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Fact or Fiction: Giants Draft needs and predictions

Posted Feb 9, 2018

The Giants.com staff debates the team's draft needs and predictions for 2nd overall pick:




There are no offensive or defensive positions out of play for the Giants with the No. 2 pick.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - I realize this sounds crazy, but for the first time in a long time but this is honestly true, except for two positions: tight end and receiver. Looking at basic positions, fans should look at it this way. Dave Gettleman has always prioritized winning up front, so should it surprise anyone if the Giants took an offensive or defensive lineman? Absolutely not. Guys like Quenton Nelson and Bradley Chubb are realistic options to consider. Saquon Barkley is a running back many believe could be in the top five. Linebackers Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds have the type of speed James Bettcher loves at inside linebacker and could be top ten worthy. Minkah Fitzpatrick is a defensive back that could play cornerback or safety and many think he could be a top five pick. The Giants already have top tier talent at wide receiver and tight end, and it is unlikely there will be any players at those positions worthy of the second pick in the draft. Everything else though? Up for grabs.

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction - Given the fact that there has never been a tight end drafted second overall in the modern era – and the Giants just took one in the first round last year -- I think it’s safe to rule that out. Everything else, though, is on the board. Thirteen-loss teams are in no position to turn down any position. On top of that, general manager Dave Gettleman’s plan is to use free agency to set up the draft, so he’s not shopping hungry in late April.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction - At this point in time, given we don’t know what’s going to happen in free agency, I’d argue every offensive and defensive position is in play, for the Giants, at number two.  However, regardless of what happens in free agency, I don’t see how New York would take a tight end.  The Giants selected Evan Engram with their first round pick in last year’s draft and also signed Rhett Ellison, last offseason, to a multi-year contract plus he played under Pat Shurmur in Minnesota, in 2016.  Barring any offseason injuries, it would be hard to argue the tight end positon would come into play, at number two, when you take into consideration need and value.


Aside from quarterback, pass rushers give the biggest returns on a high draft pick.


JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - The other position you could put in this mix is left tackle. In a league run by great quarterbacks and dynamic passing attacks, the best antidote is a pass rusher. Even though great defensive plays in the Super Bowl were few and far between, it was Brandon Graham that made the difference-making play when he sacked and stripped Tom Brady late in the fourth quarter. I’ll take the pass rusher.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact - It’s remarkable what rookies can do right away these days, regardless of position and draft number. But in terms of high draft picks, you see more boom than bust with pass rushers. Most recently, look at Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, Myles Garrett, Leonard Williams, and the list goes on.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction - If you look at the history of the NFL Draft, the results are really all over the place but I’d put the skill positions like wide receiver and running back ahead of pass rushers when it comes to biggest returns on a high draft pick.  While a pass rusher is dependent on the rest of the line’s performance, with a wide receiver, you can still flourish even if the offense as a whole isn’t lighting up the scoreboard.  Case in point, the Bucs took wideout Mike Evans with their first round pick in 2014 and, despite the fact that Tampa Bay ranked 29th in the NFL in scoring offense that season, he collected over 1,000 receiving yards, as a rookie.  In comparison, in that same draft, the Texans selected Jadeveon Clowney with the first overall pick and the Raiders grabbed Mack at number five.  Although Clowney was limited to just four games due to injury, his numbers were modest and the same can be said for Mack, who wound up playing all 16 games. 


Safety is the most important position in James Bettcher’s defense.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - This is an interesting question because there are a lot of different possible answers. Bettcher likes versatile players like safeties that can play corners, safeties that can drop down to linebacker, and pass rushers that can stand up or put their hand in the ground. Safeties are the most versatile of those positions since they can cover like corners or tackle like linebackers depending on the player. Having those safeties that can do multiple things is certainly important. Fast linebackers, cornerbacks than can cover man on man and of course, pass rushers, is also key. It’s hard to say what position is most important, but I think choosing the most versatile one makes sense in this case.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact - If there’s one thing I’ve learned covering sports, it’s to listen to the people who know what they’re really talking about. Bruce Arians is one of those people. Bettcher’s former head coach in Arizona was on “Big Blue Kickoff Live” this week and spoke on this very topic. He said the key to his defense is a multiple position safety that offenses don’t know if he’s playing man, zone, middle of the field, or blitzing. It’s a good thing Bettcher now has Landon Collins.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction - In James Bettcher’s defense, the hybrid linebacker/safety is the most important position.  Since he’ll utilize a variety of different formations, having versatile players on the field that can fill multiple spots is extremely important.  When you look at his time in Arizona, players such as Deone Bucannon, Haason Reddick and Budda Baker are the ones that come to mind given their versatility and tendency to be moved around.  Those are the types of players that are extremely valuable in Bettcher’s scheme.


Left tackle is the most important non-quarterback position in Pat Shurmur’s offense.


JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - This is hard to say but left tackle is as important a position as any. Every offense, whether Pat Shurmur’s or someone else’s, needs a good left tackle to protect the quarterback and make room in the run game. A top wide receiver is important too but the Giants already have that. Franchise left tackles are hard to find but are as much of a premium as ever and it is no different for Pat Shurmur. Winning teams need to run the ball and protect their quarterback, and that starts at left tackle.

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction - I say center, and not just because that’s where Shurmur started for three seasons and was a co-captain at Michigan State. The correct answer here is the entire offensive line, but the center is exactly that. He’s the center of communication for the line and makes calls to keep everything as clean as possible for the QB behind him. The center is glue that keeps it all together. Pat Elflein, a rookie who acted and played like a vet, was a big reason for Shurmur’s success in Minnesota this past season.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact -  The left tackle position is important regardless of whose offense you’re running.  It makes no difference.  I have yet to see an offense run smoothly without a reliable option at left tackle.  Last offseason, the Vikings signed Riley Reiff, from Detroit, in free agency, and that was a big factor in helping Minnesota’s offense dramatically improve.  Prior to the Vikings, when Shurmur was in Philadelphia, he leaned on Pro Bowler Jason Peters.  After the quarterback, the offensive line is key.  You can make an argument it’s even more important than the former.