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Mailbag: Giants' options in 2020 NFL Draft

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Alec in Florida: Should the Giants pursue Isaiah Simmons or Chase Young with the #4 overall pick?

John Schmeelk: It is hard to believe that that both Simmons and Young will be available when the Giants select fourth overall. It would require two quarterbacks to be selected ahead of the Giants' pick, and then either a third quarterback, Derrick Brown, Jeffrey Okudah or an offensive tackle. The chance of this happening is slim but not impossible and would probably require the Lions preferring Okudah or Brown to Young . If it does happen, despite Simmons' versatility and skillset, it would be very difficult to pass on an edge rusher given the Giants need at the position and the scarcity at that position in the draft.

David in New Jersey: How much influence will Joe Judge have on this draft?

John Schmeelk: Dave Gettleman often talks about collaboration and communication. The draft, much like free agency, is a collaborative process and Joe Judge and his coaches will have a say. Talking to former NFL executives and scouts now working in the media, they have called this is a "scout's draft". With the visits to the team facilities and nearly all the pro days being cancelled, the coaches don't have nearly as much exposure to these players face to face. Their face to face contact will be limited to what happened at the Combine and Senior Bowl. Video meetings will help the coaches get a feel for the players, but it won't be the same. There's a chance the initial evaluation of the scouts will have a larger impact on the draft because of our new reality of physical distancing.

Frank in New Jersey: If the object of the exercise is to pick the best player available, how do you address your most important needs?

John Schmeelk: The two do not have to be mutually exclusive and they do overlap. At fourth overall, for example, the Giants will have the chance to draft an impactful defensive player at cornerback, edge rusher or linebacker, all positions of need. They can also draft an offensive tackle, another need. So need is part of the equation, and can often act as a tie-breaker if two players have near identical grades. In the Giants' case, they might get the best player available who also fills a need. It is important to note that it isn't only about filling a need for 2020. It can be difficult to predict where a team will have a need a couple years in the future. If you draft an excellent player, they will on the field to help the team win games.

NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah updated his ranking of the top 50 prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Pastor Carmine in Nevada: As a life-long Giants fan from 1958 till now, I say stay and draft the best pass rusher available. I cannot stand these experts' opinions. They do not have a looking glass and know nothing just like the rest of us.

John Schmeelk: You are right that fans often put too much stock in what draft analysts say heading into the draft. While they often do as good of a job as they can analyzing these prospects given the information and resources at their disposal, they do not know as much as the teams do. While everyone watches the same game tape, the teams have access to medical records, background information, and a chance to interact with these players face to face. Be careful committing to selecting a specific position when you come to pick because there's a chance you might only get an average pass rusher when there is a great player at a different spot available. Need matters, but getting the vastly superior player is more important. While pass rusher is a need, the Giants can improve in a lot of other areas, too. When a team picks fourth, it should get a difference-making player. If Chase Young is not available at four, the odds the Giants see another edge rusher in this class as a truly blue-chip prospect is low and they could be better off drafting a better player somewhere else.

Michael in South Carolina: If the Giants do trade back a couple of spots and take Simmons (if available), would it make a lot of sense to package the extra picks they got from trading back, along with their own 2nd round pick, and try to trade back into the 1st round to get one of the four top offensive tackles?

John Schmeelk: The Giants getting a top offensive tackle in the draft would be great, but the team would have to get back into the top 15, maybe top 12, to get one of the top four offensive tackles. The cost would be prohibitive and would liquidate the Giants mid-round picks, even with the additional picks from a trade down. The Giants have a lot of work to do on the roster and need those mid-round picks to continue to build out the young foundation of the franchise.

Chris in New Jersey: This has been billed as a quality offensive tackle draft class, but it seems guys like Jedrick Wills and Tristan Wirfs played primarily on the right side. Is there speculation on whether they can play the left tackle spot as well?

John Schmeelk: Wirfs played left tackle at different points late in the season due to an injury to the starter, and he performed well. Wills only played the right side, which was Tau Tagovailoa's blind side, but like Wirfs, his athleticism and build seem suited for a move to the left side. Also, the difference between the right and left tackle spots in the NFL is diminishing. Many teams line up their best pass rusher across from the right tackle, such as DeMarcus Lawrence, Brandon Graham, Ryan Kerrigan, Von Miller, T.J. Watt and Khalil Mack. Teams need good pass protectors on both ends of the offensive line.

Michael in Pennsylvania: Why would the Giants consider an offensive lineman over a defensive player like Simmons? Defense wins Super Bowls. Why not get a lineman in the later rounds?

John Schmeelk: It is unwise to suggest it is easy to find offensive linemen in the later rounds. There is a scarcity of top tackles in the college ranks and they rarely become available in NFL free agency. The nature of college offenses, with the focus on the quick passing game and schemes that don't require two-way tackles, has led to a dearth at the position. It is one of the, if not the most, difficult positions to fill in the NFL. Daniel Jones is the Giants' franchise quarterback, and it is important to give him the best opportunity possible to succeed by putting good players in front of him. Developing Jones and understanding exactly what kind of quarterback he is will be essential to the team's long term future. It starts by keeping him upright with good protection on the edges. With Nate Solder over 30 and only two years left on his contract, and Nick Gates and Cam Fleming likely competing for the starting right tackle spot, the position has an uncertain future and the team will have to address it at some point.

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