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‘Valentine’s Views:’ Offensive tackles, Dave Gettleman, more NFL Draft thoughts

What I’m thinking about as the draft draws near

NFL: APR 27 2018 NFL Draft Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the 2020 NFL Draft a few days away, here are some New York Giants-related things I’m thinking about.

Dizzying rise and fall of offensive tackles

Andrew Thomas is the best tackle in the class ... or, he might not even really be one of the four best.

Mekhi Becton has the most potential ... but, he’s the riskiest ... oh, and about his pee.

Jedrick Wills might be the top guy ... but, really, he’s only a right tackle.

Tristan Wirfs could be the Giants’ target at No. 4 ... or, he could just be a guard.

Everybody who looks at draft prospects sees something different when they look at the supposed Big 4 in the offensive tackle group. Nobody really knows how things will shake out with that group in this year’s draft. Trying to figure out the order is, well, dizzying. The last time anything made me this dizzy might have been as a college sophomore when, during a night of typical college foolishness and a handful of beers in, that third shot of 151 rum hit my belly.

As you might expect, that didn’t end well.

Speaking of offensive tackle ...

I continue to believe that the Giants will select an offensive tackle with their first pick, whether that is at at No. 4 or elsewhere. GM Dave Gettleman’s intentions weren’t exactly hard to read when he spoke on Friday.

“You know my theory. It’s very, very difficult for Saquon to run the ball if he doesn’t have holes. It’s going to be difficult for Daniel to throw the ball when he’s on his back. We’ll continue to build the offensive line,” Gettleman said. “Is it a pressure point? To a degree. I’m not going to deny that. But it’s about getting the right guy. ... We’re just going to keep working at it. Joe and I are of the same mentality that really and truly, the offensive line sets the tone for the team.”

Mekhi Becton and the new CBA

Mekhi Becton’s “flagged sample” is going to provide an interesting window into how NFL teams will react to situations like this with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

If you read my final simulated mock draft for the Giants, you know I picked Becton at No. 4 — and that I stuck with the pick despite running the sim before the news of the test result broke.

It’s going to be fascinating to see how far Becton drops, if he drops at all. I have heard from analysts who think he’ll tumble into the second round, some who think maybe it costs him a few spots, and others who really don’t know what to think.

Then there is Carl Banks, who tweeted this:

This, too:

I’m only going to be convinced it mattered even a teeny, tiny little bit to NFL teams if Becton falls out of the top 12 picks. It will be one of the stories to watch on Thursday.

The work from home league

Joe Judge’s dog, Abby, has pretty much become the symbol for the “work at home” NFL.

“We have a lot of serious work to get done. But it is still our house, and like everyone else in America is finding out, everyone is working with their family always present, and that’s pretty true for us. I have a golden retriever (Abby) sitting on the couch next to me for about 15 hours a day. Right now, she can probably tell you more about who we’re going to take in the first round than anybody else.”

We’ve all done Zoom, Face Time meetings with cats on our lap or dogs barking in the background at this point. It’s the new normal.

By the way, if you missed it this work from SB Nation’s Morgan Moriarty is awesome.

Old-school advantage?

I’m sure you have all seen the photo of Dave Gettleman sitting at a sparse desk with a laptop and a monstrous binder. If not, here it is.

I asked Gettleman the other day if, aside from the technology and the fact that he is sitting at home, this reminded him of an old-school draft.

“This is like back in the late 70s when they drafted with absolutely no contact with players,” Gettleman said. “It is a little bit old school. I just think that really and truly at the end of the day, it’s really all about what the kid does between the white lines. It’s not about running around in your underwear or running a 40-yard dash or 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. That’s not all bad.”

Does it give the Giants, with a GM has who been a scout most of his adult life and has often talked about “watching film until his eyes bleed,” and a veteran scouting staff, an advantage?

I asked a handful of other scouting veterans what they thought. Here are their takes:

Ken Herock, former GM of the Atlanta Falcons and director of player personnel for the Oakland Raiders:

“I don’t think it will have much of an impact on the top picks in the Draft. Where it gets a little tougher is in the later round. The teams with the better Scouts will prevail.”

Dan Shonka, veteran NFL scout and now national scout for Ourlads:

“I do [believe old-school guys have an advantage this year]. Dave and old school guys are more interested in the Steak rather than the sizzle.

“Too many people get paralysis by analysis. They lose the basic fact that you win games by avoid losing them. Draft focused and intelligent players, you are money ahead.”

Greg Gabriel, 30-year NFL scout who spent nine seasons as scouting director for the Chicago Bears:

“In all honesty I don’t know if there is an advantage. You go on the info your scouts give you especially with non combine guys. That said there are usually 35 non combine guys who get drafted each year. That number could be much less this year because of no medicals. Unless teams feel real good about a players injury history they won’t touch him.”

Long-time NFL talent evaluator Dave-Te’ Thomas:

“The scouts are going to play a much more important role in this year’s draft than ever before ... I would put them (the Giants) in the top quarter as far as scouting goes. Now, whether he [Gettleman] relies on them or not is a different case altogether. ...

“Your scout is going to be your most important person on that connection ... I like it that way, though, because now you’re judging a kid on production and what you’ve seen him going through rather than potential.”

There was also this about Gettleman from Bills GM Brandon Beane, who worked with him in Carolina:

Speaking of Gettleman, I found it interesting that he had assistant GM Kevin Abrams with him on Monday’s call and Director of College Scouting Chris Pettit with him on Friday. Those were both firsts. I’m not sure what to make of that, but it was noteworthy.