The 2019 NFL Scouting Combine is almost here, and as you’ve no doubt noticed, Mock Draft Season is only getting more prolific.
The vast majority of these drafts have been boring for the New York Giants, but occasionally one that is actually interesting — and gives us a chance to talk about some prospects that we should, but aren’t talking about. One of those rare drafts came across my radar yesterday, a four-round mock from Luke Easterling of The Draft Wire.
That mock, and the Giants’ selections, were what inspired this podcast, in which Dan and I created our own mock drafts and compared our picks.
But first, here’s Easterling’s mock draft for the Giants:
13. Cody Ford (OT, Oklahoma) - Dwayne Haskins is off the board at No. 4 in this mock, and Drew Lock closely follows at fifth. Getting desperate, the Miami Dolphins trade up with the Giants to draft Kyler Murray, swapping the sixth and 13th picks, as well as Miami’s second- (48th overall) and third-round (78th overall) picks.
Easterling said of the pick: “I get the feeling old-school general manager Dave Gettleman would prefer to ride with Eli Manning for the time being, and opt to fortify the trenches with his early picks in this draft. After moving back and getting some extra picks, the Giants still get Ford, who would be an immediate upgrade at either tackle spot.”
37. Zach Allen (DL, Boston College)
48. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (S, Florida)
(Sam Beal) - made during 2018 supplementary draft
78. Michael Jackson (CB, Miami)
101. Tre Lemar (LB, Clemson)
125. Brett Rypien (QB, Boise State)
Raptor’s Thoughts: See guys, I told you this one was interesting. In reality, if this (not unlikely) scenario comes to pass and Haskins (and Lock) are off the board, it’s unlikely that Gettleman trades back. Instead, it’s more likely that he either sticks to his board and drafts the highest-graded player available or reaches badly and drafts Daniel Jones.
But, in our podcast on non-quarterback options at sixth overall, Dan and I game-planned this very scenario — that Haskins was off the board and there’s no way the Giants draft Kyler Murray — and we both said that trading back was our first choice. Outside of landing a franchise quarterback, it is the best way to maximize the value of a pick. And thanks to the trade, there’s a lot to unpack here:
First Round: In this case, the Giants landed a player they might have drafted at 6th anyway, while also picking up two more day 2 selections. Ford is a player we’ve talked about a fair bit so far. Formerly a guard for Oklahoma, he transitioned to right tackle this past season and has been rocketing up draft boards. He isn’t quite as tall as the NFL generally prefers, but at 330 pounds, he has all kinds of power and movement skills that are good for any size, and simply unfair for the size he is. If the Giants don’t find their right tackle in free agency, Ford should lock that position down for a long time.
Second Round: I want to concentrate on Zach Allen (Dan and I get into Chauncey Gardner-Johnson in the podcast. Spoilers: we like him). Allen is an interesting fit for the Giants’ defense. He isn’t the EDGE player that they mostly get mocked, but that isn’t to say he is a bad pick either. Allen is a defensive end through and through, and probably best cast as a base 7-technique in a 4-3 front. However, he has the length and power at 6-foot-5, 285 to play the 5-technique in the 1-gap 3-4 that forms the basis of the Giants’ front. Given how often they were in a four-man front last year, scheme fit isn’t a problem.
Allen was consistently productive for Boston College over the last three seasons, racking up 40.5 tackles for a loss, 16.5 sacks, 14 passes defensed, and a pair of interceptions. But while his sack numbers don’t leap off the page, he was one of the most consistent and productive defensive linemen in this draft in generating pressure. Adding Allen to Olivier Vernon, Lorenzo Carter, Dalvin Tomlinson, and B.J. Hill suddenly makes the Giants’ defensive front and pass rush much more formidable — provided the team can improve its secondary to keep the ball in quarterbacks’ hands or capitalize on mistakes forced by the pressure. That’s where Gardner-Johnson and Easterling’s third round come in.
Third Round: The Giants should be adding Sam Beal as a starting corner in 2019, and Dan and I are high on his potential. He has good length, fluid hips, and remarkably quick feet. He needs to get stronger from what we saw in college to be able to effectively jam NFL receivers, and that might be where his shoulder surgery slows his progress the most. We’ll just have to see.
I’m not thrilled with the selection of Jackson for the Giants’ defense. While he has the size and physicality called for an aggressive press-man coverage scheme, he doesn’t have the hips to stick with receivers after jamming them. He is a better fit in a Cover-3 defense, such as Seattle’s than in what James Bettcher prefers to call. Of course, calling hybrid coverages, in which both zone and man are played is always possible, but if one corner is always in zone, that can be exploited by offenses. I might instead have gone with Derrick Baity from Kentucky here, but the Combine will reveal much about both of these corners — and Zach Allen as well.
Fourth Round: Because compensatory picks haven’t been awarded yet, Easterling only gives the Giants two fourth-round picks.
Personally, I would have gone for Kendall Joseph (LB, Clemson) over Tre Lamar. Lamar is a big (6-foot-4, 240-pound) downhill inside linebacker who brings it against the run. However, the Giants already have B.J. Goodson for that, and Goodson is a much more instinctual linebacker and is better in coverage. Joseph could upgrade Tae Davis as the nickel linebacker and help improve the Giants’ speed over the middle. Easterling could also have gone with Christian Miller (EDGE, Alabama) or Joe Jackson (EDGE, Miami)to improve the Giants’ depth of pass rushers, Tyree St. Louis (OT, Miami) or Dru Samia (OG, Oklahoma) to improve their depth along the offensive line, or Damarkus Lodge (WR, Ole Miss) or Antoine Wesley (WR, Texas Tech) to solidify a receiving depth chart that is uncertain behind Odell Beckham Jr. and a soon-to-be free agent Sterling Shepard.
Finally we come to Brett Rypien, Mark Schofield’s guy. As I said back in my pre-combine QB depth chart Mark is considering making Rypien his QB 1, measurables and “ideal arm strength” be damned. I don’t hate the pick, especially the way the first round worked out. however, this will be the third time in three years the Giants take a swing on a mid-round lottery ticket quarterback. They had better hope that either Kyle Lauletta completes a remarkable turnaround and becomes more than an afterthought and wasted pick, or that Rypien proves Mark right. Because otherwise, if Eli Manning retires after 2019 the Giants have no quarterback for 2020.
Now, that ALL that is over with (you guys are still with me, right?), it’s time to get to the podcast.
I’m just going to list our two mock drafts without explaining our picks — we go into depth on them in the podcast itself — but they were both made using Fanspeak with the aggregate big board.
Dan’s mock draft
1 (6). Kyler Murray (QB, Oklahoma)
2 (37.) Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (DB, Florida)
3. (Sam Beal)
4 (108). Christian Miller (EDGE, Alabama)
4 (132). Ben Banogu (LB, TCU)
4 (137). Michael Jordan (OG, Ohio State)
Chris’ Mock Draft
1 (6). Dwayne Haskins (QB, Ohio State)
2 (37). Jawaan Taylor (RT, Florida)
3. (Sam Beal)
4 (108). Christian Miller (EDGE, Alabama)
4 (132). Connor McGovern (C, Penn State)
4 (137). Ugo Amadi (S, Oregon)
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