You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Giants.
Paul, while (Dave) Gettleman is big on “best available player” in the draft, what do you think the Giants will do if they stay at No. 4 and (Isaiah) Simmons is available? Do they take him or grab one of the tackles? They have two top-10 picks on offense who need to be protected! — Jim Kenny
Jim, you essentially boiled down what this draft is for the Giants: Do they take a impact defensive player (Simmons) or go for one of the top offensive tackles (Jedrick Wills Jr., Tristan Wirfs, Mekhi Becton, Andrew Thomas)?
It seems to me most teams will grade Simmons higher on their draft boards than any of the offensive tackles. Maybe the Giants have Simmons ranked in the top five in this draft and their highest offensive tackle in the top seven or eight. If that is the case, they can take the tackle over Simmons and, while not staying completely true to their draft board, at least know they got their top-rated tackle and bypassed Simmons for a player not rated much lower.
I maintain a trade-down is the way to go — if Gettleman can find a trade partner and still ensure that the Giants get one of the top-rated tackles. Adding extra draft picks on the first two days of the draft would be fantastic for the Giants. They need to add as many quality players to the roster as they can.
If the Giants select Simmons in the first round, who would be the best OT available in the second round? — Brian
Good question. Sometimes people forget there is a draft after the first round, and just because you do not address one position in the first round does not mean it cannot be taken care of in the next two days. There does seem to be a drop-off after the top-four offensive tackle prospects. This does not mean the Giants cannot find quality in the second round, but how many in the next tier of tackles — Josh Jones (Houston), Austin Jackson (USC) and Isaiah Wilson (Georgia) — will make it into the second round?
Most likely one or more of them will get taken in the first round. All three are interesting prospects, and all three should pique the interest of the Giants if they go defense in the first round. Wilson in particular is intriguing, considering he came out of college after his sophomore year and he is 6-foot-7 and 350 pounds. He is not ready for the NFL, but, remember, Joe Judge said it is about long-term potential with these draft picks, not short-term fixes.
What are the chances Giants go with DT Derrick Brown in the first round? The Giants are known to be of the “best player available” mindset, and many people have him rated higher than the OTs and Simmons. — Pablo
Here we go again. You are correct, Pablo, we are hearing some of this “best player in the draft’’ rhetoric about Derrick Brown — just like we heard five years ago with Leonard Williams coming out of USC. How did that work out for the Jets? I am not buying it. There is no doubt Brown is a load in the middle of the defense and will be a good to very good player in the NFL. He makes sense to pick high in this draft for many teams. It does not make sense for the Giants.
Defensive tackle is a position where the Giants are pretty well fortified. They took Dexter Lawrence in the first round last year. Dalvin Tomlinson is a steady player. Williams is a quality NFL starter, though he did not live up to his lofty draft status with the Jets. Austin Johnson, a solid run-stopper, was signed in free agency. The Giants will primarily use a 3-4 defensive front this season. They have so many other needs to fill. If the Giants have Brown rated higher than Isaiah Simmons, it will not be by much, and if they take a defensive player at No. 4, I’d be shocked if it was not Simmons.
If the Giants don’t improve enough next year to be a playoff contender, will they make the huge investment to tie up (Saquon) Barkley? — Chuck C
This is the $64 million question, which also happens to be the value of the four-year contract extension Christian McCaffrey signed with the Panthers. The Giants do not have to decide anything yet. Barkley is entering the third year of a four-year rookie deal, and then the Giants can pick up his fifth-year option for 2022. Ideally, Barkley has a big 2020 season and the Giants extend him before the 2021 season.
As you indicate, Chuck, let’s see what happens in 2020. Does Barkley play great but the Giants continue to lose? Is there improvement in the first year with Joe Judge as head coach, but Barkley’s numbers plateau? He was sensational as a rookie and not quite as sensational in Year 2, plus he missed three games and was hobbled in a couple other games due to a high ankle sprain. There is much to be seen with Barkley before the Giants have to commit to him on a second contract. Let’s see if he stays healthy and further establishes himself as one of the best running backs in the league. By the end of the 2020 season, it will probably be fairly evident which way this will logically progress.