Fennelly's Five Points About the New York Giants' 2017 Draft Class
Nov 5, 2016; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers running back Leonard Fournette (7) is tackled by Alabama Crimson Tide defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson (54) during the third quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium. Alabama defeated LSU 10-0. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants made six picks in the 2017 NFL Draft. They may not have necessarily been the best players, but they just might be the right ones.

People get crazy over the NFL Draft. I used to, and in some instances, I still do. But as I get older, I’ve learned to keep both my excitement and disappointment tempered. 

Take this year’s Giants’ draft class. There’s a lot to like, yet all people seem to talk about are the players they didn’t take. I can’t worry too much about that and neither should you. GM Jerry Reese tells us every year how his staff arrives at each pick, yet we are critical year after year.

Here are five observations I’d like to share about the Giants’ 2017 draft performance:

There were no offensive linemen they felt were worth a high pick. That may be true because I wasn’t in love with many of these guys, either. Going by my rule of thumb that your first round pick has to produce from day one, I felt the Giants were wise to stay away from Ryan Ramczyk at No. 23. If they drafted him, he would be their right tackle, not their left. He would not unseat Ereck Flowers at LT. Trust me. The Giants are locked into Flowers for this season, and…do you really take a RT at No. 23? Not when there is a ton of playmakers on the board. I would have been disappointed had they burned that pick on Ramczyk. But…I think they might have used it on Garret Bolles had Bolles not been snatched up by Denver three picks earlier. He can play LT in this league. I think they would have moved Flowers to RT had they been able to get him, but you never know. 

They chose Evan Engram over David Njoko because he was more versatile and malleable. I’m sure they had O.J. Howard somewhere at the top of their board. I mean, who didn’t? He’s like the next Kellen Winslow. But Engram could be the next Tony Gonzalez. I’ll settle for him being what Jordan Reed is to the Redskins, a mismatch nightmare that keeps defensive coordinators up at night. Engram is a more refined receiver than Njoku is and, don’t fall into the trap that Njoku is the better blocker. The Giants will use Engram to split the defense and if opponents want to try to cover him with a linebacker, they regret it. That means a safety has to cover him or a slot corner. Great news for the Giants because if they go four wide with Engram, OBJ, Shepard and Marshall, there isn’t a secondary in the history of the game can handle that. Eli will feel like he’s shooting fish in a barrel. Engram’s presence also clears the box and will make it easier for the Giants to run the ball. Win, win, and win. 

Nobody knew Dalvin Tomlinson was on the Giants’ radar. Here’s a guy who flew under everyone’s radar, it seems. Tomlinson may have been the glue to Alabama’s defense but since they had so many stars, he got lost a bit. The Giants didn’t lose sight of him though. If he can replicate what he did in college at this level, he will be a steal. They will plop him right next to Snacks and they won’t ever mention Johnathan Hankins’ name ever again. No one had Tomlinson mocked to go in the draft this early, but Reese and his scouts did their homework here. This kid is smart, centered and will be a terrific addition to the Giants’ defense.

Davis Webb is the future of the Giants. No doubt they loved this kid. There is a lot to like here, but not if you need him to play tomorrow. Webb will end up being the Giants’ QB in 2019, if not sooner. He is the perfect student for Ben McAdoo and will be more than ready should the Giants decide their marriage to Eli has gone on long enough. And that could happen. Keep in mind, Reese was never enamored with Eli and McAdoo would prefer a more mobile quarterback as well. This selection is shot across Eli’s bow. Play better because we just brought your replacement into the building. By 2019, Eli’s dead cap number falls to $6.2 million, which will be easily absorbable since the cap keeps rising every year. 

“Walkie-Talkie-Gate” ended up costing the Giants in the draft. A the time, no one really cared when the leagued penalized the Giants ten draft slots in the fourth round for McAdoo’s illegal use of a walkie talkie during a game. But once the fourth round came, you could see how it was going to hurt Big Blue. They were scheduled to select 24th but were knocked back to 34. Several players you knew they had interest in were taken in those ten picks. At 24, the Texans took Bucknell OT Julie’n Davenport, who the Giants had in their facility for a visit before the draft. The next pick was Arkansas DE Deatrich Wise, who the Patriots traded up to take. Also selected in that stretch: RBs Donnel Pumphery of San Diego State and Jamaal Williams of BYU and OT Zach Banner of USC. The Giants ended up selecting Clemson RB  Wayne Gallman, a pliable player they will use in both the offense and on special teams, but I think they may have pulled the trigger on some of those other names had they been able to stay at 24. Especially Davenport.

DE Avery Moss could be a diamond in the rough. Why? His combine was unimpressive and his off-field choices are questionable. Well, that’s why he was available in the fifth round. He was at Nebraska first and got himself kicked out. The Giants always seem to keep tabs on players who transfer. In this case that diligence might pay off. They could use another pass rusher (who couldn’t) and a fifth round pick is a small price to pay if the kid hits big. He will create competition for the other backups – Kerry Wynn, Owa Odighizuwa, Romeo Okwara et al and you can never have enough players who can rush the passer. But I like his skill set, which lines up with that of former Giant Robert Ayers. There’s a vibe here…

John Fennelly has been covering the New York sports scene on the Internet since 1997. He has advised and been published on dozens of prominent websites and in major periodicals and can been heard on sports talk radio stations all over the dial. Before embarking on his career as an accredited journalist, John held several management positions in a successful 25-year career in the financial industry. He holds a degree in New Media/Journalism from Queens College.