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Mailbag: Addressing O-line through draft

Mailbag

Brian in New York: If it's unlikely Evan Neal, Charles Cross, and Ikem Ekwonu will be around for the Giants to draft, would it make a lot of sense for the Giants to try to move down a spot or two and draft an interior offensive linemen like Kenyon Green, Tyler Linderbaum, or Zion Johnson? On defense, I've read a lot of concern about Kayvon Thibodeaux's inconsistent motor and Aiden Hutchinson will be gone. So, based on salary constraints and free agency, it seems like the offensive line is the only unit that can be fixed through the draft.

John Schmeelk: Neal, Ekwonu and Hutchinson could be gone by No. 5. But it is unlikely that a third offensive tackle is selected before the Giants pick. Is it possible, especially if the Texans decide to trade Laremy Tunsil? Sure. But there's a very good chance Charles Cross (and Trevor Penning) are available at No. 5.

The Giants also have to decide what to do with their seventh overall pick. Thibodeau is an interesting player. His talent and upside are undeniable and the Giants have to decide if he is the right player to bring on as a foundational building block for the team. Selecting a cornerback that high shouldn't be frowned upon because it is a premium position. Sauce Gardner has all the measurements and athleticism teams want from a cornerback. How about Kyle Hamilton? Teams see him as one of the highest graded players in the draft.

Surely, the Giants will investigate the potential of trading down from their early picks, but they need to find a partner that wants to move up. It would be great to find extra picks in the second round, which is really the meat of this draft. The problem remains that teams often trade up for quarterbacks and there's a chance not one quarterback is picked in the top of this draft. Will there be a partner? If there is, picking one of those interior offensive linemen between Nos. 12 and 25 in a trade down would be good value.

Finally, the offensive line is not going to be fixed in this draft. The Giants are not going to start Andrew Thomas and four rookies. They will add lower-cost veterans in free agency to mix with Thomas and whomever they draft. Good offensive linemen can be found outside of the first round and the Giants have three Day 2 picks they can use on those players.

Robert in New York: What is the new Giants' regime's biggest challenges, most important player decisions, and what are some of the things that they should (or must) adjust going into their first season? Also; I have not seen mention of a need for a new tight end and it seems like these coaches use the tight end a lot in their offense.

John Schmeelk: Tight end is definitely a need given Evan Engram's free agency status and the team's release of Kyle Rudolph. This is a deep tight end class and selecting one with a third- or fourth-round pick while adding a capable veteran in free agency seems like a good path this off-season. Dawson Knox was a mid-round pick for the Bills.

In terms of this regime's most important early decisions, freeing up cap space is essential and will make it obvious where their needs are and how challenging this season will become. There are good players that could be cap casualties and they would impact the team in a serious way. Can the Giants trade some of those players? What's the medical prognosis on some of those players that are also hurt? So look at this off-season as a calibration off-season moreso than a transformational off-season. Right now, the Giants are trying to find their path. It is Joe Schoen's job to get the franchise pointed in the right direction and take a couple steps down that path. There might not be a ton of progress in one off-season, but the moves should help future seasons more likely to be successful.

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