It’s time once again time for instant NFL Draft grades. How do New York Giants fans and draft analysts think GM Dave Gettleman and Co. did in the 2020 NFL Draft?
Pretty well, actually.
Here is how draft analysts graded the Giants’ 2020 draft.
The Giants surprised some in the first round by taking Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas. But if you think about it, he’s the most pro-ready true left tackle in the draft. On a team with a young quarterback, that’s what the Giants need.
In the second round, they were able to snare Alabama safety Xavier McKinney. Many thought he could come off the board in the middle of the first round. McKinney gives the Giants a safety who excels at coming down into the box and making tackles. He’s good enough in coverage too.
The Giants doubled up on offensive tackles, with developmental right tackle Matt Peart of Connecticut in the third round and Oregon guard Shane Lemieux two rounds later.
The issue with New York’s picks is the lack of a linebacker until Cam Brown in the middle of the draft’s third day. While McKinney and Jabrill Peppers are capable of playing a hybrid role, the Giants’ linebacker group is thin on talent.
Bleacher Report (Tanier)
Most people expected the Giants to hit the offensive line early on — and picking Thomas and Peart in Rounds 1 and 3 met that expectation. Safety McKinney (Round 2) bolsters the team’s secondary, as does cornerback Holmes (Round 4), who will work in the slot quite well for the Giants. Lemieux provides depth on the interior offensive line, though he might have been picked a bit earlier (No. 150) than expected. Brown displays the athleticism to become a nice pick-up as a reserve edge rusher. Brunson was a good pick who finds the football despite not having any elite physical traits. Williamson is a versatile corner/nickel/safety who will contribute soon, and Crowder was an absolutely underappreciated part of the 2019 Georgia defense. Look for general manager Dave Gettleman to seek out hidden receiver gems after the draft.
Dave Gettleman gets a lot of unnecessary heat for both his general managing and his choice of facial gear. Thomas and McKinney alone would make this class incredibly strong, but getting another tackle, a potential top nickel back and some interior line help were shrewd moves behind the splashy ones. Thomas is a great follow to Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones and McKinney will be better than Landon Collins.
No surprise the Giants took an offensive tackle, but there was plenty of surprise about which offensive tackle. Few expected the 6’5”, 320-pound Andrew Thomas to be the first offensive tackle taken. In a draft where so many teams need offensive tackle help and so many outstanding offensive tackle prospects are available, it’s surprising New York wasn’t able to trade down and get their guy later. GM Dave Gettleman does not have a history of trading down, but the Giants made it known that they were willing to deal.
Obviously, the right offer did not come along, and so the Giants took the guy they like best. What’s to admire about Thomas: 36-inch arms, standout competitiveness, sound pass-blocking mechanics and overall composure. It will be interesting to see if the Giants view Thomas as a right tackle (his likely position for 2020) or a left tackle (his possible position for 2021, when up-and-down veteran Nate Solder could be a cap casualty). Wherever Thomas plays, the hope is that late third-round pick Matt Peart can play the other side.
Defensively, consider Xavier McKinney a catch-all solution for a Giants secondary that is quietly better inside than people realize. Or, potentially better, since they’re counting on last year’s fourth-round free safety, Julian Love, to build on his intriguing rookie season, and on former Browns first-round strong safety Jabrill Peppers to perform at a star level. In today’s NFL you need three quality safeties, and it really helps if one of those safeties can play the slot, as that provides answers inside against both three-receiver and two-tight end personnel. McKinney offers diverse value.
No. 4 pick Andrew Thomas, who had quite a late rise, led a vanguard of needed O-line reinforcements. Second-round S Xavier McKinney could be one of the draft’s heists. GM David Gettleman earmarked all four seventh-round picks to defense, but hard to bank on any boosting a flawed group.
Andrew Thomas was PFF’s OT1 in this class, and a large reason why he got the nod over Tristan Wirfs and Jedrick Wills was his elite production against the best of the best in the SEC. Thomas had a 92.7 overall grade in 2019 that ranked third in the FBS among tackles, and he was one of few to perform at a top-10 level in both pass protection and as a run-blocker. As a matter of fact, Thomas’ overall grade tied for the best we have ever seen from an SEC tackle with La’el Collins back in 2014. Throw in his size, strength and athleticism, and the fact that he did this in an NFL-type of scheme, and he is the best tackle in the class.