Fact or Fiction: Shake-up at top of the draft?

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1. The NFL Combine shook up the top 10 picks in the draft.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -- I think we’re still talking about most of the same names after the combine that we were beforehand. Nick Bosa, Josh Allen, Quinnen Williams, Rashan Gary, Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins are all still going to be top 10 picks. Players like Ed Oliver, Devin White, Jawaan Taylor, Jonah Williams and Cody Ford will all still be in the conversation, too. Montez Sweat, Brian Burns and Devin Bush might have helped themselves a bit, while Jachai Polite might have hurt his stock some.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact – For months, there was no disagreement among draft analysts about the top pick in the draft. It was Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa. Then quarterback Kyler Murray, Oklahoma’s latest Heisman Trophy winner, came along, declared his commitment to football over baseball, and measured 5-foot-10 at the combine. That was good enough for the Jermiah’s and McShay’s of the world to put him at No. 1, setting off a chain reaction that reshaped the top of the draft.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -- First of all, I don’t think the combine measurements, in general, shake up the draft too much. I think they’re simply used by most teams as a complementary piece and to confirm their initial conclusions when watching film. The interviews have much greater impact, but unless you are in the room, you have no idea how these interactions go. Many of the players who have been projected to go in the top ten delivered at the combine and lived up to expectations.

A look at Giants players from the 2018 roster who became free agents when the new league year began on March 13 at 4 p.m. ET

2. More news came out of Indianapolis about free agency than the actual draft.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -- I thought the free agency news coming out of Indianapolis was actually uncharacteristically quiet this year. With an additional week between the end of the combine and the start of free agency, teams waited to use their free agency tags until after the combine ended. You also didn’t get any big trades at the combine either. I think it will be a busy weekend with trades around the league before the negotiation period begins on Monday.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact – Funny, isn’t it? You have the entire football world gathered to watch, test and listen to the best college players in preparation for the draft, but free agency is closer on the calendar and the deadline to apply the franchise or transition tag was the day after the combine wrapped up in Indianapolis. That’s why, at the least the early part, the Indiana Convention Center becomes the location for state of the team addresses from general managers and coaches who choose to speak. You had Pittsburgh’s Kevin Colbert acknowledge they are looking to trade Antonio Brown, Philadelphia’s Howie Roseman say the team would not tag Super Bowl MVP quarterback Nick Foles (thus letting him become a free agent), and the Giants’ Dave Gettleman talk about why Eli Manning will be back for a 16th season. The draft is only part of the conversation in Indy.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact -- Between the tag deadline, a few notable players receiving new deals and rumors galore about several veteran free agents, how can you say fiction here? Let’s face it, other than Kyler Murray, was there really that much speculation about where a prospect would be taken surrounding any other player?  You already know the answer. Instead, everyone was focused on tidbits connected to free agency.  Six players received tags, the Eagles extended the contracts of two key veterans in defensive lineman Brandon Graham and center Jason Kelce, tight end Jason Witten ended his retirement and rejoined the Cowboys and multiple reports surfaced connecting Nick Foles and the Jaguars.

NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal and Chris Wesseling rank the top 25 free agents in the 2019 class.

3. You would rather draft college football’s leader in a particular stat (e.g. sacks) than sign the veteran who did it in the NFL.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact -- There are some caveats here, such as where the college football player led the league in his stat. Leading the nation in sacks in a smaller conference might not transfer to the NFL because the skill of the competition is so much different. Even with that caveat, I would rather draft the player simply because of price. Paying the sack leader in the NFL would cost more than $20 million per season and could strangle a team’s salary cap. I would rather roll the dice on the young guy.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact – I second Schmeelk’s guidelines. Generally speaking, you need to build your team through the draft in a salary cap league. Signing the NFL sacks leader to a lucrative contract is great, but it takes away resources from other spots on the roster. And in the ultimate team sport, that doesn’t win championships. It might get you to the playoffs once in a while, but the lifeblood needs to be draft picks in order to go deep into January and hopefully February.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -- I’ll take the leader, in any category, in the NFL any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I have a lot more faith in an individual who already has had success on the NFL level to be able to duplicate that production as opposed to someone who has topped the charts in a specific category in college football and translating that success to the NFL. The proven commodity on the higher level is the most logical bet. Case in point, how many quarterbacks who have won the Heisman Trophy have been able to consistently carry over their level of play from college to the pros?

4. The Giants will do more work on offense in free agency and more on defense in the draft.  

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -- I think the Giants will do more on defense in both free agency and the draft! There are only two spots on offense, at least in terms of starters, that really have to be filled: right guard and right tackle. The team’s third wide receiver might be another. On defense, the team needs a third defensive lineman in their base personnel, another pass rusher, potentially a coverage linebacker, at least one cornerback, and at least two safeties. There is so much work to do that it will be a very defense-heavy offseason.

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction -- With the way this year played out, the pool of free agents and draft prospects is deep on defense, particularly in the front seven. That’s good news for the Giants, whose general manager pointed to the defense as a major reason for the 5-11 record and why they lost so many close games. “Just like I looked you right in the eye last year and told you we’ve got to fix this O-line,” Gettleman said after the season, “we’ve got to get better on the defensive side.” That will be addressed heavily in both free agency and the draft.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -- In the wake of the 2018 season, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say the Giants have more needs on defense than offense. They parted ways with Snacks and Eli Apple prior to the trade deadline, decided not to tag Landon Collins, and have several other free agents on that side of the ball. It’s impossible to address every single need along with depth in the draft alone. That’s why I think it will be a joint effort and I can see the team bringing in more defensive free agents than offensive players as well as drafting more defensive players than offensive players.

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