The Giants are ushering in a new era with Joe Judge at the helm; once again attempting to return to prominence.
New York was armed with its third top-10 selection in as many years and used the 2020 NFL Draft as another opportunity to add talented prospects to their roster. The Giants overhauled their offense by selecting running back Saquon Barkley in 2018 and quarterback Daniel Jones in 2019, and they continued that trend by drafted Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas this year. But New York didn’t just stick to the offensive side of the ball. Seven of its remaining nine picks were on defense.
The Giants' complete 2020 draft class:
- No. 4: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia, OT
- No. 36: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
- No. 99: Matthew Peart, OT, UConn
- No. 110: Darnay Holmes, CB, UCLA
- No. 150: Shane Lemieux, G, Oregon
- No. 183: Cameron Brown, LB, Penn State
- No. 218: Carter Coughlin, LB, Minnesota
- No. 238: T.J. Brunson, LB, South Carolina
- No. 247: Chris Williamson, CB, Minnesota
- No. 255: Tae Crowder, LB, Georgia
In this new series, I will analyze quotes that stuck out the most from executives’ pre- and post-draft press conferences, in this case, general manager Dave Gettleman.
Question: There were plenty of offensive tackle options at No. 4. What made Thomas standout from the rest of the competition in this OT class?
Gettleman: "We spent a lot of time on this and we want to fix this offensive line once and for all. ... We spent a lot of time with him off the field as well, numerous conversations. We spoke to him in Indianapolis and we just feel he is ready to make this jump. He's young like all these guys are. We feel very strongly that he is ready and capable.
"He's big, he's long, he's strong, he can bend. He can anchor in pass [protection]. He's very athletic in the open field, we are just really excited to have him and continue to build this team properly. The length that he has is really a defining feature that he has physically. You turn around and you see the guys that don't have as much length, shorter arms, shorter people and the defensive ends with long arms get them."
Analysis: This was a very special offensive tackle class. There was a consensus top four in Jedrick Wills, Mekhi Becton, Tristan Wirfs and Thomas; and every team had their own order on their draft boards. But it came as a surprise to see Thomas become the first OT prospect selected.
It became apparent Gettleman wanted to draft the safest option. Thomas started 42 games at tackle in the SEC; it’s an impressive feat no matter how you slice it. His experience in the toughest conference combined with the consistency he displayed made for an easy selection. The Giants want to do everything in their power to provide an adequate environment for Jones to succeed in.
Question: How surprised were you to see Xavier McKinney still on the board with your second pick?
Gettleman: “Obviously, we had Xavier rated, we had a first-round value on him, and we're absolutely thrilled to get him. He's a great kid. He's smart, he plays smart, he lines up the backend for us, he's versatile, you can put him down low, he can cover tight ends, he's got ball skills and he's a good tackler. So, we're excited and just feel we've got a real quality person and player in this second-round pick. He certainly is versatile, he certainly is versatile. One of the important things for us this year was getting a safety that could play in the deep part of the field. Xavier has certainly played back there enough that we know we feel very comfortable about that part of his game.”
Analysis: After patch-working the safety position last year with long-time veteran Antoine Bethea, it was obvious the Giants needed a long-term solution on the depth chart. McKinney brings a near-perfect complementary piece to Jabrill Peppers and will allow for plenty of coverage disguises and blitz looks. McKinney was labeled the quarterback on coach Nick Saban's defense during his final season at Alabama; that type of experience and versatility, as Gettleman mentioned, will be a welcomed addition to the secondary.
Final thoughts: There were plenty of other quotes that stood out from Gettleman's post-draft press conference, but two angles I found the most interesting were drafting four linebackers and three offensive linemen
Gettleman clearly wanted to create more depth on the second level of the defense and build a wall in front of Jones. The Giants now have depth at multiple spots after investing heavily in the offensive line and plenty of intriguing young talent on the exterior.
- May 17, 2022
- May 17, 2022