This is exactly what I thought would happen when New York Giants voted at No. 4 in our Big Blue View Community Mock Draft.
With a choice between four offensive tackles and one elite defender [sorry, Derrick Brown fans!], Giants fans split the vote between the four tackles and chose the defender, Isaiah Simmons of Clemson, the the Giants with the fourth overall pick.
In truth, our voters were hopelessly split over whether the Giants should select Simmons or an offensive tackle. It’s just that those who chose offensive tackle couldn’t coalesce behind a single player.
Forty-nine percent of our voters selected an offensive tackle, with the vote split between Tristan Wirfs of Iowa (20 percent), Jedrick Wills of Alabama (16 percent), Mekhi Becton of Louisville (8 percent) and Andrew Thomas of Georgia (5 percent).
That left Simmons, with 1,653 of 3,354 votes (49 percent), an easy winner.
So, how do I feel about this? In my view, it’s the wrong choice. I told Chris Pflum before voting even began that I figured this is how it would go. Facing this choice, though, I think the Giants have to clearly decide as an organization who they believe is OT1 in this class and take him.
In my view, the main thing the Giants must do in the upcoming draft is come out of it with a player who projects as a long-term fixture at one of the tackle spots. Passing on the opportunity to select the tackle of their choice at No. 4 (or a couple of picks later if they smartly move down a few spots) and hoping someone like Ezra Cleveland, Josh Jones or Austin Jackson is there at No. 36 in Round 2 is a HUGE roll of the dice.
I get the allure of the multi-dimensional Simmons. And, I get that you aren’t going to find a Simmons at No. 36. You might find Wisconsin linebacker Zack Baun or even Penn State edge rusher Yetur Gross-Matos, though.
I think the Giants have a bottom-line responsibility to do for Daniel Jones what they couldn’t do the past few seasons for Eli Manning. They need to protect their investment in a quarterback of the future by giving him an offensive line that gives him a chance. Saquon Barkley, too. How about actually giving him a chance to run through a hole every so often instead of always needing to create his own?
The Giants made big expenditures on defense in free agency. While their work isn’t done there, and Simmons would be an incredible addition that defensive coordinator Patrick Graham would love to have, it would be malpractice by the Giants if they don’t get a top offensive tackle — and probably a potential starting center — out of this draft class.
I don’t know about the temperature of Dave Gettleman’s seat, but I can tell you that the Gaints are seated squarely on the horns of a dilemma, and that dilemma is getting good and pointy for them. On the one hand, the Giants need to address their offensive line, and the only sure way to do that is in the first round with one of the Big 4 tackles. However, they also need to improve the speed of their defense, particularly at the linebacker position. Isaiah Simmons might be the ideal weapon for countering spread and Air Raid concepts being adopted by offenses league-wide. His ability to play multiple roles throughout the defense, from rushing the passer as a blitzer to playing a middle safety role, would allow the defense to counter offensive substitutions without having to go into a base defense. It would also give the Giants a player to match up against mismatch offensive weapons as well as defend against how offenses are using spacing and creating responsibility conflicts.
The Giants are unlikely to find a player as good as Wirfs, Wills, Becton, or Thomas later in the draft, but they might also be hard-pressed to find a player like Simmons. This just means that we have to hope the board breaks our way in Round 2, and the coaches are up to developing a tackle who might have issues. Will Beatty and Weston Richburg were both second rounders who were among the very best in the league at their positions before injuries interfered, so it can be done ... We just need the rest of the league to play along and let the Giants get a player with the upside.
No. 1 (Cincinnati Bengals) — Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
No. 2 (Washington Redskins) — Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
No. 3 (Detroit Lions) — Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
No. 4 (New York Giants) — Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
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No. 36 (New York Giants) —