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Big Blue View mailbag: X-Man, Thomas vs. Becton, more

The mail’s here!

It’s Saturday, which means time to open the mail. So, let’s see what is in the Big Blue view Mailbag.

Casey Hamlin asks: What are you hearing about X-man? I thought this might be a breakout year but it appears he has been getting limited snaps. Lack of pass rush has been this team’s Achilles heal for too long. Until that gets addressed I foresee another top 5 pick for the next couple years.

Ed says: Casey, I don’t think whether Ximines plays more or not is going to be a factor in a top 5 pick. Ximines has played 45 snaps to 64 for Kyler Fackrell, and the absolute reality is Fackrell has played better and earned those snaps. Lorenzo Carter (127 snaps) is also playing well. X-Man is No. 3 in that rotation. The best players play, and if Ximines is going to get more time he’s going to have to make more plays when he does get chances.

Here’s inside linebackers coach Bret Bielema:

“We’ve been trying to see where his best strengths are ... we’ve had some conversations, he and I, about where we expect him to be, what we expect him to do and be able to perform those things with a little bit of consistency.”

There’s a lot of info in that answer if you really unpack it carefully. Bielema is telling you Ximines hasn’t been good enough or consistent enough yet to earn more time.


Douglas Mollin asks: If I understand correctly, unused 2020 cap space can be carried over to 2021 — which is expected to be lowered, perhaps significantly. What do you think of the Giants bringing in several veterans versus saving the cap space for 2021 and learning more about the young players we have?

Ed says: Douglas, I’ve said several times that I would like to see the Giants save some cap space for next season. I think they have to, considering the cap could plummet from $198.2 million to $175 million.

That said, you are probably referring to the signings of Logan Ryan and Devonta Freeman. Both are on one-year deals and will come off the books at the end of the season, so they really don’t impact the 2021 salary cap at all.

I love both signings. Yes, the Giants are a very young team. Reality is, though, neither Ryan nor Freeman is taking snaps away from a young, developing prospect — and please don’t tell me Wayne Gallman is a young, developing prospect. He’s not. He’s a fourth-year guy who is clearly no more than a backup or part of a running back committee.

Ryan’s leadership and experience are invaluable to Patrick Graham and the Giants’ young defenders. Offensively, the Giants’ biggest responsibility is to give Daniel Jones a chance to develop into the kind of quarterback they need him to be. Adding Freeman gives Jones better tools to work with, and a better chance to develop.


Dave Kamens asks: Is there a chance the Giants pick up [Javon] Leake with the shortage of running backs on the roster. There was a lot of buzz around him this summer? Why is Sills on IR? I thought he and Jones had some good chemistry early in camp.

Ed says: Dave, I’m going to answer those in reverse. David Sills is on IR because he’s hurt — he broke his foot. Maybe he would be on the roster or practice squad otherwise. As for Javon Leake, it is really easy to get attached to a guy in training camp when you see a couple of flash plays. Those, though, never tell the whole story. The guy didn’t get drafted, the Giants cut him early, and none of the other 31 teams has even added him to their practice squad. That tells you there isn’t a whole lot of belief in the guy around the league.


James Barnes asks: Do you know the “backstory” of why the Giants passed on Gettlemean in favor of Reese when Accorsi retired ? My assumption is there were reasons the Giants passed over Gettleman. I believe shortly after, Gettleman retired, but then went to the Panthers to be GM. I wonder this since Gettleman seems to be an average GM, strength of identifying talent in the draft but below average in free agent, prudent team financial signings or decisions. Any insight of the history and current opinion of Gettleman, in comparison to other GMs?

Ed says: James, I do not know the backstory of why the Giants chose Jerry Reese over Dave Gettleman. To be honest, I always thought that Gettleman and his “old-school” philosophy was a better match for then-coach Tom Coughlin than Jerry Reese was. I know Ernie Accorsi has been asked that question and has deflected. Accorsi ended up instrumental in getting Gettleman the job in Carolina.

I do have theories. Gettleman was and is a film junkie. I’m not sure that at the time the Giants saw him as more than a really good scout. We also know that Gettleman struggles at times with the public-facing parts of the job. I wonder if the Giants anticipated that.


Wayne Mirsky asks: I know it is quite early for any evaluations but I watched 2 Jets games this season and Mekhi Becton was pushing people off the line of scrimmage which kinda reminded me of Anthony Munoz.

In hindsight should the Giants have taken him over Thomas? Thomas has played well and I know some pundits had him rated as the most NFL ready LT but there is a possibility that Becton, if he stays healthy could become an all-time great and Thomas should be a good to very good LT.

Yes, I know your answer probably will be it is way to early for any predictions but refresh my recollection, who was your choice for the Giants to pick as their first draft choice?

Ed says: Wayne, Mekhi Becton was my choice for the Giants in my final mock draft. Here is part of what I wrote:

I am fully aware, of course, that Becton is probably the riskiest of what is considered the Big 4 offensive tackles. As for Becton’s flagged drug test at the NFL Combine, I ran this mock on Friday afternoon before that news came out. I debated for a long time on Saturday whether I should re-run the mock but I decided in the end that Becton was the pick I really wanted to make, so I stuck with it. I’m fully aware that Becton, depending how teams see his flagged sample, could be in for a draft day tumble and might not be a realistic consideration here. My guess as of now is that he almost certainly will not be the pick. Of course, even before the flagged test I figured that was the case.

I went a little bit rogue here, anyway. If I am putting myself in GM Dave Gettleman’s shoes, where I could well be forced into retirement if I don’t help put together a roster than wins more than four or five games, I’m going down swinging for the fences.

I don’t know if Becton is the best offensive tackle in this class. Nick Falato, Chris Pflum, Matt Williamson and many, many others all have their opinions. I know this — he’s my favorite. Potential gets GMs fired, but what I know is that the 6-foot-7, 364-pound Becton has the highest ceiling of any tackle in this class. If there is a Hall of Fame offensive lineman in this draft class, odds are he is it.

I’m going for broke.

That said, I also absolutely understood — and still understand — the selection of Thomas. Here is part of what I wrote after the selection of Thomas:

I should have seen this coming, and the fact that I didn’t is why I’m mad at myself.

You likely know that in my final mock draft I took the home run swing for offensive tackle Mekhi Becton. Thing is, I was pretty certain Becton wasn’t going to be the pick. Gettleman’s job is on the line. The futures of Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley are at stake. This was Joe Judge’s first draft as a head coach, his first real chance to put an imprint on the Giants’ franchise.

The last thing the Giants could afford to do was strike out here. They had to get on base, preferably hit a double or a triple, with a player who was ready to play now and could be a solid piece of their future. They believe Thomas is that guy.

I should have seen this coming because it’s the kind of thing the New England Patriots, where Judge spent the last several years, would do — pick the guy they knew would be solid over the one they hoped might be spectacular.

Yes, Becton is drawing raves after two games. He didn’t line up against Bud Dupree, Robert Quinn and T.J. Watt, though, and he only faced Nick Bosa for 11 snaps.

We have barely gotten past the prologue of the Thomas vs. Becton book. We won’t know the answer of the “which one should the Giants have taken?” question for several years.