I always enter into this mock with a bit of trepidation, and it is due to the fanaticism of GIANTS fans. They rank right up there with the most rabid, traditional franchise bases in the country, and right now the team is trying to rebuild under their most recent GM DAVE GETTLEMAN. They have made a lot of headlines this off-season, especially with the trade of flamboyant superstar, WR ODELL BECKHAM. They are also are in the throes of an eminent changing of the guard at the top NFL position, (QB), with the League’s closest thing to a royal family (MANNING’s), being involved. With speculation high, as to when the team and ELI will be parting ways, as he heads ever closer to 40-years old, GIANTS faithful will be waiting with bated breath to hear a new QB name being read, most likely, by Commissioner GOODELL. Overall, the fervent hope of most Giants fans is, that starting next Thursday night, their favorite team will begin adding a mother lode of young talent to their teams roster in the NFL Draft. Indeed this Draft needs to hit the jackpot. The team has 2 First Round Picks, as well as 12 Picks overall. They are on the clock early, (Pick 6), and often. Included in their 12 selections, are 4 Picks in the Top 100. That is where teams are expected to find immediate starters, so their fans will be expecting both quality and quantity, and the overriding question is what are they going to do about QB, and when does it happen.
Round 1, Pick 6
RASHAN GARY DE MICHIGAN 6’4/277 PP#7
No QB here, folks. The G-Men have historically been built to have their Defense centered around a stout DL, with pass-rush skills. It is probably safe to say that GARY was a bit less than expected as a collegian, hindered at times with injuries, but his athleticism and overall talent are both extreme. Right now it’s mostly potential, but this strikes me as a GETTLEMAN pick, and let’s call GARY a serious boom/bust pick. He looks like Tarzan, and needs to play like Tarzan much more often than he did as a Wolverine. His upside is that he could be an even more dominant, young JASON PIERRE-PAUL. Good thing this draft is not being held in the Big Apple, because Giants fans might riot at this Pick being made in the Big Apple.
Round 1, Pick 17
DANIEL JONES QB DUKE 6’5/220 PP#45
And here he is folks, the ELI heir-apparent. The MANNING family connections to Duke HC DAVID CUTCLIFFE are in play here. The fact that JONES has the same kind of calm, low-key demeanor as ELI also comes into play. ELI and JONES should find it easy to get along together, and work together, to groom JONES for the Franchise QB job in a year or two. JONES is a quality QB, do not fail to recognize that. He has nice size, a strong arm, and a high FBI. His low-key personality will play well surviving the hard times of NYC in his QB career. He is clearly more athletic than ELI, and eventually will extend plays and move the pocket better than ELI. He showed well at the Senior Bowl, and was voted the game MVP. Some would say his accuracy is a question mark. His completion percentage last season was 60.5%, not exactly a stellar number. Let me ask you how many of his teammates, especially at the skill positions, are in the NFL or ranked highly in this Draft? Answer: none. This might be a bit early by a dozen Picks or so, but when you need a new franchise QB, you don’t gamble. You get him when he’s available.
Round 2, Pick 37
GARRETT BRADBURY OC N.C.STATE 6’3/305 PP#39
He is one of the most pro-ready prospects in this Draft, and is very athletic for an OC, with a high FBI. He was a major star during Senior Bowl week. He also won the Rimington Award, as the top OC in college football last season. BRADBURY has good strength, but his overall athleticism and smarts are his trump cards. He was a TE coming to NC State, and should be a plug-and-play rookie, which is what the Giants need right now. He is, first and foremost, a football player. He should have no problem making line-calls, even as a rookie. He reminds me of former Chargers OC NICK HARDWICK, who played double-digit seasons in the NFL. Very good value at the Pick.
Round 3, Pick 95
JUSTIN LAYNE CB MICHIGAN STATE 6’2/192 PP#96
The Giants secondary has been in a constant state of flux for a decade, or more. The loss of Pro Bowl SS LANDON COLLINS to VFA, this past off-season, is the latest instance of the one-step forward, 2 steps backward, nature of things in their secondary. LAYNE is an athletic, yet physical, product of the Spartans smash mouth defense. He has good ball skills, but leaves a bit to be desired as a tackler. My guess is that he may not be an instant starter, but certainly will find multiple sub-package jobs that he can handle as a Rookie. He uses his length to good advantage in coverage, which might best be illustrated by his 15 PBU’s last season. 33″ arms are quite desirable in the NFL in a DB. Good value here, especially in the long run.
Round 4, PICK 108
KADEN SMITH TE STANFORD 6’5/255 PP#112
To my eyes, the Giants are a bit lacking at the TE slot. ENGRAM is a dynamic receiver, but not much as a blocker. SMITH is also a better receiver than a blocker, but if you play TE at Stanford, you must block. He is NOT an elite athlete, and is not going to beat defenders deep, as indicated by his 4.92/40 time at the Combine, but many scouts will tell you that he plays faster than that timing would indicate. In fact, I think he has ZACH ERTZ receiving ability, and is a better blocker than ERTZ coming out of school. He gets off the line-of-scrimmage quickly, and will win a lot of contested balls with his strength. In passing down situations, I could see SMITH and ENGRAM both out on the grass.
Round 4, Pick 132
TRYSTEN HILL DT UCF 6’3/308 PP#132
He came out early after not being a starter in 2018. Word is, some serious issues developed between HILL and the new UCF defensive coaches after SCOTT FROST moved on. He really helped himself at the Combine, where he looked strong and athletic. He’s a long 6’3 because of 33 3/8″ arms. His 5.04/40 at the Combine raised some eyebrows. He started pretty much on the Nose at UCF, but weighed 15-20 lbs. heavier back then. I think his best spot now is in a 4-3 scheme. He certainly can help the Giants in their DL rotation, and could run with the first unit in the near future. They could ask him to gain some weight back, to handle some Nose responsibility.
Round 5, Pick 142
JUSTIN HOLLINS ER/OB OREGON 6’5/245 PP#146
He was the defensive standout at the Shrine Venue, both in practices and the game. He was unblockable at times. He has the speed, (4.48/40), and quicks to blow through line gaps, and/or just run downplays from behind. I see him filling multiple roles in a pro defense of any kind. There is some nice film of him dropping into coverage, as well. His 2018 stats give clear indication of his versatility and athleticism; 64 T’s, 14.5 TFL, 6.5 S’s, 5 QBH’s, 1 FF, 7 PBU’s, and 1INT. If used creatively by their DC, he has the tools to help in a lot of roles within their defensive scheme.
Round 5, Pick 143
MICHAEL DOGBE DL TEMPLE 6’3/286 PP#149
In recent years, I have come to respect the battle cry of ‘Temple Tough’, as that football program has really evolved into a solid, winning program in the tough AAC. DOGBE is an example of a program that takes average to good players, and develops them into physical, winning players. DOGBE was at the Shrine venue and showed well all week. He’s a very physical player with a strong, tough body. He has long arms, (33 1/4″), and put up 34 Bench Press reps. He also ran a 4.97/40 at a solid 286 lbs. Pro Football Focus credited him with leading the AAC with 39 QB pressures last season. He had 72 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 7 sacks and 2 QBH’s. Remember, most of that was as an interior DL. He was also credited with 3 FF’s. So, how was he not at the Combine? In fact, I feel somewhat guilty for not having him ranked higher than 149. I think that he can play DE in a 3-4 alignment, and do quite well as a DL in an Eagle formation. He’s a really solid player, who will make a dependable NFL contributor.
Round 5, Pick 171c
NATE DAVIS OG CHARLOTTE 6’3/317 PP#166
This 4-year starter played most of his career at RG. He switched to RT last season, but will be slotted back inside in the NFL. He was a Senior Bowl invitee, and showed well all week. He has a nice combination of strength and athleticism. Call him a dancing bear. He looks like a solid prospect, with starting talent in a couple of seasons. He will have to work on staying on his feet better in his run blocking. Upside is high for this player.
Round 6, Pick 180
STANLEY MORGAN WR NEBRASKA 6’0/202 PP#176
In the first year of the SCOTT FROST era in Nebraska, the offense struggled much of the time, especially in the passing game with a true frosh at the helm, but upon closer review of the tape, and some stats, MORGAN resurfaces as a legit draft prospect. He may end up being a more productive pro than he was in college, but even in a rebuilt offense working with that frosh QB, MORGAN caught 70 balls for 1,004 yards, and 7 TD’s. He has big hands, (9 7/8″), and a solid body build. Not a speedster, (4.54/40), but a good player who can get better, and he’s likely to be an immediate contributor on Special Teams. Did I mention he has some NFL pedigree as well?
Round 7, Pick 232
TY JOHNSON RB/RS MARYLAND 5’10/213 PP#235
Yes, the team already has budding star SAQUON BARKLEY in the backfield, but depth is needed at all positions in the long distance journey that is an NFL season. JOHNSON has posted some nice numbers in draft prep work. He was a productive player in the East/West venue, then he ran in the 4.32/40 range at his Pro Day. He averaged 7.7 ypc last fall, and averaged 27.2 yards on kick returns. He has solid size, and surprising speed and burst. He should give the team a solid, young back-up RB option.
Round 7, Pick 245
ADARIUS PICKETT S UCLA 5’11/200 PP#252
Not a great athlete, but an incredibly productive, slightly undersized, football player. He should make an immediate star on Special Teams, but he’s more than that. His 4.60/40 is not terrible, and look at his 2018 season stats: 123 T’s, 4 PBU’s, and 2 INT’s. He can run with TE/RB’s deep, and will readily tackle guys much bigger than he is. He has a very high FBI, and the willingness to stick his nose into a scrum. Gotta have a few guys like this on every team, at any level. Smart Pick here with pro upside, despite some limitations.
There you go Giants fans. As we always say, you cannot fix all your issues in one Draft effort, but having a League leading 12 Picks sure helps. Now it is up to GM GETTLEMAN to pick the right guys next week.