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Big Blue View mailbag: Draft, QB trainers, more questions

The mail’s here!

Who needs the Super Bowl? The New York Giants, and their fan base, are fully engaged in getting ready for the 2022 NFL season. Let’s open the Big Blue View Mailbag and see what Giants-related questions fans have this week.

Bob Biggerstaff asks: Shouldn’t the Giants emphasize quality over quantity by keeping and using picks 5 & 7? Doesn’t a superstar like LT or even Ja’Marr Chase help more than two solid pros? Aren’t the two last Super Bowl wins based on SS Eli and a ferocious pass rush from Osi/PP et al.?

Ed says: Bob, there is no right or wrong answer to that question. It depends on your conviction about the player or players available at that time and what your goal is if you move down. No player you ever draft is a guaranteed superstar. I am a huge proponent of trading down whenever you can to get additional picks. You may lose out on uber-talented player like Micah Parsons sometimes, but the draft is a crapshoot and the more picks you have the more chances you have to get it right.

I believe that the Giants should make one of those two picks and trade down with the other one. Get back into the middle of Round 1, add some picks in 2022 or 2023 — especially if you can get a second first-round pick in 2023. That would give them ammo to move for a quarterback in the 2023 draft if they wanted to.

Oh, and a reminder — Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora were second-round picks and Justin Tuck was a third-round pick.


Robert Forgione asks: Josh Allen has given much of his improvement to working in the off season with QB guru, Jordan Palmer. Do you know if Daniel Jones has any such trainer other than Giant coaches? Allen said Palmer worked on his foot work and accuracy, it seemed to pay off. Is this something a player does by himself or is he “nudged” by his team to get help?

Ed says: Robert, Jones has worked with David Morris of QB Country since high school. Morris was Eli Manning’s backup at Ole Miss and has worked with quarterbacks for years now, including Manning. He also counts Mac Jones, Gardner Minshew and Jake Fromm among his pupils.

In the NFL world as we know it today NFL players all work at offseason training facilities and many have individualized coaches/trainers. This is not unusual. NFL coaches can’t work with their players during the offseason, except for the brief periods provided by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. It is my understanding, though, that these offseason trainers aren’t working in the dark. Trainers like Morris have relationships with teams and coaches throughout the league. They are aware of the things teams want their players to be working on during the offseason.


Ed says: Bill, to my knowledge there is no formal grading system for quantifying a good or bad scout, or for putting a percentage to how often a scout is right or wrong about a player.

What a GM has at his disposal is every report a scout has ever written, every bit of information compiled about a given player. He has the ability to compare a player’s performance to the scout’s evaluation. That’s their best tool — being able to figure out which scouts are right about players most often. GMs know which scouts had convictions on certain players. They know which guys are uncovering all the needed background on players, and which ones aren’t.

Right now, Joe Schoen has the advantage of being armed with information on hundred of players from his work with the Buffalo Bills. He can compare what the Bills early reports on a player were with what Giants scouts are telling him. He will know if, for example, Bills scouts uncovered red flags that maybe Giants scouts did not. Or vice versa.

It is going to be interesting to see if Schoen makes changes to the scouting department post-draft.


Douglas Mollin asks: There’s been some speculation on how Schoen’s drafts will look in comparison to Gettleman’s drafts.

Tarkenton did a fanpost digging into this a bit, but my question is can any team consistently draft well? How much of the process is just luck? Or simply having more picks?

Some picks are clearly wrong from the start (Raiders taking Clelin Ferrell #4 overall). Some turn out to be wrong in hindsight (Ryan Leaf #2). And some turn into mistakes even when they may have seemed like the right pick at the time (RG3?).

What would you like to see different with Schoen’s approach compared to Gettleman’s?

Ed says: Douglas, there is always a certain amount of luck involved in a process like this. So many factors — injuries, changes in staffs and schemes, a player’s surroundings, etc. — go into whether or not a player succeeds or fails. It’s why teams dig, and dig, and dig some more for every morsel of info they can learn about a player. It’s about a lot more than film, which is why you may think you have a clue about a guy after watching three games on YouTube, but you don’t.

One of the best long-term assessment of the draft I have been able to find is from Football Outsiders, in a study from 2010-2019. What FO found was that the Giants’ drafts from 2010-2017 were mostly middle to bottom of the pack. Dave Gettleman haters will discredit this, and I understand that, but FO’s methodology placed Gettleman’s 2018 and 2019 drafts both in the top three among the 32 teams.

Still, those drafts have not helped the Giants win.

To me, it wasn’t necessarily Gettleman’s talent evaluation that was flawed. Every evaluator has hits and misses. To me, the flaw was that Gettleman did not necessarily understand value, the opportunity cost of how one decision might affect another, and ultimately how the pieces would or would not come together.

In an interview with Giants.com’s John Schmeelk that Giants fans should listen to new GM Joe Schoen addressed a lot of those things. What he said left me encouraged.

Schoen said he believed in the idea of positional value, partially because of the exorbitant cost to acquire premium pass rushers, cornerbacks, offensive tackles, etc., on the open market.

“I think you have to look at that from an economic standpoint when you’re trying to build a team,” Schoen said.

Schoen also expressed a belief in trading down as opposed to up whenever possible.

“Where we are right now as many at-bats as you can get, as many swings as you can get. I think that’s important where we are, as team” Schoen said. “I don’t think you’re ever one player away.”

He did say he is “open” to moving up, particularly if a player you like has fallen farther in the draft than your grade indicates he should have.

“I’m open to moving up, moving back, whatever it may be,” Schoen said. “As long as I can sleep good at night with the decision that I make. If I move back and I end up losing out on a player that I like I’ve gotta be able to live with that.”


Jeff Newman asks: Ed, do you think the hiring of Don Martindale will affect what the Giants do, especially early, in the draft? Wink runs a defensive system that prioritizes certain positions and needs certain types of players in those positions. Does this change who we may be looking at in the draft? Does defense now take a higher priority early in the draft now?

Ed says: Jeff, I do not believe the hiring of Martindale makes defense a higher priority in the draft. I have always thought that if the Giants keep the No. 5 and No. 7 picks that they could easily be split between an offensive and defensive player.

What I do think is valid is that this could — make that, probably does — change the type of defensive players the Giants will look for. Martindale and Patrick Graham both run 3-4 base defenses, but they run vastly different schemes. Graham runs a more conservative, keep plays in front of you, disguise coverage defense that is not blitz heavy. Martindale is blitz-happy, caution to the wind, cornerbacks on an island guy.

You need different players. Top-tier pass rushers are nice for Martindale, but not absolutely necessary. He wants to scheme pressure. What is necessary are guys who can run and cover. That means top-notch cornerbacks. Linebackers who can run — as in, not Reggie Ragland. A do-everything safety like Kyle Hamilton of Notre Dame.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the Giants lead toward coverage guys more than edge rushers in the draft.