April 25th, and with it the 2019 NFL Draft, is nearly upon us. After what has seemed like an interminable draft process, it is just a bit over two weeks until the New York Giants turn in their first round draft picks and we start to get to know the newest Giants.
But that is still about two and a half weeks away, and we are still in the midst of that draft process. That means for the next 16 days we will continue to be inundated with gossip, rumors, and (of course) mock drafts.
Tuesday morning, ESPN’s Todd McShay released his annual “Grade A” mock draft, in which he puts forth his idea of what a “best case scenario” for each team would be. In his own words, McShay says, “Below is my three-round mock draft in which every team gets an A grade. I play general manager for each team at each pick, from No. 1 to No. 102.
To be clear, I’m not projecting picks. This is what I see as the best selection for the team -- but no trades allowed! It’s how I would pick based on needs, value and availability. Each team’s preferences don’t matter here.”
So, what kind of draft would earn an “A” grade from McShay? We pretty much already know the first pick.
New York Giants
Round 1 (6): Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Round 1 (17): Brian Burns, DE/OLB, Florida State
Round 2 (37): Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State
Round 3 (95): Mack Wilson, ILB, Alabama
The Giants have a lot of needs, but everything starts at quarterback. Haskins is the purest passer in the draft, so that’s a no-brainer for me at No. 6 overall. If Haskins is there, I’m taking him. OK, now we need a pass-rusher. Enter Burns, who had 10 sacks for the Seminoles in 2018. Howard would help improve the offensive line in front of Haskins (or Eli Manning if the Giants smartly let Haskins learn behind the veteran for a bit), and then New York gets real value with Wilson’s coverage ability all the way at the back of Round 3.
I would be absolutely thrilled if the first two rounds worked out like this, and am in complete agreement with McShay that those three picks would deserve an “A.” We have been over this time and again, and while reports may be surfacing that Dwayne Haskins’ stock is “sinking” we are in the worst part of smokescreen season. If the Giants can find an answer for the quarterback position — a real answer, not a lottery ticket or a player who gives them the warm-fuzzies — then it is pretty much Haskins or bust for them at sixth overall.
Note: Will Grier of West Virginia should also be in consideration at 17th overall and absolutely at 37th. He is very accurate, has the arm to stretch defenses, and remarkably consistent (and efficient) when the level of competition rises. McShay does not have Grier going in the first three rounds at all.
The notion of waiting until next year is there, but as we saw with Justin Herbert, betting on underclassmen to declare is no sure thing. What are the Giants to do for 2020 and beyond if Eli Manning retires and the underclassmen quarterbacks decide to return to school?
Moving on to the 17th overall pick, getting Brian Burns at that spot is pretty much a stupid amount of value. He is the top EDGE on some boards, with elite athleticism, burst and bend, length, and polished technique. I wouldn’t have a problem with the Giants selecting him at sixth overall, so getting him at 17th is a steal.
Tytus Howard is starting to get some buzz at the national level as we get closer to the draft. He is a high-upside player who could be a great find on the second day, and has the potential to be a good starter early in his career. Howard shows off good feet and a very strong lower body to go with a massive frame and long arms. He will need some work to reach his potential, but that ceiling is high. Personally, I might have addressed the secondary with all three of my top safeties still on the board (Nasir Adderley, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, and Darnell Savage), as well as Michigan State CB Justin Layne.
The third round is where things fall apart for me. I’m just not a fan of Mack Wilson and I believe that while he shows fluid athleticism on the move, he is a risk best taken by another team. As a player he reminds me of Alec Ogletree in that he is slow to react to offenses and too often defending grass and not the players running through his area.
Staying with the linebacker position, I would take either Minnesota’s Blake Cashman or Washington’s Ben Burr-Kirven here. I have both of them above Wilson, and frankly, not far behind Devin Bush and Devin White.
So Giants fans, would you give that draft an “A?”