There is a little less than a month remaining until the 2020 NFL Draft — which means there’s a little less than a month remaining of “Mock Draft Season.”
As always, we try to keep track of the general trends regarding the New York Giants, though we don’t make a front page post for every mock draft (we’d never be writing about anything else). But when a major outlet releases a mock draft, we try to bring them to you. We do this on the basis that these drafts are informed by sources around the league and could give us insight we might not otherwise have.
This time, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has released his Mock Draft 3.0, looking at the draft after free agency has shaken up the NFL.
Note: Kiper does this mock draft without projecting any trades.
4. Isaiah Simmons (LB, Clemson)
This is another spot to watch for a trade. If the Lions stay put and take Okudah, could a team jump in front of the Dolphins to snag Tagovailoa? Because I can’t project trades here, I’ll mock Simmons to the Giants. He’s a phenomenal athlete who ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at 238 pounds and has great film from the past two seasons. He and free-agent addition Blake Martinez would really strengthen the G-Men’s linebacker unit. General manager Dave Gettleman has to think about an offensive tackle here, too, with Mekhi Becton, Tristan Wirfs or Jedrick Wills Jr. as possibilities.
Raptor’s Thoughts: The fact that Kiper isn’t allowing himself to project trades here somewhat limits the ways he could go for the Giants. As I mentioned earlier in the day, the recovery of Tua Tagovailoa has likely opened up possibilities for the Giants at the top of the draft.
But in this trade-free scenario, it isn’t surprising to see Isaiah Simmons be the pick for the Giants. Simmons has a legitimately rare skill set, with experience at a variety of positions on an elite defense and the athleticism to execute from the secondary to the line of scrimmage. Adding a player like Simmons would allow the Giants a large degree of versatility and flexibility on the defensive side of the ball. He would help reduce the need to transition into sub-packages and allow the Giants to mimic a nickel package out of their base defense and potentially even a dime package out of nickel personnel.
Granted, the Giants just made Blake Martinez one of their primary free agency acquisitions, but as I mentioned in the latest edition of The Chris and Joe Show, signing him does not preclude the Giants from adding a linebacker in the draft. Martinez helps the communication on the Giants’ defense, but his relative lack of range and coverage ability make an athletic off-ball linebacker a valuable addition.
The flip side of the decision to draft Simmons means the Giants don’t add a right tackle with their top pick. Additionally, the second tier of offensive linemen starts to thin out as well by the time the Giants’ second-round pick comes up. Josh Jones is drafted by the Miami Dolphins 26th overall, Ezra Cleveland by the Tennessee Titans 29th overall, and Cesar Ruiz by the Kansas City Chiefs at 32nd overall. In this scenario I would look for a player like Auburn’s Prince Tega Wanogho or UConn’s Matt Peart, both of whom have considerable athletic upside as well as experience on both the left and right sides of the offensive line.
Elsewhere in the NFC East