Peter King dropped a boatload of New York Giants-related items in his ‘Football Morning in America’ column on Monday. Those included his annual mock draft, and thoughts on both Kadarius Toney and James Bradberry.
Charles Cross, Kyle Hamilton mocked to Giants
Cross at 5:
Ickey Ekwonu went No. 3 to the Houston Texans in King’s mock. he chose Cross over Evan Neal of Alabama. King wrote:
Lots of spy versus spy here. By that I mean, at first blush, it’s logical to think GM Joe Schoen would want the best available right tackle here, with Andrew Thomas set on the left side. And because Cross was consistently on the left side in college, and Evan Neal started a season each at left tackle and right tackle, Neal’s a better fit here. And it may be Neal. Who wouldn’t want a 40-game starter at a great program in the SEC? But what many don’t know is the Giants put Cross through some work to judge whether he’d be a good right-tackle candidate and came away happy that he would be. Cross, one GM told me, is the best pass-protector of the three top tackles, a power-forward type (6-7 ½, 335) who will be competitive on day one against good edge rushers. If the Giants are comfortable enough with his ability to play the right side, this is a solid pick.
Valentine’s View: A couple of months ago I might have been shocked by Cross being selected before Neal. Not now.
Hamilton at No. 7:
Just a warning: Don’t be shocked if the Giants go Thibodeaux here. Lots of stuff out in the ether right now about the Giants being down on Thibodeaux, but I can tell you they’re interested and have done a ton of work on him since his Pro Day. Also, the Giants would love to deal this pick and recoup a 2023 first-round pick and go down, say, 10 to 12 spots so they still could get a strong prospect plus be in prime position in the ’23 first round.
So the call here is Hamilton, despite the fact the Giants have a good young third-year safety in Xavier McKinney. New defensive coordinator Wink Martindale loves versatile safeties, which is precisely what Hamilton is. He’s huge (6-4, 220) and instinctive, and can blitz, play sideline to sideline and play down in the box as an extra linebacker. This pick would make the Giants’ secondary tough to game plan against because of the versatility of McKinney and Hamilton.
Valentine’s View: I could see Thibodeaux here. With Sauce Gardner off the board (No. 4, New York Jets) there is buzz the Giants might go for Stingley. I have banged this drum often enough, though, that you should know I would have no issue with selecting Hamilton here. I think Hamilton will make teams look dumb if he ends up sliding into the back half of Round 1.
At Touchdown Wire, Mark Schofield and Doug Farrar have Hamilton rated as the best player in the draft. [‘Kudos’ to King for pointing it out]
“Why is Hamilton the best player in this draft class? He’s an unprecedented athlete at one of the NFL’s most important positions. We have simply never seen anybody like him before. That’s why he’s the best player in this draft class to me.”
Kadarius Toney situation
I think I’m not convinced the Giants will trade problem wideout Kadarius Toney. I certainly would be wary of trading for Toney, the Giants’ man-child wide receiver who had some wonderful moments last year, including in the unlikely win over New Orleans. He’s slithery, very fast, and hard to bring down. Now the Giants, I think, have to decide if he’s going to be a fit in their offense with the new Brian Daboll/Joe Schoen regime. Reported Pat Leonard, who broke the story of Toney’s trade request in the New York Daily News: “His commitment came into question behind the scenes during his rookie year due to lack of playbook study, poor meeting behavior and frequent injuries.” Maybe Aaron Rodgers or Patrick Mahomes could reel him back to reality. Maybe. But my gut says Brian Daboll is going to try to get Toney back in the program, and soon.
Valentine’s View: This one is complicated. Toney is incredibly talented, and he plays hard on game days. Schoen doesn’t want to be in the business of hemorrhaging talent. He also, though, can’t build a successful team around players who aren’t committed to putting in the work, being good teammates and being the best they can possibly be.
Schoen is absolutely right to gauge interest around the league in the 2021 first-round pick. He will move on from Toney if he thinks that is the best thing for the franchise. If the Giants keep him, let’s hope they can help him mature and become the player his talent indicates he could be.
James Bradberry going, going ...
I think I’d guess that James Bradberry of the Giants, the good corner New York GM Joe Schoen needs to trade to be in good cap shape going forward, will be dealt before the end of the weekend. I don’t have a great feel for where he’s going, but Kansas City wouldn’t shock me. In that division, you’re going to play six games every year against upper-tier quarterbacks, and the KC corner situation is just okay; L’Jarius Sneed is the only difference-maker the team has. Bradberry would be a good fit there, but Kansas City’s not looking to add a big-money player. We’ll see if Schoen can find a home for Bradberry this week.
Valentine’s View: Schoen can talk about contingency plans for keeping Bradberry all he wants. He has to do that to appear less desperate than he really is to get Bradberry off the roster. Because of the cap situation, and his desire not to push money forward and cause future cap issues, he has no real choice but to deal Bradberry.
If it doesn’t happen before the draft, I can see a team like Kansas City dealing for Bradberry after failing to get a top-tier cornerback in the draft.