How Free Agency Has Impacted the Giants Draft Plans
A couple of weeks ago, if you had asked me who the New York Giants would target with the fourth overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, I would have fully assumed it would be Isaiah Simmons, if he’s available. Simmons, the position-less defensive star out of Clemson, absolutely dominated the past three seasons for the Tigers. According to Pro Football Focus, Simmons logged more than 100 snaps at five different positions last season; 415 snaps at linebacker, 262 at slot-corner and 232 as a safety. His versatility on defense is simply incredible. Simmons led the Tigers in tackles, tackles for loss and tied in QB hurries; also adding 8 sacks.
If over 100 snaps at five different positions, along with his statistics, aren’t enough to convince you of his value, let’s look at his freakish athleticism. The results of Simmons’ NFL Combine testing are absolutely off the charts. Listed at 6’4, 238 pounds, he posted a 4.39 40-yard dash, 39′ vertical jump and a broad jump of 11 feet. I see a lot of Patrick Willis in Simmons, as his combination of freakish athleticism, size and ability allow him to fly around the field and get involved on every play.
The Giants could certainly select Simmons with the fourth pick this year and be enthused by his potential. He is as safe of a pick as they come. However, with the Giants’ recent moves in free agency, I think they could consider other options. After cutting Alec Ogletree and bringing in Green Bay linebackers Kyler Fackrell and Blake Martinez, New York’s new linebackers join a group led by second-year players Ryan Connelly and Oshane Ximenes, along with veteran David Mayo. If the Giants select Simmons, this will lead to a crowded linebackers room. I feel that the Giants did a great job bolstering the position in free agency and should address other needs with the fourth overall selection; among these are right tackle, slot cornerback, and free safety. Here are some players who I think can fit in very nicely for the Giants at #4:
Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Jedrick Wills , OT , Alabama
Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Kristian Fulton – CB – LSU
The three tackles listed are quite comparable to one another. The three are 6’4 or taller, over 315 pounds and are all absolute animals in the run game. With Nate Solder slotting in as the starting left tackle, I believe of of these three players would fill a huge void at the right tackle position going forward. The Giants need strong run protection to help franchise running back Saquon Barkley excel in the run game and the Giants can’t go wrong with any of the three aforementioned tackles. Personally, I believe Becton’s combination of a massive frame, standing at 6’7 and 350 pounds, and extreme athleticism for his size make him the right choice. Becton would be able to learn from the likes of Solder and recent free agent acquisition Cam Fleming about how to best utilize his massive frame at the next level, as both are over 6’6.
Jeffrey Okudah and Kristian Fulton were dominant in 2019. The two star corners are both lengthy, quick and possess elite ball skills. Some believe that Okudah is being considered a potential candidate to play safety. I believe that he’d fit in perfectly in the free safety role for the Giants, starting alongside Jabrill Peppers to cement an extremely athletic secondary for Big Blue.
However, my personal preference for the Giants is to select a tackle that can cement a big, tough offensive line for 2020. The Giants have a Maserati in Saquon Barkley that desperately needs insurance. Daniel Jones sparked the Giants passing game last season, but if the Giants want to find offensive success going forward, they need to be able to run the ball more consistently.
Verdict: Select Mehki Becton with the fourth overall pick and everything will fall into place.
Written by: Philip Reed (@Reed_Sports)
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