SHELTERINPLACE, CT – I’ll follow in the footsteps of Junoir’s Jets recap with my own New York Giants Draft Recap. Ain’t much else going on in here. F’ it Dude, let’s go bowling.
Dave Gettleman’s pre-draft comments seemed to indicate that he would prioritize the offensive line over the jackknife defender Isaiah Simmons. The choice of Andrew Thomas was a bit of surprise, but he was widely touted as the “cleanest” (annoying draft term alert) tackle. Other guys had more athletic upside but Thomas’s resume is pretty impressive. Plus there is tape of him dominating some of the best rushers in the draft, including K’Lavon Chaisson, the second edge rusher off the board after Chase Young.
Speaking of Young, he and Thomas are likely to be forever linked as they are set to play each other twice a year. The Giants will either give Thomas a year on the right side and keep Nate Solder on the blind side or put Thomas on the left right away. The Giants beating the Redskins in that meaningless December game will reverberate for years to come.
Due to a lack of action at QB with Tua and Herbert, the Giants weren’t able to trade down. The pick of Thomas was solid. He’ll be ready to start from day one and comes with little downside.
Apparently, the Giants were set to trade down with their second pick if Xavier McKinney was not there. But the Giants pounced on another Alabama safety, regarded by many as the top safety in the draft. A slowish 40 time at the combine hurt his stock but the Giants were not deterred. Like Simmons, he’s a versatile chess piece they can put in different spots. He’s another team leader and high quality guy, which are traits the Giants clearly value. The other pick you can make a case for here, based on massive need, is Yetur Gross-Matos, the Penn State pass rusher. The Giants didn’t really address their biggest need much in this draft but the depth at the position was weak. YGM seems to project as a quality, but not explosive player. But the Giants must not have liked him much, as they were set to move down. They could have used another between the second and the 99th late third rounder.
McKinney fills a position of need they were expected to address. McKinney and Jabril Peppers in the back will allow the Giants get creative. They can now use Julian Love, who showed promise last season, as a third safety or slot corner. A little depth in the secondary, could it be?
In the third they took another tackle. Matt Peart needs some developing, but he had tons of value at 99. He’s big, athletic and has really long arms (which seems to be really important) along with a lot of upside. Peart could understudy for a year and take over for Solder next year.
If he can bulk up a bit and blossom, the Giants may have locked down their bookends for the next decade.
In the fourth, the Giants took CB Darnay Holmes in another highly-praised pick. He’s a fast and feisty player who projects as a slot corner. The starting secondary seems to be in place with Bradberry and Baker on the corners and McKinney and Peppers on the back end. Then they’ll have Love, Holmes, Sam Beal, and Corey Ballentine battling for passing situation and depth spots.
The Jints prioritized the secondary for the second year in a row. The unit was one of the league worst last year, but that was partially due to a lack of a pass rush. The group looks much improved this year, but they’re going to have to be as there was not much added to the pass rush and their top sack guy in Markus Golden is likely gone.
Their next three picks seem solid. The took a guard in Shane Lemieux who gives them some interior offensive line depth and will likely be asked to try center. Cam Brown, the Penn State LB, projects as a situation guy who Judge will try to deploy with Bellichickian acumen.
And they finally addressed the pass run (sort of) in the 7th with Carter Coughlin, a guy who can hopefully turn into a solid rotation guy. With their three other 7th rounders, the Giants took flyers on LBs, a position they clearly felt was in need of an overhaul.
As mentioned earlier, one obvious thing Big Blue might have done differently (besides taking Simmons) is to have taken the Gross-Matos in the second. There were other safeties available when the Giants picked 99th, such as Terrell Burgess, who’s prospect rating was comparable to McKinney’s. He was taken five picks later by the Rams at 104. Or maybe they still would have taken Peart there and tried to find a safety later.
Had Gettleman not made the confounding Leonard Williams trade, they could have taken Ashtyn Davis, who the Jets took with the pick got from Giants in that trade. Davis in the third round was widely regarded as a great value pick by the Jets. But clearly the Giants had high regard for McKinney, a Nick Saban favorite. Coach Judge was an assistant at Alabama so they know what they’re getting.
There was a lot to like here. Most of their picks were projected to go earlier and they didn’t force picks for need, which is wise when you’re not close to being a contender. They took several captains and team leaders and did not take a player at an offensive skill position. They failed to significantly address two of their big needs of a pass rush and a center, but the offensive line (besides C) and secondary are clearly improved.
The Giants go into 2020 in better shape but they still don’t know where the pass rush will come from and will have to go into the season with Pulley and Halapio at center again, unless Gates or Lemieux can make the transition.
All in all it was a solid draft and a step in the right direction. If the offense improves and if some of his draft picks some progress, Gettleman might have bought himself another year.
That’s it for me. Come back tomorrow for Angry Ward and his recap of the Titans draft. Follow us on Twitter at @BenWhit8, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.