Reader Mailbag: Bonus Post Draft Edition

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The letters are pouring in, so let’s get them answered.

Roster questions…quarterback…offensive line…,and yes, even another Joe Thomas question highlight a bonus mailbag. Let’s jump right in.

From Pierce K.

Thanks for answering my last question about Jerry Reese’s reluctance to trade back in the draft. This one is more about Reese’s overall philosophy. As a fan who sees all the ways forward-thinking organizations are applying more advanced analytics and strategies to the draft, it can be frustrating when our own GM seems to wear old-school hard-headedness like a badge of honor.

That being said, I can’t pretend to know anything about him like someone who covers him could. So in your opinion, how would Reese respond to a piece of analysis like, say, Richard Thaler’s behavioral economics paper that concludes trading down is a “dominant strategy.” Do you think he is someone who considers those types of analytics arguments? Or is he in the camp that views that type of new-school approach with suspicion?

Pierce, I didn’t study economics or Richard Thaler, so I’m not familiar with his work to comment or make a comparison in context. (And I’m not sure you can compare human capital to financial capital, but again, economics wasn’t my cup of tea in college).

Jerry Reese is a scout at heart. That will never change. As such, I think he’s more attached to the scouting process than say someone who hasn’t come up the ranks the way he did. And scouts live and die by their information and their draft board which is why I believe there is a reluctance to splurge and give up a boatload of picks.

Ernie Accorsi was a journalist for a good part of his life before working his way up the chain. I don’t recall if he was ever a scout—I think he was an assistant general manager for the Colts before coming to the Giants.

He had a different indoctrination to the league and hence was probably not as protective (if that’s the right word) to the grades in the sense if there was a guy on the board he wanted but knew he had no chance of getting, he’d give more consideration to making a move.

Reese, I’m guessing, is probably more faithful to the work scouts do given that’s his background and he understands the blood, sweat and tears that goes into the process. I’m just speculating here as I doubt he’ll ever reveal his reasons, but that’s my theory.

From Tony T.

If Webb is successful as a starting QB years from now, won’t this be the best “change of the baton” in that position in decades. Even the Great Phil Simms did not end up as a starter right away even though he was a very high 1st round draft pick; in fact Parcels went through a period where he favored others to start.

Isn’t taking a chance on Webb a lot better for a team reconstituting itself, rather getting itself ready for a heavy trade of draft picks or players like the one that secured Eli Manning?

Thanks for the question, Tony. I believe Simms started midway through his rookie season—in fact I think it was the first game my dad ever took me too, a home game against Tampa Bay. I only remember Parcells contemplating deviating from Simms once, that being in favor of Scott Brunner. Beyond that, my memory is fuzzy.

I think if a team can get a quarterback and develop him, yes. that would be preferred over engineering a blockbuster trade.

From Joe G.

Off his performance so far, it is can determined that Hart is no RT. The quicker rushers seem to give him fits. Jerry is a nice B/U cast in a starters role at RG. Figuring Fluker to be the starting RT. Do you believe the Giants feel that Hart can become the starting RG. Giants definitely need an upgrade there.

Joe, I think we’re going to see three guys—D.J. Fluker, Bobby Hart, and John Jerry—compete for two spots. I fully anticipate that the coaching staff will be mixing and matching to see what combination works best.

With all that said, I wouldn’t count Jerry out of the equation yet. I thought he showed some improvement last year and I’m very interested to see how another year working at O-line Performance Center has helped him.

From Jim M.

McAdoo and Reese commented that TE/WR Evan Engram would have to contribute on Special Teams right away. What role do we anticipate that he would have? Punt Returner? Kick Returner? Gunner? Does he have a history at any of these positions in college? If so, his value at 23 makes more sense to me.

Thanks for the question, Jim. I don’t think Engram is going to be returning kickoffs or punts. I suspect he’ll do coverage instead, and I’m fine with that.

Jason Pierre-Paul did it as a rookie and was actually quite good at it. I believe Engram has very limited experience on special teams, so this would be a new thing for him to learn at this level.

From Ric C.

My most frustrating moments last season were due to the Giants inability to convert third down and shorts. It seemed every time the offense got on a roll, it would just as quickly stall because we couldn’t convert a seemingly easy third down.

Consequently, our defense spent more time on the field than they should have and we rarely won the time of possession battle. So my question(s) are: do you think McAdoo and Sullivan will be less conservative this season with the offense and start taking more risks with a bigger play book?

And do you think we’ll finally get a ground game going? And lastly, do you think there’s a real possibility that the Giants will sign Blount to give them a power back?

Thanks for the questions Ric. I don’t think you were the only one who was frustrated with the lack of efficiency by the offense last season, and I think if you look at the offseason moves they’ve made, they put an emphasis on fixing some of those issues.

I do think that by nature, Ben McAdoo is a bit of a gambler, so if he has a full slate of talent available, we might see some looks that he wasn’t able to run last year.

I also think the additions of Rhett Ellison and Brandon Marshall will give the running game a much-needed boost. I think those two players will bring some new dimensions to the running game that we haven’t seen in a couple of years.

I’m not sure if they will add another power back such as LeGarrette Blount to the mix, but overall, I do like the direction the running game is headed I like the potential a duo of Perkins and Gallman bring to the table.

From David C.

Thank you for your excellent, objective analysis of the NY Giants 2017 Draft and all things NY Giants. You are an outstanding reporter, and its a pleasure following you on Twitter, Inside Football & B/R Report. Keep up the great work!

And thank you for taking the time to write with such kind words!

From Joe R.

Ryan Clady is still available as a free agent (maybe for a reason). I know he has an injury history but do you think NYG would sign him to add depth and competition to the Oline?

Thanks for the question Joe. No, I don’t think the Giants make a pitch to sign Ryan Clady now, not until they find out what these rookies can bring to the table.

I know this is asking a lot but people have to calm down about Ereck Flowers—I know this is asking a lot, but give the guy the benefit of the doubt. He’s been devoting more time and effort to his craft after apparently getting the memo that doing what he had been doing wasn’t working.

And let’s say for argument’s sake that Flowers DOESN’T improve. Given the parts they added this offseason, I think it’s going to be a lot easier to scheme around him than it was last year when the cupboard was bare.

From Yogie P.

In your honest opinion, who do you see that fits best with the Giants’ system, Engram or Njoku? And why taking a DT with similar traits to Snacks in Rd 2 and not a more pass rushing tackle?

Yogie, I think Engram has more experience and, to me, is a better fit for what the Giants seem to be looking to do, which is duplicate how the Packers built their 2011 offense.

As for your second question, I don’t think there were many good fits for a 3-technique defensive tackle that the Giants had graded highly. I also suspect that the Giants want depth behind Damon Harrison and that Tomlinson could, if need be, slide over to that spot if something should happen to snacks.

From Vince M.

Thanks for taking these questions, really appreciate the chance. … would you support trading next year’s 3rd round pick for Joe Thomas? Turn the line into a strength, give Eli time to choose which open receiver to throw to, as well as enhance the running game ( sign Blount? ) they are so close to being great, I hate to waste the opportunity. Thoughts?

Thanks for the question, Vince. As I said in this piece: THE GIANTS ARE NOT TRADING FOR JOE THOMAS. Please have a look when you get a chance.

From Joe H.

How do you see the UDFAs at OT working out. Any with a chance to stick? To start in time?

Thanks for the question, Joe. It’s too soon for me to answer this because a) other than a couple of guys, I don’t know who officially signed with the team and who from the reported list did not and b) I haven’t seen them on the field.

Be sure you continue to follow me, as I’ll be posting practice reports with analysis which I believe will answer this question.

From John H.

I’m hearing that we’re going to use Engram in the slot more than as a traditional TE. If so, what’s it going to be with Shepard? And is Engram going to replace Marshall after his contract is over?

Thanks for the question John. As with several other readers here, you’re getting way ahead of yourself here. I don’t think Evan Engram will be in the slot every time, so I would think Sterling Shepard still has a place on this team.

As for Marshall, let’s see how things play out this year before we start thinking about his replacement—he hasn’t even played a game for this team, so for all we know, he might play well enough to where they decide to keep him next year.

I get it; you guys are excited to see how this roster takes shape. However as of right now, I don’t have anything other than speculation about how things might play out and even there I don’t have enough information to say who’s going to replace who down the line. But please do feel free to ask me this again once training camp has begun.

From Omar N.

Can you please explain when Reese traded up to select Nassib? Eli was nowhere near the end yet Reese decide to waste to picks during a time the defense needed bodies on a player who he said himself was never going to play? That pick was a debacle, and I said it from the moment I heard the pick.

A few reasons. One, they needed a backup quarterback and I think they wanted someone whom they could develop.

Second, I don’t know if they knew at the time how much longer they’d have Eli Manning—I personally get a little squeamish when people keep pointing out his iron-man streak.

I think people forget that in the 2013 season finale he suffered a high ankle sprain that warranted surgery in April 2014. Fortunately for the Giants, Manning’s streak remained alive since it was the end of the season, but had there been another game, he wouldn’t have been able to play.

Also, I might remind you and others that before Ryan Nassib seemed to take such a big step backwards last summer (and I wonder how much of that might have been due to the elbow ailment that ended his regular season), he didn’t look bad the summer before.

I get the logic behind the pick. Would I have traded up for Nassib? Probably not, but perhaps the Giants had some intel that Nassib wasn’t going to fall to them.

From Jordan W.

With an overabundance at running back (with a possible addition to Blount) and tight end and the Giants seemingly committed to carrying 3 quarterbacks this year, what position is most likely going to have more cuts for the 53-man roster?

Thanks for the question, Jordan. I think it’s a little too early to make that call because injuries and performance are going to sway some decisions, as happens every year.

With that said, I think some position units that might be candidates for having to give up a spot include receiver and linebacker. We’ll see if LeGarrette Blount comes to the Giants—if he does I suspect Orleans Darkwa might be in trouble.

From Ben H.

Hi Pat, long time reader first time messager. I think the drafting of Webb in the 3Rd is getting a bit overblown with him being regarded as heir apparent or bust. It reminds me of Tom Brady and the QBs the Patriots take periodically.

If Eli keeps on performing at the general level we’ve grown accustomed to including a few good top-notch years, and he wants to stay a Giant, what are your thoughts on the likelihood he plays for Big Blue into his 40’s? He has been an iron man in the NFL.

His style of play is conducive to playing that long, and he still seems to enjoy it/not think about retirement, at least publicly, like Big Ben. Reese has stated they expect Eli to play well for a long time to come. I think Webb could go a similar route as the Ryan Mallets and Bryan Hoyers. Thoughts?

Hi Ben. I really think you need to write in more—I love your perspective on the quarterback situation and I think you’re spot on.

Here’s how I see it. Josh Johnson is probably not the long-term answer. And despite what they have said (not that I would have expected them to say any differently), I don’t believe Geno Smith is either.

Here’s the other issue people aren’t considering. The last two times the Giants drafted a franchise quarterback (Phil Simms in 1979 and Eli Manning via the Phillip Rivers trade in 2004), they season prior, the Giants drafted seventh and fourth. When you’re drafting that high, clearly that means your season the year before went down the toilet.

These days if a team wants to have its cake and eat it too, they have to consider drafting a franchise quarterback later in the draft. Had the Giants taken a quarterback at No. 23, that wouldn’t have been very good value. I also don’t think it would have been good value to draft a quarterback in the second round.

I think the Giants have done everything they can to ensure that Davis Webb’s transition to the NFL is going to be a successful one.

They’re going to let him sit as the third-string quarterback this year while he learns the playbook and works on his mechanics. If I’m him, I follow Eli Manning around that facility like a puppy and I soak up as much information as I can for however long Manning is still with this team.

As for whether Manning plays into his 40s, I’d be pleasantly surprised if that happens, just as I’d be stunned if Tom Brady plays deep into his 40s.