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Valentine’s Views: Will NFL season really start on time? Also, some Giants draft chatter

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Some thoughts for a Sunday without sports

New York Giants v Washington Redskins
Will fans be filling NFL stadiums this fall?
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

I’m not counting on the NFL season starting on time. At least not with fans packing NFL stadiums across the country.

It is what the league hopes for. It is what the president on Saturday told owners he hopes for:

”They want to get back. They’ve got to get back.... We want to get back soon, very soon,” Trump said of his conversation with pro sports commissioners at his news briefing Saturday. “We have to open our country again.”

The sad reality is, though, is that the COVID-19 crisis won’t completely have abated by then. The virus, though probably in diminished numbers, is likely still going to be a presence in our lives. And, there probably won’t yet be a vaccine.

Here is what the league’s chief medical officer told Judy Battista:

“I would say that’s everyone’s hope, that we are in a position to do that,” [Dr. David] Sills added. “But the reality is none of us know those facts for certain right now. We hope and pray for the best and prepare for the worst, realizing that is one potential outcome that we will be back fully in business playing games as normal in front of fans on schedule. But it’s certainly not the only outcome. And I think what was implied there was to say we are not at a point where we are saying that is absolutely not going to happen so we should continue our planning and preparations as if we’re going to be able to do that. But obviously, we’re going to have to evaluate that along the way. And follow what the recommendations are from public health officials and from our infectious disease experts and others.” ...

“As long as we’re still in a place where when a single individual tests positive for the virus that you have to quarantine every single person who was in contact with them in any shape, form or fashion, then I don’t think you can begin to think about reopening a team sport,” Sills said. “Because we’re going to have positive cases for a very long time.”

The NFL, by holding free agency and going forward with a modified draft, is doing everything it can to stay on a relatively normal schedule.

We know though, that offseason training is going to be interrupted. Unfortunately, though no one really wants it to happen, it’s possible the regular season will be, as well.

My quick plea: Want football in the fall? Take the social distancing guidelines seriously and do everything you can to protect yourself and everyone you come in contact with.

GiantsNFL Draft chatter

A few things I think as we get closer to the draft.

A dance partner at No. 4?

During the buildup to the 2020 NFL Draft, I have consistently said that one potential move-down scenario that intrigues me for the Giants would be getting the 12th and 19th overall picks from the Las Vegas Raiders in exchange for the fourth overall pick.

Well, as of right now I’m told that Raiders coach Jon Gruden is in love with Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons and would be willing to make that deal. Of course, Gruden changes his mind about as often as the wind changes direction so three weeks from now that might be a different story.

What would the Giants do with picks 12 and 19?

The Giants wouldn’t have their pick from among the Big 4 offensive tackles at No. 12, but they would likely find one or two of them still on the board if they want to go in that direction. Edge and wide receiver (yes, wide receiver) could also be in play if the Giants are sitting in the middle of the first round.

Let’s talk more about wide receiver

Think about the Giants’ needs and the two things that always come up are offensive tackle and pass rusher/defensive play-maker. Wide receiver, especially in a draft class that appears to be loaded to the point where talented players should be available in the middle of the draft, seems like a lesser need.

Thing is, the indication I have gotten consistently is the Giants might not see it that way. Whether he is a No. 1 receiver or not, I think the Giants believe in the future of Darius Slayton. Sterling Shepard’s concussions and Golden Tate’s age, though, might make adding play-makers for Daniel Jones to throw to a higher priority.

Want a couple of names to watch? Of course, you do. Remember the names Justin Jefferson of LSU [prospect profile] and Denzel Mims of Baylor [prospect profile].

Trading up?

In seven drafts (five with Carolina, two with New York, Giants GM Dave Gettleman has never traded down. Study his history, though, and you know targeting and trading up for a player he wants is something he has done several times. It’s what Gettleman did last year to land cornerback DeAndre Baker late in Round 1.

The jury is still out on whether that move will bear fruit. Keep an eye, though, on Gettleman doing something like that again. Especially for a wide receiver or an offensive tackle if the Giants pass on the Big 4.

Chad Reuter of NFL.com has listed the Seattle Seahawks (No. 27) as a potential trade partner for the Giants in this scenario. As I suggested, he is looking at pass catcher for the Giants in such a move.

The other team I’ve been told might be willing to play ball in a move back into Round 1 scenario? The San Francisco 49ers at No. 31.

Offensive line targets

You have probably figured it out by now, but I believe Tristan Wirfs of Iowa is the top offensive tackle on the Giants’ draft board. There has also been much made recently of reports that the Giants will Face Time with Michigan center Cesar Ruiz. So, let’s go with the idea he is their top center target.

What if the Giants, who have to address those spots in the draft, have to go to Plan B to get that done?

At offensive tackle, Ezra Cleveland of Boise State is a player the Giants appear to like. As for center, watch for Temple’s Matt Hennessy if he’s available in the middle rounds. [Prospect profile]