Jerry in New York: What is the likelihood of draft trades happening prior to draft day given the uncertainty of this year's process, and potential technology glitches, logistics etc.?
John Schmeelk: Excellent question, Jerry. We did a long interview with former scout Bryan Broaddus on Big Blue Kickoff on April 8 and we spoke to Daniel Jeremiah on the Giants Huddle Podcast, two guys who have spent a lot of time in war rooms on draft day. Both men stressed the importance of preparing for every conceivable trade and having conversations with other teams prior to the draft due to the challenges you mentioned.
The preparation and conversations before the draft become more valuable in the new environment with the technological challenges. More trades might happen prior to the draft, but some, due to the unpredictability of what players will get picked where, will still have to happen draft night. These previous conversations and extensive preparation will make them easier to navigate.
Ken in Florida: Do you think there would be interest in the 4th or 5th round for a player like Lynn Bowden from Kentucky?
John Schmeelk: Bowden is a very interesting player. A true junior out of Kentucky, Bowden lined up as a receiver for his first two years and a bit of his third at Kentucky. Due to injuries at quarterback in his junior year, he had to play there (where he played in high school) in the final eight games of the season and led Kentucky to a 6-2 record. He did not work out at the combine due to a hamstring injury, but he is an excellent and versatile athlete who can line up all over the field. In 2019, he rushed for 1,468 yards. He caught 114 passes for 1,303 yards in his three years, playing primarily in the slot. He also completed 38 passes in his career for 495 yards. He could be a true Antwaan Randle El type weapon in the NFL.
Christopher in Missouri: What is the value order of positions by pay/value when it comes to franchise tags?
John Schmeelk: Chris, here is a list of the franchise and transition tag amounts for players in 2020. Franchise tags represent the average of the top five players at each position, while the transition tags represent the average of the top ten players at each position. The numbers are courtesy of overthecap.com. Please note the league does not differentiate between defensive ends and defensive tackles, guards and offensive tackles, or inside and outside linebackers. The perimeter players (defensive end, offensive tackle, edge players) in those instances generally make high salaries.
- QB -- Franchise Tag: $26,824,000 Transition Tag: $24,837,000
- WR -- Franchise Tag: $17,865,000 Transition Tag: $15,680,000
- DE -- Franchise Tag: $17,788,000 Transition Tag: $15,184,000
- CB -- Franchise Tag: $16,338,000 Transition Tag: $14,197,000
- DT -- Franchise Tag: $16,126,000 Transition Tag: $13,143,000
- LB -- Franchise Tag: $15,828,000 Transition Tag: $13,767,000
- OL -- Franchise Tag: $14,781,000 Transition Tag: $13,505,000
- S -- Franchise Tag: $11,441,000 Transition Tag: $9,860,000
- TE -- Franchise Tag: $10,607,000 Transition Tag: $9,117,000
- RB -- Franchise Tag: $10,278,000 Transition Tag: $8,483,000
- ST -- Franchise Tag: $5,019,000 Transition Tag: $4,559,000
View photos of every player projected to the Giants in mock drafts one week ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft.
William in Pennsylvania: Do you think the Giants should put the blinders on and draft a franchise offensive tackle and franchise center in rounds 1 and 2?
John Schmeelk: Never put the blinders on, William. You cannot go into the draft and be set on drafting someone at a position, no matter what. That's how big mistakes are made. Teams draft players not positions. With that said, one thing to look at is the unique depth at the top of this offensive tackle class. Very rarely are there four players at the position available who are so highly regarded by a number of analysts. There are plenty of drafts where no tackles left on the board after the top ten are as good as any of the tackles at the top of this class. The league's best offensive tackles rarely become available in free agency and typically man their position for more than a decade. There is true scarcity at offensive tackle in the NFL. There are quality centers available in most drafts and they rarely go inside top fifteen or top twenty, so targeting one in the second round this year does not have the same urgency.
Kevin in New York: If the Giants draft Simmons at number four, could you see them getting Boise State's Ezra Cleveland in 2nd round? Does he grade out as a good value at that pick? Would he be available at this pick?
John Schmeelk: There are varied opinions on Cleveland from the experts out there. Daniel Jeremiah from NFL Network, for example, does not have Cleveland in his top 50. Dane Brugler from The Athletic, on the other hand, has Cleveland ranked as his 30th best player and 7th offensive tackle behind the consensus top four, Josh Jones and Austin Jackson. Mel Kiper of ESPN has him ranked as his sixth best tackle in front of Austin Jackson. Scouts Inc., which does grades and rankings for ESPN, has him as their 33rd best player in the draft. In other words, for some, he is right in the neighborhood of the Giants second round pick at 36th overall.
Cleveland, a redshirt junior, had an excellent NFL Combine, with elite scores in all the jumping, agility and speed drills. He measured an impressive 6-6 and 311 pounds with 33.375 inch arms. An excellent athlete, Cleveland was first team All-Mountain West Conference his last two years at Boise State. He started 40 games at left tackle the last three seasons, missing only one game due to injury and playing more than 95% of the team's snaps, according to Brugler. He played through a turf toe injury he suffered in the first game of his junior year and he had to manage all season. He only missed one game due to the injury.