Big Ben Tuesday: NY Giants Get Players, Ignore Big Needs. How About Jets?


PHILLY, PA: The New York Giants stuck to their tried and true draft strategy of taking the best available player, instead of drafting for need. They seem to have gotten some useful players again this year, but they failed to address weaknesses at O-line and linebacker. I appreciate not reaching for a guy based on need, but these positions will be troublesome next season.

More big WR than TE, this guy will cause some matchup problems

The O-Line
Even my 4-month old daughters knew the Giants had a big need at OL going into this draft. Jerry Reese has earned a little slack, hitting it big recently with guys like Odell Beckham Jr. and Landon Collins. But Ereck Flowers has been a dud to this point and the offensive line was the clear weakness of the team. It may surprise you to learn that I am not an NFL GM or scout, but it seems to me that Reese had to find a way to improve this group, either in the draft or free agency.

It was a weak draft for lineman and only one was off the board when the Giants picked at 23. But they passed and didn’t address the position until the sixth round, with some guy who is unlikely to help this year. It looks like they will go into the season with pretty much the same OL as last year, except DJ Fluker will probably be the RT. Yikes. I know Flowers has been working hard this offseason and he’s still only 22, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Evan Engram looks like a fun weapon, but a luxury. If Eli doesn’t have time to work through his progressions, it doesn’t matter if The Flash is lining up in the slot. Engram can block in space on bubble screens and such, but he’s not a guy that will line up next to the tackle too often. The Giants hope that TE/FB Rhett Ellison and WR Brandon Marshall will add some blocking to the mix. At least they will be able to mix up the formations more this year. They were in 11 personnel (3 WRs) almost exclusively last season.

We know The Flash can run, but drops have been an issue.

Eli’s Successor
Supposedly Ben McAdoo wanted to take QB David Webb in the 2nd Round, but the Giants ended up getting him in the third. And coupled with the coach’s criticism of Eli’s play this offseason, it almost seems like he’s trying to push Eli out the door. Webb seems to be in a great spot, as he’ll be able to apprentice under the durable Eli for a few years. I reckon this will turn out to be a good pick, but I can’t help but wish they took someone who can help now.

No LBs Again
I thought the Giants were going to take Vanderbilt LB Zack Cunningham with their second pick. This was a guy who they liked, and had been linked to them in the first round. But instead they passed on him a second time and went with DT Dalvin Tomlinson. Had Jonathan Hankins stayed put, maybe the Giants would have taken Cunningham, but they haven’t drafted an early round LB since the days of the Big Blue Wrecking Crew. They only have one LB signed passed this year, so this could have been a mistake. They haven’t had a sideline to sideline stud LB in a while. This is a position the Giants seem comfortable addressing via free agency on the cheap. Reuben Foster is another highly regarded player they passed up.

I had this poster as a kid.

What Could Have Been
What if the Giants took the best tackle available in the first – Ryan Ramczyk or Cam Robinson, then Cunningham in the second, and then took a DT in the third? Montravious Adams, a DT most teams had ranked higher than Tomlinson, was still on the board. This seems to me like a group that could’ve helped now on a team that has ambitions of contending.

How About the Jets?
I’ll just say that it was obviously wise to take a safety with their first two picks. They didn’t have any other needs.  Not one. This was a complete team other than safety, so kudos to Jets’ brass. NFL GM hopefuls, get your resumes ready. Mike Maccagnan is not long for his town.

How did you like the Giants’ draft? Come back tomorrow for our one man wrecking crew, Angry Ward. Follow us on Twitter at @benwhit, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.


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About the Author ()

Ben Whitney comes from journalistic stock. Aside from his brothers, rumor has that his great-great grandfather was the youngest brother of Eli Whitney and covered the earliest “rounders” games. Big Ben is also another New York Rugby Club player/pal of Different Matt, Short Matt and Junoir Blaber. He likes film noir discussions, has twin girls and took up ice hockey after retiring from rugby.

  • staten island stench

    Can’t believe they didn’t take another offensive lineman again. I just don’t get it. But at least it’s not the Jets.

    • Big Benny is right about everything in this but the most glaring and egregious error has been the inexcusable and inexplicable disregard for their one shining asset, Eli Manning. It’s been five years of him getting his keester kicked. The difference between other organizations that have an elite quarterback and this one is, that they put a good line in front of him first.

      • benwhit

        I still have high hopes, but a lot needs to go right -starting with Flowers.

        • AngryWard

          Flowers couldn’t block an incoming call.

          • benwhit

            Yeah but at 22, he’s got time. He really could be coming out this year.

    • benwhit

      I’ll take your word for it. I just thought it was curious they took 2 S’s to start when they have so many holes. Adams looks like a great pick.

      • benwhit

        This was meant to be a reply to Long Island Vinny. My bust.

  • Interesting that we are talking football today because the #Yankees are on a downward spiral and the #Mets have taken 3 of 4. #Curious

    • benwhit

      As a fan of the Metropolitans, I would think you’d be better at recognizing a downward spiral.

    • benwhit

      Almost wrote about the Rangers and their insistence on playing Holden/Staal over Smith/Skjei but it’s too depressing.

      • Cheesybruin

        I’ve stated on more than one occasion that Kampfer is a better solution on defense than Holden…I mean the Rangers got Holden from the Avalanche so how good can he possibly be?

        • benwhit

          Yeah. It wasn’t a huge sample size but he looked solid.

          And if he does insist on dressing Holden/Staal, why must he play them in so many key situations? Smith has been way more competent and Skjei was playing great in Game 2. It makes no sense.

  • vinny from brooklyn

    disagree on the jets. they needed help everywhere and got some decent players

  • Cheesybruin

    It really does seem like the Giants are content in not trying to protect Manning. It’s only a matter of time before we see Geno Smith play a few games this year.

    • benwhit

      Yup. Everyone talks about Eli’s durability but Peyton was durable too, until he was about Eli’s age. If Geno Smith takes a snap, something has gone horribly wrong.

    • Junoir Blaber

      It is Macadoo(n’t) plan to hurt Eli so he can the rookie on the field.

  • AngryWard

    I said the same exact thing, Ben. Good luck hitting all of those offensive weapons from your back. As you said, it clearly wasn’t a great OL draft but, c’mon. You can’t expect to go into the season with the same mess of a line as the past two. On the upside, at least we’ll be able to authenticate Eli’s game-worn gear by DNA from its blood stains.

    • benwhit

      Eli is not guilty. I wanted to get into that too.

  • Cam_James

    The Jets don’t have needs? The 5-11 Jets don’t have needs? Ben Whitney the Jets fan setting the bar at an appropriate level. If you don’t expect anything you wont be disappointed.

    At least Browns fans postulate improvement!

    Ladies and Gentleman….The New York Jets….the Nick Cage movie of football. You won’t like it, there is no way to improve it, but you can’t turn it off!

    • Junoir Blaber

      Cam fell into the Sar-chasm

      • Cam_James

        Is that what that was?

        • Junoir Blaber

          Yes! do you need some rope to climb out?

          • Cam_James

            I’m too many blunts deep in it. No one gets sarcasm out here. I guess three years of D-Town and I have lost my edge.

          • Junoir Blaber

            Never figured you for a Blunts guy. Always a bowl man!

          • AngryWard

            I can totally see no one in Denver getting sarcasm. Guessing they like prop comics out that way.

          • jgclancy

            Real Minnesotans didn’t get sarcasm much—you’d just get an emotionless stare of confusion–it was sad that they simply couldn’t grasp sarcasm-my native tongue. Anyhoo–hope all them MtM writers enjoyed going to the Rangers game.He did take you all, right?

      • benwhit

        Thanks Junoir.

        Come on man, I laid it on pretty thick. Then I even clarified by saying Mike M was gonna be out of job.

  • GrindingAx

    Brian Kelly was an animal on and off the field. Spent a day golfing with him back during his playing days. He dragged a few of us out to multiple bars after a charity dinner. He knew how to work his celebrity.

    • benwhit

      Cool. I met him and Harry Carson in the White Plains Galleria when I was a kid. I remember HC being very cool but don’t remember much about BK

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