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Mailbag: Defense or O-line at No. 4?


Bashshar in Ohio: Out of the four offensive tackles Jedrick Wills Jr, Mekhi Becton, Tristan Wirfs and Andrew Thomas, which one of them best fits the Giants in scheme and culture?

John Schmeelk: Based on what the public and media knows about the top four tackles and from watching them address the media in Indianapolis, none of them seem to have anything that would indicate they wouldn't fit in the Giants' culture. Wirfs is from a small town in Iowa and is one of the most polite young men I've seen at the combine. On the field, he is not shy about finishing. Becton seems to have the mean streak you want from an offensive lineman. Both Wills and Thomas seem like they would be fine locker room additions.

The scheme is where it gets tricky. We have no idea what kind of running scheme the Giants want to use. Garret used varying amounts of outside zone and other schemes with the Cowboys, often depending on who his offensive coordinator was. It will probably be a mix of power and zone. If Garrett is going to be frequently using a deeper drop back in his offense, having steadier pass protectors like Thomas or Wills might be preferable. We just don't know. 

Phil in the District of Columbia: If the Giants don't draft Simmons, is trading down with a team like the Jaguars a bigger possibility?

John Schmeelk: Given how he played as a rookie, I do not think the Jaguars are ready to move on from Gardner Minshew, let along sacrifice draft capital to move up and pick a quarterback. If you are looking for trade down candidates for teams looking for quarterbacks, the Chargers are the most likely target with the Dolphins also a possibility. If the Lions move their pick, however, it becomes less probable something happens. Drafting Simmons or not would not impact whether the Giants would make a move like that since the trade would happen before their pick. 

Alex Z in North Carolina: What on earth is going to happen with Leonard Williams? I think he has yet to sign the franchise tag in the hopes he gets a multi-year offer. Trade? Sign long term? One year on the franchise tag to prove himself?

John Schmeelk: The Giants placed the franchise tag on Leonard Williams, so they control his rights. The benefit of placing the tag on him is that you can do any of the things you mentioned. If he is willing to sign a long term deal both sides think works from a value standpoint, then maybe something can get done long term. If not, then he can always play on a one year franchise tag, which will pay him the like a top defensive lineman in 2020. The team still has flexibility moving forward and what ends up happening is anyone's guess. 

Andrew in Pennsylvania: Either take Simmons at four or trade back and take a tackle. If you can trade back and get more picks and potentially still get a player you were considering at 4, then it's silly not to.

John Schmeelk: You're right, it would be silly not to, but it isn't that easy and it drives me nuts when people just say "TRADE BACK, IT'S EAAAAAAZZZZYYYYYYYYYY!!!" There has to be a team behind the Giants that is willing to trade up and give the Giants what they want in a trade. There needs to be two to tango, and if the other teams around the Giants view the available prospects the same way as the Giants, why would they pay a premium to move up? It would be silly if they did.

Rob in North Carolina: What are the chances of drafting an offensive tackle in the first round and a center in the second? It would solidify the line with high end talent and the benefits could outweigh the negatives. Think about it, protect Jones, better run blocking, eating up the clock with old school NY Giants football?? What do you think John?

John Schmeelk: I have no idea what Dave Gettleman is thinking, but there is an argument to be made in doubling up on the offensive line in the first two picks. You mention a center in the second round, but if the team thinks there is a future starter at offensive tackle available when they pick in the second round they could select a second tackle, too. Right now, there are no players at offensive tackle signed beyond the next two seasons. You are not just picking for the 2020 roster.

Players like Josh Jones (if he drops to the second round), Austin Jackson (if he drops), Ezra Cleveland, or Lucas Niang could be valuable day two picks. At center, Daniel Jeremiah and Dane Brugler both consider Cesar Ruiz from Michigan and Lloyd Cushenberry from LSU second round caliber players. Spencer Pulley has starting experience, but he only has two years left on his contract. Helping your second year quarterback with a good offensive line is never a bad plan, especially if the players selected are the best available.

Jayden in New Jersey: If we get Isaiah Simmons at #4, wouldn't it be the best decision to trade back up to the first round with the Saints at #24. If we trade with them, we should be able to secure a good tackle in the first round.

John Schmeelk: There's no way to know if the Saints would want to trade down at #24. There might be a wide receiver or another player sitting there that they want. They are in "win-now" mode and might see someone they think can put their roster over the top. We just don't know.

Using the old Jimmy Johnson trade chart (different teams use different values for picks), the Giants would need 740 points of value. Their 36th pick gives only 540 points, and their 99th pick gives 104. To get to 740, they would have to move their third and fourth round picks. The Giants cannot afford to lose all their mid-round picks when they are still building their roster in a deep draft. 

Alan in Connecticut: What's the value of dropping to #6 with the Chargers in draft picks?

John Schmeelk: The Jimmy Johnson trade chart (different teams use different charts) says the Chargers need to make up 200 points worth of draft capital to move from six to four, but history is often a better guide as to the cost of such a move. Two drafts ago, the Jets traded three second round picks (two from that year's draft and one from the following year) to move up three spots. Three years ago, the Bears traded a third and fourth round pick, plus a second third in the following year's draft to move up one spot. The cost for the Chargers to move up two spots would probably be somewhere in between: a couple of day two picks, with at least one coming in this year's draft. 

Karl in Maine: Could the Giants sign a stopgap type tackle like Jason Peters on a 1 year deal, which would enable them to focus on drafting defense in round one? They could then draft an offensive tackle on day two and have him sit for a year learning under a Peters or Solder?

John Schmeelk: This is certainly something the Giants can investigate after the draft. I'm not sure it is something that has to be done prior to the draft because no one knows that the draft will bring. Peters is 38 years old and dealt with injuries the last couple of years, but he still plays at a starting level when he is on the field. If the Giants decide after the draft that they want to add some veteran stability to the line, they can take a look at the free agent market and see who is there.

View photos of every player projected to the Giants in mock drafts one week ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft.

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