1. There is a stronger likelihood of a trade in the top five of the draft after listening to GMs this week at the combine.
John Schmeelk: Fact: But I'm not sure that trade up is going to happen with the Giants. The way it works for teams trying to trade up is simple: they begin with the top of the draft and work their way down. Teams will call the Bengals and will likely be rebuffed since they will probably covet Joe Burrow. The Redskins will have to choose between their choice of the best non-quarterbacks in the draft, their highest rated quarterback, or trading down. The Lions will get the call next, and then finally the Giants. The question is whether a team will covet one of the quarterbacks left on the board when the Giants select. Recent history suggests a trade-up will happen, but it will be important to the Giants whether the teams in front of them are willing to pull the trigger in such a deal. I'm not confident there will be more than one trade in the top five.
Lance Medow: Fiction: First rule of thumb in general: Never read too much into a press conference. This is the time of the year when the guessing game rules. There's no incentive for any team to lay out its cards. Instead, you want every other team to think you'll go in several different directions. I don't think the likelihood of a trade in the top five has changed at all in the wake of GMs speaking publicly at the combine. Everyone is open for business until they make the pick. You wouldn't be doing your job as a GM or front office executive if you didn't listen to and explore all options.
*2. Based on what has unfolded in Indianapolis, the likely outcome for the Giants in the first round is a defender. *
Schmeelk: Fiction: I honestly think it is 50/50 right now. There is still a great argument to be made for the top offensive tackle in the draft with the fourth overall pick. There is just as good an argument for the top defender in the draft, whether a linebacker, defensive back or pass rusher. It could go either way and at this point, I don't think one outcome is more likely than the other. Yes, this is a cop out. I'm okay with it on February 28th.
Medow: Fiction: You can certainly make a strong case for the Giants to go defense in the first round, but there will also be some attractive offensive linemen and wide receivers available. One name that comes to mind is Louisville OL Mekhi Becton, who is a massive presence at 6-7, 369. Similar to the GM press conferences, hype within the court of public opinion doesn't dictate where teams will go in the draft, so there's only so much you can read into the words and performances over a few days.
3. A strong bench press number by a skill player is more impressive than a fast 40 time for a lineman.
Schmeelk: Fiction: I think the bench press number for skill players are almost irrelevant. They represent how hard they work in the weight room more than anything tangible they do on the playing field. Forty times for big people, specifically the 10-yard split, is very significant for linemen on both sides of the ball to show how quickly they can get off the line. It's important and far more impressive to me than anything a wide receiver might bench press.
Medow: Fact: Speed is important in today's NFL but when it comes to a lineman, I'm not sure most coaches are saying, "We better make sure he can blow by defenders during a game." If anything, you want to make sure an offensive lineman can keep guys in front of them. If a running back, wide receiver or tight end can demonstrate some strength, that can be a useful asset when it comes to pass protection or blocking up the field, so I'd say the former is far more useful and impressive than the latter.
4. Offensive line has emerged as the deepest position at the combine.
Schmeelk: Fiction: The offensive line might sport the most top 12 or 15 picks, but wide receiver is the deepest position at the combine and it isn't close. I've been told by a number of different people that there could be as many as 30 wide receivers with day one or two grades, which is unprecedented. Sometimes there are only 35 receivers taken in an entire draft! Very good wide receivers will be pushed down the board and provide excellent value opportunities in the middle rounds.
Medow: Fiction: Wide receiver is the deepest position in this draft. There's been so much chatter regarding the depth of that position. We could see several records broken as to the volume of wideouts taken in the first three rounds and then some. All you need to do is look at the 40 times of some of the wide receivers, most notably Alabama's Henry Ruggs and Denzel Mims of Baylor.