New York Giants Isaiah Simmons
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

After adding two veteran linebackers, are the New York Giants still in the mix to draft the versatile Isaiah Simmons?

Jason Leach

The New York Giants have a huge decision coming up. Who will they take with the fourth-overall pick in the draft? Many believe they should draft the best available defensive player. After all, they’ve finished 31st, 24th, and 25th in total defense over the last three seasons.

Others believe they need to use that pick on an offensive tackle to protect Daniel Jones, and create holes for Saquon Barkley to run through. But everyone was in agreement that offensive line and linebacker were the two positions the Giants needed to improve in the offseason.

Most mock drafts had the Giants taking Isaiah Simmons, the unanimous All-American linebacker from Clemson. Simmons goes to New York in ESNY’s post-combine mock draft.

Although Simmons is listed as a linebacker, he can also play safety or line up as a slot corner.

It would make sense for the Giants to want a linebacker with Simmons’ versatility. The ability to line up almost anywhere on the field is valuable in today’s NFL. But after witnessing the recent signings by general manager Dave Gettleman, he’s using free agency to address the linebacker position.

So far, Gettleman gave David Mayo a three-year extension and signed former Packers linebackers Blake Martinez and Kyler Fackrell. The Giants already have Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, and Ryan Connelly on the roster. Simmons has sky-high potential, but the linebacker group is already pretty crowded.

With the linebacker position now one of the deepest on the roster, Gettleman may be tipping his hand on what he intends to do in the draft. One thing we’ve learned about Gettleman in his two years as Giants GM, he’s committed to building the offensive line.

In 2018, he signed Nate Solder to the richest deal for an offensive tackle, and drafted Will Hernandez in the second round (34th overall). Then in 2019 he traded Olivier Vernon to the Cleveland Browns for right guard Kevin Zeitler and signed right tackle Mike Remmers to a one-year deal.

With Remmers likely gone and Solder struggling at left tackle, it would make sense to use the fourth pick to find another hog molly, especially with the best free-agent tackles Jack Conklin and Anthony Castonzo off the market.

Fortunately for the Giants and Gettleman, this year’s draft class is loaded with several offensive tackles who are projected to go in the first half of the first round. Jedrick Wills Jr. from Alabama, Mekhi Becton from Louisville, Tristan Wirfs from Iowa, and Andrew Thomas from Georgia are among the best of the best at the position.

Based on their college film, this is an incredibly deep class. Thomas was an All-American, while Wills, Becton, and Wirfs made first-team all-conference in their respective conferences. Gettleman could potentially trade back a few spots and acquire some more picks, and still be able to draft one of these tackles.

We still have over a month until the NFL draft and things can change. But as of right now, it seems that the Giants will use their first pick on an offensive tackle, rather than take Isaiah Simmons.

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