I'll be honest, I've taken my fair shots at Giants general manager Dave Gettleman's draft selections in the past.
After taking a running back at No. 2 in 2018, drafting Daniel Jones in the top 10 in 2019 and some questionable defensive picks beyond that, Gettleman has been on my "what in the world is this man doing" list.
The beauty of the NFL draft, however, is that every year there's a chance to greatly improve a team, no matter what its current status or recent draft history may be. In the 2020 NFL Draft, Gettleman absolutely nailed it.
Over the past two years, New York has selected what it hopes to be a franchise quarterback, Jones, and a franchise offensive weapon, Saquon Barkley, with its top-10 picks. Although the skill position players were in place, the offensive line in front of them was not as trustworthy as it needed to be.
Mike Remmers and Nate Solder did not play to the level the Giants needed them to at either offensive tackle spot. Their lack of high-end success hurt not only the win-loss total in 2019 but the potential development of both young stars. The latter is very important, which is why it was necessary to get offensive line talent that had a starting-caliber ceiling and could come in and play relatively quickly. Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas fit the bill and was selected fourth overall.
In a stacked OT class, Thomas’ allurement was in his high level of play and readiness. He was a three-year starter in the SEC and went up against some of the best pass rushers college football has to offer; Thomas stood the test of time against them.
But Thomas wasn't the Giants’ only offensive line addition in the top 100. New York double dipped on their O-line need with UConn’s Matthew Peart with the 99th pick in the third round. Peart needs to work on his fundamentals and how technical he with his massive wingspan, but when he can put it all together, he's extremely hard to get around. Even if he doesn’t play right away, Peart is exactly the kind of player the Giants want on the roster now to develop as much as they can.
At the top of the second round, New York focused on defense and the most impactful pick it could have made: Alabama safety Xavier McKinney. After passing on Isaiah Simmons at the top of the first round, the Giants added a player who not only can play on the back end but has a lot of experience roaming around the linebacker level and in the slot. Alabama coach Nick Saban asked a lot of McKinney, and McKinney continued to deliver from 2018-19. Adding McKinney's athleticism and versatility to a safety group that already has Jabrill Peppers and now Julian Love should be a home run.
The Giants have invested many resources in their secondary over the past few years. Darnay Holmes and Chris Williamson have improved their depth. Oregon offensive lineman Shane Lemieux brings New York good depth and some future cap flexibility options as an interior player. The Giants made it their mission to get better in the trenches and more versatile on defense via the 2020 draft, and if you ask me, they did so with the correct value of picks.
It's hard to argue for a result that is anything but success for Gettleman and his scouting staff this time around.
- Aug 12, 2022
- Aug 11, 2022