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Breer: Giants targeting WR, pass rusher in Round 1

Breer indicates that Joe Schoen is a positional value believer, and I agree

NFL Combine
Bryan Bresee
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, one of the NFL’s best-connected insiders, offered an interesting observation Wednesday in response to a mailbag question regarding what the New York Giants might do with the 25th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Breer said:

“It’s been documented that they’ve looked at the receiver group. GM Joe Schoen and coach Brian Daboll had dinner with Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba and TCU’s Quentin Johnston the night before their respective pro days. That doesn’t mean they’re going to take one or the other at 25 (they may not be on the board then). But that the GM and head coach are allotting their time to them is meaningful. As is the fact that USC’s Jordan Addison is in Jersey today for a 30 visit, after having dinner with the team last month.

The other area where it sure seems they’re turning over rocks is with pass rushers, with Clemson’s Bryan Bresee and Iowa State’s Will McDonald IV among the first-round edge guys that are taking or have taken visits to East Rutherford.

So what ties those positions together? To me, it’s that those are premium spots, and investment in those areas mirrors the building process that Schoen and Daboll were a part of in Buffalo, where big money is sunk into the guys that play big-money positions. Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, Dion Dawkins, Von Miller and Tre’Davious White were prime examples of it with the Bills, and, given Buffalo’s success, it makes sense that the new Giants brass would follow a blueprint that worked like a charm a few hours west.

Valentine’s View

I get asked occasionally about positional value and what it means in relation to the Giants’ draft. I think Breer’s observation is yet another indication that Schoen is a believer in positional value, with positions on both offense and defense that directly impact the passing game at the top of his list.

If you look at Schoen’s first draft as Giants’ general manager, six of his first seven selections (Kayvon Thibodeaux, Evan Neal, Wan’Dale Robinson, Cor’Dale Flott, Daniel Bellinger, Dane Belton) were players who directly impact the passing game. I include Neal because of the importance of pass protection from the tackle spot. Only guard Joshua Ezeudu broke that pattern, and in a way you could argue that interior pass protection is just as important as edge pass protection, so perhaps it is actually 7 of 7.

I would be a bit surprised if the pick is an edge defender like McDonald with Thibodeaux and Ojulari already in place. I would not be surprised at all if the pick is someone like Bresee, who can fill Schoen’s desire to supplement the defensive line and potentially be a pass-rushing force.