The first round of the 2018 NFL Draft isn’t even a week old yet, Saquon Barkley hasn’t even been a New York Giant for seven full days, and already the 2019 mock drafts are flowing.
We just got done with about five months of neigh-constant draft chatter and speculation, so who wouldn’t be ready, nay EAGER, for more draft speculation!?
3. New York Giants
Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan*
Noticing a pattern? Gary is listed at 6-foot-5, 281 pounds, and he’s versatile, so he can fit at DE or DT, depending on the scheme. He racked up 5.5 sacks last season after half a sack his freshman season.
Note: If the Giants are actually 5-11 (as the Football Outsiders sim suggests) and picking No. 3 overall, I’d give them a QB since I’d have to assume it’s time to move on from Eli Manning. But I’m not sold on any of these QBs at this point in the process.
Raptor’s Thoughts: First thing’s first, let’s talk about Rashan Gary. Gary looks like an ascending player with plenty of athleticism and upside as a pass rusher. It’s a bit tricksy to project which juniors will declare for the draft nearly a year ahead of time — Christian Wilkins was considered a lock to declare before announcing that he would return to school.
Considering the glut of potential defensive linemen in the Giants’ defensive front (Damon Harrison, Dalvin Tomlinson, B.J. Hill, R.J. McIntosh, Kareem Martin, Josh Mauro, Kerry Wynn, Romeo Okwara, and A.J. Francis) it’s tough to see them spending the third overall pick on a defensive end.
I think it would be much more likely that the Giants select an offensive tackle to bookend, and perhaps eventually replace, Nate Solder. Perhaps a player like Washington’s Trey Adams, Alabama’s Jonah Williams, or Clemson’s Mitch Hyatt.
Now, on to — as Ed referred to it — the “real kick in the teeth:” The Giants going 5-11 and drafting third overall.
McShay used Football Outsiders’ projections to set the draft order this year, so we can’t blame him. The Giants have a hard schedule in 2018, and they finished 3-13 in 2017, so pessimism is predictable. Personally, I’m projecting them to finish 8-8, but wouldn’t be surprised to see them come in on either side of that.
My issue is that I firmly believe that — injuries aside -- the Giants vastly under-performed last year. There continued to be systemic schematic issues on offense even before the entire wide receiver position was wiped out, injuries made playing the defensive scheme untenable, and there seemed to be trust and accountability issues from the top of the coaching staff down.
Hopefully, the Giants have taken the steps necessary to remedy the sources of the problems which plagued the team in 2017. Pat Shurmur (along with Mike Shula) and James Bettcher have reputations for being flexible coaches who strive to put their players in position to maximize their talents and potential. If they do that, I’d take the “over” on the Giants’ win projections.