One throughline connects the franchise’s four Lombardi Trophies: An elite pass rush.
Carl Banks, Leonard Marshall and Lawrence Taylor wreaked havoc for Bill Parcells. Tom Coughlin had Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora. Yet Gettleman, on top of all his other misfires as general manager, never took the hint.
You can’t hammer Gettleman for trading Olivier Vernon and Pierre-Paul, and he may have gotten lucky at the end with Azeez Ojulari. But everything else is fair game. Gettleman drafted Saquon Barkley instead of Bradley Chubb. He let Devon Kennard walk and cut Romeo Okwara. He did not find a path for Nick Bosa or Chase Young, two actual Gold Jacket Guys. Instead, the Giants wasted money and draft capital on one good Leonard Williams season, Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines.
This brings us to the present. Joe Schoen has too many holes to fill as he enters his first draft as GM. But he has to start somewhere. The consensus is the Giants will prioritize a new right tackle to help rebuild their perpetually awful offensive line. Then they will look to trade down and accumulate extra picks. They will ideally add a 2023 first-rounder for when they inevitably move on from quarterback Daniel Jones after this season.
Perfectly logical. But here is a counterargument: Package the picks and move up to get the impact pass rusher the Giants have lacked for too long. If the Jaguars are leaning toward Georgia’s Travon Walker, perhaps the top pick can be had to grab Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson. Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux is the next-best thing if that is not on the table. Supposed off-field concerns aside, it would be a colossal risk to count on him being available at No. 5.
Schoen can find alternate avenues to an extra 2023 first-rounder using his second-round pick at No. 36. And this team is going to be bad no matter who they add in this draft. They will have a good pick next spring, and they can always find a way to move up if needed.
If the Giants are comfortable with Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson, he should be there at No. 7. But Schoen has to at least think about a move for Hutchinson (or Thibodeaux if needed). The idea he must go all-out for a right tackle to protect a quarterback who may not be in the plans much longer is questionable. We know this team will not win again without an improved pass rush. And we also know that when it has a great one, championships follow.
Gettleman walked past the photos of Tom Brady under duress every day at the team facility. Yet he never seemed to get the point. Schoen cannot follow suit.