Let’s take a quick timeout from the 2023 NFL Draft and open the Big Blue View Mailbag. There are, of course, some draft-related questions in here, but there are other New York Giants topics touched on, as well.
Drew asks: I’m very happy with #1. However I have to ask whether Schoen & Co. wasted the capital to move up one. Everyone was happy that he (Joe Schoen) waited last year for tackle because the math said there would be a great one still on the board.
Isn’t that the same this year?
It looked like there were still 2-3 top caliber corners available no matter what happened at 24. Yes you love that player you want. But don’t you think those two picks have more value as Day Two trade ups? Center/Receiver/RB.
Ed says: Drew, I am honestly finding it hard to believe how many Giants fans are not happy with Joe Schoen after his move up the board on Thursday night. Do you not remember the disastrous result of sitting tight and ending up with Eli Apple after getting bypassed for BOTH Leonard Floyd and Jack Conklin? The sting of getting jumped for DeVonta Smith, and the resulting nightmare of trading down for Kadarius Toney?
I have zero issue with Schoen moving up a single spot for Deonte Banks. In fact, I love it. Nothing about the 2023 draft, where the Giants were picking 25th, is or was the same as the 2022 draft, where the Giants had two picks in the top 10.
This time, the Giants had to watch the talent pool thin out significantly before they had an opportunity to select. You can say there were multiple top caliber cornerbacks available, but is that really true? No other cornerback came off the board in Round 1 after the Giants picked Banks.
It is clear that the Giants coveted Banks more than any other cornerback, more than any other player, left on the board after the top four wide receivers were selected by other teams. After months of study, research and planning they felt strongly there were other teams willing to jump them for the player they desired. I would think that after the experiences of the past few years Giants fans would be glad their general manager was bold enough to prevent that from happening.
Sure it would be nice to still have more assets to move around on Day 2. Isn’t it, though, still most important to get your first-round pick correct? Isn’t that where you have the biggest opportunity to add a player to your roster who can be a difference-maker? I don’t get the angst over giving up the 160th and 240th picks because, well, maybe you could have used those to move up somewhere on Day 2 or Day 3.
Joseph Mariani asks: Have any of the players commented on how they like the new playing surface? The field may become our 2023 MVP.
Ed says: Well, no. Joseph, they haven’t had a practice yet or been on the field. They have the same new turf on their indoor practice facility, so maybe we will get some insight once OTAs start. Now? No.
James Williams asks: I thought there’d be a Leo restructure by now for 2023 cap relief, or at least talk about it. But since Schoen didn’t draft him, didn’t trade for him and didn’t re-sign him, that makes me wonder ... Do you think Schoen is actually considering having him play on his huge 2023 salary, thus giving the team an option of moving on from him in 2024? If you were GM, would you consider it?
Ed says: James, I do think that if he can pull it off Schoen would like to just let Leonard Williams play the year on his current contract. Why? Because he is thinking about the long term and not making decisions based on being all-in to try and win a Super Bowl in 2024. Of course he wants it to be as good as it can be, but the Giants are still in long-term, but for the future mode.
Williams has played a heavy number of snaps over an eight-year career and is approaching 30. He broke down last year, suffering a serious neck injury and missing games for the first time in his career. To lower Williams’ cap hit the Giants would have to offer him an extension that would mean they would be tied to him financially for three or four more years. Why do that if you are worried about his neck, about whether or not he is beginning to break down, and about whether he may now be on the back side of his career and beginning to decline?
Sure, getting some cap relief from his deal helps you in 2023. You might regret in 2024, 2025 and 2026, though.
Jeff Marx asks: Part of Chris’s draft evaluation on Banks reads if a team is looking for a ballhawk they had better look elsewhere and that he would need to work on his hand technique to avoid penalties at the next level. My question is would improving on hand issues kill 2 birds with one stone? Would it clean up potential penalties at the next level while also improving on his turnover rate?
Ed says: Jeff, I honestly think Chris was nitpicking Banks’ game a little bit. That’s OK, it is part of what he is supposed to do.
Banks is a 22-year-old kid with all the physical tools needed to be a very good NFL cornerback. Is he going to be Adoree’ Jackson, or might he be better? The thing that determines that will be his on-ball production. As Brian Daboll mentioned Thursday, Banks gets his hands on a lot of passes. He just hasn’t come away with as many as you would like. Is that an issue with his hands? Is that an issue that experience and some technical improvements will fix by allowing him to be in better position to actually catch the ball? I really don’t know, but I do believe the potential is there for him to develop into a player who can take the ball away.
Mike Rosenberger asks: You said on one of the recent pods that most teams have a board to 150 players, plus or minus. Well, how then do they assess players available once they are in the 6th and 7th rounds, when most (and potentially all) of the guys on the board are gone?
Ed says: Mike, everyone I have ever spoken to who has been part of an NFL front office or scouting staff has told me that is how it works. Maybe’s 150 players. Maybe it is 175. Maybe it varies a bit from year to year. Reality is that while you may see 400+ players written about in a draft guide like the one Dane Brugler of The Athletic produces, teams have spent months narrowing the list of draft eligible players down to the 150-200 they think would fit with their team.
Now, that doesn’t mean those are the “best” 150 players on someone’s vertical draft board. It’s not Daniel Jeremiah’s list of the top 150 draft prospects. It is the 150 or so players at. all levels of the draft that a team would most like to work with. The Giants picked No. 25. It is entirely possible their draft board of prospects they were likely to choose from didn’t even list the players who went in the top 10.
They will identify players at each level of the draft they expect to be available — first-rounders to seventh-rounders, and undrafted free agents they would like to target. There are always contingencies in the event unforeseen things happen. Maybe if all the players a team wants are gone they turn to their list of players with medical or character flags, or they reach into their list of players they wanted to target as UDFAs.
Edwin Gommers asks: Long after the 2018 draft, media and fans were still debating the Darnold vs Barkley issue (pick should have probably been Nelson). Long after the 2019 draft, media and fans were still talking about Jones vs Allen. It seems long after this draft people will still be talking about Banks vs. Addison/Flowers. I do think the assessment of this question will long be influenced by the team these people are drafted into and it reminds of the JuJu pick. JuJu looked like a superstar opposite AB and I think back then they still also had Lev Bell. He was able to take advantage from a lot of 1 on 1 coverage. After AB left he has looked an OK/average WR but nothing really special. Addison is going to hugely benefit from playing opposite Justin Jefferson and Flowers will likely benefit from playing opposite OBJ who’s still a legitimate force when healthy. So I don’t think we will get an objective assessment of the WRs drafted ahead of Banks for a while. What do you think?
Ed says: Edwin, I don’t see this whole ‘Banks vs. Flowers/Addison’ thing you are talking about. The Sam Darnold-Saquon Barkley or quarterback/running back debate came about because both were available to the Giants when they picked.
Zay Flowers, Jordan Addison, Quentin Johnston and Jaxon Smith-Njigba were not available to the Giants, so what debate are you trying to stir up? Now, could the Giants have traded up for one of those guys? That’s a different question that what you’re asking. They could have, sure, but it would have cost them a lot more to do that, and they obviously did not feel strongly enough about any of those players to pay the necessary price.
Steven Henig asks: I saw the information that you referenced from Adam Schefter’s analysis of Hurts’ 2023-2026 cap hits. Those four years total $74 million. How is the remaining $181million handled? Is it $181 million in year 5? Or $90 million over the next 2 years?
Ed says: Steven, I think the best thing I can do is post the chart from Over The Cap showing how Jalen Hurts’ contract is structured. You can see the numbers for yourself. I have to give credit where it is due, because this is a brilliantly constructed deal by Howie Roseman.