The New York Giants are poised for a franchise-changing draft this weekend. Write that down. The fortunes of the team will be decided right here and now at the NFL Draft. At minicamp this week, the new coaching staff will finally get a look at second-year QB Davis Webb, and if he performs to their satisfaction, I think they will likely pass on a QB with the second overall pick. Continue reading “NFL Draft 2018: Fennelly’s Final Giants’ Mock”
The 2018 NFL Draft is going to be one more interesting ones in recent years. Especially if you’re a Giants or Jets fan. Both teams will make their top selections in the first half-hour of the show. After the Cleveland Browns stun the world with the first of their top-four picks at No. 1, the Giants and Jets pick in rapid-fire fashion at Nos. 2 and 3. Continue reading “Fennelly’s Favorites For the Giants and Jets in the NFL Draft”
One would think with the Cleveland Browns possessing the first and fourth overall selections in the upcoming NFL Draft that they were in the driver’s seat. Not so, I say. The team with the No. 2 overall pick, the New York Football Giants, actually have more capital in their hands with that single pick than the Browns do.
How, you ask? Simple. The Browns do not have a franchise quarterback and need a ton more talent on their roster to become competitive again. They also have only won once in the past two seasons. They have to bring in some franchise-defining players.
The Giants, even after coming off a dismal, disappointing 3-13 season have a solid core in place and lest us not forget, were 11-5 in 2016. The reasons they fell off a cliff last year have been identified. They incurred too many key injuries and their young head coach, Ben McAdoo was a poor manager who alienated players and installed a predictable, unimaginative and inflexible program that opponents deciphered with ease.
Throw in some miscalculations at the draft table and a slew of underachieving veterans and the quotient was too much for McAdoo to overcome. He made the fatal error of futzing with perhaps one of the only parts of the team that was stable in quarterback Eli Manning, which turned the fanbase against him and sealed his fate.
This spring, the Giants are in the midst of dusting themselves off, emerging from the rubble with a new GM in Dave Gettleman and a new head coach, Pat Shurmur. The organization is ready to get back to the business of playing serious football and restoring the franchise back to its glory days.
This offseason has given them the opportunity to retool their rancid offensive line. Gone are Bobby Hart, Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg and D.J. Fluker. In are Nate Solder and Patrick Omameh. They traded for LB Alec Ogletree and sent DE Jason Pierre-Paul to Tampa Bay for a third-round draft pick. And that’s just for starters.
The meat of the overhaul will come in the draft and that is where this transformation gets very interesting for Giant fans. They have several options. In fact, they have more than several.
If the keep the pick…
There are three studs in this draft and none of them are quarterbacks. The Giants surely know this. It’s a long shot to think any of the four quarterbacks being touted at the top of the draft will have the success that Eli Manning has had here in New York. Sure, the Giants are getting up close looks at all of them but one has to think that Gettleman is smarter than that.
Penn State RB Saquon Barkley, DE Bradley Chubb of NC State and Notre Dame offensive lineman Quentin Nelson are all being labeled as ‘cant-miss’ prospects. If they took any one of those three players with the second overall pick, they could not be faulted. All have the marking of being All-Pro at the next level.
Taking a quarterback in this draft is a risky proposition. First off, which one would they take? All four have their pros and cons. The odds are there’s clunker in the bunch and as of right now, it’s too difficult to predict who’ll pan out and who won’t. Then, whoever they take would have to sit behind Manning for at least a year, maybe two. Then there is the possibility the Giants already have Manning’s successor on the roster in Davis Webb, who was selected in the third round of last year’s draft.
If they keep the pick, they would be best served to take one of three ‘can’t-miss’ players and never look back. Barkley gives them a huge boost out of the backfield. He is full service versatile back that checks all the literal and proverbial boxes on every scouting report. He would make their offense dynamic.
Nelson is a natural guard and that is where the Giants need a lot of help. The interior of their line was subpar to the point where they had little surge in the run game. His pass protection skills are also top notch. With all the negativity surrounding this unit the past few years, drafting Nelson would be another brick in the wall for Gettleman and fulfill his prophecy of adding “hog-mollies” to the team.
Chubb would do more than replace JPP on the defense. He would be a godsend. JPP was in decline, especially after the accident that took hold of his right hand, and was vastly overpaid by former GM Jerry Reese. Chubb can not only rush the passer, he can get him. Big difference there.
If they trade the pick….
It would take quite a bounty to move Gettleman out of the No. 2 spot. As GM of the Panthers he was not known to gamble but he’s already shown in his short stint in that position with the Giants that he’s capable of making bold strokes. He already has four picks in the top 69 but if he could get three more via a trade, he could mold the roster into something special. By doing that, he also conserves cap room for the upcoming seasons where he can augment his roster even further through free agency.
The issue here is, which teams have the capability to make a viable offer to Gettleman to bite at? There’s only a few and even less that need to make a splash at QB. The Jets used a lot of their capital to move up to No. 3 from No. 6. They forked over three second round picks along with flipping their first rounder with the Colts. The teams looking to get to No. 2 will have to pay more because they are coming from further down the draft order.
Buffalo has the most to offer: two first rounders, two second rounders and two third rounders in this draft alone. They just signed A.J. McCarron but he is simply a stopgap. They are in the market to move up and the Giants know it. It would likely take both first rounders (12 and 22), a second rounder and a third to shake Gettleman’s tree. If this happens, it would give the Giants seven picks in the first three rounds of the draft.
Other teams to keep an eye on: Denver, Arizona, Miami and yes, the Jets and Cleveland. Gettleman would not be averse to flipping picks with either of those two teams and still dealing with others afterward.
No matter which road Gettleman choses to go down, the odds are with him that the Giants will be a much-improved outfit after this draft is over and beyond.
GM Dave Gettleman wasn’t kidding when he said he was going to put his stamp on this Giant team. He came in the door last December, reinstated Eli Manning at quarterback and then began to look around for what he could change.
The answer has become clear. He’s changing just about everything. On Thursday, Gettleman decided to dump two-time Pro Bowl DE Jason Pierre-Paul and his egregious contract to the sack-starved Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a third round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
The deal is a home run for the Giants. In exchange for JPP, a fourth round pick (No. 102) and his whopping contract, the Giants will receive the Bucs’ third round pick (No. 69 overall) and their fourth rounder (No. 108). The trade only clears around $2.5 million in cap space this season but it gets the Giants out from under the ridiculous contract former GM Jerry Reese agreed to before the beginning of last season (four years, $62 million).
The Giants now have six selections in the draft this spring: a first rounder (No. 2 overall), a second rounder (No. 34), two thirds (Nos. 66 and 69), and one selection in each of the fourth and fifth rounds (Nos. 108 and 139). That is, if Gettleman doesn’t make any more moves.
Pierre-Paul, besides being overpaid for a one-armed defensive end, was not a proper fit for the 3-4 defensive scheme set to be installed by new DC James Bettcher. JPP is a traditional hand-in-the-dirt 4-3 DE who will now take his wares to Tampa, who were last in the league in sacks last season. The Giants are deciding to fish and cut bait when it comes to DE.
“We appreciate everything Jason has done for the Giants,” Gettleman said. “He was a fine player for us, and he helped our franchise win Super Bowl XLVI. We wish him well in the future.”
The trade changes the dynamic of the draft now. The Giants aren’t thinking quarterback and are clearly in business. They want to bring as many viable bodies as they can right now. A Saquon Barkley, Bradley Chubb or whoever, believe it or not, is not going to cut it. The Giants could get four high picks for that No. 2 overall selection. They won’t be able to turn a deal like that down.
Theres still five weeks to go before the draft, so the possibilities are limitless. Arizona, Buffalo and Denver may all try to pry that valued pick from Gettleman. Stay tuned.
As for JPP, it appears as if he new the Giants might trade him. He’s been around long enough.
“Thank you to the Giants for the 8 years I spent there,” JPP told NFL Network beat reporter Kim Jones. “They’re making changes; I understand that. Thank you to fans that supported me, and thanks for the great Super Bowl run that we had.”
Pierre-Paul also said Gettleman told him the Tampa deal was “an offer he couldn’t refuse”. He also told Jones the trade would give him the chance to be closer to his family, particularly his son, who all reside in Florida.
What’s next for the Giants? Look for them to keep whittling away at their roster, reforming it to what Gettleman promised – a team full of well-rounded, tough, physical football players.
For decades, they held the NFL Draft here in New York City. From 1965 through 2014, NFL heavyweights, fans and the media converged on the Big Apple to witness the rite of passage that serves as the first step in the indoctrination of the latest amateur class of football players into professionals.
The event roamed from ballroom to ballroom of some of the city’s most popular hotels before exploding into an event that needed a bigger venue, such as Radio City Music Hall. In 2015, the NFL decided to spread the wealth and began to move the draft to other cities.
First, Chicago had two shots, then Philadelphia last year. Both cities embraced the event with a fervor. This April, the draft moves to Dallas’ AT&T Stadium, one of the biggest venues in North America.
But the NFL Draft never can seem to get New York out of its system for long. The top of the 2018 NFL Draft has suddenly come under control of three teams: The ever-present Cleveland Browns and the two New York franchises – the Giants and Jets.
The Browns hold the first and fourth selections while the Giants and Jets are scheduled to select second and third. The Giants are slotted No. 2 thanks to their 3-13 implosion last year while the Jets, originally in the No. 6 spot, traded up to No. 3 by sending their first rounder and three second-round selections to the Indianapolis Colts.
The move puts the New York teams in prime position to take one of the four stud quarterbacks in this draft: USC’s Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen of UCLA, Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma and Wyoming’s Josh Allen.
The Jets are desperate need of a franchise quarterback and GM Mike Maccagnan, who has spent several seasons now searching for one, decided to go for the gold. This will go down as his signature move as he pushes all his chips into the middle of the table. The Giants still have Eli Manning and drafted his supposed heir apparent, Cal’s Davis Webb, in last year’s draft.
But before the locals can put their stamp on the draft, the unpredictable Browns get to open things up. They have been wheeling and dealing this offseason at a breakneck pace. They are also hard up for a franchise quarterback. Their trade with Buffalo for Tyrod Taylor is not considered to have altered their plans. New GM John Dorsey, formerly of Kansas City, won’t wait until No. 4 to take one, so that lives the Jets’ fate in the Giants’ hands.
That is, if the Giants intend to take a quarterback. At the moment, they are still mulling it over. No one has seen Webb play in a live game and Manning, although healthy, is going to be 37 this year and has just two seasons remaining on his contract. GM Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur have already told us that Manning will be under center this season, but beyond that the Giants have as many questions as the Browns and Jets.
The Browns are said to be leaning towards selecting Darnold since he is unlikely to be there when they pick again at No. 4. The Giants will entertain offers from other teams, including the Jets, to maximize their leverage. They probably stay put unless they get at least four high picks. Their roster is in desperate need of young talent and four heads are better than one at this point.
The Jets may not want another team leapfrogging them, so there is a possibility that Maccagnan rings up Gettleman and talks turkey. The Jets have very little capital to deal at the moment, so the price could be a player off their roster and a mid-to-late round selection. For the Giants, such a move would still ensure them a stud player – even a quarterback – plus they gain some more talent.
But the Giants may not be able to pass up a deal from. let’s say, Buffalo, who has two first, two second and two third round picks in this draft. If the Bills move up from No. 12 to No. 2, the Giants would likely want four of those four picks or at least three of them plus a 2019 selection. No other team seems to have to assets to make a credible deal.
If the Giants do that, they could conceivably end up with six selection in the first 96 instead of three. Gettleman would get both quantity and quality out of his first draft, which is his goal. Looking at the Giants’ roster, they are sore need of viable bodies, so Gettleman may have no choice but to take the deal. If not,
My current mock draft looks like this:
- Cleveland: Sam Darnold, QB USC
- Buffalo: Josh Allen, QB Wyoming
- Jets: Josh Rosen, QB UCLA
- Cleveland: Saquon Barkley, RB Penn State
- Denver: Quentin Nelson, OL Notre Dame
- Indianapolis: Bradley Chubb, DE NC State
- Tampa Bay: Derwin James, S Florida St.
- Chicago: Denzel Ward, CB Ohio State
- San Francisco: Tremaine Edmunds, LB Virginia Tech
- Oakland: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB Alabama
- Miami: Baker Mayfield, QB Oklahoma
- Giants: Mike McGlinchey, OT Notre Dame and at No. 22 Will Hernandez, G UTEP
This mock has the Jets getting their man and the Giants solidifying their offensive line. Rosen can potentially start in 2018 at some point for the Jets. In fact, he is going to have to for this roll of the dice by Maccagnan to have its desired effect.
McGlinchy is actually not as good a prospect at the moment as Hernandez. He is a perfect compliment to the newly-signed Nate Solder in that he also stands 6’8″ and weighs 312. Hernandez is a 348 pound fighter and will give the Giants the surge they’ve been missing in the running game the past few seasons. Drafting these two players would solve the Giants’ offensive line issues for the foreseeable futures. When Gettleman talks about “hog mollies” these two guys are the prototype of that group.
The excitement will continue to build here in New York the next six weeks as the draft approaches and rightfully so. After an unwatchable 2017 season, Giants and Jets fans get get stoked again about the futures of their teams.
The trade that sent linebacker Alec Ogletree from the Los Angeles Rams to the New York Giants was made official on Wednesday, the first day of the NFL’s new year. It was another bold stroke by Giants GM Dave Gettleman this offseason in his quest to restock the team’s subpar roster that won just five games in 2017.
“We’re very excited to have made the trade for Alec,” Gettleman said in a release by the team. “He gives us our defensive quarterback. He was a two-time captain with the Rams, voted on by his teammates. He’s a leader, and that’s very important to us. Just as important, he’s a quality three-down MIKE linebacker. We’re just thrilled to have him.”
The Giants had to part with two draft picks (a fourth and sixth-rounder) to seal the deal, and in a season where those draft picks might be viewed as valuable assets, Gettleman felt it was well worth it.
“When you get a player of this quality, you can do it. Alec is 26. He’s young, he’s under contract for the next four years. We really thought he was a great guy to add.”
He’s right. The Giants have been somewhat of an embarrassment at linebacker the past few seasons. Former GM Jerry Reese neglected the position by not using high draft picks to address the dearth of talent on the defensive roster. The players he did select rarely panned out. In his eleven trips to the draft table, Reese did not use a first round selection on a linebacker and took only one, Virginia pass rusher Clint Sintim (2009), in the second round.
Sintim was a bust from the get-go. He started only game in his two seasons in Blue before blowing out his ACL twice forcing him into an early retirement. None of the other players Reese selected at the position played more than three seasons with the club. B.J. Goodson, the team’s fourth round pick two years ago, was the starter at MLB last season but injuries cut his season short.
Ogletree has been brought in to remedy Reese’s failures. He is highly accomplished, leading the Rams in tackles in four of his five seasons, missing only 2015 when an ankle injury limited him to four games. The 2013 first round pick out of Georgia had 155 tackles as a rookie, 169 the following season, 171 in 2016, and 95 last year. His career totals include 645 tackles (475 solo), 5.5 sacks, six interceptions (including two returned for touchdowns), 43 passes defensed, 12 forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
It is the start of a new era for the Giants. They haven’t had a linebacker with this much talent since Antonio Pierce and Ogletree might even be better. The fact is, the team hasn’t been led in tackles by a linebacker since Jameel McClain in 2014.
What Ogletree brings most to the defense is leadership, a trait it has been lacking for some time now. By admission, he isn’t a vocal person but the Giants will need him to be.
“I’m more of a lead by example guy,” Ogletree said on a conference call Wednesday. “Your actions speak louder than words do, but at the same time, if something needs to be said, I don’t have a problem saying it and getting guys to do the right thing.”
And the right thing would be to shape this defense into something special. With stars such as Landon Collins, Janoris Jenkins, Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, Jason Pierre-Paul and now Ogletree, the Giants can certainly make their mark under new defensive coordinator James Bettcher this season.
“He’s the type of guy that knows how to use his players to get guys to play and I’m just an extension of him,” Ogletree said of Bettcher. “When we get on the same page and get to work together it’s definitely going to be a good thing. I’ve seen some of his work, of course he was in the same division as me and those guys had a great defense and we’re definitely looking to bring that to New York.”
With the Giants seeking to fortify their sagging offense here in 2018, the onus on improving the defense has come down to the addition of both Ogletree and Bettcher. The other pieces are there. In addition to above-mentioned players, they will be looking for more from Goodson and safety Darian Thompson.
Another newly-signed LB, Kareem Martin, who played for Bettcher in Arizona, also figures to play a key role. But expect Gettleman to find some players in the cracks this spring to fill out his roster.
It’s not always about getting the best players as it is about getting the right ones, and Ogletree just may be the start of it all.