You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Giants.
Who are you most excited to see out of the UDFAs? I like [Javon] Leake and [Binjimen] Victor [to] make the team. Would be shocked if Leake didn’t … especially since he’s a great return man. — Daniel Von Braunsberg
You picked a couple of interesting undrafted free agents. Victor got lost a bit amid the array of offensive talent at Ohio State, as did his teammate, Austin Mack, another rookie free-agent receiver and former Buckeye trying to make an impression. I could see Mack or Victor making a strong push to stay around, either on the roster or the expanded practice squad.
As for Leake, he will be given every opportunity to show what he can do in the return game. He could really be hurt, though, by the absence of any preseason games. Rookies always get a shot at kickoff and punt returns in the preseason, but those opportunities this summer are limited to practice. This means the weekly intrasquad scrimmages Joe Judge has planned will be ultra-important for Leake.
What impact will Xavier McKinney have on the defense? How do you envision Patrick Graham will use him? — Drew MacDonald
It will not take a great stretch of the imagination to envision many different roles for McKinney. The Giants did not expect him to be sitting there early in the second round — they had a first-round grade on him — and when he was still on the board, they pounced. McKinney should be a prototype free safety, though he does not have blazing speed.
That is acceptable, as long as the anticipation and nose for the ball the Giants believe he has comes through. The coaching staff feels McKinney has enough ability in coverage that he might be used at times as a slot cornerback. He definitely will be utilized as a deep safety — the last line of defense, if you will. It remains to be seen if defensive coordinator Patrick Graham sees much use for McKinney as someone he can develop in blitz packages.
A huge advantage NFL teams have when playing at home is crowd noise. With no fans likely at games, will teams be allowed to pipe noise in, and will there be a limit or rules on that? — Mark Zakoski
Given what we’ve seen, and heard, in pro sports that have been played with no fans, I am certain the NFL stadiums this season that have games without fans in the stands will not be silent. The Fox broadcasts have already stated they will pump in some type of artificial crowd noise.
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I’m sure this will be the case in every stadium, as the NFL is not going to like the way the TV broadcast is presented to their fans if there is dead silence. The NFL is considering installing a league-wide policy to allow recorded sounds of fans in stadiums. In this pandemic, sports becomes more of a TV production than an actual sporting event. It will be interesting what happens if there are fans at games at any NFL stadiums — Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says he will have fans at games inside AT&T Stadium. We shall see about that. I am sure there will be some limits set as to how loud it can be — I am sure the NFL will not allow ear-splitting sound pumped in when the opposing team is on offense.. It will probably sound like a constant din of noise.
With most of college football being canceled this fall, how will the scouting department thoroughly evaluate college players for the 2021 draft? Will players who would normally declare stay in college because of a shrinking salary cap and lack of playing experience? — Peter Truax
This is all so up in the air. If there is no college football at all, NFL talent evaluators will have to go off the 2019 tape of players and the 2021 scouting combine becomes more important than ever. If a few of the power conferences play, those players can be scouted, but it is unlikely NFL teams will dispatch their scouts all over the country for scouting in person. I do not see a way for there to be college football in the spring, for two big reasons. First, that could jeopardize the 2021 fall football season, playing so many games so closely together. Second, so many juniors and seniors with NFL aspirations would opt out of playing college football in the spring. Maybe a condensed college season starting in the winter, right after the Super Bowl. This all is a mess.