Regular season games are still being played in 2021, but it’s well and truly Draft Season for the New York Giants. The Giants have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs and stand a good chance of having the worst record in the NFC East.
Week 16 was a potentially significant week for the Giants and might have had a big impact on their draft capital.
We’ll start with the bad news first before ending on a potential high note.
That bad news? The Chicago Bears’ upset victory over the Seattle Seahawks knocked the Giants’ second first -ound pick down from the sixth overall selection to the eighth overall pick. That isn’t a significant loss of value, but it does take a measure of control out of the Giants hands. There might have been a few interesting trade scenarios open to the Giants if they controlled back-to-back picks in the Top 10. It’s also a rare luxury for a team to not have to decide if there are two players available that they were targeting high in the draft.
The loss of value in that second first round pick has knocked the Giants from second in Tankathon’s Draft Power Rankings down to fourth.
The current top five in Draft Power Rankings are:
1. New York Jets
Picks: 4, 6, 35, 38, 69, 109, 115, 144, 156
Total value: 4,918.0
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
Picks: 1, 33, 65, 72, 103, 153, 180, 186, 193, 199, 219, 238
Total value: 4,261.4
3. Detroit Lions
Picks: 2, 28, 34, 66, 97, 177, 181, 217, 229, 240
Total value: 4,240.2
4. New York Giants
Picks: 5, 8, 36, 67, 79, 110, 145, 172, 182
Total value: 4,238.7
5. Philadelphia Eagles
Picks: 14, 19, 23, 53, 84, 121, 150, 162, 165, 201, 207
Total value: 3,430.0
Note: The “total value” is assigned using Jimmy Johnson’s trade value chart. While it doesn’t accurately capture the value of picks in today’s draft, it’s still widely used in public outlets and good enough for these purposes.
The Bears’ win over the Seahawks makes next week particularly significant for the Giants’ draft capital. A win over the Bears might ensure the Giants have two top-10 picks, but might significantly impact the Giants’ ability to draft a “Blue Chip” prospect. On the flip side, if the Bears win next week, their pick could be in danger of falling out of the Top 10 entirely.
The Bears are currently tied with the Carolina Panthers and Seahawks with a 5-10 record, while the Washington Football Team sits with a 6-9 record. Behind them are the Falcons, Vikings, Broncos, and Browns, who are all tied with a 7-8 record. Depending on how that clump of mediocre teams shakes out, the Bears’ pick could be anywhere from sixth to 13th overall. That’s a pretty wide range and a lot of potential value lost if Chicago finishes the season strongly.
The upshot of the Giants losing to the Bears and a potential 4-13 finish is that the third overall pick is suddenly in play.
The Giants are currently tied with the Jets and Houston Texans with 4-11 records, but fall below them based on the Giants’ higher strength of schedule. That said, both AFC teams face significantly tougher schedules to finish their season. The Jets’ opponents have a .667 winning percentage, while the Texans’ opponents have a .600 winning percentage. The Giants, in contrast, face teams with a paltry .367 winning percentage.
While the Texans have gotten on a two-game win streak following a 41-24 upset of the Los Angeles Chargers, and the Jets beat the Jaguars, it’s possible that all three teams could lose out to finish the season. In that case, it would come down to the tie breakers, and the team with the weakest overall strength of schedule would get the highest pick.
But we should also note that it’s possible that either of the Texans or Jets could steal a win over their last two games.
The Jets play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Buffalo Bills, both of whom are locked into the playoffs. Likewise, the Texans play the Titans to finish the season. It’s unlikely that any of these teams will be able to secure the first round bye, which could mean a decision to rest starters heading into the playoffs.
If the Giants lose out and either of those teams are able to sneak out of Week 17 or 18 with a win, the odds of securing the third overall pick jump up dramatically. It’s still unlikely that the Giants would land Aidan Hutchinson or Kayvon Thibodeaux, but they would have their pick of the rest of the draft board.
That could well be worth losing value on the Bears’ pick.