The 2020 NFL Draft is Thursday night, and the Big Blue View Mailbag is brimming with New York Giants questions that really won’t be valid by Saturday, when we usually open the mail. So, let’s do that now.
James Adams asks: From most mock drafts it appears the Giants will select either one of the Big 4 OTs or Isaiah Simmons. Assuming the pick is Simmons and all the top OTs are off the board. Where does that leave the Giants offensive line? We really can’t be going into a season with Solder and Fleming at tackle, could we?
Ed says: Well, James, if the Giants don’t select an offensive tackle with their first pick they most certainly could be entering the 2020 NFL season — whenever it begins — with Nate Solder and Cameron Fleming as their starting tackles. Maybe Nick Gates wins the right tackle job. Maybe they get exceptionally lucky and land a tackle like Josh Jones of Houston or Ezra Cleveland Boise State in the second round, but maybe the best they can really do is to find a developmental tackle who won’t really be counted on until 2021.
I have said this over and over. As much as I like Simmons and understand the allure of his versatility and coverage ability, this is the risk the Giants take if they don’t select in offensive tackle with their first pick. They risk not being able to find one who can help them this year, and maybe not being able to find one who ever becomes a long-term starter.
Devin Aronstam asks: One draft question I haven’t seen addressed is the following: If Washington takes a QB at No. 2 (or trades the pick to a team that does) should the Giants consider swapping picks with Detroit to ensure they get Chase Young? I know most think trading back makes the most sense to gain picks, but Chase would fill such a glaring need at a premium position (and we would end up with who is universally believed to be the best player in the draft). Would this be worth it in your eyes? I know the Bears gave up a lot to do just this a few years back, but perhaps the Giants could give up less as that trade was widely considered to be out of whack with the point charts. Of course, the question I am stuck on is deciding if giving up what it would cost to move up is worth it as the team needs so much.
Ed says: Devin, I’m not trading up for Chase Young. Not in the place the Giants are in as a franchise where one player isn’t transforming them. Saquon Barkley didn’t do it. Daniel Jones didn’t do it. Young is the best player at a position of need for the Giants, but he isn’t going to do it, either.
The Jimmy Johnson Trade Chart shows a 400-point difference between Pick No. 3 and pick No. 4. That means the Giants would also likely have to give up pick No. 36 (540 points) to make that move. Maybe even toss in one of their seventh-round picks. The more modern Rich Hill version of the trade chart shows a 23-point difference, which means that if you go by that chart the Giants might be able to get away with giving up the 99th pick (36 points) or 110th pick (28 points).
Of course, charts are nice but you have to realize other teams will also be bidding for that spot. Thus, the Detroit Lions are going to hold out for more value than the chart asks for.
Personally, I would rather see the Giants look to move down and add picks if possible. Not move up and give more picks away.
Jeff Bergman asks: In all the BBV previews one position I never see analyzed is kick returner. It would be great to grab a good one in rounds 5+. Any chance of a BBV analysis on top KRs for the later rounds?
Ed says: Jeff, I wonder if the Giants might consider using one of their four seventh-round picks on a guy like former Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry. He is a guy who might carve out an NFL role as a “weapon” on offense, a guy who could return kicks, run the ball a little, catch the ball some as a running back or split wide as a receiver.
With the de-emphasis of the return game, especially kickoffs, and the way teams value roster spots I don’t think many teams keep guys who can only return kicks or punts. They look for players who have that skill in addition to being a useful back, receiver or defensive back. That ability is always a plus, especially for a guy being considered in the later rounds of the draft.
Jerry Panza asks: I understand your angst in the fan poll which picked Cesar Ruiz at center. I participated and also picked him in that poll. I share your angst. How [do] you feel about the opinion by Shaun O’Hara and David Diehl that Nate Solder has some very good football left in him? I like to give him the benefit of the doubt considering his personal situation with his son Hudson’s grave medical illness over the last couple of years. I’m not offering an excuse here but this must have been a major distraction in his work life. That being said I think it would be a failure by Dave Gettleman to not draft one of the better offensive tackles in the draft. After all he promised to fix our offensive line and we all have watched what the Giants have looked like over the last 8 years. Do you believe the Giants address this early in the draft.
Ed says: Jerry, as I said in my post a few days ago, my annoyance has nothing to do with Ruiz. By most accounts, he is considered the best center in the draft. He would probably start for the Giants and end up being a good player. My annoyance is with the fact that neither of the first two picks (Isaiah Simmons at No. 4 and Ruiz at No. 36) address what I view as the biggest need — finally getting a quality, young offensive tackle who can be a bedrock of the offensive line.
Now, about Nate Solder. First and foremost I am going to trust the evaluations of guys who played the game at a high level — and battled through age and injury themselves — more than I’m ever going to trust my own.
Solder is 32. There are a good number of lineman his age and older who are continuing to play at a high level. I think that’s because the position is largely about knowing what you’re doing and being able to rely on your technique more than it is about pure athleticism.
Solder has always been a good, not great, left tackle. It’s probably accurate to put him in the mid-tier of NFL left tackles. He had an awful year in 2019, and part of that was probably due to the distraction of his 4-year-old son, undergoing yet another surgery and a third round of chemotherapy for a rare form of kidney cancer diagnosed when he was just 3 months old.
It is also probably accurate to say Solder was likely never fully healthy in 2019. He underwent preseason ankle surgery, and was on the injury report much of the year despite playing in all 16 games.
I believe Solder is capable of bouncing back and playing at an acceptable level in 2020. The Giants, though, need to think seriously about how to replace him in 2021.