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Fact or Fiction: Predicting Giants draft strategy


The staff debates Big Blue topics as the NFL Combine and NFL Draft inch closer:

It is more likely the Giants trade down than draft a non-quarterback at No. 2.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact -I have no idea what Dave Gettleman is thinking but, in my opinion, trading down could net much better value than drafting a non-quarterback with the second pick of the draft.

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Teams have traded huge packages to move up to the second pick in the draft to get a quarterback, and the Giants could be the beneficiary of that kind of desire. Moving down just four or five positions (to the spots occupied by the Broncos or Jets, both of whom need quarterbacks) could get an extra second-round pick this year and an extra first next year. And the quality of the player drafted in that spot should not be dramatically different than the player they pick at No. 2. I would hesitate moving out of the top 10, since you might no longer be getting one of the premium players in the draft class.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact -I don't even know if the front office knows the answer to this one yet. Let's get to the combine first and reassess after that. But for the sake of "Fact or Fiction", I'll go with the former. After a 13-loss season, there is more than one hole to fill. So it could make sense to gather more assets if Dave Gettleman and company are not sold on a quarterback.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -How many times do you have the chance to pick No. 2 overall? For the Giants, they're hoping not many. But when you do have the opportunity to pick this high, I don't think you should be in a hurry to move down unless everyone in the war room struggles to get on the same page with respect to one player. The last thing you want to do is reach for a prospect. There is always enough talent in a draft class where if you're not sold on a quarterback, you can still select someone who could very well pan out to be an impactful player. You can make the case for a running back or a defensive lineman with the No. 2 overall pick.

The Giants will acquire more 2018 starters through free agency than the draft.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - Good statement here. It is hard for a rookie to start in their first year in the NFL. Expecting it out of players not drafted in the first or second round (or third, depending on the year) is asking a lot. Assuming the Giants get two 2018 starters from this draft class, odds are they get more than that in free agency. It might end up being tied at two, or a 3-2 edge in favor of the draft class, but I doubt it. I think the Giants will get at minimum a starting linebacker and offensive lineman in free agency. There could be more, which will give the free agency class the edge. Long term starters? I would give the edge to the draft class.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact -We've talked about this before. I think Gettleman will work his magic and do what he does best in unearthing some gems in free agency. The first order of business is addressing the offensive line, which could look completely different this season. We'll see what he has in mind when the new league year begins on March 14.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact -If you look back at 2017, the Giants essentially acquired three starters in free agency with the additions of Rhett Ellison, D.J. Fluker and Brandon Marshall and two through the draft in Evan Engram and Dalvin Tomlinson. You have to build your team using both resources, but since given they are likely to add more players through free agency, including undrafted rookies, I would say the Giants have a greater chance to add more starters through the market than in the draft.

Interviews are the most important part of the NFL Scouting Combine.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - Everything is important to some extent. Forty-yard dash times for cornerbacks and wide receivers are important, as are agility drills for all positions. Interviews are important, too, since teams can get a better feel for these guys face to face. It is the medical, however, that trumps all. Nothing has a bigger impact on a player's draft stock than his medical evaluation. Just look at Miles Jack a couple seasons ago. He was going to be a top-five pick before teams saw the issues with his knee first-hand. He dropped all the way to the second round.

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction -The 40-yard dash draws all the cameras, but the real race takes place in the bowels of Lucas Oil Stadium, where medical staffs from all 32 clubs conduct thorough evaluations of more than 300 prospects they have never examined before. Now, time for a history lesson. First held in 1982 in Tampa, the combine's original purpose was for teams to ascertain medical histories of the top draft-eligible players coming out of college. As the NFL grew, so did the combine -- to the point where an auxiliary press room needed to be added this past year. But at its core, the most important part has not changed. That's why entire organizations, from coaches to scouts to doctors, pack up and relocate to Indianapolis for one week out of every year.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact -Forgive me for not getting overly excited about watching players run drills in their underwear all week. That's why the interviews are, by far, the most important part of the NFL Scouting Combine. You can take much more away from talking to a prospect in-person and getting to know the player outside of football than trying to gauge whether the speed he shows without pads will be indicative of what is yet to come in his NFL career. I'll take the interview and the medical information over the drills any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

The prospect you are most interested to see in Indianapolis is Baker Mayfield.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -I already saw Mayfield up close at the Senior Bowl, so I'm going to go with Sam Darnold. He is my favorite quarterback in the class, and I want to see him throw. He has a tremendous arm and was very accurate at USC. I'm curious to see if he has worked on some of his mechanical issues (footwork and release) and if it shows up at combine drills. I also want to see his athleticism, which I think some people underrate.

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction -Where are the hog mollies? Show me Quenton Nelson, Will Hernandez, Billy Price, Vita Vea, Da'Ron Payne, and any other big men who could allow the Giants to compete. Gettleman doesn't use those phrases just for effect. He's going to draft some very large players in the trenches.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact -I think Baker Mayfield has a lot of upside, and he may top many teams' lists among the quarterback prospects, so he is one of the players I will be keeping close tabs on in Indianapolis. Some may overlook him because of his size and his persona on the field, but I think his attitude is a positive. Emotion often becomes synonymous with immaturity, but it is perhaps just a sign of passion for the game. I'm anxious to see how Mayfield interacts with team executives and the impression he leaves on them while at the combine.

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