There are just two more Saturdays before the New York Giants and the rest of the NFL are supposed to open training camps. As that approaches, let’s see what’s in the Big Blue View Mailbag.
Chris Fiegler asks: What are the absolute best picks that the Giants in all the years that you have been covering the Giants draft picks?
Ed says: Chris, you asked this question months ago and I have held onto it. When you asked the reverse of this, I kept it to the Jerry Reese era. Let’s do the same here.
For those who don’t know, Big Blue View launched in 2007. So, we will start there and cover Reese draft classes through 2017. Here are the best picks, in my view:
Ahmad Bradshaw (2007) — Seventh-round pick, 250th overall. You might argue Bradshaw was the best pick Reese ever made. By the way, he got Steve Smith in Round 2 and Kevin Boss in Round 5 of that draft. Pretty good work, and it helped the Giants win a title.
Mario Manningham (2008) — His time in New York didn’t last long enough, but the Giants got three good seasons and a great Super Bowl catch out of this third-round pick.
Hakeem Nicks (2009) — Nicks kept falling and falling in Round 1 of the 2009 draft, mostly due to concerns about weight, if I recall correctly. Reese capitalized on everyone else’s reticence, and the Giants reaped the rewards for several seasons until injuries curtailed Nicks’ career.
Jason Pierre-Paul (2010) — Taking JPP 15th overall was a huge risk at the time because he was more athlete than football player. Reese ended up being right about him, though. And yours truly will admit to wanting Derrick Morgan, who went to the Tennessee Titans with the next pick. Morgan had a lengthy career, but was never close to JPP at his best. How good could Pierre-Paul have been without the back injury and the fireworks mishap? By the way, Reese snagged Linval Joseph in Round 2 of this draft.
Landon Collins (2015) — I have to credit Reese here. He made an uncharacteristically aggressive move up the board to get Collins with the first pick of Round 2.
Those are my five favorite Reese era draft moves. Sadly, only one of those comes after the 2010 season. Think maybe that has something to do with why the Giants have been mostly bad since winning the 2011 Super Bowl?
Patrick Calvert asks: What are your thoughts on the potential impact of the pandemic as it pertains to in-season trades and waiver wire pickups? It sounds like a potential mess requiring someone to move their family from one city to another amidst the pandemic.
Ed says: Patrick, so much is going to be different about this NFL season. We are seeing many of those changes already, and I’m sure we will see many more.
I don’t know how COVID-19 will impact in-season trades and waiver-wire pickups, but I would guess that it might limit player movement. We might even see an enlarged practice squad so that teams will already have replacements in their building when players are injured or become sick. Trades? They might be impacted by how many games actually get played and by how stringently a state like New Jersey applies travel restrictions to NFL players. You’re probably not making a trade deadline move for a guy if he has to quarantine for two weeks before he can even practice.
There are so many unknowns, and things are changing almost on a daily basis. Honestly, I will be amazed if the NFL has a full 16-game season.
John Neubauer: One short question. In your honest opinion do you think that if the Washington Redskins had the same success as the Patriots over the last 20 years, that anyone would care about their name? In my opinion the only name in football that doesn’t offend someone are the Packers and they might offend the dairy farmers. Scotty... beam me back to the ‘70s... this is too complicated for me.
Ed says: John, I don’t think the success or failure of the Washington franchise on the field has anything to do with it. This is simply the culture we live in today.
I think you’ll get pushback on the assertion that Packers is the only team nickname in the NFL that doesn’t offend somebody. Listen, in the world we live in someone is offended by just about everything.
Me? Fussing about sports team nicknames is really low on my priority list. I do, however, get that the ‘Redskins’ nickname is offensive to Native Americans. The prudent thing to do is change it. Let’s be real, though. Daniel Snyder is doing that not out of any desire to be politically correct or right a wrong. He’s doing it because advertisers and sponsors started threatening to take money out of his wallet if he didn’t.
Michael J. Scancarella asks: I don’t understand why the NFL is trying to push the season. Starting in September and then possibly having to shut down due to another outbreak in the fall is going cause more damage. Why not start the season in February with the season ending July 4th weekend 2021. Then start the 2021 season a little later and by 2022 get back to the original start date of September? We are obviously in uncharted waters and I’m aware it’s all about the money. But there needs to be a better thought process moving forward.
Ed says: Michael, you answered your own question. It’s about the money. If there wasn’t so much TV and advertising money to be raked in, and so many millions in salary to be earned by players, major sports wouldn’t be happening. I think we all understand that.
We also know that the Ivy League will not play sports this fall, and that other college conferences might soon follow suit. That raises another health issue for players — the idea of trying to play two full seasons in a compressed time frame. Just a guess here, but I’m thinking the NFLPA would not be thrilled about that.
None of this is ideal. None of this is really what anyone would like to see. I don’t think anyone has all of the right answers — this is something no one has experienced before. I just hope everyone involved follows the data, the science, the health recommendations to the best of their ability to keep as many people safe as possible.