagovailoa. I believe that would force the hand of one of the QB hungry teams to trade up for EITHER Tagovailoa or Jones. If nobody bites (highly unlikely) what a QB competition.

Ed says: Eric, you haven’t heard anything about that because it’s not realistic. If the Giants can’t interest a team in moving up to the No. 4 spot to draft Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert, how are they going to convince a team to trade for one of those guys — or Daniel Jones — after the draft? That’s just not realistic.

Even though Joe Judge has yet to utter his name, the Giants made Jones their guy a year ago. The job now is to add talent around him, not try to replace him.