NFL draft mailbag: Would Giants pass on quarterback at No. 6?

The NFL draft is fast approaching.

Before Giants GM Dave Gettleman, Jets GM Mike Maccagnan and the rest of the NFL front offices take the stage for the first round on April 25 in Nashville, subscribers to the New York Post’s Starting Lineup newsletter have the exclusive chance to have their draft questions answered by our experts.

Here is the first batch that newsletter subscribers received exclusively on Monday night.

If you have a burning question, there’s still time to sign up and ask away. 

Are the Giants seriously thinking of drafting a defensive lineman at No. 6, hoping that quarterbacks Drew Lock or Daniel Jones will still be there at No. 17?

I think the smart money is on the Giants going defense at No. 6. Their most glaring need is to improve the pass rush, and this is the draft to find players to fill that hole. Most scouts consider this draft to be especially deep with pass rushers, but the Giants know if they don’t take one at No. 6, the chances decrease of finding a true defensive difference-maker.

GM Dave Gettleman believes in building the offensive and defensive lines before anything else. His first two draft picks in his first year with the Panthers were on defensive linemen. I would be surprised if the Giants do not go for help along the defensive front at No. 6. They can go quarterback at No. 17 and they also have plenty of draft currency to move up a few spots from 17 if they need to do so. There is no doubt the Giants will come out of this draft with one or two defensive linemen/outside linebackers with a track record of getting sacks.

– Paul Schwartz, Giants beat writer

Will the Giants go completely defense in the first three rounds?

The Giants have 12 picks, and it is safe to say will go defense on more than half of them. This does not mean they will go defense in the first and second rounds with their first three picks. In fact, that is probably not the way they will go. They want to take a quarterback and are also serious about finding an offensive tackle, potentially to move in and start immediately at right tackle.

Going defense on two of the first three picks is certainly possible and even probable. Going defense with all three is possible but unlikely. Expect them to draft a cornerback or two, as that is a position that needs to be bolstered with depth and talent.

– Paul Schwartz

Will the Giants ever draft what they urgently need, and not the guy who is the best athlete on the board according to their scouts?

This is always an issue in the draft. Let’s face it, every team drafts based on need. The Giants are not going to take a running back high in the draft, even if he is very highly rated, because they already have Saquon Barkley. The Giants are serious about the grades they assign to players, and insist they will not “reach” for a player if his grade does not justify the place in the draft he is being considered for.

Usually, teams have players graded in a cluster, with very little separating three or four players. When it comes time to make the pick, the Giants will go with the player who best fits a specific need, as long as that player’s grade is very close to the other player being considered. These teams spend huge resources on their scouting departments for a reason—they usually go with what the grades indicate. The Giants do this more than other teams, though.

– Paul Schwartz

Who makes the final decision on each of the Giants’ draft picks?

The Giants have a clear system when it comes to the draft. Their general manager has final say. So, in this case, Dave Gettleman makes the call. The scouts grade the players and the coaching staff, especially the head coach, have considerable input, as does the director of college scouting. The owners are in the room during the draft and sign off on all decisions, especially when the decision can alter the direction of the franchise (such as going with Saquon Barkley over a quarterback last year). It is a collaborative effort, but only one person makes the final call, and that is the GM.

– Paul Schwartz

Who will the Jets draft in the first round, or will they trade the pick?

I believe the Jets would love to trade the pick. Since they traded away their second-round pick for this year in the trade with the Colts last year, they have been hoping to find a way to get a second-round pick back. They know they have plenty of holes to fill, and the more picks they have, the more of those holes they can fill. If they do stay at three, I think it is a decision between three players: Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams and Josh Allen.

– Brian Costello, Jets beat writer

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Who is a better fit for the Jets: Nick Bosa or Josh Allen?

Everyone I have talked to believes that Bosa is the best player in this draft. So if Bosa is available at three, I think the Jets have to take him. A few months ago, it seemed impossible that Bosa would be available. But the Kyler-Murray-to-the-Cardinals noise has become nonstop, and it now would be surprising if they did not take him. Then the 49ers traded for Dee Ford, filling a pass-rushing hole. Will that stop them from taking Bosa? Not necessarily, but it made it a possibility.

I think Josh Allen would fill the pass-rushing need for the Jets, and they definitely could take him if Bosa is off the board. If Bosa is there, though, they have to grab him. It would also continue a trend where a top-ranked player falls to Mike Maccagnan. Leonard Williams, Jamal Williams and Sam Darnold were all expected to be taken before the Jets had a shot at them, and they all fell. Does Maccagnan have another lucky night in store?

– Brian Costello

What’s the latest with the Jets trading down to obtain additional picks?

Mike Maccagnan said last week that they have been fielding calls on the pick. I don’t think anything will happen before draft night. This is not a year where you know quarterbacks are going in the top three. It’s not like Jared Goff and Carson Wentz a few years ago, or even last year when you knew the quarterbacks were going early.

To me, the biggest thing is whether Kyler Murray goes No. 1 overall. I think if he does, it hurts the Jets’ trade choices. I don’t think teams are in love with Dwayne Haskins enough to trade up.

If Murray is available when the Jets are on the clock, I could see a team wanting to trade with the Jets to get in front of the Raiders, who have put out lots of signals they like Murray.

– Brian Costello

Has anyone done a long-term analytic review to determine if trading down for more picks is a successful strategy?

There have been many studies done on this, and regardless of how scientific they are, it all comes down to the eye of the beholder. Using the Jets as an example this year, they’re in great position to trade out of the No. 3 overall pick and accumulate picks. They have many needs – edge rusher, center, cornerback, linebacker, nose tackle, receiver. But they, too, need elite talent on their roster, and trading out of No. 3 potentially precludes them from landing a Pro Bowl-type talent.

– Mark Cannizzaro, NFL writer

Is Kyler Murray too small to be an elite NFL QB?

Kyler Murray is only half an inch shorter than Russell Wilson, so no. It doesn’t mean he’ll be as successful, but if he gets the right coaching and the right supporting cast, and if he doesn’t rely too much on his legs, he’ll enjoy a better career than, say, Doug Flutie. Love his arm, and the kid is a winner, but while I wouldn’t sell him short, the odds of him being elite are long. Wilson and Drew Brees are the exceptions to the rule.

– Steve Serby, NFL columnist

Do you think that any QB not named Kyler Murray or Dwayne Haskins will have any type of real success in the league?

Some teams like Drew Lock more than Haskins, mainly because he has elite arm talent. Daniel Jones is considered a more athletic Eli Manning and also hails from the David Cutcliffe school, but there are questions about his arm strength. Lock has drawn Matthew Stafford comparisons, but he can be scattershot. He would fit with Jon Gruden’s Raiders now that they have added Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams, and John Elway loves big-armed QBs, while Jones has the smarts, toughness and intangibles that Giants HC Pat Shurmur likes.

Lock and Jones can succeed in the right system, but only a psychic would be able to predict whether they can be 10-year starters. Remember Ryan Leaf? Tim Couch? Akili Smith? Jake Locker? Christian Ponder? Heath Shuler?

– Steve Serby

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