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‘Things I think’ after Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft: The fickle nature of fandom

In one night, Joe Schoen went from hero to drawing Dave Gettleman comparisons

NFL Combine Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Ahh, fans! New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen was a hero on Thursday night after selecting edge defender Kayvon Thibodeaux and offensive tackle Evan Neal in Round 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft.

On Friday night? Well, you would have thought Schoen had morphed overnight into Dave Gettleman 2.0, the vilified former GM, in the eyes of fickle Giants fans.

Giants fans were not nearly as happy with Schoen’s work on Friday night.

The GM traded back from No. 36 twice, accumulating two extra Day 3 picks. He ended up selecting Wan’Dale Robinson at No. 43, a 5-foot-8, 178-pound wide receiver from Kentucky many in the fan base had not heard of. Our Chris Pflum hadn’t profiled him. In fact, a mystified Pflum did not profile any of the trio of players Schoen selected on Friday.

Here are a few of the tweets from the @BigBlueView mentions after the Robinson pick:

[NOTE: If you are tempted to pick on me about typos in tweets, don’t bother. I’m well aware that when I tweet in a hurry, typos happen. I’m old. What can I tell you?]

The fact that Schoen followed up the Robinson pick by selecting a guard many had also never heard of and a 175-pound cornerback while leaving linebacker Nakobe Dean for the hated Philadelphia Eagles didn’t exactly lighten the mood.

Schoen did not lose his mind overnight

The Giants’ GM had a plan, and he executed it precisely the way the wanted to. His intent heading into Day 2 of the draft was to move down, and he did so twice, ending up at No. 43 and collecting two additional Day 3 picks along the way. The Giants collected pick No. 146 (Round 5) from the New York Jets to move to No. 38, then pick No. 114 (Round 4) from the Atlanta Falcons to move to No. 43.

“We just thought it [moving down] was what was best for us at this time. More picks would benefit us the most we thought based on who was on our board,” Schoen said. “We had deals in place before the draft started. So we were confident. We knew we could move back. That was part of the plan.”

Schoen added the deal with the Falcons “wasn’t necessarily in place, but it was something that we had talked about we would potentially be able to do, and then we were able to do it.”

About the players Schoen picked on Day 2

I think everyone who is out there simply needs to climb back down off the ledge. Come back in, have a cup of coffee, chill out for a while and give these players a chance.

Yes, there were other players I had convinced myself I wanted for the Giants on Day 2. I thought Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth was perfect for the Giants, and was bummed when he went No. 42 to the Minnesota Vikings. Yes, I was and am a big believer in Nakobe Dean. I did not, though, know about the apparent “severe pec injury” he has opted against surgery for.

Yes, I would have expected the pick at No. 43 to be George Pickens, Skyy Moore, Alec Pierce or even tight end Trey McBride if the Giants wanted a pass catcher in that spot. Yes, there were other interior offensive linemen I would have expected Schoen to take instead of Joshua Ezeudu. Yes, I would have preferred a bigger cornerback who could easily fit on the outside to Cordale Flott.

All of that said, I always ask fans to remember that NFL teams know far more about these players than of us do. They have done far more than watch a couple of cut-ups or YouTube highlights and perused a few media big boards.

Teams have spent thousands of man hours studying these players, watching them play in-person and on tape, talking to them, talking to anyone and everyone who knows them. They have also spent months discussing how certain players would fit on their team. Just because Dane Brugler, Mel Kiper or Daniel Jeremiah has players ranked a certain way doesn’t mean teams agree.

Schoen said before the draft that the Giants would have a plan for every player they drafted.

After the draft, Schoen said the Giants “have a very clear vision” for Robinson.

What is that vision?

“You guys saw Kadarius [Toney]. I’ll take as many of those guys as we can on the field,” Schoen said. “Again, he’s a generator when the ball is in his hands. He can run after a catch. He can separate from DBs, he gets open. He played some running back at Nebraska. That’s a versatile piece you can use in your offense. If you look at some of the other guys, how you can use them, and if you look at [Brian] Daboll’s past or you look at [Mike] Kafka’s past in terms of the creativeness in their offense and the weapons they can utilize, I think you can kind of see what the vision may look like.”

Ezeudu is a versatile player who happens to most likely fit at left guard, the one spot where the Giants figure to have a training camp competition for a starting role. Flott is only 20 years old, and the Giants believe he has time to develop physically.

James Bradberry is still a Giant

At least, he is as I type this early on Saturday morning. I think I wonder if missing out on the top tier of cornerbacks over the first two days of the draft increases the possibility that Schoen will exercise his contingency plan, extend Bradberry’s contract to lower the 2022 salary cap hit, and keep him with the Giants.

Do I believe that will happen? Not yet. I still believe re-working Bradberry’s contract and pushing money into the future — more or less just kicking the can down the road — is not what Schoen wants to do.

I still think the odds are against Bradberry being a Giant when training camp opens.

The amazing fall of quarterbacks

On the ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast Friday morning, Mark Schofield was talking about how shocking it would be if Malik Willis and other quarterbacks who were still available had not started coming off the board by the middle of Round 2.

Well ... we all saw what happened.

After Kenny Pickett (20th/Pittsburgh Steelers) was the only quarterback taken in Round 1, not a single quarterback was chosen in Round 2. A league that traditionally massively overdrafts quarterbacks, held its collective water and turned its nose up at this quarterback class.

Desmond Ridder was chosen 74th by the Atlanta Falcons, Willis was finally selected at No. 86 by the Tennessee Titans and Matt Corral was taken 94th by the Carolina Panthers. Sam Howell and Carson Strong are still available entering Round 4.

“I’m stunned” was the simple message Schofield sent me Friday night.

Me, too.

What will Day 3 bring?

The Giants have six picks. Here they are:

Round 4 (No. 112) —
Round 4 (No. 114/from Falcons) —
Round 5 (No. 146/from Jets) —
Round 5 (No. 147) —
Round 5 (No. 173) —
Round 6 (No. 182) —

This, obviously, is what Schoen wanted. I think it is going to be fascinating to see how he uses them. Schoen hinted Friday night that he could be moving around the board again on Saturday.

“We could do either or [move up or down]. Again, Draft picks are currency, It allows you to move up, down, whatever you may do, into next year, something happens. It just gives you flexibility throughout the Draft,” Schoen said. “I can’t really predict it right now, but there are still guys on the board that we like.”

A shell-shocked Pflum, who still can’t believe he did not write prospect profiles on any of the players the Giants drafted Friday night, will be along with a full look at best players available for the Giants in Rounds 4-6. Here are a few of my favorite remaining players:

Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota; Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA; Kingsley Enegbare, Edge, South Carolina; Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M; Khalik Shakir, WR, Boise State; Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson; Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State; Jerome Ford, RB, Cincinnati; Jalyn Armour-Davis, CB, Alabama; Pierre Strong Jr., RB, South Dakota State; Chig Okonkwo, TE, Maryland; Matt Araiza, P, San Diego State; Neil Farrell Jr., DL, LSU.