There are more unanswered questions during NFL Draft season than any other time in the calendar year.
We did our best to provide clarity on the Giants, their draft targets and their direction in this week’s mailbag, which is chock full of questions from Twitter and Instagram coming off the publication of the Daily News’ first 2021 mock draft:
Should Giants trade up if one of the big OTs start to fall? — @johnquinn83
Oregon’s Penei Sewell is the only offensive tackle I can see the Giants doing this for. But they’d have competition. In theory, the Giants are more likely to trade back than to trade up. They’d prefer to have more than their six picks in this draft, including none in the fourth or seventh rounds. NFL teams also might be more prone to trade back this year in exchange for more 2022 draft choices because next year’s scouting process will be much closer to normal than this year’s unprecedented uncertainty. The best argument against a trade is that this year’s Top 10 quarterback frenzy promises to bump a slew of talented players down into the Giants’ laps: so they should be able to fill a need with a premium player no matter what at OL, LB, WR or CB. If a Top 3 talent like Sewell plummets, though, never say never.
How much attention should the Giants pay to their O-line, or are you comfortable with what they did last offseason? — Jason_Strudwick
I was banging this drum before Kevin Zeitler’s release: the Giants’ offensive line is still being rebuilt. It is not close to a finished product. They need their young players to develop and improve, but they also need more talent. The draft is where they’ll find it. Maybe not at No. 11 overall in the first round, but I’d be surprised if the Giants didn’t target at least one starting caliber lineman in this draft.
Do you think the OL will be prioritized to help Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones after the FA signings? — @andyg511
Answering this one, too, because I want to clarify how you phrased that: improving the O-line is about helping Jones. Everything this offseason is about helping Jones. The Giants ran the ball fairly well at times last season with Wayne Gallman in the backfield.
In your write up on the Giants taking Smith, you wrote that taking him would help put fans in the seats. Do you really think that after a year of no fans that a 170 lb receiver is the reason fans will be drawn? They’ll be there no matter what. Take the BPA (Micah Parsons) — @rstern33
Let’s keep it real here: A lot of the seats were empty at MetLife Stadium before the pandemic because of all the losing. Then there were no fans last season because of COVID-19. John Mara and the Giants unexpectedly broke the bank in free agency this spring in part to try to bring fans back. This isn’t an issue exclusive to the Giants: every NFL franchise is wary of losing big-money PSL ticket-holders with the world more comfortable now going ‘virtual’ and a sport made for TV. Facing the choice between Parsons and Smith at that spot, it’s certainly possible the Giants take the Penn State linebacker. They are both players the Giants like. How the board falls in front of them will play a role, as well. They might not have to make that choice. I’ll be doing more mock drafts to play out the scenarios. But don’t tell me a wide receiver can’t put fans in the seats. Odell Beckham Jr. already did that here. Living proof.
Seems to me like Giants are going to every big-name EDGE/WR prospects’ pro day. Would it surprise you if we took one in the first round? If we did, who would we take and which IOL could we target in the second round? — @dylansingerr
Joe Judge’s attendance at the pro days of Penn State (Micah Parsons) and Miami (Jaelen Phillips, Greg Rousseau) was instructive of the level of homework the Giants are doing on pass rushers/linebackers. Parsons is a first-round prospect. It’s possible one of those Miami pass rushers could fall to the Giants’ second round pick if they select a different position in the first. I can’t rank the Giants’ preferred interior O-linemen for you yet, but both Alabama and Notre Dame have three linemen apiece who should be picked in the first through fourth rounds, Landon Dickerson and Liam Eichenberg the best from each school, respectively. Georgia’s Ben Cleveland is an intriguing mid-rounder, too. Giants O-line coach Rob Sale worked out ND’s linemen at their pro day, including Aaron Banks and Robert Hainsey, as well.
Can Micah Parson’s character concerns or Jaylon Waddle’s medical be a red flag for the Giants if they both land in their lap at 11, as Giants are usually wary of such. — @tw8sid
The Giants will need to vet Parsons’ off-field history completely to draft him. The allegations of his bullying behavior are troubling to say the least. I don’t think it would stop them from drafting him, though. They just gave Kenny Golladay $40 million guaranteed even though they dug deep into his background and took three days to interview him as the right fit. I think they’ll approach draft red flags the same way: find out everything but still give the guy a chance. As for Waddle, Judge will know as much about all these Alabama players’ health as anyone. There are players whose injury histories are still murky for teams in this offseason without an NFL Combine. But I wouldn’t think the Giants would have a problem getting information on Nick Saban’s players.
How do you think Kenny Golladay is going to fit with the Giants? — @max_rosa02
Big body who makes contested catches downfield, commands attention from top corners, and provides an imposing red zone threat. All things the Giants have lacked.
What do the Giants think about DeVonta Smith vs. Rashawn Slater? — @tonigiants
I don’t know this definitively, but my guess is that it would matter to the Giants that Smith played football in 2020 while Slater opted out. The team doesn’t care if a player made a choice to opt out. That’s not what I mean. What I mean is that there is tape of Smith playing Heisman Trophy-winning football a few months ago, while Slater hasn’t played a football game since 2019. This is only one variable in these evaluations, but when the Giants are trying to draft an NFL-ready player, I think this is a factor. That said, Parsons opted out in 2020, too, and they’re obviously considering him. So again, just one variable. And it probably varies between being a tiebreaker and a non-issue depending on who the players are.
You think the Giants try to target a veteran outside pass rusher like Ryan Kerrigan, Justin Houston, Aldon Smith etc or are they onto the draft at this point? — @GiantsVidal1027
Onto the draft. But remember how they signed Logan Ryan in late August last year, landing a veteran at a bargain price deep into the offseason? Don’t discount that at any position of need this year, either. Even after the draft, that doesn’t mean the Giants are done. And you’re right: the edge and the pass rush are a major area of need.
If DeVonta Smith is there at 11 you have to take him… right? even though we need an edge rusher…. — @danob79
I think so. Smith might not be there, obviously. The Detroit Lions are a bit of a wild card at No. 7. They can go in a lot of different directions. The Cincinnati Bengals’ pick at No. 5 is tricky, too. Will they take Sewell or a wide receiver like Ja’Marr Chase? These decisions all will impact who is available at No. 11. My guess is the Giants probably don’t expect Smith to be available there. If he is, though, I agree with you: what an opportunity to finally start scoring points on offense.
Do the Giants have any interest in FA Guard Trai Turner? Could be a low cost, very high upside signing. — @Bigbluefan17
I don’t think so. Zach Fulton’s low-cost signing at guard was more of their market, with the draft coming up to spend at least one pick on a young player to develop, as well.
What’s their plan for the draft? — @becketthakimi8
Land a player at No. 11 who can contribute immediately. Address the offensive line, pass rush and corner, add at least one more playmaker, add depth at running back (late or with an undrafted guy). One interesting unanswered question: would Giants draft a mid-late round QB? Don’t know. Everything they’ve done so far has been to clear the way for Jones to start 16 games and succeed. We’ll see if someone that they like falls, though. The Giants are looking for young players at every position to draft and develop. QB is no different.