After a holiday weekend hiatus, the Giants360 mailbox is again chock full of your questions. As expected, many have to do with the April 30th draft, and with Nolan Nawrocki’s 2015 Draft Preview in hand, our responses are kicked up to a whole new level. This is a fun time of year to be a NFL fan.
On to your questions…
Paxlife [@PaxlifeForever] asks: Joe Barksdale, the free agent offensive tackle, formerly of the St. Louis Rams, is only 26 years old, and seems to fit the profile of a Giants free agent. Why isn’t there any interest?
Giants360: Barksdale has been inconsistent over the past two seasons, posting up and down grades as both a run blocker and pass blocker on the Pro Football Focus (PFF) ratings. He had a free agent visit with the Titans that did not result in a contract, and has not re-signed with the Rams, reportedly because his contract demands do not align with team views of his talent. The Giants surely took a long look before deciding to sign Marshall Newhouse as their swing tackle for 2015.
Michael Shea [@CirrusDriver] asks: Nobody talks much about a succession plan for Eli Manning. Is Ryan Nassib it?
Giants360: No one is talking about a succession plan for Manning because it’s premature. Eli has several quality season remaining, especially with the Giants new West Coast offense specifically designed to decrease the number of hits he absorbs each season. Peyton Manning is 5 years older and still going strong, ranking among the NFL’s best passers until nagging injuries slowed him towards the ends of last season.
With his rookie contract set to expire at the end of the 2016 season, it’s unlikely Ryan Nassib will succeed Manning as the Giants starting quarterback, barring a disastrous injury. He will either be traded prior to next season or leave as a free agent when his contract expires. This was the plan when he was drafted in the 4th round in 2013. Manning’s successor will come in a future draft and could be playing high school ball currently.
Randy [@itsrandoyo] asks: What position in this draft do you think has the steepest drop off after round one? I feel like teams can get offensive linemen, safeties, and cornerbacks in later rounds, but not defensive ends.
Giants360: One of the reasons I run at least one 4 round draft simulation daily is to get a feel for shifting position depth. Quality defensive ends drop off steeply, but it seems to happen after the Giants pick at 40. If the Giants want to pick linemen on both sides of the ball in three weeks, they should be able to find options in the first two rounds. There are developmental defensive ends available in the later rounds, we took a look at some that fit the Giants drafting profile here.
Tyler Kozic [@TJPK21] asks: Any chance the Giants move up or down in the draft?
Giants360: There’s always a chance. However, I believe the chances of moving down are far greater than the chances of moving up. If the Browns, with picks 12 and 19 were to offer both in exchange for the Giants picks at 9, Jerry Reese would strongly consider that trade. I don’t see a must have player for the Giants that would warrant giving up a the draft capital needed to jump into the top 5.
Collin Cook [@Cook98C] asks: There are still a few decent free agent offensive linemen available. Do you think the Giants will pick anyone up at a bargain rate as free agency winds down or draft an offensive lineman?
Giants360: While it’s possible that another free agent offensive lineman will be added, I think the fifth and final piece to the starting offensive line will come at either pick 9 or pick 40. There’s a reason the free agents that are still on the market haven’t been signed, and I don’t want to find out why because Manning just got up looking out of his ear hole on opening night.
Collin Cook [@Cook98C] asks: If we draft an edge rusher, what position will they play? Strong side linebacker? or try to work them into the defensive end rotation?
Giants360: There are only three of the Giants front seven starters that are set and relatively injury free – Jason Pierre-Paul at left defensive end, Jonathan Hankins at left defensive tackle, and Devon Kennard at strong side linebacker. If Jerry Reese selects an edge rusher in the first or second round, I’d expect he’d be looked at for the right defensive end spot or at weak side linebacker.
At right defensive end, free agent acquisition George Selvie will play run downs with Robert Ayers and Damontre Moore coming in in pass rushing situations. Ayers is not durable enough to handle a high number of snaps, and Moore has to prove he can play smart, disciplined football. At weak side linebacker, Jameel McClain will open camp as starter, but he was less than dominating last season and might be better the first backup at all three positions. That’s the spot to put the next man up.
Chris Butters [@ChrisButters] asks: Should the Giants take Shaq Thompson in the second round and try to convert him to safety, as some see this as his best position?
Giants360: If Thompson, the outstanding tweener prospect from the University of Washington falls to the Giants in round 2, he would be an excellent addition to the team. He plays both weak side linebacker, a position of the team could upgrade, and strong safety, where untested Nat Berhe will come into camp as the starter. In the nearly 250 draft simulations Giants360 has run [I’m not at all obsessive compulsive. It’s just fun and I can do them with a game or movie on in the background. Ok, maybe I’m a little OCD.], Thompson has not made it to pick 40 once. But that’s only in draft simulations, actual results may vary.
The Real Rainman! [@RayGT40] asks: What do you see Shaq Thompson as, a linebacker, a safety, or a hybrid?
Giants360: His draft profile reads like a linebacker. He reminds me of Brian Urlacher, who some thought would be converted to strong safety when he entered the NFL out of New Mexico 15 years ago. The Bears kept him at linebacker and it worked out rather well. Thompson’s best position is weak side linebacker. It’s been some time since the Giants have had one who can cover.
Ernie Schneider [@SchneiderErnie] asks: Is the offense staying high tempo? Not sure it’s a fit for Eli. Seem that he hurried to the line but the play clock still ran down.
Giants360: Delay of game penalties have plagued Manning throughout his career. Kevin Gilbride’s complex offense was thought to be the culprit, but given the continuation of the issue in this new, up temp Ben McAdoo offense, Manning may be to blame. There has been nothing said about McAdoo changing the tempo, but given that it’s now been in place a full season, all the veteran players will be more comfortable executing it. That familiarity should help limit the number of delay of game penalties. One can only hope.
Samuel [@Cool_boy_170] asks: My friend says Odell Beckham, jr. is leaving the Giants due to free agency. Is that true?
Giants360: Absolutely not. Beckham just completed the first year of a four year rookie contract. The Giants then have a fifth year option they can pick up on their 2014 first round pick and the franchise tag after that. Beckham will be in Giants blue for at least 5 more seasons. And, I suspect, for a long time after that. Players with Beckham’s talent only hit free agency under the most extreme circumstances.
Greg Smith [@glsmith04] asks: Who is your choice at 9? Brandon Scherff, or one of the edge rushers?
Giants360: If Scherff is there, he’s my pick. None of the edge rushers is blowing me away. Each seems to have a hole in his game that gives pause to taking him that high in the draft. With a top 10 pick, you need to take a player who will become an immediate starter and an impact player. Not a Cedric Jones, the Giants underwhelming 5th overall pick in 1996. History can’t repeat itself 19 years later by picking for need and not talent. Willie Anderson, Marvin Harrison, and Eddie George were among the players available when the Giants took Jones.
Jerry Reach [@JerryReach] asks: Where would you rate Jerry Reach in terms of best Giants GM of all time? Number 1 or Number 2?
[Editor’s note: @JerryReach is a Twitter Parody account for Giants General Manager Jerry Reese. It’s whimsical, witty, and worthy a follow. Giants360 and Mr. Reach often banter for the amusement of both our followings.]
Giants360: Jerry Reach ranks somewhere just below “Null” who was the team’s general manager between 1936 and 1946 according to ProFootballReference.com. His frequent naps, interesting all sports but football, and glaring lack of knowledge about NFL draft prospects ranks him a clear 33rd among current 32 NFL general managers. To make matters worse, Mr. Reach has access to the fine content on www.giants360.com and fails to print any of it out. Bring it to the war room, Reach, and you might make better picks than Stoney Woodson, who I’m pretty sure was a Flintstones character.
Of the modern day general managers, Jerry REESE ranks third of three. George Young is far and way at the top of list for this revival of moribund franchise of the 70’s. Drafting Phil Simms, Lawrence Taylor, Joe Morris, Carl Bank, and Leonard Marshall, among others, and hiring Bill Parcells to coach them up cements his legacy among Giants royalty.
Ernie Accorsi succeeded young upon his retirement in 1997 and oversaw another rebuilding process. His draft day trade for Eli Manning, together with the hiring of Tom Coughlin resulted in two Super Bowl wins after Accorsi retirement. Accorsi also drafted Chris Snee, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Brandon Jacobs, and other core players on those modern Giants Super Bowl teams.
That leaves us with Reese, who is still trying to secure his legacy. While Super Bowl 42 and 46 were technically on his watch, many of the players were acquired by Accorsi. The 2009 to 2012 draft were disastrous, causing many to call for Reese’s dismissal. The previous two draft have improved considerably, and 2015 will be Reese’s make or break year. With the 9th overall pick, he needs a home run, not a double, to ensure the Giants contend or he will be looking for work next January.
That’s wraps up the mailbag for this week and pushes us one week closer to that annual off season oasis – the NFL draft. Giants360 will continue our position by position roll out of those prospects that fit the Giants draft profile as part of our draft preview. Next up will either be offensive linemen or linebackers. I’m on the fence.
Next Friday, April 17th, the 2015 schedule comes out. We already know the Giants opponents. In addition to the traditional home and home series against the NFC East, the Giants face the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, New York Jets, and San Francisco Forty-Niners at home. On the road, the Giants will travel to match up against the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, and Minnesota Vikings. On Friday evening, we learn the order they face them. NFL Network will make a two hour program out of this information for all 32 teams. It’s still better and more meaningful than the NBA or NHL playoff marathon.
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