Rounds 6-7 of the NFL Draft are when steals are executed. Here are three late-round prospects the New York Giants should consider this year.
Draft the best player or draft for need? That’s the big question for the New York Giants as the first round of this year’s NFL Draft nears. If they were to take the best player, Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons would likely be the man to acquire. But if drafting for need is the decided route — which Dave Gettleman doesn’t exactly prefer — then an offensive tackle may be the move.
But regardless of whom they select in that significantly important opening round, there are a number of players they should consider in the later rounds. Depth at numerous positions is obviously needed, and there are a few individuals who could really benefit the Giants in more ways than one.
WR Jeff Thomas (Miami, Fl)
This team should definitely draft a wideout in the later rounds given the 2019 health-related issues in the receiver room. Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton — the three primary receivers — missed a combined 13 games. Reserve receiver and return specialist Corey Coleman additionally missed the entire year with a torn ACL.
Miami Hurricanes wideout Jeff Thomas isn’t projected to be off the board until around the sixth round. Thus, he could be an absolute steal for the Giants.
Thomas is someone who would not only provide that extra body should guys succumb to injuries (or suspensions, in Tate’s case), but he would also be the fastest and most athletic receiver on the entire roster.
This past season for the Hurricanes, Thomas caught 31 balls for 379 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games. He additionally racked up 312 yards on 17 total returns.
Call me crazy, but just looking at the film, he sort of reminds me of Odell Beckham Jr.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound receiver is sensationally quick and is always keeping his feet moving. He can additionally make catches in traffic and go up for the ball, so he’s not just someone who needs to be in the open field to succeed.
But when he is indeed in the open field, good luck keeping up with him. He can make people miss and drive secondaries crazy. His quickness leads to his success in making it past defenders on deep throws, which would be a plus for Jason Garrett‘s offense. The current Giants offensive coordinator utilized deep-ball plays a good amount last year while in Dallas. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was fifth in the league with 78 total deep-ball attempts (4.9 per game).
And since Thomas is as athletic as he is, the team could use him in a multitude of ways. He’d be able to return kicks, punts, and could line up off the line of scrimmage and take handoffs on outside sweeps.
Becoming this type of multi-purpose receiver is what made OBJ so valuable during his tenure in East Rutherford. Could it work for Thomas as well?
C Zach Shackelford (Texas)
The Giants possess four picks in the seventh round — No. 218, 238, 247, and 255 overall. Two are compensatory selections and one is from the New Orleans Saints via the 2018 Eli Apple trade.
One of these important selections (every draft pick is crucial, regardless of what round) could be used on an interior offensive lineman for depth purposes. Thus, let’s take a look at Zach Shackelford from Texas.
At 6-foot-4, 304 pounds, Shackelford played the center position for the Longhorns but could likely be moved between guard and center in the pros. Throughout his collegiate career, he participated in 43 games (40 starts) and earned first-team All-Big 12 honors last season.
During this 2019 matchup with the LSU Tigers — the eventual national champions — Shackelford displayed immense upside potential.
He showed that he’s athletic enough to get down the field and lead block on screen passes but also agile and strong enough to hold his blocks. Shackelford ultimately keeps his feet moving and, with that, is a terrific pass blocker.
He was a little slow off the snap a few times, which caused his opponent to get by him when attempting to reach the quarterback. But other than that, he mostly holds his own and does his part in order for the offense to click on both pass and run plays.
Would he start if the Giants were to draft him? Probably not. The organization already employs Spencer Pulley at the center position (started nine games for Big Blue in 2018). But with Jon Halapio‘s future in doubt, the Giants could use an extra center/guard in the mix for 2020 and beyond. Shackelford would surely assist them in those regards.
S Myles Dorn (North Carolina)
You can never possess too much depth in the defensive backfield, and with the Giants not employing too many reliable safeties at the moment, they could 100% look for a steal in the later rounds.
With that said, meet Myles Dorn, a 6-foot-2 safety from North Carolina who showed success in pass coverage and as a run-stopper in 2019. This past season, Dorn recorded 83 total tackles with 4.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, and six passes defended.
Dorn’s 2019 highlight reel says it all about the type of player he is, and that’s an aggressive defensive back who can come up and stop the run regardless of where he’s lined up on the field. He’s fast and strong enough to do it too and doesn’t shy away from contact at all.
He can make the open-field tackle as well, breaking down and showing the correct footwork in order to force the ball carrier to his inside.
Dorn is a hard hitter and it’s not like he’s always just jumping on the pile at the last second. His 83 total tackles consisted of 49 solo, so he’s definitely a tough individual to get past.
If the Giants were to draft Dorn, he would likely work in a reserve safety role behind both Jabrill Peppers and Julian Love. He could also spend time on special teams. But as his career progresses, who knows? There have been late-rounders who have ended up thriving in the NFL. It’s not an impossible scenario whatsoever.