With the (virtual) 2020 NFL Draft approaching, let’s see who the New York Giants may select if they were to fully address their roster needs.
Drafting for need vs. drafting the best player has been a debate surrounding the New York Giants for what seems like months at this point. A playmaker like linebacker Isaiah Simmons or an offensive tackle to bolster the group of “hog mollies” could be the ultimate decision the Giants face when they’re finally on the clock Thursday night.
General manager Dave Gettleman likes to draft the best player, but what if he takes a different approach and understands the need to fix the glaring issues throughout the roster? It would be a tactic a little outside his preference range, but the team has won just nine games in two seasons, so it’s a possibility he switches things up this year.
With that said, let’s take a look at who the Giants may draft if they were to take on the annual event with a need-based approach.
1st round (No. 4) – Iowa OT Tristan Wirfs
The Giants must stop overlooking the issue at the offensive tackle position. They need a reliable, dominant tackle for the future, and Tristan Wirfs out of Iowa could be that guy.
A 6-foot-5, 320-pound stud, Wirfs succeeded on the Hawkeyes offensive line this past season, having won the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year Award. He could start at right tackle for the Giants and eventually transition to Daniel Jones‘ blindside as he develops.
2nd round (No. 36) – Wisconsin C Tyler Biadasz
The offensive line continues to improve with the selection of Wisconsin center Tyler Biadasz, who won the 2019 Rimington Trophy as the top center in college football.
Spencer Pulley isn’t the long-term answer at center for the Giants, as he’s inconsistent at times and is more of a backup. Biadasz and Wirfs could be staples in this offensive line for years, giving Jones the protection he needs to succeed as the hopeful franchise quarterback.
3rd round (No. 99) – Notre Dame EDGE Julian Okwara
After totaling 30 sacks in 2018 and then 36 sacks in 2019, it’s clear the Giants need an edge rusher to thrive within this Patrick Graham-led defense. Enter Julian Okwara, who combined for 13 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss over the last two seasons (22 games) with Notre Dame.
Okwara will need to work on his strength and power, as he’s more of a speed rusher. Nonetheless, he’d be a decent complement to the run-stopping linebackers the Giants employ — Blake Martinez, Ryan Connelly, and David Mayo.
4th round (No. 110) – Liberty WR Antonio Gandy-Golden
New York needs to continue acquiring weapons for its young, developing quarterback. And right now, Jones needs that tall receiver who can be used near the goal line and become a nice fit alongside Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton.
Selecting the 6-foot-4, 223-pound Antonio Gandy-Golden would go a long way in providing Jones with the assistance he needs in order to maximize his potential.
5th round (No. 150) – Clemson S K’Von Wallace
It’s unclear where exactly Julian Love will play in 2020, as he could line up at free safety or as the team’s starting nickel corner. Regardless, the Giants will need an extra defensive back for depth, and Clemson’s K’Von Wallace would be a versatile option to have in the secondary.
Wallace spent time at both safety spots as well as at nickel corner during his time at Clemson and recorded 72 total tackles, two sacks, two picks, and 10 passes defended this past season.
If Love is the clear-cut favorite to win the starting free safety job, Wallace could still compete with Corey Ballentine and Grant Haley at slot corner.
6th round (No. 183) – Texas Tech DL Broderick Washington
The Giants don’t need another starter on the defensive line since they already possess Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, and Dalvin Tomlinson. But, they could definitely use a depth piece at that position, and Broderick Washington may be available when they’re on the clock in the sixth round.
The Texas Tech Red Raider recorded 39 total tackles and 5.5 sacks through 12 games this past season and could initially play special teams while attempting to work his way up the depth chart.
7th round (No. 218) – San Diego State OG Keith Ismael
Depth on the offensive line is always needed. Since Big Blue addressed the tackle and center spots, it’s now time to expand the depth chart at the guard position.
Hailing out of San Diego State, Keith Ismael is a 6-foot-3, 309-pound versatile athlete who has experience at all three interior offensive line spots. He earned first-team All-Mountain West honors in each of the last two seasons (his sophomore and junior campaigns).
7th round (No. 238) – Illinois State RB James Robinson
With Wayne Gallman’s long-term Giants future still unclear, Big Blue may need someone to back up Saquon Barkley for years to come. Out of Illinois State, James Robinson is a 219-pound back who could be used in some third-down situations if Barkley needs a rest. He could also find time on special teams.
Robinson was a dominant running back in the FCS, having rushed for 1,917 yards and 18 touchdowns through 15 games last season.
7th round (No. 247) – Temple ILB Shaun Bradley
The Giants will need depth at the inside linebacker spot, a position that includes Martinez, Connelly, and Mayo. They’ve reportedly shown interest in Temple’s Shaun Bradley, whom they could snag with their second-to-last pick.
Bradley was a second-team All-AAC selection last year, having recorded 86 total tackles with eight tackles for loss through 13 games.
7th round (No. 255) – Georgia Southern CB Kindle Vildor
Depth in the defensive backfield is always important, and New York could add one more young corner to the mix in Georgia Southern’s Kindle Vildor.
There’s no way he’d see playing time on the defensive side of the ball right away, as he’d primarily just be a reserve corner and possible special teams player.
He was a first-team All-Sun Belt Conference selection in both 2018 and 2019. This past year, Vildor recorded 27 total tackles with three tackles for loss, two interceptions, and six passes defended through 11 games.