New York Giants Isaiah Simmons, Tristan Wirfs
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

ESNY convenes for a New York Giants draft roundtable. General manager Dave Gettleman should have his pick of offensive linemen.

Any team picking at No. 4 will have more than a few holes to fill. Unfortunately for Dave Gettleman, that is true for the New York Giants this year. There are holes on both sides of the ball, but a top-five draft pick gives the Giants the opportunity to draft an elite player at a major position.

Gettleman loves the hog mollies.

Gettleman’s infatuation with the big boys in the trenches could pay off in 2020. There are four potentially elite offensive tackles who could go within the top 12 picks of the draft this year.

Isaiah Simmons is a dynamic linebacker and calling him a linebacker doesn’t do him justice. He can rush the quarterback, defend the run, and play in coverage. In other words, he can do it all.

But with the signings of Blake Martinez and Kyler Fackrell, it doesn’t look like the Giants have a huge need at linebacker. Again, Simmons is as versatile as they come, but all signs seem to point to the Giants going with one of the big boys up front.

Jason Leach

Tristan Wirfs — OT — University of Iowa

Based on the projection of most mock drafts where Joe Burrow goes to the Bengals at one, followed by Chase Young going to the Redskins, and Jeff Okudah to the Lions, the Giants should take the best player available. That’s Clemson All-American linebacker Isaiah Simmons.

Will they? Probably not. Although Simmons would be the perfect addition to the Giants’ defense, Gettleman loves his hog mollies, and signs are pointing to him taking an offensive tackle. After his impressive showing at the combine, the Giants will select Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs. The 6-foot-4 320-pound Wirfs will help keep Daniel Jones upright, and open holes for Saquon Barkley.

With that said, the Giants are in desperate need of a playmaker on a defense that has given up 388, and 412, and 451 points in each of the last three seasons.

They have a plethora of issues on that side of the ball, and Simmons help in all of those areas. He can rush the quarterback, stop the run, and line up at safet and slot corner to defend the pass. All you have to do is look at his stats from his last year at Clemson to see what an outstanding playmaker he is. He had 104 tackles, seven sacks, three interceptions, and one forced fumble.

Simmon is also the safest pick to be productive as a rookie. Although new head coach Joe Judge should have a wide berth, this is a must-win season for Dave Gettleman. If the Giants suffer through another double-digit loss campaign, it’s hard to envision that he’ll be back in 2021. Simmons can help bring the defense back to respectability and prevent a disaster for Gettleman.

Ryan Honey

Isaiah Simmons — LB — Clemson University

I truly believe the Giants end up choosing at No. 6 overall instead of No. 4. After parting ways with Philip Rivers, it’s clear the Los Angeles Chargers need their quarterback of the future. But at No. 6, they’re one spot behind the Miami Dolphins, who are also in desperate need of a quarterback.

Thus, the Chargers will jump Miami and swap picks with the Giants. Since New York holds a ton of leverage in a potential trade like this, the Giants will receive Los Angeles’ third and fifth-round picks as well.

With that first-round selection, Big Blue will need to decide whether to draft for need or just the best player available. But being that Dave Gettleman prefers the latter route, they’ll ultimately welcome Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons to East Rutherford.

Out of the many strengths Simmons possesses in his game, the one that stands out the most is his versatility. Simmons has the ability to play up in the box or in the secondary in more of a safety-type role.

He could remind Giants fans of Landon Collins, who also had that same type of versatility when hitting the field in blue. Collins was successful in coverage (five picks, 13 passes defended in 2016) but also fantastic in stopping the run (112, 125, 104, 96 total tackles from 2015-18, respectively).

Some believe that since Big Blue signed a number of linebackers in free agency (Blake Martinez, Kyler Fackrell), that they’re out on Simmons. But that’s not necessarily true. The linebackers they acquired are primarily run-stoppers. This would free Simmons up to play more in the defensive backfield and out in space, where he could succeed greatly.

Simmons recorded 104 combined tackles with three interceptions and eight passes defended for the Tigers this past season. If he comes to the Giants, you should certainly expect him to be thrown into a starting role within Patrick Graham’s defense right away.

Kyle Newman

Tristan Wirfs — OT — University of Iowa

Dave Gettleman has spent the majority of the 2020 offseason fixing the defense. Specifically, Gettleman has looked to fill the Giants’ hole at linebacker. He re-signed David Mayo and brought on two other veteran linebackers. His focus on fixing the position in free agency seems to indicate that he doesn’t want to draft at the position. That would mean Isaiah Simmons likely won’t be the pick when the Giants are on the clock.

On the flip side, Gettleman hasn’t touched the offensive line yet. The only move he’s made was to bring in Cameron Fleming on a cheap one-year deal to compete at right tackle and likely be the primary backup tackle. That leaves a huge hole at tackle for a Giants teams that had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL in 2019.

Nobody makes more sense to fill that hole than Tristan Wirfs. The uber-athletic tackle set a number of records at the position at the combine. Wirfs is a strong run blocker and should be able to elevate the run game in 2020.

The issue is that Wirfs can struggle in the passing game. He has issues using his athleticism against speed rushers and he can get tripped up by stunts. He should be a decent pass blocker, but his run blocking his certainly the stronger part of his game.

Given that Gettleman has built this Giants team around the Saquon Barkley and the run game, Wirfs makes all the sense in the world.

Aaron Gershon

Tristan Wirfs — OT — University of Iowa

If it were up to fans, the Giants would likely select Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons. Due to how the team approached free agency, it’s more likely they’ll go offensive line if they hold onto the fourth-overall pick. New York signed Blake Martinez to be the starting middle linebacker and added Kyler Frackell to a one-year deal to fill the void left by free agent Markus Golden.

While they also added offensive tackle Cameron Fleming for depth, there’s still a need for a staring-caliber offensive tackle. That’s why the most logical pick would be offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs. The Iowa product had an outstanding combine that saw him run a 4.85 40-yard dash.

His 6-foot-5, 325-pound frame is the presence the Giants have been missing on the exterior of their offensive line the last handful of seasons. Thus, it’s hard to see them passing up on drafting a potentially great lineman to help protect Daniel Jones and create holes for Saquon Barkley.

Billy McInerney

 Tristan Wirfs — OT — University of Iowa

The dream scenario here would be for edge rusher Chase Young to fall to the team, but that isn’t likely to happen. And while do-it-all defender Isaiah Simmons is an intriguing pick who would add much-needed talent to a defense that struggled last season, the Giants are going to go as far as Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones take them in 2020. Knowing this, Dave Gettleman is the first GM to take an offensive lineman in this draft, grabbing Big 10 Offensive Lineman of the Year Tristan Wirfs.

Wirfs is one of the top-four offensive linemen in the draft, with the size (6-foot-5, 320 pounds) that Gettleman looks for in his hog mollies. He is surprisingly athletic for his size and is a solid run blocker. His pass protection is a work in progress but he is a technically sound blocker who has the work ethic to improve as a pass protector. His biggest strength right now is opening holes in the run game, especially outside zone runs. With the athleticism that Barkley possesses, as well as his ability to make tacklers miss in the open field, adding a tackle who can get him into space would take the offense to the next level.

Wirfs can project as the team’s starting right tackle in 2020, and he has the ability to flip across to the other side of the line after Nate Solder leaves the team, either through being cut or his contract expiring. While there are many intriguing pieces available for Gettleman, it’s hard to envision him passing up on a top tier offensive line prospect after adding a quarterback a year ago.

Danny Small

Tristan Wirfs — OT — University of Iowa

There’s little chance the Giants go any other way. It’s Tristan Wirfs or bust for Gettleman and company. Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley are the future of the team and what better way to provide protection for those guys than drafting a stud on the offensive line?

Drafting a lineman isn’t the sexiest pick, but it’s a necessary part of building a sustainable winner in the NFL. Obviously, the quarterback is the most important position in football and perhaps all of sports. Like it or not, Jones is the guy for the next few years. Adding beef to the offensive line puts Jones in the best position to succeed.

The Giants still need a ton of help on the defensive side of the ball, but Gettleman is going to need to fill those holes in the later rounds. Add to the line in the first round and figure everything else out later.

ESNY staff reports.