Why the New York Giants Shouldn’t Take an Offensive Lineman in the First Round
The New York Giants own their first top 10 pick since 2004, and there’s disagreement among experts regarding how they should use it. For now though, the majority of mock drafts have the Giants selecting one of the top offensive lineman whether it be Brandon Scherff, Andrus Peat, or La’el Collins. But shoring up the offensive line would be a safe, almost boring pick.
The Giants can’t afford to play it safe after two straight losing seasons. Jerry Reese needs to find a real playmaker in the first round just like he did last year with ROY and “world’s greatest athlete” (according to Michael Strahan) Odell Beckham Jr. Let’s dive into why taking an offensive lineman with the ninth overall pick isn’t the answer and what Big Blue should do instead.
There’s no question that the Giants have a hole to fill along their line at either right or left guard depending on where they play Geoff Schwartz next season. I thought that they would fix their line through free agency which didn’t happen, but I don’t think they should spend a top 10 pick on a guard or tackle. Brandon Scherff played tackle at Iowa, but he translates to guard at the next level. He has excellent upper body strength along with good hand placement and light feet which makes him a great run blocker. Many people compare him to another guard from last year’s draft, Zack Martin, whom the Giants passed on. This comparison is not entirely accurate because Scherff comes nowhere close to Martin’s level of aggressiveness or ability to sustain blocks. Scherff will definitely help a team’s running game, but the Giants could find a guard in round 2.
One possibility in Round 2 is Laken Tomlinson who did not give up a single sack during his time at Duke. Tomlinson’s lack of range and athleticism is cause for concern, but nonetheless he could start day one at left guard for New York. Other mock drafts have the Giants selecting tackles La’el Collins out of LSU or Andrus Peat of Stanford. If the Giants drafted one of these tackles, they would be forced to move Justin Pugh inside. And like any rookie, Collins or Peat would experience growing pains against NFL pass rushers. The problem with picking an offensive lineman from this year’s crop is that there are too many other talented players on defense and skill positions, like receiver, to pass up.
Owners John Mara and Steve Tisch, not to mention the fans, are growing impatient with the team after missing the playoffs in three consecutive years, and Jerry Reese needs to find someone who can take them back. One player who could take the Giants defense to the next level is defensive end Bud Dupree. When I chose Dupree for Giants back in a mock draft at the beginning of March, it seemed like a bit of a reach, but since then he’s climbed draft boards. The sack master out of Kentucky has all the physical tools to succeed at 6’4” 267 pounds. Dupree had a strong combine and drew comparisons to both Robert Quinn and Cameron Wake. Paired with JPP, Dupree could take the Giants back to having a dominating pass rush.
Another pass rusher that should be available when the Giants pick is Randy Gregory, who failed his drug test at the combine and admitted to use of marijuana. I know, I know. The Giants have had problems with talented players and marijuana before (cough cough Will Hill), but under the right guidance Gregory will blossom into an all pro defensive end. He was a little underweight at 235, but some have said that it was due to being sick. Either way, Gregory is a freak athlete that could transform the entire defense. Even Mike Mayock chimed in on Gregory’s talent:
“I look at this kid as the ultimate boom or bust. Three years from now, he’s either going to be in the Pro Bowl or he’s going to be out of the league.”
I might seem too risky to take someone with Gregory’s off the field issues, but his talent is too much to pass up.
Believe it or not, the Giants might take another receiver in the first round. If one of the top receivers in Amari Cooper or Kevin White is there, then the Giants are going to have a tough time passing up on them. With Cruz still recovering from a torn patellar tendon, it’s uncertain when he might be ready to go. Reuben Randle has also been inconsistent throughout his career and is entering the final year of his contract. OBJ is the only sure thing at receiver. Pairing one of them with Beckham, a healthy Cruz, and Shane Vereen will give Eli a plethora of weapons to throw to and could give New York one of the most explosive offenses in the league.
With all these options with the ninth pick and competent offensive lineman available in the later rounds, the Giants would be making a mistake selecting a guard or tackle in the first round. The Giants have been a tough team to predict the last couple of drafts, but we’ll see on April 30 in Chicago what’s going through the minds of the Giants decision makers.
By Joey Alibro