Rookies always bring hope to a franchise, and a curiosity about how well they will perform in their first seasons as professional athletes. So, what will the 2017 NFL Draft class bring to the New York Giants? Let’s lay out some best- and worst-case scenarios for the six rookies the Giants drafted.
Round 1 — Evan Engram
Best-case scenario: Engram quickly becomes the Giants’ No. 2 receiver behind Odell Beckham Jr. He catches 70 or so passes, helps the Giants become one of the league’s most explosive offenses, and winds up in the Pro Bowl.
Worst-case scenario: His blocking, the fact that Sterling Shepard is the primary slot receiver, and the emergence of Jerell Adams and Matt LaCosse, limit his playing time. He ends up with less than 30 receptions.
Valentine’s View: What will most likely happen is somewhere in-between those two extremes. Engram will have a big impact on the Giants’ offense, creating match-up problems and helping the Giants attack the deep middle of the field. That’s an area where, per NFL Savant, the Giants completed only seven passes last season. Engram, though, probably won’t put up huge individual numbers. A 40-50-catch season would be a solid rookie year. For comparison, Rob Gronkowski caught 42 passes as a rookie and Jimmy Graham caught 31.
Round 2 — Dalvin Tomlinson
Best-case scenario: Tomlinson starts at defensive tackle next to Damon Harrison, and makes fans forget about Johnathan Hankins. Blocked one-on-one with Harrison taking on double teams, Tomlinson dominates against the run and shows potential as an inside pass rusher.
Worst-case scenario: Tomlinson loses the starting job to one of Robert Thomas, Jay Bromley or Corbin Bryant. The 2017 season ends up being more of an internship for Tomlinson, much like the rookie seasons of former second-round picks Hankins and Linval Joseph.
Valentine’s View: I think Tomlinson starts from Week 1 and might — just might — have the best season of anyone in the Giants’ rookie class. With the talent on the defensive line around him, there isn’t an extraordinary amount of pressure
Round 3 — Davis Webb
Best-case scenario: Webb never has to play in a regular-season game. If he does, he somehow has a Dak Prescott-like impact.
Worst-case scenario: Injuries force Webb into action and he isn’t ready. Remember how overwhelmed Connor Cook of the Oakland Raiders was last season (18-of-45) when he had to start in a playoff game. Or, how shaky Bryce Petty looked when he had to play for the New York Jets last season. Besides, Webb playing means Eli Manning isn’t. And that’s not a good thing for the 2017 Giants.
Valentine’s View: The Giants will only use Webb in a regular-season game as a last resort. That’s not a slap at the young man’s talent. They drafted him for the long term, not for 2017.
Round 4 — Wayne Gallman
Best-case scenario: Gallman follows a Paul Perkins-like path and becomes a key part of the Giants’ running game by the final quarter of the season.
Worst-case scenario: Perkins, Shane Vereen and Orleans Darkwa are all healthy and productive, leaving few snaps for Gallman. His season is spent mostly playing special teams.
Valentine’s View: Gallman’s role may be dependent on the health and productivity of the three backs in front of him. Perkins and Vereen are the top two, and Darkwa has been productive when healthy.
Round 5 — Avery Moss
Best-case scenario: Moss follows a Romeo Okwara-like arc as a rookie, becoming a pass rush specialist the Giants use as part of their four-defensive end packages.
Worst-case scenario: Moss is a spare part who spends almost every Sunday inactive.
Valentine’s View: Moss makes the team as an extra defensive end. He’s active some weeks, inactive others. He probably doesn’t have a big impact in his rookie season.
Round 6 — Adam Bisnowaty
Best-case scenario: Bisnowaty shows the form that had some thinking he might be a first-round pick before a rough senior season, and takes the right tackle job from Bobby Hart.
Worst-case scenario: He struggles during training camp and the preseason, the Giants add a veteran swing tackle, try to sneak Bisnowaty to the practice squad and lose him when another team claims him off waivers.
Valentine’s View: BIsnowaty does not win the right tackle job, but he spends the season as the closest thing the Giants have to a swing tackle. He is the first tackle off the bench if either Hart or Ereck Flowers gets hurt.