Tag: NFL Draft

2018 NFL Draft: Giants, Jets Get Their Men

The first round of the 2018 NFL Draft is over and the New York Giants and New York Jets have planted their flags for the future. After the Cleveland Browns selected Baker Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy-winning QB out of Oklahoma, the Giants and Jets shaped their destinies by selecting Penn State RB Saquon Barkley and USC QB Sam Darnold in rapid-fire fashion.  Continue reading “2018 NFL Draft: Giants, Jets Get Their Men”

NFL Draft 2018: Fennelly’s Final Giants’ Mock

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”

2018 NFL Draft: The World is the Giants’ Oyster

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dumping JPP a Sign Giants Serious About Moving Forward

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.

New York is Suddenly NFL Draft City Again

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:

  1. Cleveland: Sam Darnold, QB USC
  2. Buffalo: Josh Allen, QB Wyoming
  3. Jets: Josh Rosen, QB UCLA
  4. Cleveland: Saquon Barkley, RB Penn State
  5. Denver: Quentin Nelson, OL Notre Dame
  6. Indianapolis: Bradley Chubb, DE NC State
  7. Tampa Bay: Derwin James, S Florida St.
  8. Chicago: Denzel Ward, CB Ohio State
  9. San Francisco: Tremaine Edmunds, LB Virginia Tech
  10. Oakland: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB Alabama
  11. Miami: Baker Mayfield, QB Oklahoma
  12. 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.

Do the Giants Really Need to Take a QB in this Draft?

The New York Giants possess the second overall selection in the upcoming NFL Draft and almost every pundit to man/woman has them selecting a quarterback with the pick. The reasoning is that Eli Manning is in decline and the incoming quarterback class is being deemed as ‘generational’.

As one who has covered this team for two decades and followed it for over a half-a-century, I disagree with both of those assessments. Manning may be 37 years of age but he’s a healthy 37. He’s never been hurt and would still be riding his consecutive starting streak had former head coach Ben McAdoo not made the ill-fated decision to bench him last season in favor of Geno Smith.

Manning has played fourteen seasons without incurring any major injuries and has led the club to two Super Bowl championships. There’s something to be said about that. Former GM Ernie Accorsi worked out a deal during the 2004 NFL Draft to bring Manning in and surrounded him with the talent needed to succeed. Since Accorsi left in 2006, the Giants have had to deal with the miscalculations of Accorsi’s successor, Jerry Reese, who held ‘upside’ in higher regard than actual production and drafted poorly.

As a result, the team has basically fallen off the NFL landscape in this decade. They won another Super Bowl in 2011 but the roster was still peppered with Accorsi’s guys. Reese swung and missed repeatedly in the draft, causing the team to go into a tailspin. Head coach Tom Coughlin was forced to fall on his sword after 12 seasons and the team made the fatal mistake of elevating his offensive coordinator, McAdoo, to head coach.

You know the rest. The Giants have effectively fallen apart since then. They are reaping what they have sewn. There attempts to resurrect and supplement their once vaunted offensive line have been a failure. There is talk of five new starters along the front in 2018. Who they will be is anyone’s guess. We know Andrew Norwell will not be one of them as he signed a huge free agent deal with Coughlin in Jacksonville on the first day of free agency.

McAdoo’s offensive scheme, which can be best be described as a bastardization of the West Coast offense, has been nothing short of disastrous and in direct opposition of Manning’s strengths as a quarterback. To his credit, Reese had done a good job in supplying McAdoo with assets such as WRs Odell Beckham, Jr., Sterling Shepherd and Brandon Marshall as well as TE Evan Engram yet the offense sputtered.

The scheme did not deploy those assets properly with a truncated route tree and a ‘dink and dunk’ mentality. Defenses jammed the box, and the Giants had few answers. They couldn’t run the ball and Manning, feeling pressure more often than not, gave up on looking for the big play. In fact, he often spiked the ball into the ground because the defense read their plays so well.

So, those who are chiseling Manning’s epitaph, please stop. Incoming GM Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur are putting their chips on Manning to run the offense for the upcoming season and perhaps beyond. Eli has two years remaining on the four year, $84 million extension he signed in 2015. They plan to utilize him properly in a vertical passing scheme which suits his and the receivers’ talents.

Gettleman, who took over the team late last season, liked what he saw from Manning after a game versus the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles in which Eli threw for 434 yards and three touchdowns.

“Eli has won a lot of games,” said Gettleman. “He’s a great competitor. He’s very intelligent and he and I are going to talk and if what I saw (against) Philadelphia was not a mirage, and I don’t believe it was, then we’ll just keep moving.”

After hiring Shurmur as head coach, it was clear that Manning was going to be their guy for the moment.

“I watched Eli throw a little bit this summer, and I walked away saying he looked really, really good,” Shurmur said. “He looked fit. He was throwing the ball well. The ball had good velocity coming off his hand. I think he’s got years left.  How much, I don’t know.  But I think he has time left, and I look forward to working with him.”

Shurmur has not been able to talk nuts and bolts with any of his players yet, but he knows Manning and feels strongly he will be able to make a solid connection with him.

“I think the relationship is going to be very strong,” Shurmur said  I’ve watched him, competed against him, admired how he’s played over the years.  Got to spend some time with him this summer in the Manning Academy setting.  I’ve already spoken to him on the phone and he’s an outstanding football player, and I can’t wait to get to work with him.  I’ve admired the way he’s handled things.  I sort of like a calm approach to the position.  Looking forward to getting to work with him.

But that’s only half the equation at quarterback, however. Last season, Reese adroitly drafted Manning’s alleged successor, the 6-foot-5 Davis Webb out of Cal, a highly-productive kid with a lot of that upside that he loves.  Unfortunately, Webb never got to play, or even dress, as a rookie so the jury is still very much out on him. McAdoo and his staff did not adequately prepare the kid to play, which led to inserting Smith when it came time to spell Eli.

Shurmur and Gettleman both know they may have something here in Webb. Something that may put the brakes on drafting a future franchise QB at No. 2 overall.

“We liked him down in Carolina in the draft,” general manager Dave Gettleman said at the NFL Combine. “It’s kind of like having a Christmas present or a Hanukkah present and you get to unwrap it eventually.”

“I like what I’ve seen in Davis Webb,” Shurmur also said at the Combine. “I went back and watched his tape again from college, just to get reacquainted with him. I had a chance to watch his practice tape, which has been terrific. We just don’t have a large sample size of Davis Webb playing NFL football.”

Shurmur was most recently the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive coordinator and QB guru who was very involved in developing players. He had scouted Webb in college and recalled being intrigued by him during last year’s NFL Draft.

“We liked his size, we liked his arm strength,” Shurmur said of Webb. “We liked his decision-making and that he can move around on the pocket. I can see why the Giants drafted him.”

The Giants took Webb in the third round, and at the time many commented that they got a bit of steal. Then, McAdoo and his staff buried Webb down the depth chart and he has in effect become a bit of a forgotten man. But this new regime may be warming up to Webb. He is a ‘gym rat’ who keeps learning and improving. He just may be their QB of the future. Tony Racioppi, the famous QB whisperer, tweeted this last week:

What’s also getting lost is the fact that Webb just might be a better prospect than the big four (Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen) and the Giants already have him. He has the arm strength (see below) and has the jump when it comes to acclimating to NFL life.

The contention here is that if the Giants choose a QB at No. 2 overall, that player may not be better than Webb and since they will both have to sit behind Eli for at least a year (maybe two), would the Giants be better off going in another direction such as trading back to restock some of the weaknesses on their roster such as offensive line, linebacker and running back?