I don’t believe Dave Gettleman when he says that Eli Manning is still a good Quarterback. Before you attack me, let’s be clear about something at the start: he definitely used to be. A very good Quarterback, maybe even a great one, and according to some he’s a future Hall of Famer.
Another disclaimer: when I say I don’t believe Dave Gettleman, I believe he is lying to us to smokescreen his true intentions in the upcoming draft. I can get on board with that, both because it’s crystal clear that the Giants organization has been deferential to Eli Manning in his twilight years, and because drafting 6th overall is a disadvantageous position when you are trying to find the Quarterback of the future. On the other hand, he said the exact same things around the draft last year.
So this is me choosing to believe otherwise, because it’s obvious that the Giants need to address their future under center. They didn’t draft one with a premium pick last year, and if they choose not to this year, just how many years can you punt this decision? This draft is what I would do if I were the GM of the Giants. There’s no trades. This was a full 7 round simulation using the predictive Mock Draft Machine, brought to you by the people at The Draft Network, which you should definitely read.
We’ve found our QB. If you’ve followed the draft or College Football at all for the past year, Haskins needs no introduction. He had an excellent year for Ohio State in 2018 (his only year as a starter), and depending on who you ask, ranks anywhere among the top 3 passers available. His accuracy on short and intermediate passes is an good match for Pat Shurmur’s offense, and his strong arm, protoypical size, and intelligence are all hallmarks of a long term starter in the NFL.
Round 1, Pick 17: LB Devin Bush, Michigan
With the need at QB filled, let’s address the dire situation on defense. This unit was excellent for the last Giants team that made the playoffs in 2016, but since has rapidly deteriorated, due to player regression and defection. Alec Ogletree is paid like a star but plays like a backup. BJ Goodson is just ok. Devin Bush is an elite talent at Linebacker. He’s thicc (5'11", 234 lbs.), he’s fast (4.43 second 40 yd), and athletic (40.5" vertical, 124" broad jump). He’s a new age Linebacker in a throwback body. He can play all 3 downs and be the new QB of the defense for years to come.
Round 2, Pick 5 (37 Overall): EDGE Chase Winovich, Michigan
There’s a Big 10 theme so far, but with 12 picks in this draft (12!), that certainly won’t be the case all the way through. Olivier Vernon was shipped out to Cleveland for new starting OG Kevin Zeitler. Lorenzo Carter had a passable rookie season, but there is a huge need for an edge rusher on this defense. Enter Chase Winovich. A player with a relentless motor, underrated athleticism and explosiveness, and incredible hair, Winovich would be an incredible addition to the Front 7.
Round 3, Pick 32 (95 Overall): WR Miles Boykin, Notre Dame
The Giants traded Odell Beckham Jr. this off-season. Right, wrong, or indifferent, it’s time to move on. Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate are serviceable starters, but neither is a true #1 Wide Receiver at this point. Boykin can be that. At 6'4", 220 lbs., he put up elite athletic numbers at the combine (4.42 sec 40 yd, 43.5" Vertical, 140" Broad), and that matched up with excellent on field production in his senior season (59/872/8TD). Boykin is a late riser in the draft process, overlooked until he took over the combine.
Round 4, Pick 6 (108 Overall): IDL Trysten Hill, UCF
With Snacks Harrison gone, the defensive line depth is not a strength on this team. Dalvin Tomlinson has developed into a solid player, BJ Hill had a promising rookie season… and that’s about it. In Trysten Hill, you get a big, athletic defensive lineman who can be a disruptive force against both the run and pass. While some questions arose about his maturity and coachability under a new staff this past season, he was a standout his first two years under Scott Frost. If Hill is the pick here, he could represent a big value and help address another need.
Round 4, Pick 30 (132 Overall): WR DaMarkus Lodge, Ole Miss
We already added a potential #1 WR in Boykin in the 3rd round, but we shouldn’t be afraid to stack talent at the position in a class that is deep in future contributors at the position, even if it lacks day one stars. Shepard and Tate may be starters in 2019, but Tate is on the wrong side of 30, and Shepard is a UFA after the season. Lodge may be the least well known of the Ole Miss receivers — DK Metcalf took the internet by storm with his shirtless gym pic, AJ Brown will likely go top 40 along with Metcalf, and Dawson Knox is a top 5 or so TE prospect in an incredibly strong prospect class — but he is plenty talented in his own right, racking up 877 receiving yards this past season.
Rounds 5–7 (Picks 142, 143, 171, 180, 232, 245)
At this point in the draft, it can be incredibly difficult to get an accurate read at who will realistically be available, as well as fit the team needs and wants. I continued the simulation, and picked guys who fit the bill for what I wanted to highlight
Picks 142–143: OT Bobby Evans (Oklahoma) & IOL Beau Benzschawel (Wisconsin)
Have to get Dave Gettleman some hog mollies. Will Hernandez had an overall solid rookie season, Kevin Zeitler is a very good guard, and (courtesy of his contract) Nate Solder is around to stay for at least another year. Evans was a 3 year starter (2 at RT, one at LT) and Beau (not typing that last name again) started for 3.5 seasons, predominantly at RG, earning all-conference recognition multiple times, and he was a first team All-American his senior year. These are the exact type of guys you need to provide depth to a shaky OL, who could even push the guys ahead of them for playing time early in their careers.
Picks 171 & 180: S Mike Edwards (Kentucky) & LB Cameron Smith (USC)
Down this far in the draft we want potential special teams contributors, as well as providing depth at weak positions. We discussed Linebackers earlier, but Safety is a weakness as well. Jabrill Peppers is OK, Antoine Bethea is getting ancient, and there is no one waiting in the wings. Adding guys who have played a lot of snaps to help strengthen the middle of the defense is a necessity.
Picks 232 & 245: CB Derek Baity (Kentucky) & CB Saivion Smith (Alabama)
Janoris Jenkins is a really good player, but struggled (by his lofty standards) last year. Sam Beal was highly regarded coming out of college, but the Supplemental Draft pick has yet to take the field in the NFL, having suffered a season ending injury last summer. He is a complete unknown at this point, just like the rest of the corners on the Giants roster. Admittedly, I would have liked to address this substantial need earlier in the draft, but the value wasn’t there with the premium picks. These are swings at the position where you hope you get lucky and hit. Baity was a multi-year starter and Smith ascended to a full time starter at Alabama in his one year there, having arrived as a JUCO transfer.
Wow that was a lot of draft picks. Realistically, some of these could be packaged to move up (Dave Gettleman doesn’t trade down), or to acquire veterans in trade. Or they could take all 12 players (looking at you John Idzik). Regardless, this draft is of paramount importance for the Giants as they chart their future.