Things in the NFL Draft seldom work out as anticipated. Sometimes the picks at the top are obvious, but other times, not so much.
This is one of those years that could throw prognosticators a steady diet of curve balls. The Cleveland Browns selecting Myles Garrett first overall seems like a given at this point, but the intrigue could start with the second pick. In this case, Dan Kadar of Mocking The Draft has the San Francisco 49ers eschewing Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen as well as a quarterback and selecting Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas second overall in his new mock draft.
The accepted wisdom is that Allen’s rare blend of sky-high upside and across-the-board fundamentally sound, and polished, technique make him a close second to Garrett. Likewise, with Matt Barkley and Brian Hoyer as the 9ers options at quarterback, they have a serious need at signal caller.
However, Allen’s shoulder arthritis could give teams pause and force him down draft boards, and Kyle Shanahan might have his sights set on an eventual reunion with Kirk Cousins. That opens the door for Thomas as the pick, and chaos throughout the remainder of the draft.
Do the ripples subside after 22 picks? Let’s see how that effects the New York Giants’ draft.
23. New York Giants: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
Ereck Flowers is proving himself to be a bad pick to play left tackle, so the Giants could be back to looking for another blind side blocker in this year’s draft. Bolles would be a nice choice. You don’t have to coach up his attitude, and his type of aggressive playing style would quickly make him a fan favorite.
Raptor’s Take: After missing out on Jack Conklin last year, an offensive tackle is likely high on the Giants’ priority list this year. The Giants’ inability to finally solve their offensive line has been a thorn in Jerry Reese (and Tom Coughlin, and Ben McAdoo’s) side for years now. Would Bolles finally solve the problem?
Who knows, but it’s unlikely he would do so year one.
The Giants probably wouldn’t move Ereck Flowers from the left tackle position at which he has shown some improvement. To call Flowers a bust after just two years, one of which was spent injured while the other saw him get his third different offensive line coach in three years. As offensive line specialist Duke Manyweather points out in the latest Big Blue Chat, moving Flowers would likely only obliterate any progress he has made, and ingrain the bad habits they are trying to fix. Also, rookie lineman struggling out of the gate is much more the rule than the exception. Even the highest graded linemen (players with more experience and are NFL-ready than Bolles) struggle for the first couple years.
However, with David Njoku, O.J. Howard, Ryan Ramczyk, and Christian McCaffrey off the board, is Bolles a bad pick? I’d say the answer is “No”. Fans would just need to have realistic expectations.
Personally, I might go somewhere else. My choice if we’re sticking with the offensive line might be Forrest Lamp (who isn’t in this draft). Lamp is a four-year starter at left tackle for Western Kentucky, and is probably the “cleanest” lineman in the whole draft. Much like Justin Pugh or Zach Martin, Lamp has the versatility to play outside and excel inside. That would give the Giants the flexibility to try both he and free agent D.J. Fluker at both right guard and right tackle, and find the combination that works the best, rather than locking Fluker in at guard.
My other option would be Washington Huskies receiver John Ross. Ross made history at the NFL Scouting Combine by breaking Chris Johnson’s record in the 40-yard dash with a blistering 4.22s time, but he is far from a workout warrior. A good route-runner with natural hands and ball-tracking skills, Ross scored 23 touchdowns on just 112 touches last year. For a team that saw their offensive production plummet by a full touchdown per game from 2015 to 2016, that kind of explosive playmaker HAS to be in the conversation. The drop-off from Bolles to Antonio Garcia, Dion Dawkins, or Taylor Moton in the second round isn’t so extreme as to preclude taking Ross.