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2017 NFL Draft: Pick-by-pick grades for the Giants

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Jesse offers his take on the Giants draft class

NFL: Combine
Evan Engram
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

“If you don’t know, know you know.” A recurring theme for the New York Giants and the NFL Draft that we draftnatics should be well aware of by now, but still often forget; the Giants don’t care about your media consensus big boards. The players they like will not be the players the media likes and they will take the best available player on their board.

There is a good argument to be made that the biggest positions of need for the Giants heading into the draft were tight end, offensive tackle, pass-rushing DT, linebacker depth, cornerback depth, and place kicker.

The Giants drafted a move tight end/WR, a run-stopping defensive tackle, a QB, a RB, edge rusher, and finally an offensive tackle. Your perceived needs and your big board don’t mean anything to the Giants.

I liked much of what they did in the draft, here’s how I view it.

Round 1: Evan Engram, TE/WR, Ole Miss

(Toot, toot) here comes the back-patting train. Prior to the draft every year I try to write up five “dark-horse candidates” that the Giants could consider with their first round pick, I started this the year after the Justin Pugh first-round pick because it completely caught me off-guard and I realized that I got too wrapped up in the general consensus and not with what was true about the Giants. This year I did five, but only four were posted. The one that didn’t get posted was Evan Engram because it was bad timing on my part and there was an Evan Engram profile coming up, a back-log of other draft profiles and Ed’s mock selecting Evan Engram. The signs were all there most were focused on David Njoku, but if you try to think like Jerry Reese you can see some of these things coming.

[Editor’s note: Jesse is not simply trying to make himself look good here. He DID have an Engram post we didn’t use, simply because it would have been our third Engram post in two days.]

Reese consistently talks about how football has become basketball on grass and he tends to favor big speedy athletes. The Giants under Reese have always been a measurables team and that has given them great success (Jason Pierre-Paul) and also has led them to some bad decisions (Marvin Austin). Measurables are absolutely important, but they seemed to have refined their approach to guys with measurables AND leadership.

Engram oozes with both. Engram is a four-year productive player and two-year team captain. Engram has been a leader for his team on and off the field. He has four years of college production, was the most productive TE in the first round of the NFL draft by a good margin and he’s also a willing blocker (not good, just willing). Engram is extremely explosive and a match-up nightmare. If you haven’t seen the GIF of Engram’s 40-yard dash at the combine vs. Jordan Reed’s go watch it and get excited.

In terms of the fit, I like it. He’s not Travis Beckum, who wasn’t as willing to go over the middle or as explosive (4.60 40-yard dash vs. 4.42). And most importantly Ben McAdoo is not Tom Coughlin. Mcadoo wants to run the ball, but if he showed anything last year it’s that he’s willing to be a little more unconventional in terms of personnel. Mcadoo will work to get Engram on the field, and the Giants need it.

Why I love the pick:

The Giants offensive line is not great, I can’t pretend it is, but there was a major problem last year with the Giants offense that went beyond the scope of the offensive line. The Giants had the smallest WR corps in the league (Victor Cruz, Sterling Shepard, Odell Beckham) and although the three are willing blockers they are not great blockers. The Giants also couldn’t block at all from the tight end position. This stressed an already over-matched offensive line and led to some major problems.

The Giants started to use Dwayne Harris as a blocking WR to just get someone on the field to seal the edge, and started putting Tye in the backfield as a TE. Anything to get some blocking on the edge. Well this off-seasons they decided if they couldn’t fix the offensive line they would fix the ancillary pieces to the offensive line. They signed Brandon Marshall, a very good blocking WR, they signed Rhett Ellison a very good blocking tight end, (they just signed an undrafted FB as well), and have now added Engram, who is an undersized blocking TE, but an OVERsized blocking WR. If you split Engram out wide with Marshall and move Beckham to the slot in a three WR look you know have a very good blocking WR corps as opposed to a very poor one, but also one who can threaten the deep part of the field for the defense.

Engram is not necessarily a TE, he’s an offensive weapon built to challenge the middle of the field who is now playing for a team that couldn’t challenge the middle of the field last year and got beat routinely by cover-2 defenses. Engram should help in this aspect greatly.

I don’t believe any player that was going to be available outside Njoku (“higher upside,” but higher only as a blocker, Engram is a better receiver now, a faster player, a more polished player, and a much more productive player) or Engram could have has much impact day on improving the Giants offense.

Round 2: Dalvin Tomlinson, DT, Alabama

The Giants don’t care about YOUR board, or MY board, or the consensus board, or anyone’s board. I profiled Chris Wormley as a potential Giants draft pick even in the first round, and it turns out they didn’t like Wormley (or as much as they like Tomlinson). Wormley was sitting their for the taking as a potential Chris Canty type player, but they passed on him. Instead they took a big, powerful run-stuffing defensive tackle. They really appreciated everything Hankins gave them last year and even though they had an opportunity to take a Wormley or a Zach Cunningham, or whoever, they went with a brick wall.

That’s not to say that Tomlinson was a bad pick. Tomlinson was considered the alpha at Alabama by scouts, a “man’s man,” who was a lunch-pail guy. He was accepted to Harvard out of high school. He oozes with positive character. In Bob McGinn’s annual piece a scout said “one of the best interviews I’ve done in the last 10 years”. He’s a very solid, unspectacular, but “safe” pick. He’s country strong, he’s a productive player, and he loves football. He also helps today. He’s as pro-ready as pro ready comes.

A solid, unspectacular pick who will help the Giants immediately with their desire to have two run-stopping defensive tackles. This pick will look fantastic if Jay Bromley comes to life as a pass rushing specialist.

Grade: B-

Round 3: Davis Webb, QB, California

Since the New York Giants have drafted Eli Manning in 2004 his path has never been impeded. That will remain the same today, but this is the first sign that the Giants see the end of the tunnel for Eli. There were rumors prior to the draft that the Giants desperately wanted Patrick Mahomes so much so that they were willing to trade up for him. The Giants know the end is coming. And it also is an indication that Ben McAdoo believes Eli needs to play better. At the end of the year press-conference McAdoo made multiple references to the fact that he believed Eli didn’t help his OL enough this year and that he was impatient in the pocket and needed to play better.

New coach in the NFL almost always means new quarterback. This was a rare time when it didn't seem to, but after one year of being a head coach McAdoo is on the prowl looking for the next starting Giants QB.

I also LOVE this pick. I’m in the minority here, but I believe this Giants team is so talented that it’s irresponsible to not have a competent back-up quarterback in place. I believe that if Eli Manning were to get hurt (and we should expect that to happen sometime), that Davis Webb will prove to be more valuable then any other player they could have possibly have drafted in the third round. This team has weapons across the board and they need someone who can push the ball down the field and make some plays. And as a bonus if Webb becomes Manning’s successor and a good one, no one will bat an eye at this pick, or even care what happens with the other picks. Whoever they picked here was not likely to see the field a whole lot this year anyway because the Giants have a good starting lineup.

Read up on Webb and you’ll see how talented, smart, and dedicated he is to his craft, which gives him a legitimate chance of being a future starting NFL QB. He also has the best arm in the draft. He and Mahomes also have the best arms in the draft. He’s considered a guy with terrific football IQ and passion for the game.

Grade: A

Round 4: Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson

This was solid value. Nothing spectacular, but a productive player who fills a depth need and has a chance to contribute this year. Gallman had 1,500 yards last year with 13 touchdowns and 1,100+ yards this year with 17 touchdowns. He’s been a touchdown machine (the yardage dipped because he had less carries and the Tigers passed more. The Giants hope he can get some short tough yardage, and if they continue to run out of three WR sets, Gallman is a good one-cut runner who could be a guy who gets some tough yardage. I don’t think he’s anything special, but we’re in the fourth round here, special isn’t around often. Again, early in the draft the Giants went with productive, clean, leaders.

Grade: C+/B-

Round 5: Avery Moss, EDGE, Youngstown State

Moss is a talented player who has a bit of a checkered past. He was accused of indecent exposure early in his career at Nebraska and then was suspended and not welcomed back. He’s long, lanky, athletic, and quick. He’s a prototypical New York Giants pass rusher in the mold of Osi Umeinyora (not as talented). He’s 6’3”, 265 pounds ran a 4.79, but what matters for the Giants are 34 1/2” arms (they believe arm length is one of, if not the most successful predictor of success), and big hands 10 3/8”. At this point in the draft he has as much upside as anyone. Compared to Robert Ayers. High upside pick here with little downside. He’s a 4-3 DE more then he is a 3-4 OLB, but Giants will hope he’s a productive pass rusher regardless of where he comes from.

Grade: A

I’m all about two things late in the draft, terrific special teams ability or unique upside. Most of these guys don't pan out take the most athletic guy you can find because those guys have a chance and if they don’t work out, who cares? Cut bait.

Round 6: Adam Bisnowaty, OL, PIttsburgh

The Giants have shown that they are terrific at drafting EDGE rushers, WR, and cornerbacks. They just have a knack for it, what they haven’t been great at lately is finding OL value. Bisnowaty could change that. There’s a guy from Ourlads.com who relays that prior to the 2016 season Adam Bisnowaty was a guy scouts expected to take the next step and be mentioned as a possible top 10 overall pick, but then the season happened and Bisnowaty was disappointing. He’s battled injuries through most of his career.

He’s 6-6 with decent sized arms (33 7/8), and huge hands (11 3/8). He has starting potential, but only if last year’s play wasn’t a culmination of years of fighting injuries and instead was just a blip on the radar. If he returns to full strength he’s got a shot, if last year was him at full strength he’s part of the Not For Long club most sixth round picks are.

It’s a fine pick, but the Giants needed a kicker and they didn’t get one. They’ll find one somewhere I’m sure, but Bisnowaty isn’t likely to start for the Giants this year and they need one this year or I think this pick could have been better spent on CB depth, Kicker or maybe LB depth.

Grade: C+/B-