The New York Giants, en route to consecutive Top-2 picks (read that again), have fallen upon hard times. Currently reeling coming off of a 34-13 shellacking at the hands of my Eagles (go Birds), the Giants’ brass has to answer for the weekly atrocious play of QB Eli Manning, who still mans the helm of a long-sinking ship.
Accordingly, the half-joke/half-prediction was rampant on Twitter last Thursday night as Eli checked down again and again: “At least the Giants are tanking hard enough that they can select Justin Herbert next year!”
I’m sure, if he’s there, they will — it’s a no-brainer. I just don’t think he’ll be there.
As has been well-reported among insiders, the general news coming out of Oregon is that Herbert is heavily considering returning to school. And if he does indeed elect to return for his senior year…well, what then will the Giants do with their second overall pick? Take redshirt sophomore QB Dwayne Haskins, from Ohio State? He’s likely to stay as well, from what I understand.
Things are gonna get dicey.
This is what things might look like if Haskins and Herbert don’t declare.
Remember: @BenjaminSolak is the spot on Twitter for all of your anger
1. Indianapolis Colts
Pick: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
Baby Bosa remains the best player in this class, no hesitation. For a rebuilding Colts team, a BPA approach makes sense even before you consider the fact that EDGE is one of their great weaknesses. Putting Bosa across from current rookie Kemoko Turay marries Bosa’s power and technique with Turay’s freakish bend.
I like the Colts’ investments in the trenches in two drafts under new HC Frank Reich. If he’s following the Philadelphia model (go Birds), his success will be reliant on building through the lines — which is always the place to start a rebuild, in my opinion. It’s tough to execute any system, or develop any rookies, if you can’t win trench play.
2. New York Giants
Pick: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
Considered by many league scouts to be the top senior quarterback, Drew Lock still has the best chance of the lackluster class to receive top marks from an NFL team. Both Lock and WVU QB Will Grier have a few throws in their toolbox that most players don’t make; Lock particularly impresses when anticipating route breaks and developing windows — that’s not a skill you can teach.
His struggles against tough defenses give me a lot of pause; I don’t think he’s a great processor of pre-snap coverage shells; he isn’t as cool under pressure as you’d like to see. There are more than a few wrinkles to iron out in Lock’s game; but beggars can’t be choosers, and New York needs a new signal-caller.
At least he can get the ball downfield for Odell. Sheesh.
3. Arizona Cardinals
Pick: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Read the Indy blurb: massive rebuild, go BPA, hit on an impact player. Arizona could use help on all three levels of the defense — I toyed with LSU CB Greedy Williams to put opposite Patrick Peterson — and the Cardinals should consider investing early in offensive linemen to keep QB Josh Rosen upright.
But many a team will have Ed Oliver second on their board and a tier above the remaining prospects, as the class currently looks; and remember, HC Steve Wilks comes from a Panthers team that put heavy emphasis on DT talent in recent years. Oliver provides a disruptive force on a defense lacking young, cornerstone talent.
4. Oakland Raiders
Pick: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
I don’t think we’re giving enough attention to Mack Wilson as a blue-chip prospect. Sure, with these ‘Bama backers, it just feels like a factory of first-rounders. But Wilson’s ability in coverage, which he has demonstrated now over multiple years of tape, gives him a different feel than a Rashaan Evans or even a Reuben Foster. They were known for their thumping, their physicality, their vision — and while Wilson has shown all of those traits across the young season, his ability to overlap zones and undercut throwing lanes really stands out.
Oakland needs help everywhere — but Gruden’s best success as a coach came with Derrick Brooks making Pro Bowl after Pro Bowl as the center of the Buccaneers’ defense. If he wants another stud LB, Mack Wilson is the man to target.
5. San Francisco 49ers
Pick: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
San Francisco’s in an interesting spot here. This roster, top to bottom, is firmly better than that of a team picking fifth overall — but unlike most teams punching below their weight, it’s not because San Fran needs a QB. So here, you go straight for value — find you a high-impact player at a high-impact position who can contribute in Year 1.
I again toyed with LSU CB Greedy Williams, but Ferrell feels right given the multi-year dearth of edge pressure for the Niners. His practiced hand usage and technical understanding of how to approach tackles puts him a notch above the powerful Round 1 EDGE class.
6. Atlanta Falcons
Pick: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
It’s so doggone hard to pick for Atlanta. This roster is so good — stupid good — and yet they have their pick of a top-tier litter. Confounding.
I see four options: tight end, offensive line (guard), EDGE, and interior defensive line. It’s too early for a tight end and too early for any guard of the class, so scratch those. I elected to go EDGE in part because the past three mocks from The Draft Network have seen Atlanta take interior defensive tackles, and also because Atlanta only has one EDGE signed beyond the 2019 season. An inevitable DT Grady Jarrett extension will give them Jarrett and rookie DT Deadrin Senat through 2021.
Burns and Takk McKinley as your primary EDGEs is a stupid combo of outside track explosiveness; Vic Beasley bolsters a quality rotation and adds better run defense, if he’s retained at a reasonable value.
7. Buffalo Bills
Pick: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Imagine having a player as talented as Quinnen Williams as a second-stringer. Imagine it. Alabama’s team is silly.
This is such a good defensive tackle class, too! And yet a first-year starter is rising up the ranks to displace guys like Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, and even teammate Raekwon Davis. That’s how impactful Quinnen Williams is. If he can be on a game-to-game basis what he was against Texas A&M, get outta the building. It’s over.
Buffalo and Sean McDermott need to improve their interior penetration. They snagged Stanford’s Harrison Phillips in last year’s class, but he’s not the pass-rushing threat that you need on the inside. They’ll have their pick of the litter in this class, and Williams might have a higher ceiling than the rest of ’em. His ability to navigate tight spaces with incredible upper body strength and practiced rush moves makes him a dominant player. Big get for the Bills.
8. Denver Broncos
Pick: Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn
If you trust John Elway to make a good QB pick, stand up.
Now that we’re all seated, let me explain why the Broncos are going to take Jarrett Stidham.
Teams will continue to like Jarrett Stidham for as long as 1) he doesn’t get any smaller, 2) he continues to hit on a few deep balls a game (the quality of these deep balls is irrelevant) and 3) his arm strength remains close enough to great that they can call it great. (It’s not great.)
Oh, and the big one: 4) he is a choir boy off the field and in the huddle.
Denver could use help at other positions, but QB is a big’un. They will be the center of QB conversations in a year that doesn’t see a ton of teams with QB needs — and there will be a lot of pressure from the fan base, which hasn’t seen good quarterbacking since 2013. So they swing for the fences here — and I expect them to miss.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pick: Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
This is a coin flip: and again, Greedy Williams misses the call. Despite needing major help on the boundary, the Bucs go on the defensive line in back-to-back first rounds, adding the explosive Polite to 2017’s monstrous DT Vita Vea.
Is this too early for Polite? In my book, a bit: but Polite’s got some freaky bend around the edge, and with a new build, is just scratching the surface of his potential. With coaching, he’ll develop better hand usage to clear the corner, and when that happens…sheesh.
Tampa didn’t take a single EDGE rusher in the past two classes, but banking on 2016’s second-rounder Noah Spence hasn’t born any fruit; they have, on the other hand, selected four defensive backs (two corners) since taking Vernon Hargreaves a round before Spence.
It’s time to invest back in the DE position.
10. Detroit Lions
Pick: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
There have been ten selections thus far in this draft. Seven of them play on the defensive line.
Tillery has enjoyed a rise to rival that of Quinnen Williams, as the primary defensive author of the Irish’s rise to playoff competitor. His ability to drop anchor in the running game, even against double-teams, impresses — and he’s 6-foot-6. He does have the occasional leverage problem, but generally his footwork and flexibility to generate interior rush angles allows him to generate consistent, quick pressure.
Detroit does have outside rush concerns they could look to address here. But I don’t think Montez Sweat is a 4-3 end; the long and powerful Tillery will add the necessary juice to the pass rush.