*Giants writers play Fact or Fiction as the Draft and offseason workouts near: *
The player you're most interested to see this spring is safety Darian Thompson.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -I already saw Darian Thompson in the spring practice environment, so that doesn't interest me too much. I also have to cross off all the offensive/defensive linemen since there is no contact in spring practices. For the same reason, running backs and linebackers don't interest me in the OTA environment. That leaves the guys outside. Two guys I want to see are Eli Apple and Brandon Marshall going against each other, which should be fun. The Giants haven't had a receiver of Brandon Marshall's physical stature in a long time. I want to see how he moves at that height.
DAN SALOMONE: Fiction -He's definitely one of them after injuries derailed a promising start for the rookie, but I'm going with the player drafted right after him: linebacker B.J. Goodson. He's your prototypical man in the middle who was a tackling machine at Clemson. He had to wait his turn behind future draft picks in college, and the same happened in his first year in the pros. There were a lot of veterans ahead of him, but with Kelvin Sheppard still a free agent, Goodson could have a shot at the middle linebacker spot. I'm curious to see where he opens up in the rotation.
LANCE MEDOW: Fact -After Darian Thompson was selected by the Giants in the third round of last year's draft, he quickly caught the attention of the coaching staff because of his play and vocal presence on the field during rookie minicamp, and that carried over into the early stages of training camp. After an impressive showing during the offseason, he was in line to claim the starting safety job opposite Landon Collins, but, unfortunately, his rookie campaign was cut short due to the injury bug. He suffered a shoulder injury during training camp and after making it back for the season opener, injured his foot in Week 2 and ultimately was placed on injured reserve in early November. While there's no contact in the spring, it will still be an important step forward for Thompson in testing his foot and beginning the process to secure a starting job. We haven't seen Thompson on the field for quite some time, so I'm anxious to see how far his recovery has come since re-aggravating his foot injury. While I'm also interested to see a few offensive and defensive lineman this spring, it's hard to take much away from that period of the offseason given there is no contact. That's why Thompson tops the list.
The position group you're most interested to see this spring is the offensive line.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -We won't be able to learn much about the O-Line in the spring because no contact is allowed. If the question was about training camp, then absolutely. The fun groups to watch in the spring are the wide receivers, defensive backs and even quarterbacks.
DAN SALOMONE: Fiction -Coaches say you can't really get a good look at the trenches until training camp, and really not until preseason games when you're going against a live opponent. So I'm looking at the big acquisition of the offseason: Brandon Marshall and the rest of the wide receivers. He's here to win. He willingly wants to be the No. 2 to take the pressure off Odell Beckham Jr. and open up the offense. He brings size to the receiving corps that could turn out to be one of the best in the league.
LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -As I stated in my response to statement number one, there is no contact during the spring period, so it's hard to truly evaluate the offensive line when that unit's play relies heavily on dealing with contact. The group I'm most interested to see are the running backs. Paul Perkins flashed toward the end of his rookie year, Shane Vereen and Orleans Darkwa are both returning from injuries, and new addition Shaun Draughn is looking to carve out a role in the backfield. That's the position group to watch and you don't necessarily need to see contact to notice a player's progress overall.
Two quarterbacks will be drafted before the Giants select at No. 23.
NFL.com names the top 50 prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -I do not believe there will be three quarterbacks off the board by the time the Giants pick. There MIGHT be two, but if I had to bet, there will just be one. This is a weak quarterback class, and if teams were picking the best available player at all times, I don't think any quarterbacks would go in the first round. But I think one team desperate for a quarterback will pull the trigger and take either Deshaun Watson or Mitchell Trubisky in the top 15. Two wouldn't shock me, though.
DAN SALOMONE: Fact -All of the draft experts have been down on this year's quarterback class, but the position is just too important to pass up. And there are plenty of teams that are needy at the marquee position in sports. At least two of them will take a chance.
LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -I can make a case for about three teams selecting before the Giants needing a quarterback, but I don't think that's going to happen because this year's class of prospects isn't nearly as strong as in years past. I can see Clemson's Deshaun Watson or Mitchell Trubisky of North Carolina going before the Giants make the 23rd overall pick, but I would be surprised if both are off the board by that point in the first round. It's more likely that there's a lengthy run on defensive linemen or defensive backs than quarterbacks in the first round.
A team's first-round pick is more important than all the other rounds combined.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -Completely botching a first round pick can be disastrous, but it can be tempered if you hit on your second and third round selections. Even if you hit on your first rounder and the rest of the draft busts out, it's a disaster that reverberates for years to come. There are quality players in every round for scouting departments good enough to find them.
DAN SALOMONE: Fiction -If that were true, everyone would do what Mike Ditka did in 1999 with the Saints and trade every pick to get the player you wanted. In his case, it was Ricky Williams. There are no guarantees in the draft, which can make quantity as important as (projected) quality. But I will say this: If your pick turns out to be a Hall of Famer, then it doesn't really matter what the rest of that class looks like. It will be considered a winner.
LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -Don't get me wrong, a first-round pick is extremely valuable and you can't afford to miss consistently with that selection, but we've seen so many players taken in later rounds that have gone on to have successful careers. A team can have a great track record by maximizing the value of its first round pick, but if that same team misses in the mid to late rounds, the depth chart will take a significant hit and the front office will be forced to turn to free agency and undrafted prospects to make up for those misses. That could very well lead to salary cap issues. I'd make the argument that the second through fourth round picks are just as important as the first, and then you can perhaps take some risks from Round Five on based on potential and upside. It's not where you draft, it's what you do with where you draft.
NFL.com's Bucky Brooks names the best NFL Draft prospect at each position.