After their first season in the league, many analysts are jumping on the “draft regrade” wagon for the 2020 rookie class. Today, it was Pro Football Focus who released its league-wide 2020 regrade. Some teams, like the Chargers and Washington, saw their grades rise up after boasting the Rookies of the Year in Justin Herbert and Chase Young. Others, like Detroit and Arizona, saw their grades dip. According to Michael Renner, the Giants fall more into the latter:
Round 1 (4): T Andrew Thomas, Georgia
Round 2 (36): S Xavier McKinney, Alabama
Round 3 (99): T Matt Peart, Connecticut
Round 5 (150): IOL Shane Lemieux, Oregon
Round 6 (183): LB Cam Brown, Penn State
Round 7 (218): Edge Carter Coughlin, Minnesota
Round 7 (238): LB T.J. Brunson, South Carolina
Round 7 (247): CB Chris Williamson, Minnesota
Round 7 (255): LB Tae Crowder, Georgia
We might be thinking of this class differently had Xavier McKinney played a full season, as he looked like an impact player the final four games of 2020 once he got healthy. That being said, the struggles of the rookie offensive linemen can’t be overlooked. It’s not a position that usually has a quick learning curve, but of the top four offensive tackles who were drafted last season, Thomas comfortably ranked fourth.
McKinney’s absence due to a fractured foot limited his presence on the field, but he looked as advertised in his small sample at the end of the season. Thomas certainly had struggles early, but improved down the stretch and is slated to start as the left tackle in 2021.
Meanwhile, Matt Peart started that Week 6 game in Thomas’ place and is the early favorite to start at right tackle in 2021 after a strong showing in spots. Darnay Holmes manned the slot for most of 2020, while Shane Lemieux also started games in spots and should be a starting guard after Kevin Zeitler’s release. Finally, Brown, Coughlin, Brunson, Williamson and Crowder all saw time on defense or special teams.
Of course, these ratings are based off the very first year that these players have been in the NFL and should be taken as such. Thomas, Peart and Lemieux dealt with an offensive line coaching change midway through the season and will now be coached by Rob Sale, and McKinney coming back for all 16 games will help the team tremendously in an improved secondary. One year is hardly ever enough to determine a player’s effectiveness, and 2021 offers many of the Giants’ second year players a chance to prove what they can do.