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Takeaways from Giants’ Dave Gettleman, including being open to trading down in NFL Draft

Giants GM Dave Gettleman has never traded down in the years he’d led NFL Drafts, but while speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, he didn’t say he would keep that streak alive. 

“Absolutely. We’re open for business,” he said when asked if he would want to trade down from No. 4 overall. “Whatever we do is going to be in our best interest.”

Since he joined the Giants two years ago, Gettleman has remained steadfast at No. 2 and No. 6 overall in the draft. He took Saquon Barkley out of Penn State in 2018, and of course the team’s quarterback of the future in Daniel Jones last season. 


Will he pass up the chance of taking “the best player” — a favorite quote of his that he repeated on Tuesday — by trading down? Gettleman said it’s choppy waters to maneuver. 

“Trading back has danger,” he explained. “What happens if you trade back eight spots, you know, we’re at four. Let’s say we trade back to eight. There’s only four players you like. What if they’re all gone?”

That’s the obvious risk for any team that trades back, but Gettleman admitted “it’s a pretty strong draft, it really is.” And the Giants have many holes to fill, so even if they trade back, there should be a highly-graded prospect for the taking no matter where they land. 

It’ll ultimately come down to what position Gettleman wants to fill immediately, whether that be offensive tackle, edge rusher, linebacker, etc. And it also comes down to what holes are filled in free agency before the end of April when the draft begins. 

“You want to use unrestricted free agency to put yourself in a position to draft the best player,” he said. “When you draft for need, you’re going to make a mistake.”

Other than that, here’s what else Gettleman touched on at the Combine:

Is tagging Leonard Williams an option?

Gettleman knows that he must keep Williams on the Giants if he doesn’t want to face tons of backlash. He sent draft capital to the Jets last season before the NFL trade deadline to acquire him, knowing Williams was set to become a free agent after the season. That three-month window to sign him didn’t result in a new deal for the former first-rounder, and now all options are being considered, including franchise and transition tags. 

“We’re discussing that and I don’t discuss negotiations anyhow, but that’s [in] discussion,” Gettleman said about tagging Williams. 

In the writers-only scrum after his presser, Gettleman was pressed about that reaction from fans if Williams walks. 

“Oh, I’ll get killed,” he told SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano. “But I’ve got thick, Rhino hide.”

Knows he needs to address the O-Line

Gettleman has only drafted two offensive linemen in his previous drafts despite his love for “Hog Mollies.” Will Hernandez was drafted in the second round in 2018, and that seems to be panning out thus far at left guard. But tackle George Asafo-Adjei was his second draftee in the seventh round in 2019. 

That’s it. 

So, with this group still needing work to keep Jones upright, he knows it needs some addressing either in the draft or free agency. 

“It’s a position we got to look at. Absolutely,” he said.

“The bottom line is last time I checked it’s really difficult to complete a pass when you’re on your back,” he said. “I’ve done that study.”

Agrees with Judge about clean slate for players

One of new head coach Joe Judge’s more intriguing statements during his Combine presser was saying that he has no depth chart at the moment — and that includes Jones and Barkley. 

“It’s not gonna be fair for me to go ahead and set expectations for any player on our roster at this point,” Judge said. 

And Gettleman seems to agree when he was asked multiple times about Jones being the team’s starting quarterback. 

“Joe said, everybody’s got a blank slate. Everybody’s competing,” Gettleman said. 

What kind of players is he looking for in free agency?

New head coach Joe Judge made the comment that the Giants aren’t looking for veterans to mentor or teach the young roster the team currently employs. Gettleman, on the other hand, has brought in players like that in the past. Think Jonathan Stewart in 2018 when he was basically brought in to mentor Barkley in his rookie season. 

Does that mindset change after Judge’s comments? 

“I’ve brought veteran players in just to play and I’ve had a couple of veteran players that I knew real good things about that could be mentors. You do the background work and you figure that piece out,” he said.

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