Adam in Connecticut: Of the college players who opted out this past season, which position is the easiest to project to the pros after not playing in a game in a year-and-a-half?
John Schmeelk: It likely depends more on the player than the position. If a player is self-motivating and continues to work hard outside of a team structure he should be able to handle a layoff extremely well.
In terms of position, there would be more worry about players at spots where there is a steeper learning curve heading into the NFL. Cornerbacks often struggle in their first NFL season, so a college cornerback missing out on a year of valuable experience could be a concern. Linebacker is another position where the more they see, the quicker they can diagnose and play fast. Quarterback would be the ultimate example of how players can show great growth from year to year as they gain more experience, and coaches are able to expand the offense around their skills and mental growth.
Chris in New York: Do you think that Christian Barmore (DT, Alabama) would be a perfect fit for the Giants' defense?
John Schmeelk: First of all, the Giants finished 12th in the league with forty sacks, and according to Pro Football Focus they had the 17th-best pressure rate in the NFL (31.4%). It was nowhere near poor. As for Barmore, he plays defensive tackle and would be used in the same role Leonard Williams had last year. If Williams returns, Barmore would be a bit of a duplication of his skill set. Targeting a player to rush off the edge would make more sense.
Larry in North Carolina: Regarding free agency, do states with no state tax have an advantage over the Giants? It seems to me that large contracts worth millions of dollars could be decided by a large tax difference.
John Schmeelk: Former players who are in broadcasting talk about this sometimes, and it can be a factor for some. If there's a tie-breaker between two locations, and one is a non-income tax state like Texas or Florida, this may be something that influences a player. But much like the cold weather in the north, the Giants have no control over this issue, so they can't worry about it. All the Giants can do is offer a player what they think he is worth and see if he accepts it.
Angel in California: The Giants should look into former UCF kicker Donald De La Haye, who has posted videos online. He deserves a chance to at least try out for the team as a back up.
John Schmeelk: Graham Gano set a franchise record for consecutive field goals last year and the team recently signed him to a contract extension. He was one of the best kickers in the league, so I don't think the Giants will be looking for a new kicker. Teams usually do not carry back-up field goal kickers, except in the off-season.