In the past eight months, the Giants have traded Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, Eli Apple and Brett Jones.
On Thursday, we start to find out what they got for them.
We already know the value of the draft picks that changed hands in the deals, from the Browns’ first- and third-rounders for Beckham to the Vikings’ seventh-rounder they got for Jones. In some ways that was the easy part, negotiating for the assets. Now, though, the capital the Giants received for shipping off some of the most dynamic and productive and popular players on their roster transforms from the theoretical to the applied.
Those trades no longer will be judged on picks but on actual players.
Over the next three days, the Giants will make a number of selections – they have a whopping 12 of them in hand heading into the draft, including four in the top 108 and eight in rounds 4-7 on Saturday.
And it starts (or, if you look at the scouting process that began last summer, ends) on Thursday when the Giants have two first-round selections, sixth and 17th. It’s only the second time in franchise history that they are in such a situation. In 1984, they drafted Carl Banks and William Roberts in the first round.
“I have never had that,” general manager Dave Gettleman said. “It’s fun. I’m excited about it. It is weird. After you make that first pick, you can’t go get dinner. But I am excited. You are going to draft two guys that you will have for five years, which is a big help with the cap nowadays. I’m looking forward to it.”
The Giants should be able to double the number of their own first-round picks on their roster. Right now, the only two are Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley. That’s a strong illustration of just how much has changed with the Giants in the past two years.
A lot more will change for the Giants this weekend. They could have a quarterback of the future by the time they leave the building on Thursday night. They could have an edge rusher to follow in the footsteps of Lawrence Taylor, Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck. They could finish the rebuild of their offensive line with a right tackle. They could add a starting cornerback, a future safety, a young receiver.
They could do all of that. That’s how big this draft is for the Giants. If they select 12 players who make the team in the fall, that will account for almost a quarter of their roster.
Asked if he can marry value and need throughout this draft, Gettleman said he thinks he has a better chance of doing that this year than in some others.
“Because it is about volume,” he said. “We have more players rated as first, second, third or fourth-round values than I have had in any draft. This is my eighth draft as a GM. In terms of the volume of players on the board, this is the thickest.”
But also because of the volume of choices the Giants have.
“Having 12 picks is crazy,” Gettleman said.
Hey, he’s the one who acquired them! He did it by jettisoning some players whose departures raised plenty of eyebrows both around the league and in the locker room. He did it by convincing ownership to give what it called a “reluctant” approval on the biggest deal, the one with Beckham.
“I think ultimately, if we make the right decisions, we’ll be better off in the long run,” co-owner John Mara said last month regarding that blockbuster. The same could be said, however, for the long list of deals that have led to this weekend or transformation.
Gettleman said the 12 picks are crazy. How wisely they are spent, though, will be the only way to determine how much sense his plan makes.
Giants draft picks
Giants have a total of 12 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft:
Round 1: 6, 17
Round 2: 37
Round 3: 95
Round 4: 108, 132
Round 5: 142, 143, 171
Round 6: 180
Round 7: 232, 245