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Giants’ 2019 Draft preview: Addressing narratives as Round 1 approaches

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Let’s look at some of the potential scenarios as we arrive at the NFL Draft

NFL: Combine
Dave Gettleman
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The narratives for the New York Giants as the 2019 NFL Draft dawns are familiar, and the answers are really unknown. You get varying opinions and answers depending upon who you talk to, and sometimes, depending upon what day you talk to those people.

You know the narratives. The Giants might select a quarterback with their first pick at No. 6, and that might be the already-Twitter-trashed Daniel Jones of Duke. They might not take a quarterback at all in the draft, kicking the can into 2020. GM Dave Gettleman is “crazed” to land a top-tier pass rusher. Gettleman will use those 12 picks to move all around the board over the draft’s three days. After all of the controversial moves they have made, Gettleman and the Giants have to hit a home run in the draft.

Let’s discuss what we think regarding each of these narratives as the minutes tick toward the Arizona Cardinals officially being on the clock to begin Thursday’s proceedings. I am not going to use the phrase “what we know” because, if the draft teaches us anything it’s that no one really “knows” anything until it actually happens.

Draft analysts and scribes like yours truly do everything we can to ferret out some information and learn as much as we possibly can about what teams are thinking. Teams, on the other hand, do everything they can to make sure no one really learns anything. Somewhere in the middle we get some signals, somewhat of a feel or an indication which players a team likes or doesn’t like and what they hope accomplish in the draft.

As such, what you read from here on out will be my best guess at figuring out what might unfold for the Giants beginning Thursday night.

Pick No. 6

“Hurry up and turn in the card”

This, I believe, will be the attitude in the Giants’ War Room if Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams [prospect profile] or Kentucky edge Josh Allen [prospect profile] slide to them at No. 6. Forget quarterback, offensive tackle or whatever. If one of these two is somehow available I believe GM Dave Gettleman snags one, thanks his lucky stars, and figures out the rest later. LSU linebacker Devin White [prospect profile] might also fit into this category.

Other non-QBs possible at No. 6

Depending upon what happens in front of them, the next tier of defenders could include Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver, Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary [prospect profile] and Mississippi State edge Montez Sweat.

Gettleman has been clear that he wants to add an impact player along the front line of the defense.

“I have always been a big believer that if you look at the great defenses, they have a lead dog in every level. A legitimate playmaker at every level of their defense. I said it at the postseason presser and I will say it again, we need some defensive playmakers,” Gettleman said at his pre-draft press conference.

Asked who the playmakers were on the current defense, he mentioned linebacker Alec Ogletree and safeties Antoine Bethea and Jabrill Peppers. He didn’t mention any of his edge players or interior linemen.

It’s long been known that the Giants have been enamored with Sweat, but health and background concerns might push him out of consideration this early.

What about Gary and Oliver? Despite the lack of college production appearing to push Gary down on some draft boards, I hear his name connected to the Giants more often than Oliver’s. For the Giants, I think Gary could still be in play at this spot.

If the Giants want to go for a hog mollie on the other side of the ball at this point, the likely choice is Alabama offensive tackle Jonah Williams [prospect profile]. He would slide in at right tackle. The Giants, to my knowledge also like Andre Dillard of Washington State — just maybe not enough to take him this early.

Is anyone in this group of players enough of a value to keep the Giants from selecting a quaterback at No. 6?

About those quarterbacks

Gettleman and the Giants have told us over and over they want “value” with each of their picks, that quarterback is not a special category and that they won’t reach in the draft to find an heir apparent to Eli Manning and kick start their succession plan.

“I won’t force a pick,” Gettleman said. “You can’t draft for need. You will get screwed every time and make a mistake.”

Dwayne Haskins has seemingly been campaigning for the job as the Giants’ next quarterback. Unless they have conducted a massive and successful ruse, though, it doesn’t seem like the love is mutual.

There are those who believe Missouri’s Drew Lock is the Giants’ guy.

More and more, though, the quarterback conversation turns to Daniel Jones [prospect profile]. He is Mark Schofield’s sixth-ranked quarterback in this class, but Schofield acknowledges that his view “differs wildly” from that of many in the league. Gil Brandt compares him to Peyton Manning, and there are many who think a solid number of teams have Jones as QB2 in this draft.

Ralph Vacchiano of SNY had this on Wednesday:

“That’s their guy,” an NFL source told SNY on Wednesday. “They love him and they have for a while. I can’t imagine they’ll wait until 17. He’s not likely to last that long.”

Me? I absolutely buy the notion that the Giants have Jones at the top of their quarterback board. I have been warning readers for a while to get ready for the Daniel Jones era, and I think they just might take him at No. 6, with the caveat being that Gettleman could find it impossible to leave Williams or Allen on the board. If you buy the whole “if he’s your quarterback just take him and don’t get cute” theory — and Jones is, indeed, their guy — they pretty much have to take him at No. 6 and deal with upgrading the defense later.

Pick No. 17

Quarterback in play here, if ...

Yes, if the Giants don’t take a quarterback with the sixth overall pick I believe it is a possibility here. It is not, by any means, a certainty. It will, however, have to be a consideration. Question is, if they sit tight here and don’t move up the board will one of the top four quarterbacks (Kyler Murray, Lock, Jones, Haskins) be available?

This is the spot where, over the past week or so, mock drafts have increasingly given Jones to the Giants. If the Giants pass on Jones at No. 6 and still like him enough it won’t even surprise me if they move up a few spots to ensure that they get him.

The flip side of all of this is that it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the Giants bypass quarterback altogether in the first round. Some believe the guy the Giants really covet as heir to Manning is in the 2020 draft class.

We will find out soon enough.

Others in play at No. 17

This is a tricky prediction because it’s virtually impossible to know exactly what the pool of players will look like when the Giants are back on the clock.

The list starts, of course, with any of the players we have already talked about who are still available at 17.

A name I have heard a number of times, and have seen others mention for the Giants at 17, is Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence [prospect profile].

Linebacker Devin Bush of Michigan, Clemson edge Clelin Ferrell, Florida State edge Brian Burns, and — at positions where there is a wide swath of opinion — whoever the Giants have as the top wide receiver or cornerback could be in play.

Wheeling and dealing

Gettleman says this is “a really good draft,” especially in the first four rounds, and that he is “not going to panic.”

That, though, doesn’t mean he is going to sit on his hands and wait for his 12 turns.

“Look at my history,” Gettleman said at his pre-draft press conference. “I have traded up a bunch of times in Carolina. Last year, we had to sit. We only had the five picks. I was not going to take picks from this year’s draft to move up in last year’s draft.

“We are going to do what we need to. If the situation calls for it and there is guy there that we feel can really help us but he is a few picks in front and we are not confident or comfortable that he will fall to us, if we feel the need, we will make the move. I am not afraid to do that.”

This isn’t the first time I have mentioned it, but I’m pretty certain Gettleman will be trying to move around and add picks in Rounds 2 and 3. Currently, the Giants have pick No. 37 in Round and then wait until 58 picks later, pick No. 95 in Round 3. If he can help it, Gettleman isn’t going to sit there and watch nearly two full rounds go by without making a selection.

Could that wheeling and dealing include moving around with the Giants’ first-round selections? Don’t be shocked. As Gettleman said at the Combine, “no guts, no glory.”

About that home run

Yes, I believe this draft is absolutely critical to the Giants. With two first-round picks and 12 picks in all the Giants are in a position to drastically change the direction of the franchise. Especially if they select their quarterback of the future.

I wrote about this the other day. Rather than re-invent the wheel, here is what I said:

Gettleman can say otherwise, as he did on Thursday when I asked him about the added pressure to get this draft right, but this is a make-or-break draft for the Giants.

All of the moves they have made in recent months pointed to positioning themselves for this draft. They have 12 picks, two in the first round. There is the possibility they will pull the trigger on an heir apparent for Manning. This draft and a 2020 offseason in which the Giants will have oodles of cap space, are the ones that could lift the Giants out of the pit they have fallen into in recent years. Mess it up, it could doom the Giants to also-ran status for the foreseeable future.

Gettleman said on Thursday that “There’s pressure getting it right every year.”

True, but I do think he understands the added weight of this draft. For the Giants and for himself.

Remember what Gettleman said at his introductory press conference after being named GM?

“My plan is to come in here every day and kick ass. That’s my plan, OK? And I’m going to keep doing it until they either take my key card or the Lord calls me home.”

At that point in time, Gettleman might not have seen the finish line. After a battle with lymphoma, though, I think he does.

Gettleman has talked a few times this offseason about retiring to Cape Cod. I don’t recall him talking about that before. I think his health situation made him realize that the Lord will be calling him home sooner rather than later, and that perhaps he would like to spend some time enjoying his family and his health while he can.

Before he does that, you know that he wants to believe he left the Giants franchise in better shape than he found it.

That might be part of the reason he could be tempted to dive into the quarterback pool this year if he has a chance. Maybe there are better options next year, but the Giants might not be in position to take advantage.

Gettleman has said he dreams of finding the Giants a franchise quarterback, and you wonder if he thinks there won’t be many more opportunities for him to do so. This draft could be the one that defines his Giants’ legacy.