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We have learned a lot about Giants GM Joe Schoen, but that won’t help us predict the Giants’ draft

Schoen needs solid draft to keep Giants moving forward

NFL: Combine
Joe Schoen
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Hired on Jan. 21, 2022, Joe Schoen has now been general manager of the New York Giants for 454 days.

Schoen has conducted one Giants draft, two free agency periods, hired a head coach, revamped the front office, gone a long way toward cleaning up a salary cap mess he inherited, and worked through a steady stream of small roster moves that helped the Giants go 9-7-1 and make a surprise 2022 playoff appearance.

What have we learned about the 43-year-old Schoen in those 454 days?

  • We have learned that Schoen is still a scout at heart, as he has spent both draft cycles criss-crossing the country and seeing far more prospects in person than his two Giants predecessors did.
  • We have learned that Schoen is not afraid to manipulate the draft board, or, in the case of Darren Waller, use draft assets to go get a veteran player he believes can help.
  • We have learned that Schoen and the Giants may assemble a draft board that defies consensus, or conventional wisdom.
  • We have learned that Schoen is a pretty straight shooter as GMs go. Witness this answer a year ago when Schoen was asked why the Giants selected Evan Neal at No. 7. “Because Ickey (Ekwonu) was gone at six” was the reply. It’s not often a GM will flat out admit that he had real interest in a player other than the one he selected.
  • We have learned that Schoen is willing to adapt. He admitted this offseason (another surprisingly straight answer) that he did not expect when he was hired to be handing Daniel Jones a long-term deal. He has not acted this offseason like a GM of a rebuilding team, which he might have expected. He is acting more like the GM of a good team that needs to be better.

We know all of those things. We don’t have any real idea what Schoen will do in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Schoen will likely do his best not to give media any hints into those plans when he holds his pre-draft press conference on Thursday.

One voice who is well-connected to all of the league’s scouting departments knows that Schoen will certainly have a plan mapped out.

“Joe Schoen and his group, they’ve got a good group up there on the scouting side, and they’ll be all over this thing,” Jim Nagy, Senior Bowl executive director, said on a recent ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast.

In NFL GM power rankings posted recently by’s Gregg Rosenthal, Schoen was placed in the “Too New” category and not actually given a ranking. Rosenthal wrote:

Schoen set low expectations after taking over a talent-poor roster last offseason ... then spent this offseason giving big money to Dave Gettleman’s handpicked quarterback and slapping the tag on Saquon Barkley, with Dexter Lawrence potentially in line for a mega extension of his own. The team’s improvement in 2022 was mostly because of Daboll’s coaching, rather than a talent infusion, but Kayvon Thibodeaux looks like a big draft win and March’s trade for Darren Waller was a smart risk-reward gambit.

Schoen said at his introductory press conference that he wasn’t “a big tear it up, rebuild” type of person and that he wanted to “compete today and still build for tomorrow.”

The Giants, obviously, did the “compete today” part better than just about everyone thought they might in 2022.

Schoen acknowledged at the end of the season that there was a “talent gap” between the Giants and teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs.

Some big moves — trading for Darren Waller, signing Bobby Okereke, adding Parris Campbell, the long-term deal for Jones — have already been made.

Schoen indicated at the end of the offseason he really felt the Giants were now in “build” mode rather than survival mode, which is where they were in his first offseason.

“I don’t want to say this starts the build, because we made some moves last year and through the draft and some waiver wire claims that are still going to be here,” he said. “But this is finally where we have flexibility and draft capital, second draft class. And we can really start building this thing knowing that we have Daniel in place.”

The jury is still out on Schoen’s first draft class, partially because of injury and partially because a year just isn’t enough time to judge an entire class. No. 7 overall pick Evan Neal certainly has to play better to justify that lofty selection. Day 2 picks Wan’Dale Robinson and Cor’Dale Flott need to take steps forward.

Schoen should be in a more comfortable place entering this draft, having a year under his belt working with his front office and scouting staffs.

A successful 2023 draft is going to be critical to help the Giants continue their upward trajectory. Let’s see what hints we can get from Schoen on Thursday.