The New York Giants surprised the draft community in the first round of the draft, but they would return to script in the second and third rounds.
The Giants selected big, strong, athletic, and smart defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson in the second round. After a wait that involved plenty of trades, the Giants selected Cal quarterback Davis Webb.
What kind of players did they get with their picks?
55th Overall - Dalvin Tomlinson (DT, Alabama)
It seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Giants would be addressing the defensive tackle position at some point Friday evening. They lost Johnathan Hankins in free agency and both Jay Bromley and Robert Thomas are free agents after the 2017 season.
There is a lot to like about Tomlinson’s game, and he passes all of the Giants’ physical thresholds.
On the field, Tomlinson was the rock in the middle of Alabama’s defense. As a nose tackle he controls blockers and collapsed pockets. He is stout against the run and shows an impressive short area quickness to tackle running backs if they try run through a gap for which he is responsible.
He is technically sound, playing with good hand usage and leverage. Tomlinson was also very effective when the ‘Bama defensive line would use stunts or twists.
Tomlinson showed the ability to disrupt the backfield by either bulling blockers backward or flashing quickness and burst. That disruptiveness suggests an untapped pass rushing upside that might have been hidden by Alabama’s scheme and talent. Tomlinson is a former wrestler and soccer goalie, which shows in his balance, ability to use leverage to his advantage, and his habit of getting his long arms up to clog passing lanes.
Off the field, Tomlinson is, by every account I have come across, a remarkable young man. He lost his father at a young age and his mother passed away in his senior year of high school. Tomlinson was accepted to Ivy League schools, got his degree in finance in 2015 and will be finishing his second degree (financial management) this spring. He also won the Alabama football team’s highest award for character.
87th Overall - Davis Webb (QB, Cal)
The Giants front office has been upfront all throughout the offseason with regards to Eli Manning’s football mortality, and drafting Davis Webb is (potentially) their first step in confronting the ticking clock on Eli’s career.
This is a pick that both the Giants and Giants fans will need to have patience with.
Webb has all the physical tools NFL teams look for with a prototypical build, enough athleticism, and an absolutely huge arm that lets him make all the throws with zip. But Webb doesn’t just have a big arm, he has the ability to throw deep with impressive touch to drop dimes right in receivers’ hands.
But despite all that Webb faces a steep learning curve coming out of Texas Tech’s and Cal’s Air Raid offenses. He has never commanded a huddle, never had to play from under center, or do much of anything else a professional quarterback has to do other than throw the ball. He will likely need the time sitting behind Eli and learning how to become a pro. And while his deep ball is undeniably pretty, inconsistent mechanics will need to be improved to improve his accuracy
Working in Webb’s favor, are his intangibles. By all reports Webb is a high-character young man who works to be a good teammate, even when an injury opened the door for Patrick Mahomes to take his job at Texas Tech. He is also, reportedly, a natural leader who was voted team captain within weeks of arriving on the Cal campus. Webb is also a coach’s son who loves the game and has a strong work ethic; his coaches have said that he lives in the film room.
Webb’s absolute upside resembles something like Jay Cutler’s physical ability with sterling intangibles and leadership qualities.
Obviously, it remains to be seen whether or not Webb becomes the Giants’ next starting quarterback. It will be a long road as Webb has to be built from the ground up as a professional quarterback. He has the physical tools, and he has the kind of mental make-up that you want to bet on as a developmental prospect.