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Mailbag: Edge defender or receiver at No. 11?


Luke in New York: My head tells me to root for the Giants to draft the best edge rusher available to them with the 11th pick, but my heart wants a No. 1 wide receiver. Do you think it's still too early in the rebuilding process to draft a receiver with their first-round pick? And does the team have enough of a foundation on the offensive line or should it continue to prioritize creating a cleaner pocket first?

John Schmeelk: Perhaps the answer is all of the above. You have identified some key priorities, and a cornerback to play across from James Bradberry can also be put into the mix. In terms of an edge rusher, if the best player on the Giants board at 11th overall is an edge rusher they should not hesitate to draft that player.

In terms of balancing offensive line versus a playmaker, the question is a little more nuanced. Generally, the Giants are in a position to add another explosive weapon on offense. With Golden Tate no longer on the roster, their only proven commodities at the position are Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard. Neither of those players have shown the ability to be a true No. 1 early in their careers.

Only one team had fewer than the Giants' 36 pass plays of 20+ yards last year. The better the players are around Daniel Jones, the more he should progress in his third season' the team also needs an offensive line that can protect long enough to make those types of plays.

The Giants' offensive line has a lot of young players with potential to improve this off-season. Andrew Thomas looked like a much better player in the season's final seven games. Shane Lemieux showed he could handle the mental part of the position in his starts at left guard. Matt Peart, in limited reps, showed the tools that made him a third-round pick. Nick Gates turned into a very steady player in his first year at center. Will Hernandez was a second-round pick and full-time starter until contracting COVID-19. If those players continue to develop and improve, the Giants can be in a great position on the offensive line for the foreseeable with little need for a major upgrade. Of course, there is no guarantee of continued progress for young players. Work on the offensive line is never done and right tackle Cam Fleming is hitting free agency. In other words, adding a big-time playmaker is a necessity, but that does not mean continued work on the offensive line isn't also a priority.

Eric in Arkansas: Could Eli Manning be a quarterback coach go for the G-men?

John Schmeelk: Manning made it pretty clear as he wound down his playing career that coaching would not really interest him after retirement. It would be surprising if that changed.


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