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Mailbag: Draft options for interior O-line, EDGE


Gary in New Jersey: If the top two tackles are off the board, why wouldn't Giants consider taking Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum and Texas A&M guard Kenyon Green at Nos. 5 and 7? This would solidify the interior line for years to come.

John Schmeelk: Interior offensive linemen generally do not picked in the Top 10 of drafts. In the last 25 NFL drafts, there have been no centers and only four straight guards (Brandon Scherff was drafted fifth with the possibility he could play tackle) picked in the Top 10. Quenton Nelson was selected No. 6 in 2018. In 2013, Jonathan Cooper and Chance Warmack were selected No. 7 and No. 10, respectively, and neither came close to making a Pro Bowl. Chris Naeole was selected 10th overall in 1997.

The obvious question is why? The first part of the equation is the team's evaluation of whether the player's grade warrants a Top 10 pick. In order for an offensive line to play well, it doesn't have to he filled with Top 10 picks, or even first-rounders. For example, the Giants' dominant offensive line from 2007 didn't feature any first-round picks. Dominant offensive tackles will often cost a first-round pick or a big investment in free agency, but good guards and centers usually come at a much lower cost – either via lower picks or less money.

It's important to remember that the Giants also have other needs, including a pass rush. It is hard to find elite pass rushers outside of the Top 5 of drafts, let alone the Top 10. The Giants should not pass on an elite player at an elite position simply to fill a need on the offensive line.

Chris in New York: Do you think it will be a perfect fit on the edge if the Giants drafted Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson or Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeau?

John Schmeelk: Both players are very talented but they are also different. Hutchinson is much bigger (he could weigh in at 270 pounds) and is expected to check every box in testing/interviews at the NFL Combine. He also had elite production and a strong motor last season at Michigan with 14 sacks.

Thibodeau is a little lighter, with some thinking he may weigh in at below 250 pounds at the NFL Combine. He has been more up-and-down in his career, partly because of injuries, including an balky ankle he played through in his final year at Oregon. His flashes show an extremely high level of play and if it all comes together for him he could be the best player in the draft class.

Either player would likely find a fit in whatever defense coordinator Wink Martindale wants to play.


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