Giants general manager Joe Schoen, addresses media at Quest Diagnostics...

Giants general manager Joe Schoen, addresses media at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, N.J. on Wednesday, Jan 26, 2022. Credit: Noah K. Murray

It wasn’t too long ago that the biggest decision Joe Schoen had to make on draft day was which club to use and whether to go for the green or lay up.

“I used to golf when there was less pressure,” he said of his typical routine when his responsibilities as a scout were more geared toward information gathering than decision making. Somewhere someone was sweating over every move while Schoen was out somewhere hacking at fairways and lolling in the clubhouse.

On Thursday, though, that will be the last thing Schoen is thinking about.

It will be the first round of his first draft as an NFL general manager. And even though the formal proceedings won’t start until 8 p.m. and the Giants’ two first-round picks at 5 and 7, assuming the team does not trade them, will be made in a tight half-hour window starting at around 8:45 or so, there will be lots to do in the hours leading up to the big decisions.

The Giants’ draft board is set, all the scouting reports have been presented and decisions on players’ medical or character red flags have been made, but at the top of the front office flow chart where Schoen now sits, the closer the draft gets the more intense the work becomes.

“It’ll probably be a long day,” Schoen said, noting that he is still living in a temporary apartment three months after accepting the job with the Giants so he will probably head to the office early. “I’ll probably come in, get a workout in, make some phone calls, call around the league, call other general managers, see if you can get any information on what's going on in front of you. Probably take some calls if people are calling or looking to move up.

“Probably too anxious to golf.”

With two picks in the top seven slots in hand, no firm track record of a history to point toward his predispositions, and a roster that can use immediate improvement at just about every position on the field, Schoen will be one of the most intriguing characters in a draft that is already wide open with possibilities. Things are so up in the air that the Giants could conceivably have their choice of any of the top three offensive tackles in the draft when they are on the clock just as easily as they could face a board in which all three have been taken.

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Then there is the dynamic of the sixth pick, which currently belongs to the Panthers and is sandwiched between the Giants’ selections. The runner-up to being taken fifth  may not be around a few minutes later when the Giants are making the pick at seven.

“If you're sitting there at five and there's somebody you really like and there's two other players that may be at the same position you like as well, or just two players in general that you're happy with regardless of position, that can also factor into who you take at number five,” Schoen said.

Certainly more important than this being Schoen’s first draft as a general manager is the significance of it to the Giants organization. They have nine picks that will represent the first efforts of Schoen’s regime to turn the fortunes of the team from one of the worst in the league toward contention. Who they select on Thursday will go a long way toward determining the fate of the franchise for the next several years.

It will be one of the most important half hours in Giants history and Schoen needs aces and eagles, not just pars, to make it as memorable as it has the potential to be.

Said Schoen: “I want to get it right.”

JONES DECISION COMING. One of the non-draft meetings Giants brass, including Schoen and ownership, will have on Thursday will be to discuss the team’s options to add a fifth year to the rookie contracts of Daniel Jones and Dexter Lawrence. The deadline to make the decision on the two first-round picks in 2019 for the 2023 season is Tuesday. If the Giants decline the guaranteed $22.4 million option on Jones -- and all indications are they will -- he will be playing on the final year of his contract in 2022. Even without the option the Giants would have a chance to use the franchise tag on Jones in 2023 if he proves to be the quarterback with whom they want to move forward. That would cost them roughly $30 million. If he doesn’t play well, though, they would be free and clear of his contract and in position to move on with a new quarterback acquired either through a trade, free agency, or in next year’s draft.

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