General Manager Dave Gettleman provides insight into the Giants 2018 NFL Draft strategy:
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Seldom has someone said so much while revealing so little.
Dave Gettleman today held his first pre-draft news conference as the Giants general manager. True to his outgoing personality, Gettleman was charming, thoughtful, humorous and loquacious. It took him a mere four minutes and 41 seconds to answer the first question. He provided insight into his draft history (from his days as the Carolina Panthers' G.M.), thoughts about the available quarterbacks and the top running back in next week's draft, provided an insightful response about Eli Manning's future, and offered a detailed explanation how the Giants will align their draft board (markedly different than in past years).
What Gettleman did not do was provide the one answer everyone wants to know – who will the Giants take with the second overall selection next Thursday? The reason is simple – Gettleman insisted he doesn't know who he wants to draft.
"I'm being honest," he said. Asked if he knows if he will take a quarterback, Gettleman said, "Time will tell."
How close is he to making a decision?
"How close? You can't close your mind," Gettleman said. "You don't know what is going to happen. … Listen, we'll know when we know. I'm not making any decisions before that."
That includes whether or not to trade the Giants' first-round choice. He never traded back when he was with the Panthers, but…"I'm open to it. Listen, you have to be open to everything. You have to listen. You can't be afraid of conversation. You have to be open."
The pre-draft buzz has been centered on six players – quarterbacks Sam Darnold of USC, Josh Allen of Wyoming, Josh Rosen of UCLA, and Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma (last year's Heisman Trophy winner); running back Saquon Barkley of Penn State; and defensive Bradley Chubb of North Carolina State.
Regarding the quarterbacks, Gettleman said, "It's funny, it's a really a neat group to evaluate because they are all different players. With the second pick, I'm sitting at Ben and Jerry's and I've got a lot of flavors to look at, and they're all different."
Barkley is widely considered to be the best player in the draft, an all-purpose back who can be a star for many years.
"I'm not going to lie. He's a tremendous talent," Gettleman said. "You put the film on of a defensive guy and if they're playing Penn State, then I'm watching Saquon. He's one of those guys that my mother could have scouted. She could have figured that one out."
Gettleman disagrees with the notion that running backs have been devalued in the modern, pass-happy NFL.
"I think that … is really a myth," Gettleman said. "If you have a great running back, he immediately makes your quarterback better, your offensive line better and your passing game. So I don't believe in it. It's how you evaluate the players, how we value them, how we rate them and then you go on from there."
Of course, no position is more important than quarterback. Manning is 37 and preparing for his 15th Giants season, which may or may not influence whether Gettleman opts to take a quarterback at No. 2. How many good years does he think the two-time Super Bowl MVP has left?
"Well, you know we've talked about it," Gettleman said. "There is no ability to predict that. Eli takes great care of his body, he's very fit. We watched the film and he still has plenty of arm. Who knows? Did anybody know that, I'm drawing a blank on his name; he played quarterback at the age of 45. Who knows. I know the Oakland kicker (George) Blanda played a game late. There was another quarterback, he played for Atlanta. But like I said, Eli takes great care of himself, he's very fit and he still has plenty of arm."
How much will that factor into what Gettleman decides to do with the Giants' precious pick?
"Everybody factors in," he said. "Your team factors into the equation, everybody does. Here is the deal – as the G.M. I walk a tight line. I have to look at the short term and I have to look at the long term, and that's the tight rope that I walk. I have to take all that into consideration in making decisions, whether it's the draft, whether it's unrestricted free agency, whether it's trading for an Alec Ogletree. Whatever it is, making claims – you have to think about it. So I'm on that tight rope doing the best I can with the information that I have and we move forward."
The Giants currently own six selections in the three-day draft, all in the first five rounds (they have two third-round choices). Must the Giants get a great player with at least one of those selections?
"Sometimes you have to look at it this way and I'm not saying this is the way I always look at it, but sometimes you have to look at it this way," Gettleman said. "We're all in school, do I want to get an A and four C's or do we want an A-minuses, a couple of B-plusses, and a couple of B's? Winning requires depth. If you don't have depth – I've seen teams that had great defenses that folded in the fourth quarter because they had no depth, and now you've got guys on the field for 95-98 percent playing time. You can't win that way, guys wear down. So there is obviously different ways of looking at it depending upon what the A looks like. But if you get a chance to accumulate quality, you put yourself in a position to potentially accumulate picks, and have a lot of very solid players. There is nothing wrong with that."
In other words…we must wait to learn the answer.