Kiper goes quarterback, defense for Big Blue
Of much less concern, he also changed the complexion of the last month of mock drafts for the rest of us — which, if we’re being honest, were getting a bit repetitive. But now with the team going in a new direction and with a second first round selection, mock drafts are going to change.
Mel Kiper of ESPN released his third mock draft (Insider only) on Tuesday morning, his first following the Giants’ blockbuster trade. Let’s take a look and see who he picked for the Giants, and why.
6. New York Giants
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
I’ll stick with my top-ranked signal-caller here, with the Giants taking Haskins, who grew up a fan of the team. But, again, there’s no guarantee Haskins (6-foot-3, 231 pounds) will be available at No. 6, and GM Dave Gettleman might have to move up to get him. The team now has the No. 17 overall pick from the Odell Beckham Jr. trade, which could be used in another deal. It’s no certainty that the Giants take a quarterback with this pick, however; they are clearly rebuilding, have several needs (offensive tackle and edge rusher stand out) and could instead use the 17th pick for a QB.
17. New York Giants (from CLE)
Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
This selection ends a run on edge rushers, with six going in my top 16 picks. The Giants need help there, too, especially if they move to a 3-4 under new defensive coordinator James Bettcher, but Wilkins (6-foot-3, 315 pounds) is a different kind of defensive lineman who could play tackle in a 4-3 or end in a 3-4. He has been underrated on a loaded Clemson defense, but he had 15 tackles for loss last season.
We have been over the pick of Haskins by the Giants again and again over the last few months, and we will probably revisit it plenty more times over the remaining month.
Pat Shurmur seems open to the idea of Kyler Murray, but it is difficult at best to see Dave Gettleman pulling the trigger on a very undersized “New Age” dual threat quarterback. That means that if the Giants want to find a quarterback with a good chance of succeeding Eli Manning, it would have to be Dwayne Haskins.
It should be noted that in this mock, Murray was selected first overall by the Arizona Cardinals. Kiper said that the buzz surrounding Murray to the Cardinals only increasing since the Combine, and added, “Now, we can question the logic behind taking a quarterback in the first round in back-to-back drafts. It’s a terrible look to ditch a top-10 pick after a year. Can general manager Steve Keim get a first-round pick for Rosen in a trade, even if it’s in 2020? That might help the Cardinals save face.”
BBV has heard that Dave Gettleman did not like Rosen last year. However, if the Cardinals select Murray and make Rosen available, getting over their dislike and acquiring him might make the most sense for the Giants from both a financial and football perspective.
Moving on to the new pick for the Giants, Wilkins might not be an edge rusher, but he is a disruptive interior rusher who has the athleticism to play the 5-technique, and is a natural 3-technique for nickel packages. Kiper’s statement about moving to the 3-4 is a curious one, as the Giants were a base 3-4 team in 2018 — but it’s also moot as defenses across the league spend between two-thirds and three-quarters of their snaps in nickel sub-packages. The Giants run a “multiple” one-gap defense and the differences between one-gap 3-4 and 4-3 fronts are minimal at best.
Wilkins also has a reputation as a very high character young man and a leader on his defense, which fits the culture the Giants want to cultivate in their locker room. It also fits with Gettleman’s history as a drafter and a tendency to select defensive tackles highly. While the Giants might want to find an EDGE player to replace Olivier Vernon, they could do worse if the draft fell this way.