Dave Gettleman
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Dave Gettleman showed he was committed to fixing the New York Giants O-Line, but is that enough to earn him an “A” for his draft grade?

Jason Leach

The New York Giants possessed 10 picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, and although we’ll have to wait and see what happens when the players take the field, there are reasons to be optimistic about this class.

In the previous two drafts, general manager Dave Gettleman acquired a young core of players including Saquon Barkley, Daniel Jones, Will Hernandez, Darius Slayton, and Dexter Lawrence, all of whom will help the Giants for years to come. He feels confident that he added more pieces in this year’s class en route to building a winning foundation.

As was already mentioned, the players will need to take the field before we can accurately assess them. But regardless, here’s an early look at what Gettleman succeeded and failed at during the 2020 NFL Draft.

What Gettleman did well

On paper, it looks like Gettleman struck gold with his first two picks in Georgia All-American tackle Andrew Thomas (No. 4 overall) and Alabama All-SEC safety Xavier McKinney.

Some felt Thomas and McKinney were the two best players at their respective positions.

If not for a 4.63 40-yard dash time due to cramps, McKinney would’ve been a definite first-rounder. Not only was McKinney regarded as one of the top safeties, but he’s one of the most versatile defenders in this draft. He can play either safety position as well as the nickel corner spot.

Gettleman believes Thomas, on the other hand, will protect Jones’ blindside for the next decade.

Gettleman also added UConn tackle Matt Peart (No. 99 overall) and Oregon guard Shane Lemieux in the fifth round (No. 150 overall). Needless to say, he wanted to fix the offensive line once and for all.

Peart may seem to be a developmental pick, but with the help of offensive line coach Marc Colombo, he’ll be ready to step in at tackle if Thomas or Solder goes down with an injury this season. He could actually become a full-time starter in 2021.

Many feel Lemieux can play guard and center in the NFL, which will allow the Giants to have flexibility with their offensive line.

Gettleman’s fourth-round pick, UCLA cornerback Darnay Holmes (No. 110 overall), will compete to be the team’s slot corner and can also contribute in the return game.

But while Gettleman’s draft looks impressive, especially the first half, there were areas that he didn’t address.

Areas Gettleman didn’t address

For one, he didn’t draft a center, so it’s still a mystery in regards to who will be the Giants’ starter at that spot when camp opens. It could be Spencer Pulley, Nick Gates, or possibly Lemieux.

One of the best centers in the draft was Wisconsin’s Tyler Biadasz, who was on the board until pick No. 146 when he was taken by the Dallas Cowboys. Acquiring a center like Biadasz, who’s poised to start in his rookie season, could’ve been more beneficial to the Giants.

Gettleman also failed to select a tall receiver, despite the fact that 36 wideouts were taken in this year’s draft. The Giants have a nice starting core at the receiver position in Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton. Nevertheless, they’re all shorter than 6-foot-2.

It would’ve been ideal to draft a tall receiver to complement this group and give Jones a tall red zone target.

Gettleman did sign three undrafted receivers though, including Ohio State’s Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor along with Simon Fraser University’s Rysen John. But, he missed out on acquiring a receiver with a higher ceiling.

And lastly, he didn’t acquire one of the top pass rushers.

A large question mark for the Giants heading into this season is their ability to consistently bring down the quarterback. They only recorded 36 sacks in 2019 and 30 the year prior.

Gettleman selected Penn State linebacker Cameron Brown and Minnesota linebacker Carter Coughlin in rounds six and seven, respectively. Those two combined for just 6.5 sacks last season though, and Giants fans were hopeful somehow their team would land a prominent pass rusher.

Conclusion

Despite the Giants not having the No. 68 overall pick due to the Leonard Williams trade, Gettleman underwent a very solid draft on paper. His commitment to taking three offensive linemen in their first five picks will give Jones a solid line in front of him for years to come. Snagging McKinney in the second round may turn out to be the biggest steal in this draft.

If one of Gettleman’s late-round picks turns out to be a diamond in the rough, this could turn out to be the best draft of his career.

Gettleman’s grade: B+

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