Mock draft season rolls on as we inch closer to the 2018 NFL Draft. Late Tuesday night, Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN released his “Grade A” mock draft, in which he proposes a full three-round mock draft for each team which would earn an “A” grade from him.
Completely unsurprisingly, Kiper has the Cleveland Browns selecting Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen first overall. With that in mind, let’s see who he selects for the Giants, and why.
New York Giants
Round 1 (2): Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Round 2 (34): Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia
Round 3 (66): Nyheim Hines, RB, N.C. State
Round 3 (69): Da’Shawn Hand, DL, Alabama
I still think the Giants should grab a quarterback with their pick (unless they get blown away by a trade offer). Eli Manning is 37 and on the down side of his career, and New York has a talented roster that shouldn’t be picking this high in the future. Is GM Dave Gettleman really going to pass on a signal-caller who could be Manning’s ready-made replacement?
Wynn could be an immediate starter, as the Giants lost interior linemen Weston Richburg, D.J. Fluker and Justin Pugh in free agency. Hines is an undersized speedster (he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at the combine) who will help in the receiving and return games. Hand, a former five-star prospect, underwhelmed at Alabama, but he has the physical tools that teams look for at the end of Day 2. He would play defensive end in a 3-4 scheme.
Raptor's Thoughts: This is Mel’s idea of a “Grade A” draft for the New York Giants, and it would probably net that grade for many fans as well.
Darnold is considered by many to be the top quarterback in the draft — or at least have the brightest future of the top quarterbacks. We have been hearing that he is the Giants’ top preference at QB, and when looked at from their perspective, it’s fairly easy to see why. Darnold has the potential upside to be a franchise signal caller with a prototypical frame, good athleticism, arm talent, and a penchant for making off-script plays in big moments.
As well, his laid-back, unassuming personality would serve as an armor against the New York Media, while the amount of development he still needs keeps him from being an immediate threat to Eli Manning — hopefully giving the team the opportunity for a quarterback transition while saving them from a quarterback controversy.
Moving to the second round, Isaiah Wynn might count as the steal of the draft. Given his history of drafting linemen with (at least) 331⁄2 inch arms, Dave Gettleman would have to break with track record to make the pick, but Wynn is probably the second-best offensive lineman in the draft after Quenton Nelson. Considering that the Giants only have one offensive line position filled (left tackle Nate Solder), Wynn would be a home run of a pick.
Finally, the third round provides a potentially explosive playmaker for the offense in Nyheim Hines and a piece for the defensive line in Da’Shawn Hand. Hines is more of a backfield receiver in the mold of Gio Bernard than a traditional running back, but considering how much running backs are used in Pat Shurmur’s passing attack there is definitely a fit there.
Kiper is right that Hand underwhelmed at Alabama, which might scare off a team for whom the third round has been a barren wasteland. Hand passes Gettleman’s arm length test with flying colors, and he is certainly powerful, however his movement skills just aren’t there, and at the combine he tested in the fifth percentile on the 3-cone drill despite weighing in below 300 pounds. The Giants have four players already on the roster who fit the 5-technique position, but are still in desperate need of linebackers. They could consider using their second third round pick to ensure they get Shaquem Griffin, the hyper-athletic WILL linebacker from UCF. Despite having one hand, Griffin would be a natural fit in James Bettcher’s athletic and aggressive scheme as both a coverage linebacker as well as a blitzer.