The New York Giants, 11-5 in 2016, own the 23rd overall selection in the first round of this week’s NFL Draft in Philadelphia. That is, if they choose to stay put. This draft offers a deep pool of above average talent, with just a few players that stand above the rest. The Giants, who usually exercise patience in the draft may seek an opportunity to move out of the 23 hole to either grab a coveted prospect or accumulate more selections.
The Giants’ 2017 roster is chock full of quality players. The current draft class only offers a few players that can make them a better team this season. That is why GM Jerry Reese could break tradition to move into position to take one of those players. If he can’t, he might do just the opposite and trade his first round pick for more picks in later rounds, or even next year.
And then there is a possibility he trades picks for players. The Giants do not normally make bold moves on draft day sans a few exceptions. In 2004, Reese’s predecessor, Ernie Accorsi, rolled the dice by trading QB Philip Rivers and a package of picks to San Diego to secure the rights to QB Eli Manning. In 2015, Reese moved up to the top the second round to select Alabama safety Landon Collins. Both trades have been windfalls for the Giants.
This year, there are players that Reese may see as game changers, such as Alabama TE O.J. Howard, RB Christian McCaffrey of Stanford, UCLA LB Takkarist McKinley or DE Taco Charlton of Michigan. None of those players are guaranteed to be around when the Giants pick. Reese, if he believes one or more of them are difference makers, will have to get creative and go get them.
Looking over the Giants’ roster, it’s hard to see where a rookie can make an impact. Tight end for sure, but the Giants just signed Rhett Ellison to be their blocking TE/FB and have several other young options at receiving TE in Will Tye, Matt LaCosse, Jerell Adams. Would the Giants package some picks to go get Howard or Miami’s David Njoku? Hmmm.
Offensive tackle is another position where a rookie could come right in and start. But…who? Ryan Ramczck of Wisconsin? Utah’s Garret Bolles? Both are talented but may not be turnkey solutions. The Giants have not given up on Ereck Flowers and it’s very possible newly signed D.J. Fluker is tried at tackle.
It’s not logical to think the Giants will go onto 2017 with the same backfield they had last season. Shane Vereen is healthy, Paul Perkins has a year under his belt and the team just re-signed Orleans Darkwa. They also brought in Shaun Draughn. They are said to be enamored by McCaffrey, but can he be the “bellcow” back this offense needs? Or the breakaway threat?
Many feel the Giants will remain at 23 and do what they always do – take the best available player. That could mean a defensive player such as Michigan State DE Malik McDowell, LB Haasan Reddick of Temple, Missouri DE Charles Harris or DE Derek Barnett of Tennessee.
There still remains the possibility of a trade, however, and what would Giant fans think if they made a deal with Cleveland for OT Joe Thomas? Or perhaps another veteran? Highly unlikely since Reese has a thing about players over 30, but you never know. This draft is such that he may change his approach completely. I mean, what are the chances that seven or more rookies make this roster?