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‘Valentine’s Views’: What will happen at No. 25, and more draft day ‘things I think’

The wait is almost over for the 2023 NFL Draft

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

It’s NFL Draft Day! Why isn’t this, or at least the Friday after it, a national holiday? Anyway, as we wait to find out what the New York Giants will do in Round 1 here are some ‘things I think’ for you to debate.

I don’t think the Giants will pick at No. 25

I can’t tell you if GM Joe Schoen is going to make a rumored move up in Round 1, perhaps for a badly-needed cornerback, or if he is going to move down and pick up assets he can use later in this draft or in the 2024 draft. I can tell you I do not think Schoen will be picking at No. 25.

If Schoen wants a player from the top tier of cornerbacks or wide receivers he is probably going to have to go get that player. If he doesn’t move up, he will likely be picking from a tier of players where moving down a few spots and collecting additional assets would make sense. Especially if Schoen has his eyes on a center. There are secondary groups of cornerbacks, wide receivers, pass rushers and maybe even linebackers or defensive tackles who would still be available if the Giants chose to drop back a bit.

I just don’t believe Schoen is going to sit around and hope something good happens. The 25th pick has been traded in the last six drafts. My gut instinct is that Schoen will make it seven.

Some really smart work

In my definitely not unbiased opinion, we have done some terrific work leading up to the draft. You can see all of it on our New York Giants Draft Hub Page. There are a couple of really smart recent posts I want to point out.

Tony DelGenio took a look at different draft philosophies. Look at Tony’s ‘sensible approach to the draft’ section. THAT is what NFL teams are trying to do. They are trying to marry need with value — both positional and in terms of draft grade — to make the best possible selection.

Nick Falato did a one-round mock draft on Monday. His pick for the Giants was cornerback Emmanuel Forbes. Honestly, though, that is not important. What I thought was important was Nick’s breakdown of the options Joe Schoen could easily have as he explained his rationale for the Forbes pick. It was an excellent way to frame the choices the Giants could be presented with.

While I’m at it, props to Chris Pflum. Some of you take issue with Chris’s work at times, but there are more than 120 incredibly detailed NFL Draft prospect profiles on the site and with the exception of maybe three or four all were written by Chris over the past few months. He has my thanks. He deserves yours, too.

Chase Young vs. Andrew Thomas

Do you remember all of the gnashing of teeth when the Giants played themselves out of the Chase Young draft sweepstakes at the end of the 2019 season, ending up with the consolation prize of Andrew Thomas?

Well, how does that look now? Thomas is one of the NFL’s premier left tackles and the Washington Commanders just declined Young’s fifth-year option after a season in which he played only three games.

Young has played in just 12 games with 1.5 sacks since winning AP Defensive Rookie of the Year after a 7.5-sack 2020 season.

To me, this illustrates a couple of things. First, you have to have patience to judge how a decision works out — the instant, emotional reaction often looks silly when the dust settles. Second, it’s a mistake to fixate on one player and think any draft is a failure if your team doesn’t get that one guy.

Xavier McKinney’s injury

I’m done answering questions about Xavier McKinney and why he couldn’t tape up his broken fingers or wear a club and play after his bye week accident in Cabo last season. If you still don’t understand, watch the ‘Giants Life’ video on the team’s website and see for yourself how awful McKinney’s injury was. The McKinney stuff starts at the seven-minute mark.

McKinney confirms that the ATV he was riding in flipped over and the roll bar landed on his left hand, crushing three fingers. He said he knew as soon as he looked at it that his “hand was messed up pretty bad.” Check out the post-surgery imagery at the 9:44 mark of all of the hardware holding his surgically-repaired fingers together. How was he supposed to play with that mess? McKinney admitted there were still unhealed fractures in his fingers when he did return to play.

So, please, I don’t want to hear any more about how McKinney should have been playing.

I think these are ‘my guys’ in Round 1

Zay Flowers — Gee, bet you didn’t se this choice coming. Of the top four wide receivers, I think Flowers is the guy who fits the Giants best from a route-running, separations, yards after catch, play-making perspective. Plus, he’s the most fun to watch. [Prospect profile]

Deonte Banks — I honestly think the Giants’ preference would be cornerback in Round 1, and I think the 6-foot, 197-pound Banks being available to them would be ideal. He has size, athleticism, adequate length and press man skills needed in Wink Martindale’s defense. His NFL comparison is Adoree’ Jackson, and if he becomes more of a ballhawk his ceiling is higher. Plus, I am a Maryland grad, so how can Banks not be one of my guys?

Brian Branch — I know safety is not considered a high value position, but Branch is not a pure safety. He played 70% or more of his snaps at Alabama in the slot. He is a versatile, instinctive, sure-tackling player who is a perfect chess piece in a modern secondary where players are asked to fulfill multiple responsibilities. I think he is going to have an excellent NFL career. [Prospect profile]

Emmanuel Forbes — The argument always comes back to how skinny Forbes, who was 166 pounds at the combine, is. I think that argument discounts how many smaller receivers are coming into, and succeeding, in the NFL now. I also think Forbes possesses something no one else in the Giants’ secondary does — the ball-hawking instincts and ball skills to take the ball away from the offense at a high rate. You want a game-changer at No. 25? To me, this guy has the potential to be it.