Hey y’all. I know, you’re probably sick of seeing what people think about their team’s draft. Its been weeks since the draft happened now (with no sports in between, seems like even longer ago) and you’ve probably read a bunch about each player, their backstory, their mother’s backstory, etc.. The problem with all of that is, you probably were inundated with too much info too soon.
I remember SO vividly my “in the moment” reactions to draft picks over the years. If it wasn’t a guy I wanted, the player didn’t fill a need, or was a guy I didn’t know, I would often react negatively to the pick. I wanted Josh Allen last year over Daniel Jones at #6. My immediate reaction to the pick that night was disbelief with a tinge of anger. I wasn’t sure Jones was the best QB and certainly didn’t think he was the most talented player at that juncture.
Fast forward to later that night, and I slowly talked myself more and more into the pick (they don’t call me Mr. Glass-Half-Full for nothing!). The day after, I dug into highlights, scouting reports, and heard the organization’s thoughts on the pick. Jump forward another week, and I understood why Gettleman was in “Full-Bloom love”.
So, what I like to do now is jot down my initial reactions to each pick. Then, after doing my due diligence and learning more about each pick and taking the “heat of the moment” aspect out of it, I jot down my more coherent thoughts (I mean that literally, because for most of the draft, I am sometimes drunk all the time). It’s all about taking a step back.
1st Round – Andrew Thomas (Offensive Tackle)
Initial Reaction: Subdued but Satisfied
If you had video of me on my Zoom call with my buds, you would have probably thought my screen had frozen. My “jump through the roof” pick would have been Isaiah Simmons because it would have been the “sexy” pick. Thomas was definitely the safest pick in the Top 10. With that high of a floor though and with such a need at the position, I knew that it was probably the smart choice. I was perfectly satisfied with the move, but my reaction was sort of subdued.
After The Dust Settled: BIG fan of the pick
I said before the draft I was going to be absolutely okay with any of the Top Four tackles being the first pick. Thomas was, in most’s opinion, by far the safest pick of the bunch. He was also the only one that was a “true” Left Tackle. If you want to maximize your prior two First Round picks in Barkley and Jones, you need to give them legit help up front. Thomas is that in spades. He is a road grader as a run-blocker and, most importantly, nothing like Ereck Flowers. For the latter fact alone, I became even more satisfied with possibly fixing the LT spot for the next decade.
2nd Round – Xavier McKinney (Safety)
Initial Reaction: Pleasantly Surprised
I knew that Safety was a need for this team and defense going into the draft and figured there was a chance this spot would be addressed at some point. When I saw the Giants pick come up, and the subsequent “PICK IS IN” sign come up almost instantly, my eyes widened. My interest was PEAKED. There were a lot of big defensive names on the board, so when McKinney was the name announced, and I recalled how many had him as their best safety and 1st Round talent, I was pleasantly surprised with the pick. No longer did we have to worry about a Curtis Riley or Antoine Bethea stinking it up on the back end. Very good vibes initially.
After The Dust Settled: Great Value and Possible Steal
After reading up on McKinney, I became more and more enamored with the player. A safety who was coached up by Nick Saban, someone Joe Judge and others on this staff have direct ties to, bodes well for getting an NFL-Ready talent. By all accounts, the only reason McKinney fell to the 2nd Round was because of a bad 40 time at the Combine. When you dig deeper, you see a player that is plenty fast enough on tape and come to find out he was struggling with cramps (What are you on your period? – The Departed) at the Combine. Much ado about nothing. This kid can do it all and plays all over the field. He lined up in about eleventy (real number) different positions for Saban while accumulating 6 sacks, 5 interceptions, 5 forced fumbles and 20 passes defensed. Hard to find a weakness in his game and I am pleased as punch to see him and Peppers as our Safety Duo in 2020 (and hopefully beyond).
3rd Round – Matt Peart (Offensive Tackle)
Initial Reaction: WTF?
Okay. WHAT THE ACTUAL EFF is going on here? I know this team needed Offensive Line help in the worst way. Drafting 2-3 lineman was not going to be out of the question in the 2020 Draft. I had heard his name before, but didn’t know too much about him. After drafting a Tackle in Round 1, the last thing I expected was getting another one in Round 3.
“We waited 63 picks to draft another Tackle? Out of UConn??” I was stomping around like a little boy. “Look at all the damn Wide Receiver and Center talent on the board!” I cried (maybe literally).
After The Dust Settled: Potential and Value at a Weak Spot
This is one of those classic examples of my initial reaction being pretty far off. Could we have taken a Wide Receiver here? Sure. Should we have taken a Center? Probably. When it came down to it though, the Giants stuck to their board and drafted a potential bookend starter to take over the Right Tackle spot in 2021.
Fact of the matter is, Nate Solder is getting cut after this season. There would be a need for another tackle no matter how Thomas panned out. Gettleman said this draft was “Thick” at Tackle, and they loved this kid’s potential (only started playing football as a senior in High School). Longest Arms in the draft and packed with athleticism, scouts and analysts immediately praised Getty for the pick. If Peart lives up to his potential, the Giants made a great choice here.
4th Round – Darnay Holmes (Cornerback)
Initial Reaction: Who!? Why the shit did we just draft another CB?
With the talent still left at Wide Receiver and needs still at Center and Linebacker, the Holmes pick had me chapped yet again. Gettleman invested heavily into this position already with three CBs drafted last year (including a 1st Rounder in Baker) and just payed big money for James Bradberry in Free Agency. What are we doing drafting a guy I never heard of, at a position that wasn’t a real need (in my dumb brain)?
After The Dust Settled: Oh Yea. None of our Current CBs could cover a soul in the Slot.
Another one of those classic examples of needing a breather after the pick. When I heard about this kid’s measureables and what he excelled at (nickle corner that could cover Wide Receivers in the slot) the pick made perfect sense. Game after game, the Giants were getting burned by whoever was playing in the slot for the opposing team. Ballentine and Haley aren’t the answer.
Holmes had a great year two years ago for UCLA, but had a down year last year which caused his stock to drop (suffered from a High-Ankle Sprain for most of the year and played through it). Tabbed as the smartest defensive player in the draft with a ton of upside, this was a good value pick by Gettleman. This pick pretty much stacks up the Secondary very well for the near future and allows them to play the Patriots st
5th Round – Shane Lemieux (Guard)
Initial Reaction: Loading up on the Offensive Line Eh Davey? Alright.
The Giants haven’t had a good offensive line in over a decade. Gettleman clearly wants to focus on getting this right. Literally can’t remember the last time this position group had good depth to it. Would this have been the way I would have went here? No, but I trust Gettleman when it comes to offensive lineman and this kid Lemieux produced for a big program in college. Who am I to complain about this when I bitched about the Offensive Line for years?
After The Dust Settled: Great Value Again
You first look at this dude’s track record at Oregon. He is a winner and he never misses a game. He is a road-grader that plays with a mean streak. Think Richie Incognito without the crazy. Then you hear that he is going to cross-train at the Center position and it makes even more sense. Lastly, while Kevin Zeitler might currently be the best Offensive Lineman on this team and players Guard, he just turned 30 and is only under contract through 2021. Lemieux could be his much-cheaper replacement in two short years, or a starting Center even soon. Depth on the Offensive Line is never a bad thing.
6th Round – Cam Brown (Linebacker)
Initial Reaction: Finally a Linebacker
Hard to get pissed about any picks after the 4th or 5th Round. The Giants have a Defensive Line Coach from Penn State that coached this kid for years. The Giants have good inside information and saw attributes they like. I am on board with this. NEED Linebackers in a 3-4 defense, so this fills a major need as well.
After The Dust Settled: Love the Potential Here
This dude is your prototypical NFL Linebacker in 2020. He is versatile (common theme in this draft), he is long AF, he is tall, he can run and he can get after the passer. Played for a big program in a tough conference. If the Linebacker coaches can do their job and coach this kid up, they might have a very serviceable player here. For a 6th round pick, you have to like the potential here. This is one of those players that if deployed the right way, can actually be a better pro than college player. Could be useful.
7th Round Picks – Carter Coughlin (Outside LB), T.J. Brunson (Inside LB), Chris Williamson (Cornerback), Tae Crowder (Linebacker)
Initial Reaction: Gonna have to read up on these dudes
I knew Carter Coughlin’s name from seeing a few Minnesota Badger games, so I liked the chance there. The other dudes I didn’t know from Joe Blow. When it comes down to it, most of these guys would have been UnDrafted Free Agents, so the Giants took a chance on a couple of names here.
After The Dust Settled: I like Coughlin (mostly because of his name but also could chip in pass rush) and Williamson is intriguing.
Fun exercise, no?! I am trying to find new ways to amuse myself, so humor me folks. The Giants had their virtual rookie program last week and the playbooks are out to all of the youngsters. However, make no mistake, this is a huge disadvantage for this rookie class and the coaches not being on the field right now. Judge and Co. are going to earn their money right off the bat trying to get these guys up to date with a new system and the rigors of the NFL. Not being in an NFL weight room this offseason sucks for the rookies too.
Regardless, I am looking forward to seeing this solid class get on the field and help this team continue the upward trend back from a rebuild. A very important class for Gettleman to get this team heading back to being competitive and no longer being a doormat. His job depends on it.
’til Next Time,
Go Big Blue