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Cover 4: Final thoughts before 2023 NFL Draft


The crew gives their final draft thoughts with the festivities about to kick off:

John Schmeelk: Figure if one of the top three wide receivers (Smith-Njigba, Addison, Flowers) or top four cornerbacks (Gonzales, Witherspoon, Porter Jr., Banks) are on the board at #25, they will be a Giant. They play a premium position, fit a need, and most importantly are very good football players.

But what if all seven of those players are wiped out, which is possible? Trading down in this draft where there is a sweet spot of value on Day 2 would not be a bad thing. With Daniel Jones having recently signed a big contract and other potential big deals coming down the road for players such as Dexter Lawrence, Andrew Thomas and Xavier McKinney (among others), the team needs as many low-cost players on controllable contracts as possible.

Given how Joe Schoen has talked about how he is comfortable with the interior offensive linemen on the roster and preference for premium position early in the draft, center is unlikey to be the pick, but you could see the interior line attacked later in the draft.

A defensive lineman or edge player is a sleeper here. It is a premium position where the Giants can use help alongside Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams, Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux. There will likely be options available at those positions but will their grades be better than the receivers or cornerbacks still on the board? You just don't t know.

How willing are the Giants to pick their best player, even if the roster is packed – such as at tight end? Given how safeties also play slot corner and Wink Martindale used them all over the field, would that be an option? Pprobably. Brian Branch is widely considered the lone first-round safety option.

Finally, here are some other random thoughts. … Bijan Robinson will go sooner than a lot of people think. Look at the Eagles and Lions who can maximize his skills. … There will be a run on OL between Nos. 6-15, with as many as four going off the board. … At least two tight ends go in the first round (you can go with three). … Four quarterbacks will go in the first round, though a fifth via a trade-up in the 20s or 30s would not be a surprise.

Dan Salomone: Even for a pre-draft press conference, general manager Joe Schoen played his cards close to the vest in his final words to the media before everything kicks off Thursday night. There was one nugget, however, that caught my attention. In response to a question about if he has 25 players with first-round grades, Schoen said they are "pretty confident that there will be somebody there when we pick at 25 that we'll be happy with."

It's a question worth asking considering the 25th pick has been traded in six consecutive drafts. Last year, it was dealt from Buffalo to Baltimore – which, as Michael Eisen noted recently on, has acquired it in three of the last five drafts – before the Ravens selected Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum. Maybe the Giants break the streak … or continue it.

View photos from inside the Giants' newly-renovated draft room at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

Lance Medow: As Joe Schoen indicated in his pre-draft presser, it's a lot harder to determine which players may still be on the board when you're picking at 25 compared to Nos. 5 and 7 as they were slotted in 2022. It's a good problem to have because the later you pick in the draft, the better you finished the previous season. There's a lot of validity behind Schoen's words as the Giants can easily go in a variety of directions and you wouldn't be surprised if corner, pass rusher or wide receiver is one of them given need and value will likely match up.

You'd think there will be a run at corner and on the offensive line before New York makes its pick with four at each position potentially off the board. As far as quarterbacks go, every year there's an assumption a high volume of signal callers will be selected in the Top 10 and shake things up; but in 2021, those same assumptions were made and after Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson went Nos. 1-2 and the next quarterback (Justin Fields) wasn't taken until 11. You wouldn't be surprised if this situation repeats itself this year.

Matt Citak: With the draft now two days away, perhaps the team's most glaring need is at the cornerback position. Adoree' Jackson will start at corner, but who joins him on the opposite side remains up in the air. Cor'Dale Flott, Aaron Robinson, Nick McCloud and Amani Oruwariye, among others, will compete for the other starting spot, but there is a good chance that another player is added early in the draft. Based on where the Giants are picking, cornerback might be the position where the best player available matches up with one of the team's biggest needs. Guys such as Deonte Banks, Emmanuel Forbes, and Brian Branch could be in play.

However, one thing to keep in mind is the depth at the CB position in this year's draft. Corner is considered to be one of the deepest positions, which means the Giants could opt to go a different route in the first round, perhaps wide receiver or center, and then snag a corner on Day 2. Based on what Joe Schoen said in his pre-draft press conference last week, it wouldn't surprise me to see the Giants use some of their extra draft capital to move up in the second or third round in order to land their preferred target. Cam Smith, Kelee Ringo, Tyrique Stevenson, DJ Turner, Julius Brents, Clark Phillips and Darius Rush are just a few of the players that could hear their names called on the second day of the draft.

Considering the depth at the position, it's a good year to have a need at cornerback. With how the roster currently stands, you'd expect the Giants to add to the position at some point during the first two days of the draft, and for that player to immediately compete for a starting spot.


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