I’m mad at myself.
They had a crater-sized need. Everybody knew that. They didn’t address it in free agency, signing only veteran swing tackle Cameron Fleming. Then, in his pre-draft press conferences GM Dave Gettleman basically stood on a mountaintop (or the desk in New Jersey basement) and screamed it.
“Part of the unrestricted free agency piece is we are also looking at the draft, so you kind of marry the two,” he said. “We felt with the depth of the tackle class in the draft, we just felt this was the best way for us to go.”
He also said this:
“You know my theory. It’s very, very difficult for Saquon to run the ball if he doesn’t have holes. It’s going to be difficult for Daniel to throw the ball when he’s on his back. We’ll continue to build the offensive line. Is it a pressure point? To a degree.”
So, yes, Gettleman and the Giants were telegraphing their punch. At least part of it. What they never telegraphed was which offensive lineman they coveted, which turned out to be a player few (only 6.25 percent of selectors in our final mock draft tracker) expected.
I should have seen this coming, and the fact that I didn’t is why I’m mad at myself.
You likely know that in my final mock draft I took the home run swing for offensive tackle Mekhi Becton. Thing is, I was pretty certain Becton wasn’t going to be the pick. Gettleman’s job is on the line. The futures of Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley are at stake. This was Joe Judge’s first draft as a head coach, his first real chance to put an imprint on the Giants’ franchise.
The last thing the Giants could afford to do was strike out here. They had to get on base, preferably hit a double or a triple, with a player who was ready to play now and could be a solid piece of their future. They believe Thomas is that guy.
I should have seen this coming because it’s the kind of thing the New England Patriots, where Judge spent the last several years, would do — pick the guy they knew would be solid over the one they hoped might be spectacular.
I should have seen this coming because as much as the immediate need for 2020 is probably at right tackle, the long-term need is at left tackle to take over for Nate Solder. Of the Big 4 offensive tackles, Thomas is the one most likely to be able to do that.
I should have seen this coming there are still measurables that matter to an old-school guy like Gettleman, and arm length for offensive tackles is one. Gettleman admitted as much Thursday night. Thomas’s arms are 36⅛ inches, 97th percentile for offensive tackles.
So, yeah, I’m not happy with myself for not having this one pegged.
Dave Gettleman’s face mask
If you were one of those folks who took to Twitter Thursday night to mock Giants GM Dave Gettleman for wearing a face mask while in his home conducting the draft for the Giants, you should be ashamed of yourself. I’m ashamed, but far from surprised, to know there were people who would do that.
Gettleman is absolutely in the high risk group for COVID-19. He is 69 years old and survived a fight with lymphoma just two years ago. Plus, Ty Siam of the Giants’ IT department was in the room with Gettleman just a few feet away.
“Well, I’ve got a young IT fellow in here with me and we’re social distancing and part of that is the mask. I’m fine,” Gettleman said when asked about it.
Gettleman absolutely did what all of us should be doing to help prevent spread of a virus that has killed nearly 50,000 Americans — that we know of — in roughly two months.
It’s easy, and common, to make fun of Gettleman for a lot of the things he says and does. Wearing a mask on national television to protect himself and the young Giants’ employee in the room is not one of them.
In many of the mock drafts we did here at Big Blue View leading up to this weekend we had the Giants doubling up on the offensive line in the first two rounds. After offensive tackle in Round 1, many of our mocks had the Giants selecting a center (usually Michigan’s Cesar Ruiz) in Round 2.
Well, Ruiz is gone. He went 24th to the New Orleans Saints. So, that pick is out the window.
Still, the idea of the Giants doubling up on the offensive line in the first two rounds — or at least with the 99th pick if they use the 36th on a different position — doesn’t seem crazy at all. Especially after Gettleman said Thursday the Giants are determined to use this draft to fix the offensive line “once and for all.”
A trio of centers — Lloyd Cushenberry of LSU, Matt Hennessy of Temple, Tyler Biadasz of Wisconsin — have been discussed as potential Day 2 picks.
The one I have heard connected to the Giants again and again Hennessy. As much as the Giants appear to like him, the question is whether or not he is worth the 36th overall pick.
Our Nick Falato doesn’t seem to think so. Dane Brugler of The Athletic gave Hennessy a Round 2-3 grade, putting him toward the end of Round 2 or somewhere in Round 3, in his draft guide. Our Consensus Big Board — which you should be using as a reference — lists Hennessy as a Round 2 value.
I asked long-time NFL scout Dan Shonka, currently GM and national scout for Ourlads, if 36 was too early for Hennessy. His answer was simple, and direct.
Here’s how Emory Hunt of Football Gameplan answered the same question:
“I think so; I would rather them go with Biadasz. He would be the home run pick IMO.”
So, we’ll see.
Another question: Would the Giants actually select another offensive tackle at 36? That seems unlikely, but I have been told the Giants are high on Boise State’s Ezra Cleveland and that he would likely have been a target at 36 if the Giants did not grab a tackle at No. 4. Could he still be a target? Also, many thought Houston tackle Josh Jones would be selected in Round 1 and he remains on the board.
Round 3 possibilities might include Matt peart of UConn and Prince Tega Wanogho of Auburn.