How have the All-Star games changed the draft landscape?
The 2019 Reese’s Senior Bowl is in the rear view mirror and the Super Bowl is almost upon us. The New York Giants draft slot has been set for some time, but we still don’t quite know the full draft order — and won’t for a few more days.
We have been keeping track of all the multitude of mock drafts around the interwebs as we get deeper into Draft Season. But now is a pretty good time to run through a mock draft of our own.
In my first two mock drafts I simulated trades, but I’m not going to do that this time around. Let’s be clear: Trades are going to happen on draft night. We have seen it repeatedly over the last few years, and it is basically certainty that teams will be moving around in the first round, and there are at least two picks in the top five which are for sale. I do not expect the Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets to be the teams picking at first and third overall, respectively. Those two teams have new coaches and rosters in desperate need of young talent, particularly after executing trades to acquire Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold.
As I did in my second mock draft, I will be going through the entire first round, and down to the sixth pick in the second round. I would go further, but considering the Giants have already made their third-round pick (Sam Beal), there isn’t much of a point to that right now. Finally, I will explain my picks at the end, after going through the mock draft.
On to the mock!
- Arizona Cardinals – Nick Bosa (EDGE, Ohio State)
- San Francisco 49ers – Josh Allen (EDGE, Kentucky)
- New York Jets – Quinnen Williams (iDL, Alabama)
- Oakland Raiders – Dwayne Haskins (QB, Ohio State)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Cody Ford (OT, Oklahoma)
- New York Giants – Jachai Polite (EDGE, Florida)
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Daniel Jones (QB, Duke)
- Detroit Lions – Ed Oliver (DL, Houston)
- Buffalo Bills – D.K. Metcalf (WR, Mississippi)
- Denver Broncos – Drew Lock (QB, Missouri)
- Cincinnati Bengals – Devin White (LB, LSU)
- Green Bay Packers – Brian Burns (EDGE, FSU)
- Miami Dolphins – Clellen Farrell (EDGE, Clemson)
- Atlanta Falcons – Jeffery Simmons (iDL, Mississippi State)
- Washington Redskins – Kyler Murray (QB, Oklahoma)
- Carolina Panthers – Garrett Bradbury (C, North Carolina State)
- Cleveland Browns – Kelvin Harmon (WR, North Carolina State)
- Minnesota Vikings – Chris Lindstrom (OL, Boston College)
- Tennessee Titans – Noah Fant (TE, Iowa)
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Greedy Williams (CB, LSU)
- Seattle Seahawks – David Edwards (OT, Wisconsin)
- Baltimore Ravens – Montez Sweat (EDGE, Mississippi State)
- Houston Texans – Yodny Cajuste (OT, West Virginia)
- Oakland Raiders (via Chicago Bears) – Rashan Gary (DL, Michigan)
- Philadelphia Eagles – DeAndre Baker (CB, Georgia)
- Indianapolis Colts – N’Keal Harry (WR, Arizona State)
- Oakland Raiders (via Dallas Cowboys) – Mack Wilson (ILB, Alabama)
- Los Angeles Chargers – Christian Wilkins (iDL, Clemson)
- Kansas City Chiefs – Byron Murphy (CB, Washington)
- Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans Saints) – Nasir Adderly (S, Delaware)
- New England Patriots – J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (WR, Stanford)
- Los Angeles Rams – Amani Oruwariye (CB, Penn State)
33. Arizona Cardinals – Deebo Samuel (WR, South Carolina)
34. Indianapolis Colts (via Jets) – Rock Ya-Sin (CB, Temple)
35. Oakland Raiders – Deionte Thompson (S, Alabama)
36. San Francisco 49ers – Hakeem Butler (WR, Iowa State)
37. New York Giants – Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (S, Florida)
Giants picks explained
Okay, so far I kept a couple cards close to my (figurative) vest. When I made the Giants’ picks, I was operating on the assumption that they will address the offensive line before the draft. I stand by my supposition that Daryl Williams will be a (perhaps the) primary target in free agency. But whether it is Williams or another lineman, the Giants have to find an upgrade for right tackle. They also need to think very seriously about upgrading center and right guard as well (interestingly, both Brett Jones and D.J. Fluker are currently set to be free agents as well).
So with that out there … This mock did not work out to be ideal for me. Putting myself in the role of Dave Gettleman, I wasn’t going to even consider Kyler Murray at sixth overall (maybe have him as a sixth-round slot receiver).
As I said above, I would be stunned if there aren’t trades in the top five picks, and even if a team doesn’t trade up for him, I don’t think it is insane that the Raiders draft him. Haskins is a solid fit for Gruden’s offense, and Mike Mayock said at the Senior Bowl that when he addressed the Raiders’ front office, that this might be the most important draft in the franchise’s history. To me, that says that the most important position is definitely on the table, particularly when their expensive starter just got into a very public spat with an ESPN talking head, after a disappointing season.
The Giants could, theoretically, trade up for Haskins, but it would be difficult and expensive. If they do so, it will mean trading their second round pick as well as their 2020 first and second round picks, at the very least. Last year the Jets made the same trade, moving from sixth up to third, and it cost them three second round picks. Since, generally speaking, future picks are discounted by a round, the Giants’ future picks would be valued at a second and third.
With Haskins off the board, I decided to address the defense, which I do believe will (and should) dominate the Giants’ draft.
Round 1 – Jachai Polite (EDGE, Florida)
The most pressing issue for the defense is their (in)ability to convert QB pressures into sacks, and I decided to attack that problem on two fronts, with the first being the pass rush itself.
The Giants were near the top of the league in terms of total QB pressures, but were one of the worst teams in the league in terms of actually converting that pressure into box score production. A big part of that will be upgrading their coverage so James Bettcher can call the kind of defense he really wants to, but another part will be getting a player with the speed to truly scare offenses and run past tackles. Polite’s ability to explode off the line of scrimmage and bend around the edge is reminiscent of 2010-2011 vintage Osi Umenyiora, as are his 11 sacks, 19.5 tackles for a loss, and 6 sacks this past season.
Polite might have the highest ceiling as a pass rusher of any prospect in the draft, and it’s about time the Giants had another true menace off the edge. Right now this looks like a slight reach, but if Polite’s combine performance matches up (or exceeds) his tape, we very well could hear his name called in the first ten picks. Polite might not be a common name up there yet, but he might be the best pure pass rusher in the entire draft while still being a competent run defender. He is sudden, explosive, physical, tenacious, and has enough savvy and polish to produce immediately, while still having upside to get better with coaching and development.
Round 2 – Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (S, Florida)
The Giants’ need at free safety is glaring to say the least. It is difficult to understate how important a good free safety is to a man-coverage, blitz-heavy defense. Making matters more difficult, the Giants clearly want a player at free safety who also has the skill-set to play slot corner and help with disguises and match-ups. Gardner-Johnson hasn’t gotten much press yet, but his stock could rise with the Scouting Combine and as people go back to the tape. He looks like a very good athlete on the field who has improved in most aspects of his game in his time in Florida. He also has the ability to play man coverage in the slot, which the Giants seem to covet so highly.
It is possible that he Giants try to find a free safety in free agency, in which case, this pick would probably be Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson. I do believe that cutting Rhett Ellison is well within the realm of possibility, and Hockenson not only presents an athletic upgrade over Ellison, he is an excellent blocker and a great pairing with Evan Engram.