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Vacchiano's Giants Mailbag: Don't expect a Day 1 draft trade

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Is Giants GM Jerry Reese managing for his job?Seth Wenig/AP

Is Giants GM Jerry Reese managing for his job?

The Giants are on the clock.

Not really, of course. There are still more than three weeks until the start of the NFL draft, but everyone is growing impatient waiting for the follow-up to the Giants’ $ 200-million spending spree to open free agency. They opened with a bang, and since then? Nothing. At least nothing significant.

The big bang should’ve been more than enough, of course, but you want more. And judging by your questions, you’ve grown tired of them signing free-agent “nobodies” and you’ve focused your attention on the draft. And so I will look into my crystal ball and ignore the fact that the Giants haven’t finalized their draft board yet and I will tell you all of their draft plans …

OK, I probably won’t do that. But I will answer your Twitter questions to the best of my ability anyway:

Jerry Reese seems to be managing for his Job. Any crazy moves coming in the draft? Jaylon Smith? Trade picks? — @SteveArdiel

Well, first of all, Reese is (kind of) “managing for his job” and John Mara (kind of) made that clear at the end of last season. But I don’t really know that he’s doing anything different this offseason because of it. If you’re referring to the $ 200-million spending spree in free agency, that had more to do with the Giants’ recent record and their sudden availability of salary cap space than anything else. It’s not like Reese stole the owners’ checkbook and went crazy because he was afraid of being fired.

And I wouldn’t expect anything “crazy” in the draft either. I believe the last time the Giants traded their first-round pick was 2006, when they traded down and landed Mathias Kiwanuka. That was the year before Reese took over as GM. Given how valuable the 10th pick is, I would be absolutely stunned if Reese traded down in the draft.

As for trading up, that may be more likely but consider that Reese is a former scout who trusts the scouting process. They will likely have multiple options as the 10th pick approaches and he will believe that one of those will produce a great player. He seems unlikely to give up other picks to move up to get a player when he could keep his picks, stay where he is and still get a player he likes.

And as for Smith, the Notre Dame linebacker who probably would’ve been a Top 5 pick if he hadn’t torn up his knee, word is the knee is really bad and there are some concerns he’ll miss all of the 2016 season. Given that, I doubt the Giants would take a chance on him in the first couple of days of the draft. A late-round flier? Maybe.

Former Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith walks off after suffering a horrific knee injury.Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports

Former Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith walks off after suffering a horrific knee injury.

But just remember, the Giants’ No. 1 issue the last few years – the thing that has hurt their playoff chances the most – has been injuries. The last thing they want to do is waste a first- or second-day pick on a player with serious injury concerns.

Should we trade up for Ramsey, Tunsil or Jack? Should we trade down? — @ggossantos10

You guys are really obsessed with trades, you know that? They’re not exactly the norm in the NFL draft, especially when it comes to the Giants. And the results are pretty mixed on whether trading is a good idea. Usually it’s out of desperation – like a team that absolutely, positively has to find a quarterback – or a team that becomes obsessed with a player (i.e. the Giants with Eli Manning in 2004).

I don’t get the sense that the Giants are desperate for anything, or “obsessed” with Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey, Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil or UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, or anyone. I think they like all three – particularly Ramsey. Ramsey and Jack would certainly be a big help. Tunsil fills a need too, but I really can’t see the Giants trading up for a right tackle. As I’ve said many times, my early feeling is they’re going defense in Round 1.

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So “should” they trade up for those three? No. First of all, to get Ramsey they may have to jump to 1 or 2 and the cost of that would be prohibitive. If Jack is somehow sitting there at 9, maybe they’d have to think about moving up a spot. But honestly, at 10 they’re going to get a very good player and maybe one right on the level of Jack (if he’s gone). There will be a lot of defensive help available and probably a player who has a chance to be a fixture in their lineup for years.

So I’d stay put. I wouldn’t trade up or down if I were the Giants.

Do you think the giants are hoping to be able to plug and play with their first three picks? Holes at wr, ol & defense — @AntFranciosa

I believe that is always – or at least should always – be the intention with the first three picks. That’s especially true of the first rounder.

This is an era in the NFL where it’s all about young talent, and with players moving around so often in free agency, there’s really only a short window for teams to get something out of their draft picks. The higher the pick, the more a team – especially a rebuilding (or “retooling”) team – needs young players to step in and help immediately.

That’s why I’ve always said this “best available player” nonsense that some GMs (particularly Jerry Reese) like to spew is a myth. When teams make their picks – heck, even as they rank their boards – they are always cognizant of “need,” especially in the early rounds. The last thing a smart team would ever do is pick a player in, say, the top half of the first round who they project to help down the road, but that they can’t really fit into their lineup in Year 1 or 2.

But I digress. Yes, given all their holes – receiver, the right side of the offensive line, safety, a third corner, more pass-rush help – I’d have to believe the Giants’ first-, second-, and third-round picks will be players who they feel will have an immediate chance to step in and compete for either a starting job or significant playing time as a rookie.

And that will be especially true of the player they pick at No. 10. It absolutely won’t be a developmental player or someone who fills a need down the road.

Ezekiel Elliot? — @sethrlevine

Speaking of players who would be more of a “fills a need down the road” type of guy …

OK, fans are about as obsessed with him as they are with the idea of the Giants making a trade. I think you only take a running back in the Top 10 if you think he’s the next Adrian Peterson. Otherwise teams have proven that if you build a good offensive line you can plug in any NFL-caliber running back behind them and generate a powerful rushing attack.

Drafting Ezekiel Elliot at No. 10 doesn't make sense for the Giants.John David Mercer/USA Today Sports

Drafting Ezekiel Elliot at No. 10 doesn’t make sense for the Giants.

So for the sake of this argument I will concede the debatable point that Elliott could be the next Peterson. And if that’s true, should/would the Giants draft him at 10?

No.

The Giants spent decent money a couple of years ago on Rashad Jennings, more decent money last year on Shane Vereen, and they still believe – or say they believe – in a young Andre Williams. That’s a pretty complete backfield. OK, there are some assumptions there – like that Jennings’ late-season surge is a real sign of what he can do if they abandon the stupid four-RB committee (that included Orleans Darkwa), and that Williams’ bad second-year slump was an aberration.

But even if you concede that Elliott is better than all of them combined, does plugging him in behind the current offensive line dramatically improve the Giants? Believe it or not, they rushed for 100 yards per game last season (18th in the NFL). The four RBs combined for more than 1,500 yards. The offense overall with those RBs ranked eighth in the NFL.

They would get more out of a second receiver – which they currently don’t have – who could make the passing game numbers absolutely explode. Or a right tackle who could really help Jennings/Williams/Vereen. Or any number of defensive players.

This is a pass-first league, Ben McAdoo’s offense leans heavily on the pass, and the Giants are pretty good at that. They can more than get by with the running backs they have. So no, I do not think they would or should take Elliott at 10.

What will the WR roster be? Who will be OBJ’s main support? — @DaveMcGimpsey

That is a much more important question. Right now the receiver lineup behind Odell Beckham is a big unknown. As you know, last year’s No. 2 – Rueben Randle – is now in Philadelphia. Victor Cruz is supposedly progressing nicely in his comeback attempt, but we thought that at this time last year too so he’s not a player anyone will count on until he steps on the field for his first game.

So that leaves a hole at No. 2 because I think the Giants like Dwayne Harris as the third receiver, which also allows him to double as a dangerous kick returner. And I really don’t think they see Myles White or any of the other receivers on their roster as a likely starter this year.

And that leaves them two options: 1. They could draft a receiver, which I’ve said before I would not be surprised if they did on Day 2. There are always good receivers who can instantly step into a lineup available in Rounds 2 and 3 (At this point I seriously doubt they’d pick a receiver in Round 1). Or 2. They could bring in a veteran like Anquan Boldin as a one-year stop gap, someone to take a little pressure off Beckham and maybe mentor some young receivers.

I’ll admit, I’m a little surprised they haven’t been more interested in the second option, but as of this moment I have not heard of them having any interest in Boldin or any other veteran receiver. That’s not to say they haven’t at least investigated the possibility. But nothing has leaked out yet.

Who r these non-NFL talent lineman that Jerry signed? Ryan Seymour aka JD Walton * The Oline is a mess, this is comical — @hotcoffeeallday

I got a lot of this after the Giants signed Ryan Seymour and Dillon Farrell the other day. The Giants sign two guys that most fans haven’t heard of before and Twitter erupts in a panic, Reese becomes a moron again, and the Giants are totally doomed. Doomed!!!

Here’s the thing: The roster has 90 spots on it. I believe they currently have 69 players. They’ll have six draft picks too, so that will leave 15 more players they have to add, and chances are most of them will be players most of you (and me) have never heard of before. That doesn’t mean they are “non-NFL talent.” Seymour, for one, is a former seventh-round pick who has actually started three games (at center for the Browns in 2014).

They are both young, provide competition, maybe depth, and could help on special teams – all things that are important. It’s not like the Giants signed them and said “Here are our starting right guard and tackle.” There’s nothing wrong with bringing developmental, young players into camp.

Oh, and about the line being a “mess?” The left side of the line (Ereck Flowers and Justin Pugh) and center (Weston Richburg) is pretty good. And while the current right-side combo of guard John Jerry and tackle Marshall Newhouse isn’t exactly all-pro caliber, it’s hardly a “mess.” Those are two NFL veterans who are capable of doing at least a decent job.

And the Giants likely aren’t done. They are still shopping for at least one lineman to man the right side, either via free agency or the draft.

Are they really crazy enough to once again roll the dice with these kids at safety? — @RJKing56

If by “these kids” you’re referring to Bennett Jackson, Nat Berhe, Mykkele Thompson and perhaps Cooper Taylor competing for a job next to Landon Collins? Yes, I think they are exactly that crazy.

That does seem to be the plan. They really like Jackson and Berhe, even though both are unproven and have injury issues. They liked Thompson enough to draft him last year, though I couldn’t tell you what they’ve got in him since he hasn’t been on the field. I think having Collins there makes the situation better than it was at this point last year, but I do think they’re taking a risk and I’m surprised they’re taking it two years in a row.

The Giants' safety corps will rely heavily on second-year man Landon Collins.Matt Bush/USA Today Sports

The Giants’ safety corps will rely heavily on second-year man Landon Collins.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they added a veteran safety late in free agency or even after training camp cuts – think someone like Deon Grant, who became a stabilizing force and a mentor in the secondary for the Super Bowl XLVI champs. But other than a brief flirtation with Reggie Nelson, I really haven’t heard much about the Giants in the safety market, so I don’t know who that veteran would be.

Why does Ben McAdoo think knowing who the play caller is is a competitive advantage? — @cormanod

Well, in general NFL coaches are paranoid and think everything they do should be a state secret. He probably thinks that if the Cowboys knew which cereal he had for breakfast they could somehow use that knowledge to help them win a game.

Still, in this case I kind of see his point. Right this moment it’s probably not much of an advantage. But the schedule comes out in a few weeks and soon after that whoever plays the Giants on opening day – and probably in the first few weeks – will have their scouts begin breaking down tapes of the Giants. They’ll also be looking for tendencies, strategies, anything that will give them a hint of how their game will go.

They’ll study the Giants personnel, but do they study last year’s tapes and look at McAdoo’s play-calling tendencies or do they look back at the 2012-13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense to see what Mike Sullivan – then the Bucs’ offensive coordinator, and now the Giants’ offensive coordinator – liked to call?

As long as nobody is sure who is calling the Giants plays, they probably have to do both. And if somehow McAdoo is able to keep that secret into September, you can see how it makes it just a little more difficult for opponents to prepare.

Top 6 d off the board (bosa, Buck, Jack, Floyd, Ramsey and Hargreaves) who is the pick? — @jdhaft

OK, so we’re back to the draft, I guess.

I hate these questions. I get a million of them, they involve a ridiculous amount of hypotheticals, and we could play this game all day using any scenarios. And the truth is: I don’t know. Nobody does. Even Jerry Reese doesn’t know for sure right now. The draft board is fluid and will be until the days before the draft. They haven’t finalized their plan yet.

So this may be fun (for you), but it’s all just a wild guess.

Yeah, I know, I took the question so I should answer it. What would the Giants do if Ohio State DE Joey Bosa, Oregon DE DeForest Buckner, UCLA LB Myles Jack, Georgia LB Leonard Floyd, Florida State CB Jalen Ramsey and Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves are all gone before 10? Well, there are still some good defensive players left that might be worthy of a Top 10 pick: Clemson DE Shaq Lawson, Alabama DT A’Shawn Robinson, maybe Clemson DE Kevin Dodd or Ohio State CB Eli Apple, just to name a few.

I think what you’re asking – and why I took this speculative question – is if all their defensive favorites are gone, would they force themselves to take the next best defensive player, or would they go offense?

Well, first of all, I find it hard to believe those six will be gone in the first 10 picks. This will be a defense-heavy top of the draft, but you’ll still see at least one and maybe two tackles go early (Ole Miss’ Laremy Tunsil, Notre Dame’s Ronnie Stanley), one or two quarterbacks (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz, Cal’s Jared Goff), and maybe even a receiver (Ole Miss’ Laquon Treadwell) and a running back (Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott).

But if those six are gone? I really still think they’re going defense. First, I’m not ready to say their choice will definitely come out of those six. But second, as I said, there are other good defensive players available and I don’t think they’d necessarily be forcing the issue if they went that direction. From everything I’ve heard, they are leaning defense in Round 1. It’s early and that could change, but I’m sticking with that for now.

I know you wanted a specific name, but I couldn’t give you one right now since I don’t know the exact order of their board. The four names I gave you above would make sense to me in this scenario. But again, it’s still pretty early.

Hey What do you think our Draft haul will consist of in no order of round…? — @Ecapital44

Wait, you want me to tell you who the Giants will be getting with all six of their picks (they traded their seventh-round pick to Pittsburgh last summer for punter Brad Wing)!?? I can’t even tell you who they’re picking in the first round yet!!

Who they gonna draft Ralph? — @dudelawless

Sorry, we’re out of time.

Tags:
nfl ,
new york giants ,
jerry reese ,
jaylon smith ,
nfl transactions ,
ezekiel elliott ,
odell beckham jr. ,
victor cruz ,
dwayne harris ,
seymo

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