It’s time for our weekly look at a pool of players from whom the New York Giants might be drafting come April 27th.
Last week we took a look at a “nightmare scenario” that saw eight of our primary targets ascend out of the Giants’ reach. This week I want to concentrate on the offensive side of the ball. As we know, the Giants didn’t draft a lineman (offensive or defensive) for the first time ever in 2016. Likewise, a sputtering offense held the team back from what very well could have been a Super Bowl run.
So with those two things in mind, let’s take a look at some offensive players who could help the Giants at 23rd overall, starting with the big guys up front.
Garett Bolles (OT, Utah) - Of the three “first round” offensive tackle, Bolles is my pick to be off the board first. His age means that he probably doesn’t have the same athletic upside as the other players, but he is a nasty lineman who should still be able to build “NFL” strength to complement his impressive athleticism.
The biggest question is if, or how much, teams are scared off by his age.
Ryan Ramczyk (OT, Wisconsin) - Offensive line specialist, and friend of Big Blue View, Duke Manyweather loves Ramczyk, which is good enough for me. He consistently touts Ramczyk’s strength, tenacity in blocking, and movement skills. Ramcyzk is a capable pass protector, and one of the best run blocking offensive tackles in the nation. While the hip injury which required surgery is a potential issue, Ramczyk was able to play through it and his doctor said it wasn’t as bad as initially feared.
Forrest Lamp (OL, Western Kentucky) - In my view the cleanest offensive lineman in the draft. Lamp can probably play any offensive line position you need at the next level, but should excel inside. If the Giants are not yet sure where to play free agent acquisition D.J. Fluker, Lamp’s versatility to play either right guard or right tackle would let the coaches be flexible on the right side find which combination works best.
Tight Ends and Receivers
David Njoku (TE, Miami) - Tony Pauline mentioned as far back as the Senior Bowl that the Giants had a significant interest in David Njoku, and we haven’t heard anything to contradict that. Njoku is just scratching the surface of his considerable potential, and has the upside to be a truly special tight end. He needs to improve his polish and technique, but he should be an immediate contributor who will force defenses to change their game plans.
Evan Engram (TE/H-back, Ole Miss) - Engram is not what you think of when you picture an NFL tight end. But his ability to give defensive planners ulcers shouldn’t be ignored. He was probably a 2nd round pick before the draft process started, but an exceptional week at the Senior Bowl and an excellent combine performance might have put him over the top. Engram has the speed and athleticism to shred the seams of defenses that don’t respect him, and could make for some interesting personnel packages. And while he needs to be matched up on linebackers or defensive backs, Engram is a better blocker than he gets credit for.
Corey Davis (WR, Western Michigan) - It is somewhat less than likely that Davis would, or even could, fall to the Giants at 23rd overall. However, general managers sometimes seem to excel more at picking nits and talking themselves out of picks than selecting good players. Davis’ game has few flaws, but playing against a lower level of competition and an ankle injury preventing him from taking part in the physical part of the draft process could push him down boards. If so, the Giants should pounce and take advantage of other team’s mistakes.
Carlos Henderson (WR, Luisiana Tech) - An under-the-radar name, Henderson is very quietly not too far behind the “Big 3” receivers. One reason to keep an eye on Henderson as a potential dark-horse is how well he scored in Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception. Under Ben McAdoo, the Giants seem to love receivers who can win with their route running — as evidenced by both Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard topping the Reception Perception charts. Henderson has actually managed to surpass Shepard’s success rate against press coverage and also lead the receivers profiled in his success against zone coverage.
Christian McCaffrey (RB/offensive weapon, Stanford) - McCaffrey is probably one of the apples of Jerry Reese’s eye. An excellent athlete with freakish agility and fluiditity, McCaffrey has the chance to emerge as both the best runner and the best receiver to come out of the 2017 draft. After having injury steal David Wilson from the Giants, the similarly talented McCaffrey could be their second chance at a dynamic, multi-dimensional playmaker for their backfield.
Dalvin Cook (RB, Florida State) - Going purely by his film, Cook is unlikely to fall this far. He thrives in a zone blocking scheme and has the ability to turn any missed tackle into a big play, and any play in which he touches the ball could end in a touchdown.
However, there are also concerns regarding Cook’s health (multiple shoulder injuries) and his off-field character which could push him down draft boards. If he slips, at some point he will just be too talented for a team to ignore and not roll the dice.
A Developmental Quarterback - Former New York Giants’ scouting intern and current Scouting Academy Director Dan Hatman, with whom Ed had a fantastic chat about the possibility of trading up, said that he has difficulty seeing a scenario where one of the “top” quarterbacks makes it to 23rd overall.
“I’m struggling to see a scenario where they would trade for a quarterback. I think you’re going to have those top guys pretty much all gone by the time you get to 13,” Hatman said.
However, with the Giants having to face Eli Manning’s football mortality, taking a quarterback in the first round, this year or next, isn’t a terrible idea. That prospect would have two to three years to sit behind Manning and learn how to be a true professional while ironing out some of the flaws in their game. And by selecting a QB in the first round, the Giants would have a that priceless fifth-year option. It would allow them an extra year of control on a rookie salary to decide if they truly have Manning’s successor. If we accept that DeShaun Watson (Clemson), Mitchell Trubisky (North Carolina), and DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame) are all off the board, the two names to keep an eye on here are either Patrick Mahomes II of Texas Tech, or Davis Webb of Cal.
Both players have formidable physical skills, and reportedly have top-notch intangibles (particularly Webb). They are very different quarterbacks, but both have traits to potentially develop into the kind of signal caller you can build your franchise around. It’s boring and would probably start a needless media drone regarding Manning’s future, and is certainly unlikely to help the team now. However, quarterback shouldn’t be off the table here.