The goal for Joe Schoen is to get a good night’s sleep.
This time of year, the determining factor for what comes next whenever Schoen’s head hits the pillow is how confident and assured he is that his first NFL draft board with the Giants can hold up, no matter what unexpected developments may occur. Schoen is sitting on draft-day gold and did not even have to endure the losing it took – he was in Buffalo, winning – to gain such assets.
With the No. 5 and No. 7 overall selections on April 28, Schoen knows there are two players out there capable of coming and starting from Day 1. These will be the first two players under his watch to shape the direction of the franchise. Owning two picks so high in the first round leads to speculation about trading down, especially if there is a team out there desirous of moving up to land a quarterback. The Giants will certainly consider this, but it is more likely Schoen will sit tight, pick the highest-rated players on his board and not overthink anything.
“We haven’t discussed that, ” Schoen said late last month about reports that the Giants explored trading down. “Really, honestly we’re trying to find, ‘Hey, who are the seven players we like?’ If we find seven players that we like as players, as people, that’ll be good for the organization. I’ll sleep good at night.
“And then we’ll get into that, ‘Hey, maybe we need 10 guys, maybe we need 11, maybe we need 13,’ if we decide to move back depending on where we are. The roster continues to evolve. We’ll be open to listening, but it’s got to make sense to us. If there’s two players that we really like as people and as players, then again, I’m absolutely fine staying there, taking a guy that we like and I’ll sleep good at night. ”
With no trade-down, the Giants need to make sure they are comfortable and enthusiastic about seven players in the first round, knowing five of them could be unavailable to them. Less than three weeks before the draft, the early portion of the first round remains difficult to project, especially with so much uncertainty as to how this year’s quarterback class will come off the board. The first one taken might not be until the Panthers at No. 6. If a team wants to leapfrog the Panthers, the Giants sit at No. 5. If a team sees the Panthers go quarterback at No. 6 and feels compelled to move up to get the next-best option, the Giants sit at No. 7.
The Giants acquired the extra first-round pick (No. 7) by executing former general manager Dave Gettleman’s first-ever trade down. After the Giants during the 2021 draft saw the Eagles move in front of them to take the player they targeted, Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith, Gettleman traded from No. 11 to No. 20 and took receiver Kadarius Toney, who ended up having an extremely disappointing rookie season. The next three picks – Nos. 12, 13 and 14 – were linebacker Micah Parsons, tackle Rashawn Slater and guard Alijah Vera-Tucker – all players that would have instantly upgraded the Giants at those positions.
A trade-down this year would almost definitely bring back a future first-round pick and that could prove to be useful if the Giants are in the quarterback market in 2023. If the Giants get what they want and need at No. 5 – a player capable of starting at right tackle as a rookie – they could be tempted to drop down several spots in the first round to gain an additional pick this year and a premium pick next year.
After an upgrade at offensive tackle, the Giants could go many different ways with their second pick in the first round. Edge rusher, cornerback (especially if James Bradberry is traded or released), wide receiver and inside linebacker are all positions in need of a talent refuel and all but inside linebacker fill the requirements of high to mid-first round value.
“We have enough needs on the roster that I think you can go take the best player available, ” Schoen said. “That’s how we’re going to set it. We’re not going to set it, ‘Hey, this guy is better than,’ we’re going to set it best football player 1-7 if we’re going to do it that way or 1-13, who’s the best football player. You’ll make some mistakes sometimes if you do it by need. I don’t think you can go wrong drafting good football players regardless of where it is during the draft. ”
This sounds great in theory but “best player available ” is always subject to internal adjustments. If the Giants have a quarterback graded as the No. 7 player in the draft, selecting him would open up a Pandora’s box of scrutiny directed at the documented comments from Schoen, head coach Brian Daboll and co-owner John Mara asserting their allegiance (at least for this season) to Daniel Jones. Taking a quarterback might be prescient as far as a 2023 insurance policy but would do nothing to enhance the oft-stated goal of providing Jones with as much as support as possible to make an honest appraisal of his worthiness as a franchise quarterback.