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Mailbag: Draft decisions coming down to the wire


Michael in South Carolina: There's always a risk when trading back as you could miss out on a player of interest. However; if there are a few teams interesting in trading up to the Giants #4 spot, how realistically is it that the Giants would consider making that move?

John Schmeelk: Dave Gettleman talked about this exact thing when he met with reporters at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis at the end of February. When he was asked about potentially trading down out of the 4th overall pick, he answered that the team was "open for business."

To your point, he also said that when a team trades down they can "trade yourself out of a good player." This part of the equation would impact how far the team would be willing to trade down. Gettleman will have to calculate how far down he is willing to go down based on the number of truly premium players he thinks are available in the class.

When you view the top of this class, most analysts have a quartet of defensive players in the top tier: edge rusher Chase Young, linebacker Isaiah Simmons, cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, and defensive tackle Derrick Brown. There is also a quartet of offensive tackles: Jedrick Wills Jr., Andrew Thomas, Mekhi Becton, and Tristan Wirfs many analysts think highly of. The odds any team thinks of those four offensive linemen all as equivalent players are small.

There is no way to know how the Giants have these players ranked on their board, but if those eight players plus Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow are selected as the first ten picks of the of the draft (which is unlikely), the Giants can safely trade back within the top ten and get one of them. The odds a wide receiver or a different player doesn't slip into the top ten is slim.

The essential question Dave Gettleman will have to answer is whether there is a specific player or multiple players in that group that he views as significantly better than the others. If he concludes that one of the offensive tackles, Simmons or Okudah are so special that he can't afford to lose the chance to draft them, trading out of the fourth overall pick becomes less likely. This is the calculation Dave Gettleman will have to make when he picks up the phone on draft night.

It is also important to remember that there has to be a trade partner to make a trade like this work for both teams. There has to be a player another team desires so much that they are willing to pay a premium to get them. Will that be the case on draft night? Will Tagovailoa still be on the board? These are questions we don't have the answers to.

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

John in Waterbury, Connecticut: I firmly believe that the Giants should go for an edge pass rusher, in the first round, because their defense didn't have too many Quarterback sacks in 2019. If Isaiah Simmons is available at Number 4, if I were the Giants, I would take him, because he would add a spark to their defense. I am sure that there will be plenty of offensive tackles in the draft, even if the Giants draft someone from a small college. Isaiah Simmons could be the second coming of Lawrence Taylor.

John Schmeelk: I've gotten a lot of questions from Giants fans on twitter about this too, and I can't figure out where the idea that Isaiah Simmons is going to be a full time edge rusher in the NFL came from. He is not a full time edge rusher. In his final year at Clemson, according to Pro Football Focus, he was on the field for 464 pass snaps. He rushed the passer on only 73 of those snaps. Let that sink in. He rushed the passer on only 16% of the passing snaps he was on the field for. Until the National Championship game against LSU, he never rushed the passer more than 7 times in a single game all season.

There's more. Most of the pass rushes came as a blitzer. According to PFF, he only lined up at outside linebacker on the left or right side of the line on 241 of 823 snaps in 2019. He was only in that position 29% of the time. At 6'4 and only 238 pounds, he does not have the traditional size necessary to line up as an edge rusher every down.

Simmons can be used as a frequent blitzer on passing downs. The beauty of his versatility is that he can be sent after the passer from safety, the nickel cornerback spot, or as an inside or outside linebacker. Lining him up as an edge rusher in the same spot every time and sending him after the quarterback would actually limit his effectiveness as a pass rusher.

It would also take him away from his greatest strength: playing in space. Simmons is an excellent coverage player and as a run and hit tackler. A defense should be trying to keep offensive linemen off of him to let him use his speed in the open field, not lining him up over offensive linemen to expose him to bigger players.

View photos of the Giants' active roster as it currently stands.

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