Richard in California: If Okudah and Simmons are both available at four, who is the better pick? Is Okudah good enough for a team to trade up with the Giants such as the Jaguars?
John Schmeelk: More often than not, teams trade up for quarterbacks. The Jaguars would be moving a long way from nine to five to acquire a cornerback. They could also get another very talented player at that position with their second first round pick (20th overall). The Jaguars might instead try to move down to acquire more picks for next year's draft.
The consensus of analysts is that Okudah and Simmons are two of the top three defenders, along with Derrick Brown, after Chase Young. The difference is that Okudah would have a more obvious role as an outside cornerback. Simmons, as we have discussed here previously, played in so many different spots at Clemson that the coaching staff of whatever team that drafts him will have to figure out where he fits best in its scheme to take advantage of his advanced skill set.
Chris in Maryland: Wasn't Peppers supposed to be a swiss-army knife of defense? Does it make sense to pair Isaiah Simmons with him?
John Schmeelk: It's interesting to consider, since both are good enough athletes to do things at safety and linebacker. The difference is that Peppers weighed 20 pounds less than Simmons and ran .7 seconds slower than Simmons in the 40-yard dash at the combine. Peppers also covered less frequently than Simmons did in college. Their skillsets do overlap a bit and there is a world where the superior physical talents of the two players could be used in tandem in interesting ways.
View photos of every player projected to the Giants in mock drafts one week ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Ian in Pennsylvania: Do you think the Giants should draft more hybrid players to add to the defense? I believe this will help Graham move players around and disguise a lot of different coverages.
John Schmeelk: I will let Joe Judge answer your question with something he said on his conference call with the media last week. "To me," Judge said, "every player has to have a level of versatility. I don't care if you are a one-position offensive lineman or you're the quarterback. Everyone has to have versatility within their game to adjust to different game plans and schemes. If you find a player that has great impact and upside, that's a guy you want to add to your roster."
In short, whenever a player is versatile it gives his coordinator freedom to use them in different ways that can make a defense more unpredictable. The more players like this a team has, assuming they can do those multiple things well, the better.
Nathan in Pennsylvania: Which of the top four tackles would best fit the Giants with the fourth overall pick?
John Schmeelk: There are arguments to be made for any of the top four tackles in the draft. Andrew Thomas, due to his experience at Georgia, might be the most ready to step in at left tackle on day one. Jedrick Wills checks every box when it comes to measureables, athleticism, technique, and excellent game film playing in the SEC. Tristan Wirfs played right and left tackle at a high level for Iowa this season, put up ridiculous combine numbers, and was coached by noted offensive lineman developer Kirk Ferentz. Mekhi Becton has supernatural size and movement skills as a left tackle and, while raw with some of his technique, might have the most upside.
DG in New York: With so many needs, should the Giants take the best deal inside the top 10 in order to receive an extra 2nd or 3rd round pick? They could still get a top four tackle and add two defensive players who would more than likely start for them.
John Schmeelk: Your scenario appears attractive. The trick is that there has to be a team in that position that wants to move up to number four and is willing to give you what you need to make that move. There's no guarantee that team exists. Dave Gettleman says he is willing to move down, but in many ways, it is out of the Giants' control.
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah's best remaining prospects from his Top 150 ranking of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Tim in New Mexico: The Patriots have a ton of good draft picks, but would love, I presume, a shot at a top QB in this draft. What are the odds that Belicheck would offer a really tantalizing number of high level picks to grab a Tua or a Herbert if that option is available at #4? What are the odds that Gettleman would be willing?
John Schmeelk: I have no idea what Dave Gettleman or Bill Belichick are thinking when it comes to a trade. In any trade with the Patriots, the highest the Giants would pick in the 2020 draft would be at 23rd overall, which is a very long drop from 4th overall. The Patriots also don't own a 2nd round pick in this year's draft, so a ton of draft capital from future seasons would have to be involved, which makes a deal like this hard to put together and unlikely.
Bobby in New York: How big does this year's very different "virtual" draft impact teams' (particularly the Giant's) draft moves and picks? Does this really change things up for teams, or will their picks stay within what would be considered "normal" predictions and standards? Might we see more trading, for instance, than previous years? In other words, in your opinion, will covid-19 actually give us different moves and picks from teams than if it were just a "normal" year?
John Schmeelk: Here are the things I have heard from former executives and scouts that will impact how NFL teams will be conducting their drafts. This is not any information from inside the Giants organization.
- No Pro Days and "in facility" visits will limit in-person exposure to players that were not at the NFL Combine or Senior Bowl. This could impact smaller-school players.
- Teams might not have the same insight on what other teams' intentions are that could impact trades. Many times, teams purposely jump a rival to get a specific player they believe that rival is interested in. Will that happen as much, or more, with less information?
- Trades will be hard to negotiate completely when teams are on the clock due to technological challenges and will probably require some planning/prior communication before each day begins.
- Without pro days, there is less data on these players, which might limit the impact of analytics on draft boards.
- Coaches will have less exposure to these players, so scouts may be leaned on more due to their work on these players in the fall before travel restrictions were in place.