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Big Blue View mailbag: James Bradberry, and a host of NFL Draft questions

The mail’s here!

Welcome to the final Big Blue View Mailbag prior to the 2022 NFL Draft. Let’s get right to it.

Benjamin Hale asks: I’m trying to understand why teams won’t trade for Bradberry. If teams like the Chiefs, Colts, and others wait until Bradberry is released then he would be a free agent. These teams would then have to compete with each other for his services whereas if they traded with the Giants they are guaranteed to have him on the roster. You can’t have enough good corners and waiting until the Giants release Bradberry sounds risky. Thoughts?

Ed says: Benjamin, let me try to explain this from the perspectives of a couple of teams that make sense as landing spots for Bradberry. It’s really largely about the money. I will use the Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders since Indianapolis recently signed Stephon Gilmore. The Chiefs have been rumored to have some level of interest, and the Raiders make sense because Patrick Graham is there.

Bradberry carries a $13.4 million base salary. His new team will be responsible for $11.4 million of that — if I read the contract breakdown correctly at Over The Cap. Keep that number in mind.

The Chiefs currently have $18.159 million in cap space. They need $5.646 million of that to sign rookies. In order to maintain cap room to operate, they would likely need to negotiate a long-term contract extension with Bradberry to fit him under their salary cap. Either that, or cut players to make financial room for him. Same with the Raiders. Las Vegas has just $5.795 million in cap space.

Is there a team that wants Bradberry badly enough that it would be willing to take him on under those circumstances? So far, no. He is a good player, but no one apparently sees him as that much of a difference-maker.

If the Giants are forced to cut him and he becomes a free agent, he is almost certainly going to have to sign for less than $11.4 million — a price tag more palatable to NFL teams. Yes, there would be a few teams in the bidding. As of now, though, NFL teams seem willing to let him hit the open market. No one seems to be in the “we have to have James Bradberry” frame of mind.

Mike Ficorelli asks: With the draft approaching...I think most are agreeable if the Giants trade back with one of their picks, especially if it nets them a number 1 next year. I also would be in on a trade with the Saints for their 2 first rounders this year with netting more top talent but it seems their salary situation is gonna create issues.

That being said... my question is if the Giants stay at 5, would you think drafting Gardner here over the RT would be a better move? I honestly do being there is better tackle depth in this draft and if someone wants to move to 7 the Giants should move back. Not to mention perhaps the Jets looking to leapfrog the Giants at 6 in a trade with Carolina if they don’t select him at 4. Raimann or Penning should be there later on in Round 1 or double down on defense in the first and perhaps look at Tyler Smith or Daniel Faalele on Day 2 to address the need. Thoughts?

Ed says: Mike, if the Giants stay at 5 and 7 and land a right tackle and Sauce Gardner I would endorse that. I don’t care which order they are picked in. Honestly, if two of the tackles are gone at No. 5 you take the third tackle. If only one is gone, you can take Gardner and know at least one of the tackles will be there at No. 7.

To me, if they can get the offensive tackle they need in Round 1 it’s a move they should make.

Brian McAllister asks: For the past few years, Dave Gettleman and the Giants have been crushed over drafting Saquon Barkley with the #2 pick in the 2018 draft. The argument being running back lacks positional value in today’s NFL. In some circles, Barkley was considered the most talented player in that draft. The same can be said in this year’s draft with Kyle Hamilton at another position that lacks value; safety. There are some mock drafts projecting Hamilton in the top 5, and many in the top 10. Do you think the negativity around the Barkley pick will have any impact on a decision the Giants would make on Hamilton? Say for example they truly love him as a player and believe he will greatly improve their defense, and the team. Would the residual bad vibes from the Barkley pick influence them not to take Hamilton? In addition, would it be fair for pundits to mock Hamilton that high, then for those same people to kill a team for drafting him? Finally, what are your thoughts on Hamilton as a player?

Ed says: Brian, the Giants are two head coaches and one GM removed from the regime that made the Saquon Barkley selection in 2018. In the NFL, that’s millions of miles removed. I don’t believe a 2018 Gettleman decision will impact what Joe Schoen does at No. 5 or No. 7.

I am a Kyle Hamilton supporter. If the Giants can’t get Sauce Gardner I would be happy if they snagged Hamilton. I have said many times I don’t care about his 40. I care about his play speed. Watch the tape. I think he’s a fantastic player who can fill multiple roles.

As for pundits, some still think he is the best player and others turn their nose up at the 40-yard dash time. If Hamilton falls out of the top 10, I think he is going to make everyone look silly for passing on him. Others, obviously, disagree. Maybe I will be right. If I’m wrong, that won’t be the first time. As for your question, you can’t love him and then rip a team for taking him. Vice versa, you can’t dislike the player and then praise a team for selecting him.

Pre-draft analysis is subjective and knowledgeable people can see things differently. That is the case maybe more than ever in this draft. When Round 1 finally gets here I think we are all going to end up flabbergasted by some of what happens in Round 1 — both in terms of who is selected and who is still on the board when Round 2 rolls around.

Erick Singleman asks: Regarding the value of safety in the draft, and in particular picking Kyle Hamilton with a top ten pick. Let’s revisit Jabrill Peppers... He was very highly touted coming out of Michigan as a versatile super athlete with the size speed, and rare physical gifts, etc, much in the same way as Hamilton. Peppers was picked at #25 in the 2017 draft, and in my opinion he did not achieve the expectations that were created given his supposed physical freak of nature status. Again, in my opinion some teams, and particularly true of the past Giants regimes, rely too much on measurables, and not enough on college production. The college production however gets more difficult when some players only play limited seasons, and come out for the draft early. Personally I would not risk taking Hamilton in the top 10.

Ed says: Erick, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. As I have said, I think Hamilton is going to be an impact player in the back of a defense and I wouldn’t be upset if he landed with the Giants. In the end, maybe I will be right about Hamilton. Maybe I will be wrong.

I do not think the Jabrill Peppers comparison is a good one, aside from the fact that they play the same position. When Peppers came out of Michigan he was an athlete without real instincts or even a true position. Some people thought he was a safety. Some thought he was a cornerback. Some thought he was a linebacker. Some people thought he was a wide receiver.

Hamilton is a much different player. He has better instincts and, I believe, better coverage skills.

Jay Berman asks: Assuming the Giants go OT & Sauce at 5 & 7, do they target an Edge at 36 and if so, who might that be? Secondly, in addition to Azeez Ojulari, what role do you see for Roche?

Ed says: Jay, that would certainly make sense. In my weekly mock drafts, it is a scenario that sometimes plays out, and there are always edge defenders considered at No. 36.

I always say, though, that you cannot go into a draft or a round of the draft saying “we have to pick position A at No. 36, position B at No. 67, etc. Edge defender would be on the list of positions the Giants would like to address in the draft.

If players like David Ojabo of Michigan, Boye Mafe of Minnesota and Arnold Ebiketie of Penn State are on the board they would have to be considered.

As for Quincy Roche, he’s probably a rotational player. Maybe he gets used as a pass rusher in certain sub packages. I think he is a useful player, but he is going to have to fight for snaps. Especially if the Giants draft an edge player in the first couple of rounds.

Matt Smith asks: How reliable are pre draft visits as an indicator of who teams pick and also sign as UDFA? Said differently, how many of the 30 who visit typically end up on the team year over year? Any data to research on that?

Ed says: Matt, there is no data that I know of. What I can say is NFL teams don’t schedule those 30 visits for no reason. They usually schedule them because they have some level of interest in those players — but they also still have remaining questions. They want one more opportunity to get around the player and try to get those questions answered, see if he fits in their building.

I am always interested in the local workout. Those are often players who did not get Combine invites, and who might end up with invites to rookie camp or be signed as UDFAs if they go undrafted.

Kolnerbigblue asks: Ed, this probably an irrelevant question but what do you think happens to Davis Webb if we draft a QB? It seems to me he was brought in to be a secondary coach for Jones.

Ed says: I don’t know if drafting a quarterback — which I still believe is unlikely — would impact Jones at all. As it stands now, Webb is either the No. 3 quarterback on the 53-man roster or a practice squad player. If a quarterback is drafted, I still think Webb is a practice squad player.

Tom Vayda asks: Do you think that if the Giants draft Icky, Neal or Cross, one of them might be moved to LT eventually? Especially if Cross is drafted. I know it is a reach but still a reasonable question.

Ed says: Tom, I have said before that I would not move Andrew Thomas. He showed last year that he can be a successful NFL left tackle, and I wouldn’t mess with that.

Would the Giants move Thomas if they draft Cross? Anything is possible. Just because I don’t think it’s a good doesn’t mean Joe Schoen, Brian Daboll and offensive line coach Bobby Johnson will agree.

Ryan Perry asks: A lot has been discussed and proposed regarding what the Giants can do to move on from James Bradberry. The Giants are obviously not in a good bargaining position - everyone and their mothers know James Bradberry will likely be released if no viable trade offers materialize. Could the Giants use draft capital to ‘sweeten’ the deal, similar to the Houston Texans/Cleveland Browns 2017 trade that took much of Brock Osweiler’s salary off of Houston’s books? If so, what could this trade look like?

Ed says: Ryan, sure I would think that’s possible. Here is a Bradberry trade proposal I saw the other day:

Kansas City Chiefs get: Pick No. 7, Bradberry
Giants get: Picks No. 29, 30, 94

I am not sure I could make that trade. It’s a looooong way to move down with no way to accurately forecast who will/won’t be available by the time picks 29 and 30 come around.

As I think about this, I have a different idea. I don’t know exactly what it would look like, but what about using Bradberry and one of the two third-round picks to move up and perhaps target a falling player the Giants like? I don’t know if the Giants could find a dance partner for a move like that, but I might explore the idea if I were the GM.

George Wallace asks: What do make of Ben McAdoo backtracking comments on Sam Darnold being the starter in Carolina? Do you think it’s an indication of drafting a QB at 6? Thought you’d have some insight having covered him as the OC and head coach.

Ed says: George, I honestly think only that it’s a reflection that McAdoo realized he spoke out of turn — that he is the offensive coordinator, not the head coach and it’s not his decision to make.

Carolina is an interesting pivot point in the draft. Selecting a rookie quarterback is not generally a recipe for success for a coach who enters the year on the hot seat. Maybe trading for Baker Mayfield or Jimmy Garappolo gives Matt Rhule a better short-term opportunity. Schoen would like to know what Carolina will do. We all would.

I think they end up taking a quarterback, but I don’t think McAdoo’s remarks will have anything to do with that.

ctscan123 asks: In so far as it looks like we are hanging onto Barkley (at least for now), here is a question about him. When Gettleman drafted him as a generational player, part of that package was his perceived huge upside as a receiver. Irrespective of his time off the field with injury, that never really seemed to materialize to a huge extent. Do you attribute this more to the schemes in the play-calling or do you think his talent as a receiver was initially overblown? Do you think we’ll see a few more wheel routes this year? Would be great to be able to reinforce our shaky receiving core with a talented receiver already on the team.

Ed says: CT, did you forget that he caught 91 passes and was targeted 121 times in 2018? Did you forget that the entire offense that year became either hand the ball to Saquon Barkley or check it down to him?

I think the reality is Barkley has not been healthy for a very, very long time. The other truth is that the Giants’ offense was broken last year. Blame that on Jason Garrett, injuries, offensive line, whatever.

Barkley remains a terrific receiver. I have confidence that as long as he is on the team and in uniform Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka will do their best to take advantage of that.

[NOTE: I am planning a special edition of the mailbag for Thursday, the morning of Round 1. So, keep the draft-related questions coming if you have them.]