Folks, we’re officially less than two weeks away from the NFL Draft which means that it’s officially time to start seriously talking about what players are going to go where. There’s obviously been months of speculation but now we have a very good picture of who teams like and who they don’t.
For the Giants, it’s no secret that they’re completely enamored with Isaiah Simmons. He’s the stereotypical Dave Gettleman first round pick in many ways in the sense that he doesn’t play a position of value but he has highly athletic traits that make people’s heads turn.
We’ve seen Gettleman already draft freak athletes that play positions of little value in Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, and Shaq Thompson. The argument for taking guys like Barkley and McCaffrey is that they have “Hall of Fame” level talent. While that may be true, it’s no secret that running backs have the shortest shelf life in the league.
Two seasons ago nobody would have imagined that Todd Gurley would be released by the Rams. However, once he developed degenerative arthritis in his knee from overuse and his production rapidly dipped the Rams had to take a $20+ million dead cap hit to move on from him. That’s steep. That’s the slippery slope that you deal with when you draft running backs high and then have to pay them top dollar to keep them. It rarely works out.
Now what does that tangent have to do with this year’s Giants? The Giants and Dave Gettleman are faced with a choice. Do they take the shiny toy in Isaiah Simmons who some scouts think is a defensive chess piece that can play both linebacker, safety, and even a bit of corner? Do they finally address the offensive line that Dave Gettleman has promised to fix but has only used two draft picks on (one being a seventh rounder who was already released) since he took over? I’m in the minority of Giants fans but I’m hoping for the latter and that’s where I’ll start my “love” list.
Players I’d love for the Giants in round 1
Please note that I’m only going to include players who the Giants have a realistic chance of taking. I’m not going to include quarterbacks or Chase Young on this list since the Giants aren’t taking a QB and the Giants lost out on their chance to take Chase Young by beating Washington in a completely meaningless game in Week 16.
Offensive Tackles Jedrick Wills, Andrew Thomas, and Tristan Wirfs
I love all three of these prospects. I personally have them ranked Wills, Thomas, Wirfs but I don’t think there’s a ton separating them. Wirfs is the Giants favorite and the best scheme fit for the blocking scheme that Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett likes to run so if we stay at 4 and are going to pick an OT then I’d say it’ll be Wirfs. I can get behind any of these guys being the pick.
Cornerback Jeff Okudah
Many Giants fans will say that we don’t need a cornerback since the Giants just signed James Bradberry to a three year deal. My answer to that would be that I don’t trust DeAndre Baker or Sam Beal as much as a lot of other fans do. Baker was completely awful for most of his rookie season and he was reportedly always sleeping in team meetings last year. Sam Beal has a huge injury history and he’s no guarantee to be on the field. I’m not saying that Okudah is definitely the pick and I’d much rather take an offensive lineman but if he’s there then he should at least be considered.
Edge Rusher K’Lavon Chaisson
I have a deep affection for K’Lavon Chaisson as an LSU fan who watched most of his games last year. He is a player who could do it all. He reminds me of Jadeveon Clowney in a lot of ways. Is he the best pass rusher? No. He’s definitely better at stopping the run. That being said, if he is coached properly he could easily develop into an 8-10 sack per year kind of guy who can be one of the best edge run stoppers in the entire NFL. He will likely only be an option if the Giants trade back into the teens.
Players I’d love for the Giants in round 2
Safeties Xavier McKinney, Antoine Winfield Jr., and Jeremy Chinn
Realistically, I don’t think there’s any way that Xavier McKinney drops all the way down to the Giants pick in the second round but if for some reason that does happen I absolutely love him. The safety market is tough to gauge this year so anything is possible. McKinney played some slot corner as well as free safety for Alabama and he is a great center fielder. He is also a good enough tackler to be considered a first round pick in my eyes.
Antoine Winfield Jr. is a solid safety who can play both safety positions. He is good in the box and good in coverage. He is a tough football player which Joe Judge would like and he is versatile. He could definitely be available when the Giants pick in round 2.
Jeremy Chinn may be a reach at pick 36 but he is a quality football player. He has a lot of athleticism but he’s a bit raw and scouts are knocking his football IQ. With good coaching, he could become a quality starter at safety and he could cover tight ends in a man-to-man defense very well.
Center Cesar Ruiz
It’s no secret that the Giants need a lot of help in a lot of positions but center has been a glaring hole for quite some time. Ruiz would be the perfect answer to fill that hole and is easily the best center in this draft. If he’s available at pick 36 then this would be one of the most no-brainer picks of all time.
Linebacker/Edge Rusher Zach Baun
I have been a Baun fan since one of our Giants 366 followers, Ramon, told me to do a deep dive on Baun. I am glad he gave me that tip because I was very impressed. I saw a guy who could play both inside at the WILL position and on the edge. The knock on Baun is that he’s a bit small but he has a good toolbox and would be a very versatile player for the Giants to snag in the second round.
Edge Rushers Yetur Gross-Matos and Julian Okwara
There’s a good chance that Yetur Gross-Matos is a first round pick due to the lack of quality edge rushing prospects in this draft. A team in the 20’s may be willing to take a chance on the project player. He is highly raw but he definitely has a chance to develop into a very good pass rusher in the NFL. He’s worth the risk at pick 36 if he’s available.
On the flip side, many people think that Julian Okwara would be a reach at pick 36 but I don’t think that. He is a bit of a project but he does have the athleticism and potential to be an impactful edge rusher. He is very good at getting tackles for a loss which is something that any NFL team could need. He is good at finishing sacks which we all know that the Giants need.
Players I’d love for the Giants in the rest of the draft
Once you get out of the top 50 there is a ton of variance in the draft boards of teams so I don’t want to get too far into the weeds with these players but here’s a list of some players that I love for the Giants later on in the draft.
WR Tyler Johnson, WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR Chase Claypool, RB Cam Akers, Edge Josh Uche, G Jonah Jackson, Edge Bradlee Anae, C Tyler Biadasz
Players I’d hate for the Giants to draft
Ahhh, the hate list. These are the players who the Giants absolutely can not draft in any round of the draft. If you are rooting for maximum tilt from me on our live draft show then you’ll want to root for one of these players to get drafted by the Giants. If you want the Giants to be a successful football team then pray that none of these guys are picked.
One thing to note: Many people think that I hate Isaiah Simmons. I don’t hate Simmons one bit. He’s easily a top 10 player in this draft. That being said, he is the wrong pick for a Giants team that has so many holes on the offensive line and at edge. He also isn’t an edge rushing linebacker so I don’t value his position at all. Taking him at 4 would be a colossal mistake (just like drafting Saquon Barkley was a colossal mistake) despite his talent simply because the value doesn’t match the need. So let’s get to the list.
Offensive Tackle Mehki Becton
Duh. Anyone who has followed Giants 366 for the past three months knows how much I hate Mehki Becton as a prospect. He is a hulking 6’7″, 340 lbs which I personally think is too big. That would mean that he’s one bad injury or one offseason of eating too many burgers away from being someone who physically can’t play in the NFL.
The system he played in Louisville also completely sucked. My good friend and 366 Sports Contributor Leo informed me that he had less than 80 true pass rushing snaps last year. That’s not a good amount of sample size to scout with if you’re looking for someone to protect Daniel Jones.
I’m also sick of hearing that he’s a good player because he had a 5.10 40 yard dash time. I can’t think of a more meaningless stat for an offensive tackle to have. The main job of a tackle is to make sure nobody beats you on the edge in pass protection and make sure that you open up holes for your running back.
Lastly, I admittedly have some scars when it comes to big, athletic tackles that look the part due to the Ereck Flowers debacle. If there’s a prospect in this draft that reminds me of Flowers, it’s easily Becton. Do not draft this future bust. It will set this rebuild back years.
WR Henry Ruggs III
Listen, I don’t think there’s a chance in hell that the Giants take a WR in the first round considering the holes we have elsewhere but if we do it can’t be Ruggs. Every few years a guy like Ruggs comes around who is very fast and teams think that the NFL is Madden and take a guy like Ruggs over way better receivers. Every time that happens it doesn’t work.
Ruggs was on a receiving core with Jerry Jeudy (who is better than him) and Davante Smith (who is better than him) and he disappeared in a ton of games. He has BUST written all over him. If the Giants trade back in the draft and look to take a receiver then it can’t be Ruggs.
Edge A.J. Epenesa
This is a hard pass from me. I’ve never liked this prospect and the more I watch him the more I don’t think he fits in the current NFL as an edge. He doesn’t have the speed or bend to be an effective edge rusher at this level. He may slip into the second round since his free fall has been worse than the stock market’s in recent months but even if he is available there, it’s a huge no from me.
Safety Grant Delpit
There’s a reason why in many of the NFL groups I’m in on Facebook this guy’s nickname is DelShit. Remember when I said I was an LSU fan earlier? Well I watched most of his games in 2018 and 2019 and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a worse tackler in my life. I don’t want him being the last line of defense on our defense. I wouldn’t trust him to make an open field tackle if the player trying to run past him had one leg.
IDLs Derrick Brown, Javon Kinlaw, and any other IDL in the entire draft
Listen, Derrick Brown and Javon Kinlaw are fine players who I personally think will be great professionals for whoever they go to. That being said, the Giants simply can’t afford to spend another ounce of draft capital on an IDL when they currently have 45 of them on the current roster. They don’t have enough room to play former 3rd round draft pick BJ Hill because of the Leonard Williams trade.
Here’s some fun facts about Dave Gettleman and his love for IDLs:
- Dave Gettleman has spend a first round pick on an IDL in 3 of his 7 drafts as a general manager
- He has invested 6 draft picks in IDL players for the Giants if you count the two picks he gave up in the Leonard Williams trade. Remember: In most cases there are at most 3 of these guys on the field
- Dave Gettleman hates me and wants to see me have an aneurysm on our draft stream that will be taking place on the Thursday & Friday Night of the Draft
Well, I think that sums up my list. After writing this, I’m fully prepared for the Giants to take Becton in round 1 and Delpit in round 2. Follow along with us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Giants366 and on twitter @Giants366/@Dancouver95.