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Cover 4: Final thoughts heading into Draft Night


The crew gives final thoughts heading into the 2024 NFL Draft:

John Schmeelk: I've been thinking about this draft non-stop for the last three months. We are finally here, and I want to bring it back to basics. The common refrain is just to "draft the best player." I don't think that's right. The correct way to phrase it is "draft the player that provides the most value towards winning a Super Bowl." Not as snappy, I know, but I phrase it that way for a reason.

It isn't just "draft the guy that provides the most value" because then the quarterback would be the no-brainer pick for most teams that don't have a top quarterback already in their building. Even the 12th or 15th best quarterback brings more value than a player at nearly every other position on the field. But does drafting a player that eventually becomes the 12th or 15th best quarterback in the league bring you closer to a Super Bowl?

Aside from Nick Foles and the Eagles in Super Bowl LII, an older Peyton Manning in Super Bowl 50, and Joe Flacco in Super Bowl XLVII, a top quartile quarterback in the league has pretty much won the Super Bowl since Super Bowl XLII nearly 20 years ago. Good quarterbacks help you win regular-season games and get to the playoffs, but great ones win Super Bowls. Even Foles and Flacco in the group above played elite level football on those playoff runs to get those teams championships.

Which is why, unless a team thinks a quarterback has the potential to be a true elite player, selecting one extremely early doesn't really add more value than a top player at another elite position like wide receiver, offensive tackle, edge rusher, or cornerback. The Giants are fortunate enough to be selecting at sixth overall in a draft where Daniel Jeremiah has three quarterbacks, three wide receivers, offensive tackle and an elite pass-catching tight end in his top eight players.

Without moving at all, the Giants will be able to draft an elite quarterback, an elite player to protect their quarterback, or an elite player for their quarterback to throw to with their first selection. It is a great place to be. Trading up for an elite player at the league's most valuable position is never anything that should be ruled out for any team, but a trade down could make sense too.

As Joe Schoen stated at his press conference last week, the Giants are not one player away from contending. If they can move down a few slots and still position themselves to select an elite player at an elite position and pick up more selections, there's a good argument to do it. If a quarterback is available at No. 6 the Giants are not in love with, there could be an opportunity to slide down and add future picks to fill out the roster.

On Day 2, there will be plenty of good players to choose from at positions of need like cornerback, safety defensive tackle, running back, guard and even potentially tight end and edge rusher. Trading down on Day 2 to get more picks is also possible. On Day 3, find players with traits that could develop into a player down the road while they begin their career contributing on special teams.

There is no more important three days in the NFL offseason than the NFL Draft, when teams build out the foundation of their franchise and obtain players they hope will take them to the Super Bowl. There's no greater value to NFL rosters than difference-makers on rookie contracts. I can't wait for it to start.

Dan Salomone: Fans, owners, coaches, general managers, and pundits can agree on one thing: If you have a conviction on a quarterback, there is virtually no price too high because it's the most important position in all of sports. The question is if the Giants have that belief about someone in this class. "There are very few people that know what we're thinking or what direction we're going," general manager Joe Schoen said at the NFL Annual Meeting last month.

That certainly includes the four of us in this article.

If the Giants don't have that conviction, there are other ways to inject the offense with more production, whether that is the best wide receiver or offensive tackle available. Or they could stockpile draft capital by moving back, a plausible scenario considering what Schoen said about the "surprisingly" high number of calls he received from teams behind him.

"If they fall in love with a quarterback and believe that it's worth pick No. 6 and we're moving up, I certainly would support that," team president John Mara said last month. "I let the general manager and the head coach build the roster. We have operated the same way for many years here. If they have a conviction about a player, I'm not going to get involved. I'll question them about it, make them defend their position, but the only time I'm going to get involved and exert any influence is if I think it's a conduct issue off the field. That's happened, not with this group, but in the past on very rare occasions. In terms of them evaluating the players, if they have a conviction about a player and want to draft one, want to get one in free agency, then all I want to make sure is that they're both on the same page."

View Daniel Jeremiah best remaining prospects from his original top 150 ranking in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Lance Medow: A few weeks ago, we were asked to provide some thoughts on how we see the draft playing out and, at that time, I focused on the quarterbacks and the fact that I believe there will be an early run on that position. Now that we've arrived at the week of the draft, I still stand by that claim even if we a see a trade with one of those selections. The biggest news to react to is what Joe Schoen revealed during his pre-draft presser that he's heard from several teams picking behind the Giants, who are potentially interested in moving up. That means New York could have options depending on how things play out in the first five picks, but even if that's something Schoen and company would entertain, they still must determine how far they'd be willing to move down.

If several signal-callers are off the board by the time the Giants are on the clock, that means they'd be in position to grab one of the best playmakers available. Is it worth passing on that simply to obtain a future asset or two? If there's conviction in the room regarding a player, I'd say no. Take the player and don't think twice. Even Schoen made it clear that the Giants need to score more points in 2024. In order to accomplish that feat, you need to find a player that will put fear in the eyes of the defense and force opposing coordinators to roll their coverage toward that weapon. Moving down six or seven spots could very easily take you out of contention for a player falling under that label.

Matt Citak: Draft Week is finally here, and I still don't have a strong feeling about what the Giants are going to do. Based on draft position and team needs, it seems most likely that the Giants target either a wide receiver or quarterback with their first-round pick. If they stay at No. 6, it seems more likely that they take one of the three elite receivers in Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers or Rome Odunze, than a quarterback. QBs are expected to go first, second and third overall, and a fourth signal-caller could go fourth or fifth. Whether it's three or four quarterbacks that go in the first five picks, the Giants should have their pick of at least one of the top wideouts, if not more. If the Giants want to select one of the top quarterbacks in this year's class, it might require them to move up from No. 6 in order to secure their guy. Despite signing Daniel Jones to an extension last offseason, GM Joe Schoen has made it clear that this contract would not prevent the Giants from selecting a quarterback, if that's the route they decide to go down.

Perhaps the biggest thing I'm looking for this weekend is if/how Schoen moves around the draft board. In his first year as general manager, Schoen traded down twice in the second round, moving from No. 36 to No. 38 and then from No. 38 to No. 43 while picking up No. 146 and No. 114, respectively. Then last year, Schoen moved up one spot in the first round in order to select Deonte Banks and 16 slots in the third round to secure Jalin Hyatt. Schoen has also shown that he's not afraid to trade draft picks for players, evidenced by the deals we've seen over the last year for Brian Burns, Isaiah Simmons, Darren Waller and Boogie Basham. Every year, we see some veteran players get traded for picks during draft weekend. If the Giants end up selecting a quarterback with their top pick, they could fill the need at wide receiver by trading a pick or two for a veteran pass-catcher. Whether it's to move up or down on the draft board or to acquire a veteran player, I would not be surprised to see Schoen be pretty active on the trade market this weekend for the third consecutive year. I for one can't wait to witness some trade fireworks once the draft kicks off Thursday night.

Players have returned to the Quest Diagnostics Training Center for the offseason workout program.


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