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Mailbag: Offseason possibilities in draft, FA

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Thomas in North Carolina: Please pick tight end Kyle Pitts in the 11th overall slot.

Gil in New York: Would the Giants benefit by drafting tight end Pitts from Florida and keeping Evan Engram running a double-tight end set with Sterling Shepard running slot?

Harold in Pennsylvania: If the Giants draft Pitts could he and Engram be similar to the threat posed by Gronk and Aaron Hernandez?

Jibrin in Alabama: Do you think picking a TE/WR like Pitts at 11th overall can help Daniel Jones from getting sacked multiple times?

Peter in California: Given that the Giants have always made running the ball a very big part of their offense, how is Pitts rated as a blocker. If it's a weakness, is he considered "teachable"?

John Schmeelk: As you can see, we have gotten many questions about Pitts. He's a versatile player who measures 6'6 and 240 pounds, so it would be foolish to dismiss him just because there's another year left Engram's contract. The Giants played "12" personnel (one running back and two tight ends) on 27% of last year's snaps, the eighth-highest percentage in the NFL.

Engram and Pitts are weapons in the passing game and willing blockers. They might not be point-of-attack blockers in the running game, but they can be effective against linebackers and defensive backs. Pitts has shown he can be aggressive and physical engaging defenders at the line of scrimmage, so he could improve in this area.

Either one could play in the slot or move outside against a cornerback. At Florida, Pitts played as an outside receiver 179 times, using his size and frame to make contested and back-shoulder catches. He also displayed the speed to get past linebackers and safeties and gain separation in his routes.

Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowksi probably provided more physicality when they teamed up at tight end for the Patriots, but the impact in the passing game could be similar and give Daniel Jones a versatile group of targets and favorable matchups. The more the team plays two tight ends, however, means the fewer times Shepard would play in the slot. Shepard could play in the slot if one of the tight ends lined up near the sideline, but if they are lined up in-line or in the slot, Shepard would be pushed outside. And don't expect the potential addition of Pitts to impact how often Daniel Jones gets sacked.

Michael in California: Will the Giants select a defensive end in the draft or acquire a free agent to get more pressure on the quarterback? I also feel we need another wide receiver and an offensive tackle.

John Schmeelk: After Lorenzo Carter's injury, the Giants had a constant rotation of different players filling the edge rusher position. Outside pass rushers are extremely difficult to find. Depending on which analyst you trust, there's a chance there might not be a Top 10-worthy edge rusher in the draft. The Giants could take one in a later round or they they could attack the spot in free agency, which is expensive. And they also have to figure out how to handle Williams and Tomlinson in free agency.

Roderick in Georgia: The Giants haven't had a dominating pass rusher since JPP. Now that J.J. Watt is on the market, are the Giants looking to go after him or other dominant pass rushers?

Roman in New Jersey: Any chance the Giants could get J.J. Watt?

John Schmeelk: It is important to note that Watt is a street free agent and can sign before the start of the league year begins in the middle of March.

Watt will turn 32 before the 2021 season starts and has missed 32 games over his last five seasons, though only eight of those absences came in the past three years. He has only made one Pro Bowl and All-Pro team in those five seasons. In 2016, he had 16 sacks, but totaled only 10.5 over the other four – and Leonard Williams had more than that in 2020 alone.

It is also important to consider what Watt is looking for as a free agent. He is probably hoping to join a team that was already close to competing for a championship. The Giants are an improving up-and-coming team, but they are also young and won only six games this past season.

The Giants' strength was their defensive line, and they have to tend to key free agents Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson. Both players are durable and substantially younger than Watt, and the team knows how they fit into Patrick Graham's system. Retaining them is far more likely than bringing in Watt.

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