The NFL draft is right upon us, we are almost there Giants fans. April 25th is the date to which a lot of questions surrounding the Giants will be answered. Will the Giants select a QB in the first round? Will the Giants select a first round LB for the first time since Carl Banks? How will the Giants bolster the offensive/defensive lines? The Giants are one of the most intriguing teams heading into the draft due to the amount of capital at their disposal (12 draft picks) and the multiple holes on the roster. The Giants are one of 3 teams to have multiple 1st-round picks (Packers, Raiders). The Giants also have the capital to move up from either their 6th overall, 17th overall and possibly moving back into the first round from their 37th overall selection. These kind of possibilities should create excitement and nervousness among the fan base.
This article will be discussing the potential first-round targets at 6th overall the Giants may pursue in this upcoming draft. Now I know what your thinking, I can’t take another mock draft. I can’t take them anymore either, but for this article, I want to give a forecast on the likelihood of certain draft prospects being selected at a specific draft pick. These probabilities vary from high, moderate, and low chance of occurrence.
A couple of disclaimers must be stated. The first being that it’s hard to determine how much a team likes a certain prospect. You hear rumblings of how much they like or dislike certain prospects but unless you are sitting in on their meetings you cannot be absolutely sure no matter what anybody tells you. Secondly, this is the list of likely draft targets at the 6th overall pick. That means Kyler Murray, Nick Bosa, and Josh Allen will not be part of the list. Although these are tremendous prospects I can’t imagine these players being available for the Giants unless there is a shocking development that occurs on draft day. If they are available, then the discussion is over and you go with one of them. This is not a perfect science because I can not get into Dave Gettleman’s mind, but based upon what you hear from those close to the team and through fit of scheme, I have come up with Giants first-round forecast.
6th Overall Pick:
DL-Quinnen Williams (Alabama) Forecast: Low
Whenever you hear scouts claim this prospect is the most disruptive interior lineman since Aaron Donald, that has to grab your attention. When you watch tape of the young 290-pound defensive lineman, you see why such excitement and expectations surround the kid. Williams is both polished in defending the run and the pass, posting the highest PFF grade of any interior defensive lineman. Williams also racked up a nation-leading 48 defensive stops, 43 total QB pressures, and 24 combined sacks/QB hits. If Williams were to fall to 6th overall, the Giants should be running their own 40-yard dash to the podium to turn the card in. If I were a betting man, I wouldn’t count on him being available.
LB-Devin White (LSU) Forecast: Moderate
Will the Giants break the streak of not drafting a first round LB? Not sure, but this would be an ideal candidate to break it for. The 2-time captain for the Tigers is an athletic and hard-hitting LB the Giants have not had in a long time. White has sideline to sideline speed (4.42 40 yd dash) and blitzing prowess (8.5 career sacks) that is coveted in LBs in today’s game. White shows the toughness and intelligence to be successful in defending the run, while also being athletic enough to keep up with RBs and TEs in the passing game.
Some believe White may not be a perfect fit to Bettcher scheme since he would fill a role already filled on the roster by Alec Ogletree in the base 3-4. I do not share in this opinion because for a defense starved of talent, nobody should be looking past a game-changing player who has many versatile talents. The reason the forecast is moderate is solely for two reasons, one being multiple reports believe Tampa Bay loves White and second, the Giants are starving for an edge rusher. If he makes it to 6th overall the Giants will have a long discussion about pulling the trigger but I believe we won’t get the chance to find out the answer because he goes to the Bucs.
Edge-Montez Sweat (Mississippi State) Forecast: High
If you are looking to build a prototype for an ideal Edge rusher you would have Sweat in mind. He has measured slightly below 6-foot-6 and an even 260 pounds. Sweat has the length and size to maintain the edge defending the run and keeping blockers off him when rushing the passer. Sweat also has great straight-line explosion shown by his 4.41 40-yard dash and impressive broad jump measures at the NFL combine. Sweat is not just a workout warrior, he has produced 22 sacks and 29.5 TFL in his college career. The concern with Sweat is his lateral quickness and flexibility which could lead to issues in space. I believe Sweat will be available at 6th overall and is the favorite to land with Big Blue.
DL-Ed Oliver (Houston) Forecast: Moderate
Oliver is a slightly undersized interior defensive lineman at 6-foot-2 and 281 pounds, but has elite athletic ability. Oliver tested in the 98th percentile in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, and broad jump among defensive lineman. What’s even more impressive than his explosion drills is his ability to change direction. Oliver ran a 4.19 short shuttle, which was better than the likes of Saquan Barkley and Julio Jones.
Some may question the lack of elite production in college, but Oliver spent much time at Houston as a nose guard which seemed to put him out of position. If the Giants were to select him he would most likely be slotted as a starter in a 5-tech defensive end position. If the Raiders do not select a QB, I could see them making a decision between Williams and Oliver. The odd man out might make his way to the Giants.
QB-Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State) Forecast: Low
I know this is not what a good portion of the Giants fan base wants to see. You must be wondering how could a team who needs to find its next franchise QB have a low probability of picking one 6th overall. The truth is we must take off our rose-colored franchise QB glasses and be honest about this class. Outside of Kyler Murray, none of these QBs should be a top 10 pick in my opinion. Haskins had tremendous success in his one year as a full-time starter posting 50 TD 8 Int on 70% Comp. What I like most about Haskins is the way he carries himself and the accuracy he displays on intermediate throws.
Unfortunately, Haskins has two things going against him, his lack of sample size (22 games) and flaws in his mechanics. There is also an NBC report by Peter King saying Haskins could be the 4th QB selected. I do not buy that Haskins will drop that far, but I feel the desire for an impact defensive player will draw the Giants away from QB with the 6th overall pick. This is not a hit piece on Haskins and doesn’t state he can’t develop into a franchise QB. I do believe if Haskins were to get out of the top 8, I could see the Giants possibly looking to move up using their second first round pick (17th overall). This could be possible by trading with either a team like the Bills (9th overall) or Miami (13th overall) to grab the next franchise QB. Dave Gettleman has connections with Bills GM Brandon Beane and I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes a call on draft day. Miami could be tanking for Tua and may be willing to trade back to acquire assets.
QB-Drew Lock (Missouri) Forecast: Low
Another signal caller who I believe has a low chance of being selected 6th overall. Although I believe it is a low chance to hear Locks name with the Giants pick, I believe he is higher on the Giants draft board than that of Haskins. This could be due to his athletic ability and elite arm talent. The Giants may view Lock as having a higher ceiling. Drew Lock has a large sample size (50 games) and posted pretty solid numbers this past season with 28 TD 8 Int 63% Comp.
Lock still has his flaws though, his decision-making and play against his top competition has lacked at times causing concerns to arise. The Giants could shock people including myself and pick Lock or Haskins 6th overall, I just don’t see it. I could see a similar scenario to Haskins described above, about Lock getting outside the top 8. If that were to occur and the Giants were interested in the gunslinger, they might have to move up to 9th overall to get ahead of John Elway and the Broncos to grab Lock.
Edge-Brian Burns (Florida State) Forecast: High
Burns is my dark horse pick for the Giants at 6th overall. The Giants have been adamant about getting an impact defensive player and more specifically a pass rusher. “We all want pass rush,” Shurmur said at the NFL Coaches Breakfast earlier this month. “And we all want guys that can affect the quarterback. Being an offensive coach, I know how difficult it is for a quarterback to function when he’s being rushed. So on the flip side of that it’s safe to say we need to get someone that will affect the quarterback.”
Burns fits the bill by being one of the more polished pass rushers in the draft, posting over 68 QB pressures (sacks, hits, and hurries combined) in 2018. Burns is also a smooth athlete, who has good agility that will allow him to be comfortable in space if ever needed to drop in coverage. The flaw to Burns game so far? He is not great against the run and seems at times to be overpowered at the point of attack.
Edge-Rashan Gary (Michigan) Forecast: Moderate
To me, Gary seems to be a Boom or Bust prospect. Gary is another pass rushing prospect that showed flashes of elite ability but hampered by a lot of inconsistency. From a production standpoint, Gary had his best year in 2017 by posting 11.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in 13 games. Gary was hampered by injuries in 2018, only allowing him to play 9 games and having 3.5 sacks.
Now from an athletic standpoint, Gary is one of the top prospects in the draft. At 277 lbs, Gary ran the third fastest 40-yard dash (among defensive lineman) and showed smooth athleticism at the combine for a man his size. If the Giants were to select him at 6th overall, It would feel like a Reese selection banking more on his athleticism and not on elite production.
With so many different scenarios and possibilities that can occur on draft day, it brings a great uncertainty on who will be the next player wearing Big Blues colors. Now I know I said this article was not a mock draft, and that we would only dive into potential targets likelihood of landing with the Giants. I cant help myself though. Below is the pick I would make if I was running the Giants, The likely pick that will happen, and the pick that will make me nervous. These picks are going off the assumption of how I view the first 5 picks of the Draft will go. That means Murray, Bosa, Allen, Williams, and White are off the board.
Ideal Pick: Brian Burns (FSU)
Likely Pick: Montez Sweat (Miss St)
Questionable Pick: Rashan Gary (Michigan)