Grading the 2019 Giants Draft Class
The NFL Draft has come and gone down in Nashville this weekend, and arguably the most talked about team was the New York Giants. General manager Dave Gettleman is known for his headstrongness and boisterous personality, many of which has caught the ire from the fanbase and media as a whole.
However, NFL Draft weekend was his opportunity to turn those fans and bring him onto his side. Let’s just say he didn’t really accomplish that, based off a certain first round pick. But let’s not forget that he made some rather strong picks as well.
Now, we will grade each of the Giants’ ten selections in the 2019 draft class.
Round 1, Pick 6: Duke QB Daniel Jones
Let’s start off with the pick that had everyone talking. The Giants were on the clock with Kentucky pass-rusher Josh Allen and Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver still on the board. Instead of going with defense, the Giants took a quarterback, and his name was Daniel Jones.
First things first, if a team likes a quarterback enough, they should take him as early as possible and not tempt fate, considering there were reports of the Denver Broncos interested in selecting the Duke signal caller with the No. 10 pick. Gettleman didn’t want to take that chance. However, there were more talented quarterbacks on the board in Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock. Jones has the football IQ, prototypical build, the coaching (David Cutfliffe), and the Manning family connection that many old school NFL executives love.
The main concerns with Jones are his arm strength and accuracy 20-yards downfield, which are both less than ideal.
Daniel Jones will forever define Dave Gettleman’s legacy. While the GM got his quarterback of the future, the player just doesn’t match the value of the pick.
Round 1, Pick 17: Clemson DT Dexter Lawrence
A typical Gettleman pick, who loves his “hog mollies” at the line of scrimmage. Lawrence weighs a staggering 340-pounds, but exhibits tremendous athleticism for a player his size. He’s a prototypical run-stuffer, similar to that of Damon “Snacks” Harrison.
While that’s all well and good, the Giants were in need of a pass rusher, especially with Montez Sweat on the board. Lawrence has stated he will prove everyone wrong who doubt’s his abilities, but his 3.5 sacks the past two seasons at Clemson.
Regardless, Lawrence is still a solid player that will make a difference in the middle of the defensive line.
Round 1, Pick 30: Georgia CB Deandre Baker
This was the Giants’ best pick in the first round overall. Trading picks 37, 132, and 142 in order to grab a top cornerback in Baker. New York’s secondary was brutalized last season due to the lack of depth behind Janoris Jenkins.
Baker is not the largest corner or the most physical, but his coverage skills are legit. He can mirror the opposing receiver, and he’ll let them hear it once he breaks up the pass. Biggest tidbit regarding Baker, while playing for the Bulldogs, he never surrendered a touchdown in his last two seasons…IN THE SEC.
Deandre Baker will be a difference maker on the 2019 Giants.
Round 3, Pick 95: Old Dominion LB Oshane Ximines
It took until the tail end of Round 3 for the Giants to get an edge rusher. Ximines’ bread and butter is his hand usage to swim past the offensive line, and uses that burst to get to the quarterback. He recorded 51 tackles for loss and 32. 5 sacks throughout this four seasons playing for the Monarchs. While he’s still far from a complete prospect, he has the potential to grow throughout his NFL career, and could become the next Osi Umenyiora.
Round 4, Pick 108: Notre Dame CB Julian Love
The Giants continued bolstering the secondary by taking Julian Love in the fourth. Originally projected to be a second-round pick, Love has the potential to be a steal in the NFL Draft. Love is a speedy corner (as evidenced by his 4.54 second 40-yard dash time) with great cover instincts. He was an AP First-Team All American in his junior year, thanks in part to recording 16 pass breakups and two interceptions. In his three seasons with the Fighting Irish, Love 176 tackles, 39 passes defensed, and five interceptions (two for touchdowns). While he doesn’t have the desired (5-11, 195 pounds), Love can become New York’s starting nickel corner in 2019.
Round 5, Pick 143: Wisconsin LB Ryan Connelly
There were linebacker options for the Giants to take, but they opted for Ryan Connelly. The cousin of New York Islanders captain Anders Lee doesn’t have the ideal size and speed for an impactful NFL linebacker, but he did showcase his ability to make tackles when necessary, especially in run-stopping situations. Connelly recorded 89 tackles (10 for loss), three sacks, and one forced fumble this past season.
Connelly will find a role as a rotational linebacker and special teamer.
Round 5, Pick 171: Auburn WR Darius Slayton
With Odell Beckham Jr. gone, the Giants lacked a speedy vertical threat in the passing game. Enter Darius Slayton from Auburn. Slayton caught the eyes of many at the Scouting Combine by running the 40 in 4.39 seconds. He’s not the most complete receiver, but he can make an impact as the team’s deep threat, considering all of the slot receivers already on the roster.
Round 6, Pick 180: Washburn CB Corey Ballentine
Oh, you thought the Giants were down bolstering the secondary? Nope, they go to Division II Washburn to select Corey Ballentine. The corner was projected to go in the fourth round, but slid down into the Giants grasps. Ballentine shined at the Senior Bowl in one-on-one drills, and showcased tremendous speed, that could make him valuable as a return specialist.
Round 7, Pick 232: Kentucky OT George Asafo-Adjei
It took until the final round of the NFL Draft for the Giants to take an offensive tackle. George Asafo-Adjei has some experience dealing with elite pass rushers, as his job in practices at Kentucky were to face off against Josh Allen. Asafo-Adjei displays good strength as a blocker and quality footwork. In fact, he was the key blocker for running back Benny Snell, who accumulated 1,000 rushing yards in three consecutive seasons. He’s still a developmental project but will likely compete with Chad Wheeler for the starting right tackle spot.
Round 7, Pick 245: Syracuse DT Chris Slayton
Another defensive tackle taken by Gettleman. Slayton does have the desired build and speed for an interior defensive lineman, but didn’t exactly yield the desired production last season (24 tackles, 3.5 sacks). However, he did give Clemson quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Kelly Bryant problems throughout his collegiate career. If everything clicks, Slayton could be a adequate depth piece behind Dexter Lawrence and Dalvin Tomlinson.
Taking out the Daniel Jones pick, Gettleman had himself a pretty good draft. The defensive backfield got better, while not taking an offensive tackle earlier was confusing. Yet, you can’t stress enough how much Gettleman’s career lies in the hands of Jones. If he succeeds, Gettleman is a genius. If not, the longtime NFL executive will be shown the door.
Overall Draft Grade: B-
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