This is my 11th and final New York Giants simulated 7-round mock draft for the 2020 NFL draft season. Keeping in the spirit of the 7-round mock drafts I asked Big Blue View contributors to produce during the past week, this will be a “what Ed would do” mock draft.
As you will see, at least in Round 1 I expect GM Dave Gettleman and the Giants to do something other than what I do. Especially after Saturday’s draft news.
Round 1 (No. 4) — Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
I am fully aware, of course, that Becton is probably the riskiest of what is considered the Big 4 offensive tackles. As for Becton’s flagged drug test at the NFL Combine, I ran this mock on Friday afternoon before that news came out. I debated for a long time on Saturday whether I should re-run the mock but I decided in the end that Becton was the pick I really wanted to make, so I stuck with it. I’m fully aware that Becton, depending how teams see his flagged sample, could be in for a draft day tumble and might not be a realistic consideration here. My guess as of now is that he almost certainly will not be the pick. Of course, even before the flagged test I figured that was the case.
I went a little bit rogue here, anyway. If I am putting myself in GM Dave Gettleman’s shoes, where I could well be forced into retirement if I don’t help put together a roster than wins more than four or five games, I’m going down swinging for the fences.
I don’t know if Becton is the best offensive tackle in this class. Nick Falato, Chris Pflum, Matt Williamson and many, many others all have their opinions. I know this — he’s my favorite. Potential gets GMs fired, but what I know is that the 6-foot-7, 364-pound Becton has the highest ceiling of any tackle in this class. If there is a Hall of Fame offensive lineman in this draft class, odds are he is it.
I’m going for broke. The Giants have won 12 games in three years. Solid is for later. Drafting scared is for someone else. Safe is for the next GM. The Giants will probably take Jedrick Wills of Alabama, and that would be just fine. So would Tristan Wirfs or Andrew Thomas. I’m going for the home run, though, whatever was in Becton’s pee.
I’m going for a guy who could be a star. Remember what rookie coach Joe Judge said the other day about upside?
“You’re always looking for the best player available and to me that means long-term upside. If you think you’re taking someone who is “pro ready,” what all of these rookies find out the second they step in the building is none of them are pro ready,” Judge said. “That’s why they need the spring program, that’s why they need training camp, that’s why they go through growing pains as rookies. To me, it’s about finding the upside of the player, of looking down the long scope of a career and seeing who’s going to be the best player with the most upside for you.”
Well, here’s your upside. Go to work, coaching staff. Mold this player into the best version of himself.
NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah has Becton as his OT1, even though he believes the Giants will go in a different direction. Jeremiah referenced Becton’s upside.
“God didn’t make many like this. I mean, he is the definition of a freak. To be that big and to still be able to move the way he does is incredible,” Jeremiah said. “I think Jedrick Wills on day one, the first day of practice, is going to be ahead of Becton, but I think Becton, the upside is what puts him over the top for me. So he’s my top guy.”
The tweet below is from Duke Manyweather, who has been training Becton. For more, see the entire Becton pass protection thread Manyweather posted on Twitter.
Mekhi Becton (Pass Pro) vs Notre Dame— Duke Manyweather (@BigDuke50) April 14, 2020
Every Snap ⬇️https://t.co/pNLdtiyFi4 via @YouTube pic.twitter.com/gkZVZdj2ZS
I’m not an NFL scout and will not pretend to be, but the ones who say Becton doesn’t finish should probably turn in their scouting cards.
Part-1 @BigTicket73 https://t.co/aTA6ijlcHy pic.twitter.com/asngoqnkkG— Duke Manyweather (@BigDuke50) April 13, 2020
Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
What I think the Giants will do
As I said above, I do not think the Giants will end up selecting Becton, at least not at No. 4. After the flagged sample Becton could be in for a draft day slide.
I think the Giants, unless edge defender Chase Young somehow falls to them, would prefer to trade down with the Miami Dolphins (No. 5), LA Chargers (No. 6), or Carolina Panthers (No. 7). They might, at that point, be able to get the No. 1 offensive tackle on their board. If not, I think they would be happy with any of Wills, Wirfs or Andrew Thomas, plus an additional Day 2 pick.
The problem with trading down is that the more you read and hear from the most well-connected of NFL Draft analysts, the more it becomes apparent that moving down from No. 4 without going all the way out of the top 10 might not be easy to do.
I have been mocking Wirfs to the Giants for weeks now, but more and more analysts are connecting them to Wills. That makes sense with several Giants coaches, Judge and running backs coach Burton Burns especially, having come through Wills’ school, Alabama.
“If you think about it, we hired (Former University of Alabama running backs coach) Burton Burns. Joe hired Burton to coach the running backs and he’s been at Alabama, so just think about all of the insight we get into the ‘Bama kids,” Gettleman said. “Obviously a number of our coaches are coming directly from the Southeastern Conference. So, you’ve got great contacts. It’s very helpful, it gives you insight, all of the information.”
To be honest, I more or less put my marker down on Becton a while ago. Just because I’m pretty sure that isn’t happening doesn’t mean I’m changing the pick. After all, this is a “what I would do” scenario.
Round 2 (No. 36) — Zack Baun, LB Wisconsin
Honestly, with Baun on the board this was only going to be a difficult decision if Michigan center Cesar Ruiz, who went No. 33 to the Cincinnati Bengals, was still there. As you will see when you scroll down, I unfortunately never really did adequately address the center position in this draft. I felt this was too early for Temple center Matt Hennessy, a player I’m pretty sure the Giants covet. As the middle of the draft progressed the value never really added up for me to grab a center.
Baun, a guy who can likely be used as both an off-the-ball linebacker and coming off the edge as a pass rusher, is an excellent consolation prize for those still bumming about not taking Isaiah Simmons at No. 4.
Baun just feels like the kind of player the New England Patriots have sought over the years, thus a guy Judge and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham would favor. That being a player who might not have the world’s great measurables, but who can be used multiple ways and who produces. To be honest, that seems like a Gettleman-esque player, too.
Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
Lloyd Cushenberry, C, LSU
Round 3 (No. 76) — Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina
The Giants started out, as you likely know, with the 99th pick (Round 3) and 110th pick (Round 4). I was itchy, though. I really didn’t want to go more than 60 picks (basically two full rounds) without picking a player. To be honest, I was also hoping to find a way to off-load at least one of my four seventh-round picks.
At 76, I found a willing trade partner in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I gave up three picks — 99, 110, 218 — to get to 76. By the Rich Hill trade value chart, I gave up 177 points to get to a pick worth 210. If I had been a nice guy, I would have tossed in a couple more of those seventh-round picks. Who wants to be nice, though?
With the depth of the wide receiver class I probably could have waited until later and hoped to find someone like Quintez Cephus of Wisconsin, Collin Johnson of Texas or even Isaiah Coulter of Rhode Island.
In prospect profile of Edwards, Chris wrote that that the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder could be a steal “after suffering through poor quarterback play in college and a pair of late-season injuries which limited his ability to perform for NFL talent evaluators.”
Chris also wrote:
“Edwards has a good blend of size and athleticism for the position at the NFL level. Edwards has a long frame with a good catch radius and good thickness in his upper and lower body. He lined up in multiple alignments in South Carolina’s offense, playing on the line of scrimmage as an X receiver, as a Flanker, and as a “big slot.” Edwards has a good release off the line of scrimmage, wasting little motion and pressing his route into defenders well on vertical routes. Edwards does a good job of selling double moves and is able to use them to get separation from defenders in man coverage. He also shows very good play strength and competitive toughness, playing through contact to get separation against tight coverage. His size, long speed, ability to track the ball in the air, and willingness to extend and maximize his catch radius make him a capable deep threat.”
Draft Network’s Benjamin Solak says Edwards “is a late Day 2/early Day 3 candidate for teams looking for a complimentary receiver with the ability to create dynamic plays out of schemed touches. A bigger body with great explosiveness and good long speed, Edwards is surprisingly shifty as a runner, and has the requisite contact balance to break multiple tackles after generating troubling angles with his speed and quickness. Edwards lacks the ideal catch radius of a player his size, and often seems late or lazy when adjusting to the football, but he has flashes of elevation catches and downfield tracks that illustrate a high-ceiling player. Edwards is a candidate for a rotational WR3/4 role in Year 1, but has the ceiling of a WR2.”
Jabari Zuniga, EDGE, Florida
Michael Pittman, WR, USC
Matt Peart, OT, UConn
Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
Round 5 (No. 150) — Antonio Gibson, RB, Memphis
Upside? Check. Versatility? Well, he can be a wide receiver, a running back and a kickoff returner. So, check.
To be quite honest, the 6-foot-2, 221-pound Gibson is not a player I expected to select. When I got to this pick using the Pro Football Network Big Board, though, I didn’t find myself excited about any of the other options I found on the board.
I figured I would take a shot on an interesting playmaker who could perhaps be aligned in multiple ways. Offenses, like defenses, are looking for players who can function in a variety of roles. Think Deebo Samuel of the San Francisco 49ers. Gibson caught 38 passes for 735 yards (19.3 yards per catch) last season, ran 33 times for 369 yards (11.2 yards per carry) and averaged 28.0 yards on 23 kickoff returns.
When I mentioned this pick to our Nick Falato he called Gibson “electric” and said “His use with [Saquon] Barkley would be a fun offense to watch.”
“Big athlete with position versatility” will be a tag from some, but it’s vague and lacks projection. While Gibson is a one-year wonder, his 14 career touchdowns on just 77 touches demand attention. He played more slot than running back in college, but he was a runner in high school and has an intriguing combination of size, burst, vision and power. He is a four-phase player on Day 1 with the ability to return kicks, cover them and create matchup problems for linebackers out of the backfield. The sample size is extremely limited and he needs a developmental runway, but Gibson has exciting upside as a pro.”
Alton Robinson, EDGE, Syracuse
Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington
Round 6 (No. 183) — Saahdiq Charles, OT, LSU
This line under Charles’ NFL.com prospect grade explains exactly why I selected Charles. “Good backup who could become starter.”
I nabbed a Day 1 starting tackle with the Round 1 selection of Becton. A goal when I began, and one I think the Giants will have, is to also try and add a developmental player who could be an option in a year when the Giants move on from Nate Solder.
The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs writes:
“Saahdiq Charles projects as a potential starting left tackle at the NFL level. He has high end physical tools, functional athleticism and build at his disposal — offering ample foundation to build upon. Charles will need to fill out his frame and add some additional functional strength in order to hold up consistently at the NFL level, and his off-field status is filled with question marks due to disciplinary measures. Charles should be considered a high ceiling, low floor prospect.”
Charles is good value and a good developmental gamble here.
This round pretty much turned into trying to find potentially useful players to add depth and competition to spots I had not previously addressed in the draft.
No. 238 — Reggie Robinson, CB, Tulsa
You can never have enough good cornerbacks. I don’t know if Robinson will be one at the NFL level, but I will throw a resource at the wall here and see if he sticks.
Draft Network’s Joe Marino says:
“There are positive reps in man, press and zone making him a versatile prospect that plays a physical brand of football and can make plays on the football. ... Robinson profiles as a starting outside corner by Year Two/Three.”
No. 247 — Jake Hanson, C, Oregon
Ruiz wasn’t available to me in Round 2. Hennessy wasn’t there at 76. I have to add competition to this position.
The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs calls Hanson “a potential low end starter.” Beggars can’t be choosers at this point.
No. 255 — Jordan Fuller, S, Ohio State
The Giants have chosen thus far not to re-sign Michael Thomas. I choose to pass on Xavier McKinney and Cal’s Ashtyn Davis was off the board at 76. A bit like the Robinson pick, this is an effort to add depth and competition to the secondary.
Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs writes that “Fuller projects as a depth defender and potential special teams contributor at the next level.”