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Fact or Fiction: Future Giants at the Combine

1. At least three regular starters for the Giants in 2019 will be at the combine next week. 

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -- This is certainly possible, but without a third-round pick, I would consider it unlikely. Day 1 and Day 2 picks all have a good chance to start as rookies, but it is asking a lot from Day 3 selections. There's a chance the Giants can trade into the back of the third round (they used this year's third-round pick to select Sam Beal in the third round of last year's supplemental draft) with their surplus of Day 3 picks, but there's no guarantee on player availability or potential match with a team to trade there. There's also a chance that the Giants use one of their first two picks on a quarterback who may spend the season behind Eli Manning. It can go either way, but "fiction" is more likely.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact – General manager Dave Gettleman was just getting started in 2018. There is still plenty of work to be done on the roster, particularly on defense, as he said in his end-of-season press conference. Last year, running back Saquon Barkley (16 starts), left guard Will Hernandez (played 100 percent of the snaps), and B.J. Hill (most snaps on team among defensive linemen) highlighted the draft class. Don't forget about outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter, who saw significant playing time despite making only two starts in 15 games. Heck, even cornerback Grant Haley, who was not drafted but did earn an invitation to the combine, started the majority of games for the Giants last season. So I don't think three is unrealistic.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -- I wouldn't be surprised if three future Giants are at the combine next week, but to say at least three regular starters for the team in 2019 will emerge might be a bit of a stretch. Although New York found three starters (Saquon Barkley, Will Hernandez, and B.J. Hill) at last year's combine, the consistent number has been two. It was Evan Engram and Dalvin Tomlinson in 2017, Eli Apple and Sterling Shepard in 2016, and Ereck Flowers and Landon Collins in 2015. Considering they'll also likely fill some voids in free agency, I think two is a more realistic goal than three.

2. Free agency is not as risky as the draft.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -- Free agency is less risky because you have a better feel for exactly the type of player you are getting since he has played in the NFL for several seasons. It is more risky, however, because the price of doing business is so high. If you sign a player in free agency for a significant amount of money and they don't perform, that contract could be a drain on your salary cap for years. Players can also perform differently based on how they are being used, which can vary from team to team. Older players signed in free agency can sometimes decline very quickly without much notice after they sign a new contract. I'll take the draft any day of the week.

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction – I think they're equally risky. One depends on the other. If you miss on a draft pick, it puts pressure on free agency. If a free agent doesn't pan out, that's just one more hole to fill in the next draft. The draft is more important because it's the lifeblood of the roster, but bad moves in free agency can handcuff organizations financially for years.   

LANCE MEDOW: Fact -- You've likely heard the phrase a number of times, but there's validity behind it: "The draft is an inexact science." That statement holds true for all professional sports. Regardless of how much research you conduct on a prospect, there's always risk involved because you're projecting how that skillset or talent will transfer from college to the pros. Is there risk involved in free agency? Absolutely, but when you sign veterans on the open market, there's much more substance and stock in that decision-making process given they already played a few seasons in the league. You have much more to go by in terms of how you think they'll perform and fit within your team's scheme.'s Daniel Jeremiah released the fourth edition of his top 50 prospect rankings.

3. The Giants are more likely to trade out of their current No. 6 spot than they were at No. 2 last year.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact – With the number two selection last year, the Giants could have arguably had their choice of anyone in the draft, with the exception of whomever the Browns selected first overall. That's a rare position to be in, which is why the Giants did not move and drafted Saquon Barkley. Drafting sixth this year, there's a chance that a player with just as good of a grade could be available a few picks later, which would make a trade down very possible. On the other hand, if there is a player the Giants simply must have at a premium position, it's possible they package assets together to move up and get that player. I would bet trading down is more likely than trading up at this juncture.

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction – The only way the Giants move up is if Gettleman has a strong enough conviction on a prospect. The only way the Giants move down is if an offer outweighs a conviction in that particular tier. And since I'm not the general manager, I have no clue. What I will say, though, is that moving down when you are this high decreases your chances to land an impact player from the moment he steps into the facility. And like last year, for lack of a better term, the Giants "earned" their spot in the draft order. Instead of trading down to gather more picks and acquire maybe two solid players, they went with the absolute superstar in Saquon Barkley at No. 2. No regrets there.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact -- When you have the second overall pick, you're guaranteed to end up with one of the top two players on your board. Could there be a drop off between one and two? Yes, but it's very likely in that scenario a team is high on a few players and you're going to get great value with your pick, so there's a big risk if you move out of that spot. When you're picking sixth overall, it's a bit tricky because who knows what will happen with the first five selections. There's a bit more of the unknown with many movable pieces. That's why I think the chances of the Giants making a move in this year's draft are much greater than 2018.

4. A team will trade into the top five to take a non-quarterback.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -- There is such a volume of pass rushers and offensive tackles who are worth taking in the top 15 picks of the draft, I find it unlikely anyone trades up to get one of these players. Nick Bosa and Quinnen Williams are the two special players in this class right now, but I find it unlikely someone trades up for them. There are a couple of players who stand out among the other position groups, but if someone trades up, as history has shown us, it will be for a quarterback.

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction -- If there ever was a year to do it, it would be this one. Pass rusher is the most important position other than the passer he is rushing, and this class is stacked with players who can get pressure on the edge and up the middle. But the high volume also means that teams will settle for having any one of them fall in their lap if quarterbacks end up going as high as they often do. The price to move into the top five might not be worth the difference between Player A and Player B.  

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -- More often than not, a team that jumps into the top five is picking a quarterback because of the importance and value of that position. Plus, when you move up that high, depending on the jump, you have to make more of a sacrifice with future assets. The only way I can see a team aggressively making a move into the top five to take a non-quarterback is if, for some reason, Ohio State pass rusher Nick Bosa falls. Other than that, I find it very difficult to believe a team would move up that high to claim a different position.

An all-access look of RB Saquon Barkley at the 2018 NFL Combine that helped make him the No. 2 overall draft choice.

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