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Cover 4

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Cover 4: Draft thoughts entering the home stretch


With the countdown now less than a month, the crew checks in to share thoughts on the upcoming draft:

John Schmeelk: I'm pumped, though I do admit, as much as I love the Brian Burns deal, it was very painful to see the Giants trade away the No. 39 overall selection. Often times, a player or two left with a first-round grade could be left on a team's board early in the second round. It is also easier to move back up into the first round when picking at Nos. 39 and 47 than just picking at No. 47. It does erase some flexibility on draft night.

With an extra second-round pick, the team could have grabbed an excellent wide receiver or quarterback if one wasn't taken with the sixth pick. It also provided an opportunity to grab a top cornerback or the first safety off the board. A starting-caliber offensive lineman would also still likely be available. But a team has to give something up to get access to a special player like Burns.

Even with the trade, I could not be more excited for whatever player the Giants select. Any of Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, and Rome Odunze, would immediately be the Giants' most talented wide receiver since Odell Beckham Jr. I think they all have the ability to step in and be a player other teams would have to plan for immediately. They all play with different styles but can make game-breaking plays on any snap.

The draft is also deep enough at key positions like cornerback to make it likely the Giants find starting-caliber players at positions of need on Day 2. A player that could be a long-term answer at running back might be available as late as round four. It is a great draft, especially at the top, and the Giants are in prime position to take advantage of that.

Dan Salomone: John Mara probably spoke for every Giants fan this week at the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando, where general manager Joe Schoen and coach Brian Daboll also met with reporters. Below is a question and response from the team president.

Q: "[The offensive line has] been a theme for over a decade really here. Some people say it's ridiculous, it's inexcusable. It seems like every year somebody is saying, we need to fix this, we need to fix this. Should it have been fixed, and do you think it is fixed?"

Mara: "You're right it's ridiculous, and it's a continuing source of frustration for me. It's time to get it fixed. We've invested in a couple of No. 1 draft picks on offensive tackles. We have a No. 2 draft pick playing at center, and now we have spent some money in free agency. We have a new offensive line coach. I expect us to be a hell of a lot better this year."

But is the work done? Time will tell when it comes to the draft and then ultimately when the grind of the season begins. If last year taught us anything, it's that you can never have enough depth, especially on the offensive line. "I've never run into a situation like that before," Schoen said this week.

Meanwhile, if the last decade has taught us anything, it's that when teams think they have a position figured out, football has a way of humbling front offices. That is why it would not be wise to rule out any position for the Giants. Keep that in mind when all the outside noise only gets louder down the home stretch of the pre-draft process.

"There are very few people that know what we're thinking or what direction we're going," Schoen said. "Anything that is out there is likely not true."

View photos of the newest members of the Giants touring the Quest Diagnostics Training Center for the first time.

Lance Medow: With a month to go, all eyes are still on the quarterback class and how many will be selected early in the first round. Following the first wave of free agency, I think we received a bit more clarity as to why the teams with the first three picks will likely grab signal-callers. The Bears traded Justin Fields to the Steelers, the Commanders sent Sam Howell to the Seahawks, and the Patriots shipped Mac Jones to the Jaguars. All three quarterbacks started for those teams in 2023, so by default, there are currently voids across the board. Even before the trades were finalized, I felt the first three picks would be quarterbacks but now I have even more conviction.

If the first three picks play out that way, you could argue the draft begins at No. 4 with the Arizona Cardinals, who already have Kyler Murray and are in position to select the best non-quarterback on the board. With the Giants two selections away, they should be able to walk away with one of their top-ranked targets or consider trading down if a team wants to make an aggressive move for a player. My feeling is if you really love a prospect when you're getting set to pick at No. 6 and most of the front office is on the same page, you take the player and you don't think twice. However, if you like several players and moving down keeps you in the mix for one of them while acquiring additional assets, then it's worth entertaining.

Quarterbacks will set the tone of this draft early, but keep in mind, they all won't pan out with their respective teams because the environment shapes the signal-caller/ Case in point, three (Trey Lance, Justin Fields, Mac Jones) of the first five quarterbacks selected in the 2021 Draft have already changed uniforms and Zach Wilson will likely make it four. All those players are only three seasons into their NFL careers.

Matt Citak: Through the first few weeks of the new league year, the Giants' front office has done a good job of filling in several of the team's holes on the roster, most notably along the offensive line and at edge rusher. With a month to go until the draft, the Giants are now in a prime spot to address another key position on draft weekend – wide receiver.

Sitting at sixth overall, the Giants will have an opportunity to add an elite playmaker to the offense. Quarterbacks are expected to go first, second, and third overall, and another one could go fourth or fifth. When the Giants get on the clock, they will have their choice of some combination of Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze. All three are widely considered to be among the top overall wide receiver prospects from recent years, and all three would likely be the top wideout in any other draft. If the Giants decide to use their No. 6 pick on the wide receiver position, they will immediately be adding a number one receiver to a group that already includes Wan'Dale Robinson, Darius Slayton, Jalin Hyatt and Isaiah Hodgins, among others. Even if the Giants wait until the No. 47 pick to take a receiver, they will still have their choice of some strong prospects. Guys like Keon Coleman, Xavier Legette, Troy Franklin and Malachi Corley, just to name a few, could be some of the top options for the Giants in the second round, and all have the potential to develop into a No. 1 receiver. This year's crop of wide receiver prospects is so deep that some really talented players are even going to drop all the way to the third round.

Another thing to keep in mind that seems to be forgotten each year as the draft approaches is that we could and likely will see some veteran wide receivers traded on draft weekend. If the Giants don't go wide receiver in the first round and aren't in love with the guys still on the board in the second round, it wouldn't shock me to see that No. 47 pick used in a trade to acquire a veteran wideout, similar to what we saw with the acquisition of Brian Burns. As of right now, the Giants have a lot of cap space to work with in 2025. This means they could trade for a veteran receiver and sign him to an extension, thus lowering his 2024 cap hit and pushing more money to future years. While there obviously is a lot of value in getting an elite playmaker at the beginning of a rookie contract, if the Giants end up selecting a quarterback in the first round, trading a Day 2 pick for a proven, veteran receiver could be an attractive option to explore.

View photos of every NFL player selected with the sixth overall pick since the first draft in 1936.

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