Following their first NFC East title since 2011, the New York football Giants entered the 2017 season with high hopes and a relative sense of ease when it came to achieving that feat. That’s not what the future held in store, as the Giants flopped to an 0-5 start.
Between an improbable Jake Elliott 61 yard field goal, obscene suspensions and the benching of Eli Manning, the Giants just couldn’t seem to win whether it was on or off the field. Ben McAdoo and the Giants stumbled to a 3-13 record, which proved to be enough to get both McAdoo and long-time general manager, Jerry Reese, the boot.
The Giants have since filled those holes with former Rams head coach and Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and former Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman. Giants fans can all but hope the new blood can hit a homerun in their inaugural draft, but in the meantime, I got you.
As an Eagles fan, I’m playing as the enemy here, but I can assure you this draft I was able to scrap together will set the Giants on the right path. Sitting in a rare slot at #2 overall, the Giants have a plethora of options, but addressing quarterback of course is priority #1. Aside from that, the Giants need to shore up their putrid offensive line and add some much needed youth on both sides of the ball.
*Mock draft based on Fanspeak results
Josh Rosen vs Hawaii was straight up surgery. One inaccurate throw the whole game, slightly underthrew a back-shoulder fade in the EZ. Was 22-25 with two drops and every completion was spot on the money.
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) January 29, 2018
Round 1, Pick 2: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
I’ll come out and say it, the Giants would be foolish to pass on Josh Rosen (along with the Browns). In this scenario, Sam Darnold goes #1 to the Cleveland Browns, setting up the perfect script as the in-state rival falls into the Giants’ laps at #2. This of course, setting them up for career long comparisons, much like Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, only more intense. Say what you want about Rosen, but he is the most talented quarterback in this class.
While a guy like Darnold may hold more upside, Rosen is well polished with superb tools and serves as the perfect successor to Eli Manning. Like Manning, Rosen too entered college with sky high expectations, and was even labeled the “golden boy” early on in his career. Despite a putrid supporting cast, Rosen flashed #1 pick potential and balled out time and time again while getting knocked on his back a bunch. The media may be split on him, but he’s done nothing to hinder his draft stock, in my eyes.
As clean as they come, Rosen possesses silky smooth mechanics and a rare sense pre-snap. He is far beyond his year in terms of football IQ, and it should be a steady transition for both he and the Giants as he replaces Eli Manning, maybe as early as week one of next season.
Round 2, Pick 2: Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State
Hopefully the new regime approaches the offensive line with urgency, especially after burning the #2 overall pick on a quarterback. Jamarco Jones could be a surprise name to slip in at the tail-end of the first round, but here he slides to the Giants as day two just gets underway.
The Giants whiffed on Ereck Flowers back in 2015 NFL Draft, but here they get a player who is a more polished prospect coming out of college, albeit not as high of a ceiling. Jones has all the tools to be a top-end caliber left tackle, and he already provides an upgrade to what the Giants currently have at the bookends.
Jones has prototypical size along with impressive athleticism manning the edge. He looks smooth in his pass set with a refined kick and is easy to win leverage. You want to see him play with a bit more of a mean streak, but otherwise he did a great job protecting J.T. Barrett’s blindside. The Giants get their franchise QB and franchise LT to start the 2018 NFL Draft, pretty much an ideal start.
Round 3, Pick 2: Mason Cole, C, Michigan
After a year at left tackle, Mason Cole was able to kick back inside and take reps from center during the week in Mobile for the Senior Bowl. While he went through his fair share of growing pains, snapping balls just a bit outside, Cole has proven what he’s capable of while working on the interior in previous years.
Weston Richburg is set to hit the free agent market, and while the Giants would be foolish to let him walk, we can only assume at this time there will be a hole to plug. Regardless of if Richburg returns, the Giants needs all the help along the line that they can get, and Cole provides versatility to work at guard as well.
A clean technician, Cole has all the makings of a solid pro who posts some longevity in the league, lasting over a decade. Cole just screams New York Giant to me, and the opportunity to establish early rapport between Rosen and Cole could benefit this franchise for a long time.
We’re looking at an RB class with as much value and depth on Day 2 as we’ve seen in years, maybe even more than last year. Through all the standouts, John Kelly is my favorite of the group.https://t.co/T3YqgOKQkU
— Jonathan Valencia (@JonValencia_WiB) January 5, 2018
Round 4, Pick 2: John Kelly, RB, Tennessee
My favorite running back in this draft class, John Kelly offers tremendous value at the top of day three, although I could see him going a bit sooner. Still, the Giants, like most teams, will more than likely be targeting a back in the early-mid rounds of this draft with so much depth and talent to choose from. You’ll probably hear the phrase, “this year’s Kareem Hunt” thrown around quite a bit in the next couple of months. While I’m not a fan of putting that brand on a prospect, if someone will come out of round three or four and make that type of impact, my money is on John Kelly.
The former Tennessee Volunteer runs with tremendous contact balance, pad level, strength and power. He’s a menace to bring down and you’ll rarely bring him down on first engagement. Like his former teammate, Alvin Kamara, Kelly was never really given the full keys to the offense, but I have no question regarding his ability to assume a workhorse back role at the next level.
With Wayne Gallman, Paul Perkins and maybe even pending FA Orleans Darkwa still in the mix, the Giants could get solid production from this stable, and even move a guy like Perkins for a late draft pick. Kelly will be one of the top value picks to come out of this year’s class.
#SouthCarolina LB Skai Moore became just the 15th player in DI history to lead his team in tackles four different years. pic.twitter.com/CfHLcUeWhX — Jonathan Valencia (@JonValencia_WiB) February 2, 2018
Round 4, Pick 35: Skai Moore, LB, South Carolina
Since I’m being generous, giving the Giants my favorite running back prospect, I’ll also throw in one of my favorite linebackers later in the round. I was disappointed to see Skai Moore withdraw from the Senior Bowl, but in my eyes he didn’t have much to prove, anyway.
The Giants need to instill some identity into their LB corps. While they’ve mostly been a franchise to scoop washed up veterans and rotate them with undrafted rookies, they need a leader in that phase of the defense. Now I’m not saying that drafting a rookie at the end of the fourth round will change your defense overnight, but there is a lot to like with Moore.
A team captain since 2015, Moore redshirted in 2016 after surgically repairing a herniated disc. The injury concerns are sure to scare some teams off, but Moore plays like his hair is on fire and his active streak from play-to-play is sure to be coveted by teams. Moore has made some big plays for the Gamecocks, whether it’s delivering bone-crushing hits or showing off his athleticism back in coverage.
JaVon Rolland- Jones had great production at Arkansas State, relies on physical gifts rather than finese moves. Snag him in the 4th and let a coach work with him and you got a star.
— Kyle Fahey (@KyleFaheyNFL) January 3, 2018
Round 5, Pick 2: Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, EDGE, Arkansas State
While Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul are still holding it down, the Giants have to plan for the future. The lack of depth and youth off the edge is alarming. I do like Avery Moss, their 5th round selection from last year, however, as teams like the Philadelphia Eagles have proven, you can never have too many pass rushers, and you always have to be grooming these guys no matter who you have starting.
The edge class looks a bit scarce, but a guy like Ja’Von Rolland-Jones holds diamond in the rough potential midway through day three. Production is never the “go-to” when evaluating these draft prospects, but they could serve as a useful tool. During his college career, Rolland-Jones accumulated 42 sacks and 63 tackles for loss. That is some insane production. Rolland-Jones could even be the Sun Belt’s highest drafted player this year.
Round 6, Pick 2: Kamrin Moore, CB, Boston College
Like defensive end, the Giants have two high caliber starters at cornerback, but they need to add more youth and competition. Kamrin Moore is a guy I can see the Giants eye in order to reinvent that Boston College-Giants pipeline.
Not the most athletic, Moore gets by with technique and savvy as he was well-coached at the defensive powerhouse that Boston College has become. He can hold his own in run support with his physical, scrappy brand of football.
Best case, Moore shows some early promise and is bumped into a starting role to succeed a guy like Janoris Jenkins or DRC in a year or two. More realistically, Moore provides solid depth for the Giants, and even ekes out a role on special teams, which is just about all you can ask from a sixth round pick.