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Super Bowl LI: Which Falcons, Patriots player would you choose for the Giants?

On Super Bowl Sunday, let’s dream a little bit

NFC Championship - Green Bay Packers v Atlanta Falcons
Julio Jones
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Turnabout is fair play. My favorite thing to do when conducting “Five Questions” interviews with writers from whichever team the New York Giants are facing is to ask which player from the Giants that writer would like to put on his or her team.

So, when I asked for questions for this week’s mailbag (by the way, you can always e-mail those to that question got tossed back at me. Long-time community member Patrick Calvert obviously relished the idea of sending me this question:

“I'm gonna steal a play out of the Valentine playbook, and ask you this: If you could take one player from each team playing in the Super Bowl and put him in a Giants uniform, who would you choose and why?”

Well, having your own playbook stolen is generally frowned upon. And having a dose of your own medicine jammed down your throat doesn’t usually taste very good. In this case, though, I liked the question so much that instead of using it in the mailbag I am making a Super Bowl Sunday discussion topic out of it.

Here are my choices. And, just to set the ground rules for how I did this I kept the quarterback position out of it.

Falcons — WR Julio Jones

Are you really going to argue with me here? How often has the discussion turned to the Giants’ need for a true outside receiver? A big, physical target who can make difficult catches in traffic? One of those “he’s open even when he’s not open” receivers?

Well, how about adding the best big receiver — maybe the best receiver in the game, period — to the Giants’ lineup?

Imagine the nightmare for defenses. Jones on one side. Odell Beckham Jr. on the other. Oh, and Sterling Shepard in the slot. How in the world do you defend all of that?

Jones is 6-foot-3, 220 pounds. He is just only 28 years old, still in his prime. He is also the antithesis of the “Diva” wide receiver found around the NFL.

What’s not to want?

You could make an argument for ...

DE Vic Beasley — Even if the Giants are able to to re-sign Jason Pierre-Paul, you can make an argument that they could use a pure pass rusher off the edge. As good as they are, neither JPP not Olivier Vernon fit that description. With a league-leading 15.5 sacks in 2016 and 30 hurries (fifth in the league) Beasley does. He’s only 24 and finishing his second season. He figures to get better.

LT Jake Matthews — The sixth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Matthews already is what the Giants hoped Ereck Flowers would be — a solid left tackle. You could argue that Matthews should be the choice based solely on positional need.

New England Patriots Media Availability
Devin McCourty
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Patriots — S Devin McCourty

Remember when the Giants pushed hard to try and pry McCourty away from New England as a free agent prior to the 2015 season? They fell short then, but I’m fixing that now.

The former Rutgers star is one of the game’s best free safeties, a former Pro Bowl cornerback who can drop down and cover as well as patrol the back of the defense. He would be the perfect complement to Landon Collins. The Giants do have Darian Thompson, but after an injury-plagued rookie season Thompson is starting from square one. McCourty will be 30 when the 2017 season starts, which means he probably isn’t a long-term solution. He still has quality years left, though, and in the NFL how many players are really long-term solutions, anyway?

You could make an argument for ...

This is one of the truly weird things about the Patriots. They have a lot of really good players, but I’d argue that after Brady and Rob Gronkowski they don’t really have guys who are “stars.” As I thought about this, there weren’t really players after McCourty who made me think “I’d have to pick that guy.”

You can’t choose Gronkowski. He’s the NFL version of Humpty Dumpty, and how many times can doctors put him back together again? Julian Edelman? The Giants don’t need more smallish slot receivers. Dont’a Hightower? Malcolm Butler? Maybe.

In the end, though, I’ll stick with McCourty.

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