Hindsight is 20/20, or at least that’s how the saying goes. But does hindsight really offer any advantage?
It’s Draft Season in the NFL and right now some of the best senior prospects in the country are being weighed and measured at the Senior Bowl. Later on they’ll take to the practice field where they’ll be scrutinized by scouts and GMs from around the league.
But that also means that various outlets will be looking back and scrutinizing previous drafts. In this case, ESPN is taking the opportunity to re-draft the first two rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft (Insider content). ESPN’s rules state that the draft is carried with the draft order as it stood at the very beginning of the draft, meaning no draft-day trades are considered.
The New York Giants had three picks in the first round last year — and will have two in the first round and one in the second round in ESPN’s exercise. How do things change with a year’s perspective?
6. New York Giants
Original pick: Daniel Jones, QB
New pick: Daniel Jones, QB
Jones is still available? OK. Give Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur credit. They got it right the first time despite outside perception. Jones flashed enough during his rookie season (24 touchdown passes in 13 starts) to provide hope that he’s the franchise quarterback the Giants desperately needed, despite the signal-caller tying for second in the league with 23 total turnovers.
17. New York Giants (from CLE)
Original pick: Dexter Lawrence, DT
New pick: Maxx Crosby, DE
Lawrence was a serious option here again. It’s just that double-digit sack guys don’t grow on trees, and edge rusher was a bigger need for the Giants than an interior lineman whose best skill is stopping the run. So Crosby (10 sacks) gets taken 18th overall in this re-draft rather than in the fourth round by the Raiders. Crosby’s 16 tackles for loss would have led the Giants this season.
Note: Per the rules of this exercise, trades were not considered. Therefore the Giants can not trade back into the first round and draft here at their natural 37th overall pick in the second round.
37. New York Giants
Original pick: Greg Little, OT (CAR traded up via SEA)
New pick: Bobby Okereke, LB
A linebacker who can cover? Yes, please. The Giants need one of those. Okereke had 65 tackles and a sack after being a third-round pick by the Colts. His 79.2 coverage grade by Pro Football Focus was 10th among all linebackers. He has a bright future.
ESPN’s own Trey Wingo has perhaps, the best take on this whole exercise, tweeting:
I’m here for re drafting.. but I have a firm and fast rule on waiting at least 3 years. Case in point.. the 2012 QB’s. Right now Ryan Tannehill is the only 1st rounder starting,
Honestly, taking a second look at a draft class with the benefit of hindsight can be a fun or useful exercise. But doing so after just one season is just silly. As Mark Schofield is fond of saying, development isn’t linear. We don’t know which players will take steps, or leaps, forward in their second and third years — nor do we know which players will regress in their sophomore seasons, or fail to step forward at all.
As of now, I think it is still too early to evaluate whether or not Daniel Jones is “The Guy” as Raanan says. Yes, he flashed impressive upside and made big plays. But those 23 combined turnovers is concerning — particularly because he threw another dozen interceptions that defenders simply dropped — as are his issues with pocket awareness and throwing into coverage.
It’s okay to be excited about Jones’ flashes, but we should also recognize that he was one of the least efficient QBs in the NFL last year. He finished 28th in passing EPA (-0.01) and 27th (-1.8) in completion percentage over expectation (CPOE).
All of that means the jury is still out for me. He has upside, but he also has work to do.
For me, the two most interesting re-picks are Crosby at No. 16 and Okereke at No. 37. The Giants desperately need more production from their EDGE players, and Crosby certainly would have given that to them. That the EDGE from Eastern Michigan jumps from pick 106 to 16 (90 picks) shows just what kind of season he had as a rookie.
Getting an athletic, rangy linebacker has been a need for the Giants for ... decades now. Good linebackers can be difficult to find, but the fact is that the Indianapolis Colts found Darius Leonard in the second round last year and Okereke in the third round this year. The Colts clearly have a “type” at linebacker (Okereke’s top comparison per Mock Draftable’s measurable database is Leonard), and it’s one the Giants should pay attention to.
The Giants would still have a glaring need at cornerback, but it’s worth noting that DeAndre Baker didn’t get selected by any team in the first two rounds of this re-draft.