new york giants offseason
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The current state of the 2019 New York Giants draft class may not support the argument that Dave Gettleman should remain employed. 

Ryan Honey

There were 10. Then there were nine…then eight…then seven…then six.

Now, we’ve hit the halfway mark.

The 2019 New York Giants draft class began with 10 individuals who general manager Dave Gettleman possessed confidence in at one point or another. Ten guys who could’ve potentially assisted in the rebuild of an organization.

But now, after a season and a half, the remaining class has shrunk to just five. Yes, only five draftees from Gettleman’s 2019 class are still on the roster, 25 regular-season games since they entered the league.

It dons the debate of whether Gettleman is a decent drafter after all.

Sure, he did indeed select Saquon Barkley and possibly an eventual Pro Bowl receiver in Darius Slayton. But looking past that, the majority of Gettleman’s moves as a drafter have actually turned out to be quite disappointing, with the aforementioned class becoming the most supportive example of that argument.

Let’s first discuss who actually carried some sort of potential before ending up out of the organization.

Of course, there was DeAndre Baker, the struggling rookie corner from 2019 who many believed would immensely improve in his second year in the league. However, that was until armed robbery charges sent him from MetLife Stadium to the commissioner’s exempt list, and potentially to prison. The Giants waived Baker in September, concluding his Big Blue tenure over a year after Gettleman gave up three draft picks in order to select him.

No, it wasn’t Gettleman’s fault that Baker allegedly committed the crimes he committed. But when you trade up to draft someone who possessed character issues in college and then that specific pick finds himself in a situation like that, you’re going to experience heat as a general manager. That’s just how it works.

There was also Ryan Connelly, the promising young inside linebacker who looked like he could’ve turned into a solid weapon for the Giants defense, given he notched 20 combined tackles and two interceptions through four games last year.

A torn ACL ended his rookie season early though, and before fans knew it, the former Wisconsin Badger was sent out of East Rutherford in the form of a roster cut in September. Gettleman certainly found talent in that situation, but wasting a pick for four games isn’t an ideal look for any general manager.

And now, the most recent departure is Corey Ballentine, who the Giants drafted in 2019’s sixth round (No. 180 overall) out of Washburn University. It was definitely a risk for Big Blue to waste a pick (while rebuilding, mind you) on a Division II cornerback for assistance in a struggling secondary, but Gettleman and his team thought it could work.

Unfortunately, it didn’t.

After an average-to-below-average rookie campaign, Ballentine started the first two games of 2020 and struggled mightily. He ultimately allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 6-of-8 passes for 79 yards and a 145.3 rating when targeting him, and saw just 19 snaps of defensive playing time combined from Weeks 3-9 thereafter.

The organization thus waived him on Tuesday after 22 career games, concluding his days in blue.

The additional two cuts were offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei (No. 232 overall) and defensive tackle Chris Slayton (No. 245 overall), a pair of seventh-rounders that weren’t expected to do too much anyway. But regardless, even seventh-round selections can’t be wasted when you’re rebuilding, and those two picks didn’t really benefit the organization at all.

So who does that leave on the current roster?

Of course, there’s 2019 No. 6 overall pick Daniel Jones, who still may or may not be the Giants’ quarterback of the future. Some believe he’ll develop with an improved team around him and a better offensive line, while others can’t move past the turnover issue he so desperately needs to ditch.

Dexter Lawrence and Darius Slayton are obviously still around, and either is one of the top young players at his respective position. Therefore, those weren’t bad picks by Gettleman, even if you believe he should’ve drafted an edge rusher in Lawrence’s spot (No. 17 overall).

But besides that, you have Oshane Ximines — chosen with the third-round pick the Giants received from Cleveland in the infamous Odell Beckham Jr. trade — who to be honest, hasn’t exactly played up to the standard of a trade piece received for a then-star wideout.

Some believed that by now, he would be one of the Giants’ more consistent and effective pass rushers. However, that’s been anything but the case.

After a promising 4.5 sacks through 16 games last year, Ximines racked up just five combined tackles and zero sacks during the first four matchups of 2020. He’s been on injured reserve with a shoulder injury for five weeks now, which is certainly decreasing his overall value to the defense.

And finally, we have Julian Love, the fourth-round defensive back out of Notre Dame who doesn’t possess a consistent, concrete role on this team.

In four of the Giants’ nine games this year, Love has seen playing time on 50% or fewer of the team’s defensive reps and isn’t really all that effective on the field. He’s allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 11-of-15 passes for 196 yards, three scores, and a 127.1 rating when targeting him.

Love’s 27 solo tackles are tied for 46th-most among the safeties measured on Pro Football Focus, and he’s recorded a below-average 49.3 PFF grade up to this point.

Therefore, his value isn’t completely exceeding expectations either.

So there you have it — five out of ten draftees remain. Just five.

And among those five, two are talented, one the organization is banking on developing, and the remaining pair of players we simply need to see more out of moving forward.

That’s what’s left of the 2019 Giants draft class just over a year and a half after the fact. Not a great look for Dave Gettleman, nor his few supporters.

Not a great look whatsoever.

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