The first round of the 2018 NFL Draft is in the books, and as everyone knows by now, the New York Giants have selected Saquon Barkley out of Penn State.
It was a move that pretty everyone expected leading up to the draft, and the Giants never hesitated to make the pick. Afterwards, Dave Gettleman said that Barkley is only the second player to ever receive a perfect grade from him.
— The first was Peyton Manning —
But that is in the past, and now we look to the second night of the draft. Adding intrigue to the second and third rounds is that the several players with first-round grades fell out of the first round and are sitting at the top of the second.
With that in mind, I decided to come up with a three different scenarios for how tonight could play out.
Scenario 1 - Giants take the pass rusher
34th overall - Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
The Giants get a replacement, and a pass rushing upgrade, for Jason Pierre-Paul In our first scenario. Harold Landry was reportedly tagged by some teams for back and knee injuries coming out of the combine, not to mention his nagging ankle issues throughout the 2017 season. If he is healthy, Landry is an absolute terror of a pass rusher, in the mold of Von Miller, and a player we thought would be drafted in the top 15 picks.
The Giants have needed a speed rusher since the departure of Osi Umenyiora, and Landry would give them that, and a dynamic weapon in James Bettcher’s defense.
66th overall - Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan
Ereck Flowers seems to be on his way out. We heard that the Giants are exploring potential draft-day trades for Flowers, but even if those fail to materialize, it seems unlikely that he will be on the roster come September. Okorafor is what Dave Gettleman looks for in an offensive lineman. He is big and powerful, with long (34 1⁄2 inch) arms and “plus” athleticism.
He is late to football and still has issues to clean up, but he has all the physical tools and could be a bookend to Nate Solder.
69th overall - Jessie Bates, FS, Wake Forest
Bates is an athletic and fluid coverage safety with good instincts and the ability to line up and defend slot corners. He only has two years of starting experience, so he should continue to improve as he learns the NFL game.
It’s entirely possible that he is gone before this point, but a number of talented defensive backs slipping into the second round might push him down.
Scenario 2 - Gettleman gets the hoggiest of mollies
34th overall - Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
There has been word that the Giants “love” Will Hernandez. And just looking at the 6-foot-2 inch, 330 pound guard with rare power and athleticism, how could they not be? Everything about him simply screams “POWER FOOTBALL!”. Even his neck roll is a throwback to the 1980s and Gettleman’s halcyon days of coaching in high school football in Poughkeepsie and Kingston in upstate New York.
But sentiment aside, Hernandez is an excellent player. His power is obvious but he is also has simply rare flexibility and agility for a player with his build, making him one of the best pulling guards in the draft. He should be able to start immediately at left guard and help solidify a shaky offensive line.
His 32-inch arms would be, by far, the shortest Gettleman has ever drafted on the offensive or defensive line. But his talent might be worth it to the Giants.
If not, they could look at Connor Williams out of Texas.
66th overall - Kemoko Turay, EDGE, Rutgers
Turay has a significant injury history, but there are whispers that the Giants are very high on the local product. Turay has intriguing athleticism and made waves at the Senior Bowl. About his performance, DraftAnalyst’s Tony Pauline said:
There were times last week when Turay looked like the best defender on the field. He’s incredibly quick and athletic and moves with speed in every direction of the field. There were also instances when he was a complete non-factor and was overwhelmed by opponents. In the long run, Turay should do well as a 3-4 OLB brought onto the field as a situational pass rusher.
69th overall - Shaquem Griffin, LB, Central Florida
Honestly, if I had my druthers, Griffin would be included in every mock draft for the Giants.
Using a third-round pick might be considered rich for a player with one hand, Griffin is just that good. If he had two hands, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that he would go at the very top of the second round, with a good chance to be a first-rounder.
He is a well-rounded linebacker with incredible athleticism, great instincts in coverage, one of the better tacklers in this class, and a knack for embarrassing tackles as a blitzer. On top of all that, he is, by all reports, an incredible young man with a sky-high work ethic. That’s who I’d want on my defense.
Scenario 3 - Trade down?
Note: This scenario is (much) more speculative than the others. We have heard whispers that the Giants could try to move the 34th overall pick for more capital. However, that was before several players with first-round grades slid out of the first.
34th overall - Giants trade the second pick of the second round to the New England Patriots for the 43rd and 63rd picks.
Patriots select Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
43rd overall - Tyrell Crosby, T/G, Oregon
Crosby has been compared to D.J. Fluker as a player who could play right tackle or guard. Personally, I would use him at guard, where his long arms and natural power can be emphasized while his limited athleticism wouldn’t be much of an issue.
Crosby should be able to immediately come in and help the Giants’ running game.
63rd overall - Duke Dawson, CB, Florida
The Giants need to address their defensive back depth. Gettleman doesn’t have a history of targeting cornerbacks highly, but James Bettcher’s defense demands athletic, talented, press man corners, and they aren’t easy to find.
Dawson doesn’t have elite athleticism, but he has quick feet, loose hips, and strong ball skills. He should be able to start immediately as the Giants’ slot corner.
66th overall - Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
We don’t know how the new Giants regime feels about B.J. Goodson.
If they like him as a starter along side Alec Ogletree, Jefferson can play the weakside, opposite of Olivier Vernon. If they aren’t sold on Goodson, Jefferson could be another athletic inside linebacker for them. With Ogletree quarterbacking the defense, Jefferson would be able to be used to his strengths — using his impressive athleticism and attacking the offense.
Putting too much on his mental plate slows him down, but when he is just allowed to run around and attack, he is disruptive.
69th overall - Alex Cappa, OT, Humboldt State
Cappa played at a much lower level than most NFL prospects, but he simply dominated everyone he faced at Humboldt state — to the point where his tape probably should have come with a parental warning.
He won’t be able to throw defenders to the ground on a play-in play-out basis in the NFL, however, he is still very strong with great athleticism. Perhaps more importantly, Cappa has the kind of mean, gnarly, nasty demeanor you want on the offensive line.