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Big Blue View mailbag: Post-2021 NFL Draft edition

The mail’s here!

Let’s open our first Big Blue View Mailbag since the conclusion of the 2021 nFl Draft and see what New York Giants questions pop out.

Jason Robbins asks: This week, Judge comes out and says that Jones’ injury was “much worse than what the team told the public.” It seems as if he is telling everyone now because he wants the public to understand how tough Jones is and what a great teammate Jones is.

My problem is I never questioned how tough he was or what kind of teammate he was. By all accounts, his toughness and his character were always two of his strongest attributes. I did, however, question was why he played so poorly in the games after he returned from injury. I questioned whether he was healthy enough to play. Now, Judge’s comments only confirm that he was not healthy to play. If last year’s play before the injury gave the team confidence that Jones was their QB of the future, why did they play Jones when he had a very severe injury? Was risking his long term health worth the risk? His strong play was largely due to his mobility. With his injury, he was a sitting duck. I feel as if Judge’s comments were meant to raise “the public’s” confidence in Jones when instead it could lessen our confidence in the team’s (Judge’s?) decision making. What do you think?

Ed says: Jason, I have been clear ever since the Arizona game where Jones took an unnecessary beating that I think Judge made a mistake. I’m sure they wouldn’t have played him if they felt he was risking long-term injury, but the fact was that he couldn’t protect himself and did end up with an ankle injury on top of the hamstring.

I don’t know Judge’s motivation for making those comments recently, though it might simply be to show support for the young man. Everything the Giants have done on the offensive side of the ball this offseason has been done with the idea of giving Jones the best possible chance to succeed in 2021. The organization’s public comments are going to be aimed at building him up, as well.

In no way should this lessen anyone’s confidence in Judge. He was a rookie head coach who, in my view, made a mistake. It won’t be the last time he makes a mistake, but he is still the best coach the Giants have had since Tom Coughlin and Giants fans should be glad to have him.


S.E. Mygodney asks: Thank You Eagles !!!

Toney, best receiver/return man in the draft. Explosive offensive weapon. 1st and 4th round picks in the 2022 NFL draft. Which is suppose to be loaded with talent. And a 5th round pick in 2021. I will take that any day. Ojulari and Smith intrigue me. Great draft. Your thoughts.

Ed says: S.E., I think I’ve been telling you how I feel about this draft all week. Here’s part of what I wrote on Sunday:

In my view, before we know a single thing about whether any of the players selected this year or next will succeed or fail in the NFL, the 2021 draft stands as the best work the Giants have done in the Gettleman era.

They were prepared in Round 1 when their original list of targeted players were gone, executing a smart trade back. That’s a far cry from the Eli Apple debacle of 2016.

They read the board correctly in Round 2, trading back eight spots, adding a 2022 third-round pick and still getting Ojulari, the player they say they would have selected at 42.

The move up for Aaron Robinson in Round 3 cost the Giants only a fifth-round pick they got from the Chicago Bears in their first trade down.

I think I would argue with you that Jaylen Waddle was the best combo receiver/return man in the draft. I would have loved it if he had fallen to 11.

The Giants did excellent work here. They didn’t get an offensive lineman, but I understand the Toney pick. A guy you can play catch-and-release with right at the line of scrimmage, can cover a bunch of offensive line weaknesses. I think they got two players in Toney and Ojulari, who are first-round talents. There wasn’t, in my view, a player who fit the Giants’ defensive needs better than Ojulari. I liked the Robinson and Smith picks.

I love getting three picks they can use next year. That’s a draft that is supposed to be flush with talent, so that should be a major advantage.


Billy Pilgrim asks: I really thought DG did an excellent (A plus) job on obtaining draft picks for the 2022 draft. For a young team that seems to be getting stronger this bodes well for the future. I would rather have selected a building block cornerstone like OT Christian Darrisaw (instead of a wildcat guy with one good college year) with the first pick or a plug and play guard like Wyatt Davis later. By not even drafting an offensive lineman It’s obvious that the Giants must have a different plan to fix the offensive line. The Giants now have all the playmakers and weapons (RBs, WRs, TEs, Speed, Height, Wildcat, etc) you need to score more than 25 ppg. After countless miserable seasons plagued constantly by a poor offensive line, I would hope that the Giants are smart enough to not leave a sliver of doubt that this year’s offensive line will be fixed. Midway through the season it would be sad to hear the same excuse we’ve heard for years, it’s the offensive line, that’s why we can’t score. The Giants football operations can’t use this excuse, they had the opportunity to draft Darrisaw and/or a plug and play guard and chose not to. All we’ve heard for the past years is how this is the year they are going to fix the offensive line. This off-season they lost their most consistent OL (Zeitler) and have not replaced him or added a starter. Lemieux and Peart were rated at the bottom of the league. Do the Giants know something that we don’t? What are your thoughts on this?

Ed says: Billy, this is another one of those things I think we have tried to address a number of times during the week.

Remember what Scouting Academy Director Dan Hatman said on Friday’s ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast:

“He honestly believes a lot of times the answer to your problem is in your building ... Their position on this is clearly that they could go into September with what they had prior to the draft and they could play football.”

Now, remember what Gettleman said after the draft:

“It’s really apparent that we have a little more confidence in our offensive linemen than you guys do.”

Now, what he said at the end of the 2020 season about the offensive line overall:

“I think this offensive line can compete. You can cherry pick here, cherry pick there, in terms of which game you want to pick and how the offense did. The offensive line showed very good progress. They’re big, they’re young, they’re strong and they’re tough and smart. This O-Line has a chance to be pretty damn good.”

So, yes, the Giants believe in the young players they have already collected. I think they are absolutely serious about that. I think they would have added a player had the draft matched up differently somewhere in the middle, but it didn’t happen.

Sure, they might add a player like Trai Turner. For the most part, though, what you see on the line is what you’re going to get. The Giants’ braintrust appears to be OK with that.

The Giants have done everything they can to create a better environment for their young linemen in 2021. Will that work pay off? Will the belief Gettleman and Joe Judge have in the people already in the building be rewarded?

No roster is ever perfect. The idea that the young offensive linemen will develop is this year’s big roll of the dice. We just have to see if it’s a bet Gettleman and the Giants win.


Sean Britton asks: Do you think [Jabrill] Peppers gets an extension this year, and if so, what kind of number?

Ed says: Sean, that’s an interesting question. Quite honestly, as we sit here today I think that one could go either way. The Giants have a lot of players in the secondary. If Xavier McKinney, Adoree’ Jackson, Aaron Robinson and Darney Holmes all prove to be quality players, and the Giants are happy with Lorenzo Carter, Azeez Ojulari, Tae Crowder and some of their other edge players and linebackers, you can argue that they paying Peppers big money doesn’t make sense.

Remember, assistant GM Kevin Abrams said he knows the Giants will face some decisions if the cap doesn’t take a big jump next year, and the Giants have acknowledged that they just can’t pay everybody.


Craig Massey asks: What position group currently has the least depth, in your opinion? I know everyone is concerned about the O-line, but I’m personally more concerned with the running backs.

Ed says: Craig, I think I agree. I did a 53-man roster projection earlier this week, if you are interested. On the offensive line, I get that people are worried. The Giants do, though, have veteran backups in center Jonotthan Harrison, tackle Nate Solder and guard Zach Fulton. That’s pretty good. I’m not sure what they have in Devontae Booker and Gary Brightwell as backups for Saquon Barkley.


Michael Patrick Conlan asks: Do you think the injury to Barkley will be a blessing in disguise? What I mean is maybe it could change his running style so he is constantly not cutting and juking on the knee. Instead of trying to hit the home run every time, maybe he can just hit the hole hard and get the 3-4 yards instead.

Ed says: Michael, no I don’t think the injury will be a blessing in disguise. Does a torn ACL ever make anyone a better player? I don’t think so. What you hope is that Barkley is still Barkley when he comes back from the injury. The Giants want, and need, the home runs from him.

What you do hope he learns as he goes through his career is that there are times when those home runs are available and times when they aren’t. There are times when you have to just hit the hole, or hit the line if there is no hole, and take a yard or two rather than dance around and turn a 1-yard gain into a 3-yard loss. That’s all.