Note: I wrote this post before I read this article: https://www.nj.com/giants/2022/05/what-joe-schoens-nfl-draft-debut-taught-us-about-what-giants-are-getting-in-their-new-gm-and-how-much-different-he-is-than-the-last-gm.html
I hate plagiarists, LOL.
Going into the draft, the Giants had a lot of holes to fill. RT, LG, Edge, CB, NT, Nickel, Safety, LB x 2, WR & TE were all gaping holes that needed to be filled, and Schoen checked most of the boxes. I believe that Schoen had his draft board set up with certain specific players in mind with each pick.
- The Giants were always going to take one of the top 3 tackles at #5 or #7 depending on how the board fell. I believe they would have been happy with any of the big 3. The Charles Cross love was legitimate. He's uber talented and would have been an excellent scheme fit. I believe he would have been the pick if Neal was gone.
- The other first rounder was going to be BPA as long as it was at a position of need.
- If there wasn't an impact player at a position of need available at 5/7, the Giants were going to trade down
- The middle rounds were shaped by the first round BPA. If the pick was CB at #5, for example, we would have seen some different picks on day 2.
- Clearly, the Giants wanted Wan'Dale for a specific reason, TBD. Flott was targeted to play the nickel. Nickel was an overlooked position of need for the draft gurus. The Giants don't have a nickel on the roster that can play man. Maybe this was a reach, but Schoen probably didn't want to risk losing him later.
- Ezeudu was a very interesting pick. Ezeudu was not profiled in the PFF draft guide. When they announced the pick my first thought was WTF! The Giants were clearly targeting him. He didn't show up on any of the major draft boards. After watching Nick Falato's evaluation and watching some tape on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBn7Z6AmTw0), I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this pick. Because he bounced around positions, and played on a very poor line, he was a guy that fell through the cracks. This was obviously a need pick, but most importantly, he is a scheme fit. Daboll is an outside zone guy, and he needs linemen that can move in space. Daboll also wants to air it out,and he needs guys that can pass block. Ezeudu easily checks both boxes. The other OGs slated on day 2 were road grader types with sketchy mobility and pass blocking skills. Ezeudu has some pass set footwork issues to clean up, but this guy is a PLAYER. I'm calling it - Ezeudu is going to win the LG job, and he is going to be a very, very good player. Looking at his film, I can't for the life of me understand how he wasn't rated higher. Schoen and the Giants brass must have been holding their breath hoping he didn't get snatched up. And, he has really good RAS scores. Absolutely wonderful selection, and kudos to Schoen. He did his homework. The Giants may have been able to get him later, but they didn't want to risk losing him. I don't blame Schoen 1 iota for taking him where he did. And BTW, Ezeudu didn't look too bad a tackle, either.
- Interestingly, the day 3 picks were likely BPA at positions of need. The LB class was very deep, and I frequently mocked Mcfadden and Beavers on day 3. I frequently mocked Bellinger as well.
- Other than the NT, Schoen was looking for players with athletic upside. They all have pretty high RAS scores. Bellinger, in particular has a lot of upside.
- A friend of mine pointed out that as a group, the players were young. I think the average age was 21. They were also looking for players that require development but have a high ceiling.
This draft may have been an outlier for Schoen. He didn't have the luxury of going pure BPA with so many holes to fill. Fortunately, the draft was deep, deep, deep at most positions. Schoen's next draft may be more BPA. It's also interesting to see that he values younger, less developed players with high RAS scores. Schoen was drafting, to some extent, for 2023. When the Giants become more competitive, he may be drafting more polished players with higher floors and lower ceilings. This draft, to some degree, was low floor/high ceiling.
Wan'Dale, Flott, and Ezeudu were clearly targeted at those draft slots. Unless something crazy happened, they were going to be the picks. I'd suspect those picks were written on their draft board in indelible magic marker.
I have high hopes for this draft class, but the draft is always a crap shoot. For me, if Thibodeux, Neal, and Ezeudu work out, it's a home run.