What will the New York Giants do Thursday night in the 2016 NFL Draft? After all the mock drafts, all the reports and rumors, all the media speculation from here and everywhere else, truth is no one really knows. There are nine teams scheduled to pick in front of the Giants, and we have to see what happens with those picks before we even know what the Giants' options will be.
That said, we can speculate about what the Giants might like to do. So, let's lay out some of the potential options or scenarios, and let's look at how the Giants might be hoping things turn out in Round 1.
The primary target
I have said this before, but there is too much hype connecting Georgia outside linebacker Leonard Floyd to the Giants to think that it's just conjecture.
NYG/Floyd I believe to be real. Potential curveball: Rankins to Tampa at 9. Gonna depend how some things fall. https://t.co/1Mcu4jVmJ1— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) April 27, 2016
Floyd is a player some love for the Giants, and some don't. We also did a "case for/case against" drafting Floyd. The case for basically amounts to the fact that he's an athletic, pass-rushing outside linebacker with a skill set no Giants linebacker currently possesses. The case against basically amounts to the belief by some that he would be better in a 3-4, and th argument that his collegiate production doesn't match his athletic ability.
We know the Giants have not drafted a linebacker in the first round since 1984. when they selected Carl Banks, and that the position has been a sore spot for a long time. Is Floyd the player who can finally begin to change that? I won't pretend to know the answer. I also won't pretend to be certain Floyd will still be on the board when the Giants pick, or pretend to be sure they will take him if he is. I do, however, believe that the Giants' reported interest is real.
More on Leonard Floyd
Now, about some of those curveballs Garafolo mentioned.
The Myles Jack conundrum
At one time, Jack to the Giants at 10 was a pipe dream. Now, with varying degrees of concern about the long-term stability of Jack's knee, it seems conceivable that Jack would be available to the Giants. Would they select him? Honestly, I have no idea. They aren't going to spill the beans on what their doctors have said about Jack, so we won't know how the Giants feel about Jack until and unless they are faced with the choice of selecting him.
Jack, of course, has a skill set that should make the Giants drool. It all comes down to their read on his knee. Remember what GM Jerry Reese said during his pre-draft press conference about selecting players with medical flags.
"We listen to our doctors. If our doctors say the risk is too high or reject guys, we don't take them. If the injury is so significant ... It's like school. F is bad and A is good. Anything in between ... If it's a C, there's some risk. If there's a D, there is a lot of risk, and if it's an F, we're not going to take them. It's hard for us to take a D. We rarely take a D."
What grade do the Giants have on Jack's knee? Only they know that for sure. The chatter on Wednesday night was that the Giants would pass on Jack, with one report going so far as to claim that Jack was "off the Giants board." If I'm going to make the case that there has to be some validity to the Floyd hype, the fact that the Jack reports are coming from credible, well-placed media members also gives validity to those.
What is Plan B?
Nothing in life ever goes exactly according to plan, and the NFL Draft is a perfect example. So, of course, you need to have a Plan B. And maybe plans C and D, as well. So, what is the Giants' Plan B in the first round?
I'm speculating here, obviously, but this is how I read the situation at this point.
I do believe that given their first choice the Giants would select Floyd, with Jack perhaps in the conversation if they feel good about Jack's long-term prognosis. But, what if Floyd isn't available and they are leery of Jack's knee at No. 10?
My belief is that the Giants' next choice would be to finish off their offensive line. Laremy Tunsil of Ole Miss probably won't be there, but either Ronnie Stanley of Notre Dame or Jack Conklin of Michigan State could be.
While I believe the organizational preference to be the best defensive front seven play-maker available, I think the fall back plan would be to try and solidify the offensive line.
What about Ezekiel Elliott?
There were reports on Wednesday night that the Giants were one of three teams inquiring about what it might cost to move up from No. 10 to the Cleveland Browns' spot at No. 8 to select Elliott. We've discussed Plans A and B for the Giants. I might look at Elliott as Plan C.
What do the Giants do if Floyd and the top three offensive tackles are gone, they won't consider Jack, and Elliott is the highest-rated player on their board when their turn comes?
I don't know if the Giants would actually trade up for Elliott. They would likely have to surrender a third- or fourth-round pick to get that done, and that's a heavy price for a team that needs to get help from multiple players in this draft. Do they covet Elliott, or Floyd for that matter, enough to make that kind of move? We'll see. That hasn't traditionally been their style early in the draft.
I do believe the Giants would select Elliott at 10 before they would turn in a card for a wide receiver like Laquon Treadwell or a cornerback like Vernon Hargreaves or William Jackson. When it comes to trading up for Elliott, though, I will believe the Giants would do that when I actually see them do it.
I have advocated the idea of trading down from the 10th pick. Could that scenario actually be in play? As everyone should know, anything is possible in the draft.
"We're open to moving up, we're open to moving back," Reese said during his pre-draft press conference.
When might they be open to moving down? Teams like the Miami Dolphins (13th) and Tennessee Titans (15th) are said to be looking into moving up. Should Floyd, an offensive tackle, and perhaps Elliott, be off the board before the Giants pick at No. 10 trading down could be a plausible scenario.
While the Giants could use cornerback help, there is no buzz connecting them to Hargreaves. Personally, I don't believe Hargreaves fits the physical profile of what the Giants would at corner in terms of height/speed/arm length. As for wide receiver, there has been some buzz about Treadwell. My read on the situation, though, is that is not a pick the Giants would make at 10. They might if they trade down, or they could wait until later in the draft to select a receiver.
These are all just my thoughts based on conversations with a variety of draft analysts, what I believe to be credible reports from insiders whose work I trust, and my own reading into the Giants' needs and draft tendencies. Could I be right? Sure. Could I be wrong? Sure. Could something totally unforeseen happen Thursday night? Sure.
Enjoy the draft no matter what happens. And make sure you stay here to read all of our coverage, and discuss the results with fellow Giants fans. Oh, and remember while you are doing that that while you may disagree on the particulars, ultimately you all want the same thing -- good Giants teams. There will be a rush to judgment no matter what the Giants do. Remember, though, that the draft doesn't end after one round. Also, we won't really know for several years if this is a good or bad draft class.