The 2018 NFL Draft will be hugely important to the New York Giants short-and-long-term futures. Here’s how we see things going.
Expectations for the New York Giants were sky high when the season started. But if seasons were built on expectations, then the Philadelphia Eagles’ “Dream Team” would’ve been the first undefeated team since the ‘72 Dolphins.
The fact of the matter is that the Giants now sit at 2-10 and have turned this season into a tryout. The Giants had benched Eli Manning to play backup Geno Smith and third-round pick Davis Webb to determine the direction the Giants will take at season’s end, but after the firing of head coach Ben McAdoo, the Giants will turn back to Eli. Regardless, fans now look to the offseason and the 2018 NFL Draft to save their failing franchise.
Currently sitting the with the second overall pick in the upcoming draft, here’s how we see things playing out for Big Blue. Note: Due to the Ross Cockrell trade, the Giants currently do not have a seventh-round pick.
First Round (2): Sam Darnold, QB, USC
If Webb makes believers out of the Giants then this selection obviously changes. But with new management and a new coach on the way, I find that unlikely.
Darnold entered this season with expectations of being the first overall pick, but he has fallen to the QB2 spot. He’s had his issues this season but the talent is undeniable. A lot of concerns about Darnold go directly to his interceptions—he threw six in his first three games. Since then, though, he has tossed just six picks in nine games.
While Darnold still has a bit of a way to go he has cut down on turnovers and has great talent that NFL teams will value. His ability to maneuver through the pocket and the ability to create plays are Darnold’s sure strengths but he still impresses with his other tools as well.
Manning will likely never wear a Giants jersey again after this season. Whether that means he retires, is traded or released remains to be seen. But the Giants need to find their next quarterback and I don’t believe that will be Smith or Webb. It could be Darnold.
Second Round (34): Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State
The Giants aren’t a team that just needs their quarterback of the future in order to feel comfortable moving forward. Despite the “confidence” former general manager Jerry Reese and McAdoo claimed to have in offensive lineman Ereck Flowers, it seemed everyone on the outside knew otherwise.
While Flowers could potentially have a future over at right tackle, the Giants must find someone to protect whoever is behind center next season.
Jones is a brick wall of a player. The Ohio State product stands 6-foot-5 and weighs in at 310 pounds. He’s a key outside presence that has a good overall game and having someone that well-rounded can go a long way in both the run and pass games that have been a weakness for the Giants offense this season.
Third Round (66): Ronald Jones II, RB, USC
The intent wasn’t to double dip on Trojans but hey, why ruin a good thing? Jones has been tearing it up as Darnold’s running back. The shifty and explosive six-foot, 200-pound back has averaged six yards per carry this season.
He has great speed, vision, and agility to make big plays happen. I believe his strengths work perfectly to the zone blocking scheme that already exists in New York. A selection like Jones will only add to the effectiveness of that.
Fourth Round (98): Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia
Bringing in Wynn would help the Giants continue to shore up their offensive line and create an identity with the run game. Wynn is a great lineman on first impact and specializes has been a terrific run blocker during his time at Georgia.
The Giants have struggled in the run game for quite some time. Orleans Darkwa has performed well when given his opportunity but there are still reasonable doubts surrounding his ability to be relied on going forward. But the selection of Wynn would benefit whoever is taking carries for the Giants.
Fifth Round (130): Jaleel Scott, WR, New Mexico State
The Brandon Marshall experiment didn’t go quite as planned, but there are still options out there for a big bodied receiver on this team.
I’m a fan of both Tavarres King and Roger Lewis Jr. but I don’t think they’re reliable as starting receivers. Scott—a steal in the fifth round—just might be.
Scott is a 6-foot-6 beast out of New Mexico State racking up 73 catches, 1,042 yards, and eight touchdowns. Like expectations with Marshall, Scott has a large catch radius that he uses to its full extent and he often wins 50/50 balls.
The Giants, in this draft, will have revamped their offense and this pick of Scott will cement this successful offensive overhaul.
Sixth Round (163): Al-Rasheed Benton, LB, West Virginia
When it comes to Benton he does it all, and I’m not entirely sure why he’s not getting more hype in the draft world.
Benton is 6-foot-1 and 240 pounds with the ability to create turnovers in the passing game and the skill to rack up tackles. Benton has 73 tackles this season—13 of them for a loss—along with two interceptions, one forced fumble and three pass deflections.
Benton has been a well-respected leader at West Virginia and can now step into a strong defense and hopefully help out right away. The Giants need linebackers that are able to help in the passing game and I think a late value like Benton is a great grab.