New York Giants Draft Grade + Analysis: 2020 NFL Draft Review

The Giants came into this draft with the number four overall pick and a clear desire to put talent around Daniel Jones to help him succeed. Dave Gettleman provided plenty of draft-day entertainment this year. While other NFL GMs were set up with multiple monitors and screens, Dave Gettleman was working on a laptop that looked like the same model Rick the intern had in the movie “Draft Day” before it was smashed by Kevin Costner. Gettleman was equipped with a mega-sized bottle of Purell to clean his hands in between sifting through his massive binder that I assume only contained Lineups’ draft profile pieces. One of the best moments of the draft came when Gettleman was captured on camera attempting to secure a face mask while he was alone in a room in his own house. Good on ya, Dave. It was later clarified that he put on the mask because he had an IT fellow in the house with him to make sure there were no technical issues with his remarkably low-tech setup. You really can’t make this stuff up.

Despite providing some comedic relief to the night, Gettleman actually put together a really solid class. Another year brought another draft in which he refused to trade down, trusting in his own talent evaluation as he took the top player on his board each step of the way. Value-based drafting often includes trading down when you don’t value any of the available players as much as other teams do. Despite being averse to trading (or maybe he and his IT fellow just couldn’t figure out how to get a hold of the other GMs?), Gettleman came away with a really solid haul.

Round #1, Pick #4 – Andrew Thomas (OT, Georgia) A

Andrew Thomas was my favorite of the top four offensive tackle prospects, and he has an impressive combination of power and athleticism. He can start at right tackle this season with Nate Solder on the left and shift over to the left side next season to be Daniel Jones’s blindside protector. Thomas flies off the tape with his standing reach and incredible base of power, and he might be the toughest player to move in this entire class. He is a massive presence in both run-blocking and pass-blocking, and he is a violent finisher play after play. The Giants’ offensive line struggled last season, but Thomas provides them with a franchise force at either tackle position. It’s hard to find any complaints with this pick as protecting Danny Dimes has to be the priority for this team.

Round #2, Pick #36 – Xavier McKinney (S, Alabama) A

I was shocked when McKinney didn’t come off the board in the first round and the Giants have to be thrilled to land him in addition to Thomas. Talent evaluators and college football fans fell in love with Isaiah Simmons’ versatility this year, which made it all the more confusing that McKinney lasted this long. He played 200+ snaps in the box, in the slot, and as a single-high safety. McKinney is a tough competitor who reads the game very well and should be able to handle all of the free safety coverage duties. He showed some inconsistency in tackling and some impatience in letting plays develop, but those are things that can easily be ironed out at the pro level. McKinney joins Jabrill Peppers and Julian Love in the secondary as versatile hybrid players who can take advantage of their speed, tackling and coverage skills in a number of roles.

Round #3, Pick #99 – Matt Peart (OT, Connecticut) B+

Peart was a 4-year starter at Connecticut and has an awesome physical profile to succeed as a tackle in the NFL (6’7″, 318 lbs). He only did 26 bench press reps at the combine (Thomas did 44, by comparison), so Peart will need to add some muscle if he’s going to become a starter in the pros. He did run a 5.06-second 40-yard dash, though, putting proof behind his play speed which pops on film. The Giants’ tackle positions were set with Thomas and Solder, but Solder likely won’t be around past this season and it’s smart to invest in the offensive tackle spot before it becomes a real need. Peart will benefit from playing in a part-time, swing tackle role as he works on his technique and strength. He does have the lateral quickness and athletic potential which should really help him succeed. I really like his long-term upside, and this could end up looking like a steal for the Giants.

Round #4, Pick #110 – Darnay Holmes (CB, UCLA) B-

The Giants will likely start James Bradberry, a free agency signing, and DeAndre Baker, their first-round pick last year, at their two outside corner spots with Love providing nickel and slot support. More depth is needed at the position, though, especially after Baker was largely a disappointment as a rookie. Holmes is a shorter corner (5’10”, 195 lbs) but he ran a 4.48 40-yard dash. The Giants likely fell in love with his personality and off-field demeanor – Holmes graduated from UCLA in less than three years with a degree in African American studies. He doesn’t quite have the length or strength teams look for out of their outside corners, but he should be a solid asset in a part-time role. Holmes excels playing inside the box with his strong press technique, and despite his lack of length, he’s a tough coverage guy on contested-catch situations. This is a solid value for a high-character, developmental player who can likely contribute on special teams and in nickel situations, with the potential to grow.

Round #5, Pick #150 – Shane Lemieux (OG, Oregon) B

Dave Gettleman continued to address the Giants’ holes on their offensive line here with a hard-nosed guard whose football IQ and competitiveness should make him a potential starter. He lacks conventional athleticism but he makes up for it in other ways with his short-area quickness and fiery nature. New offensive coordinator Jason Garrett emphasizes a gap-running scheme, which should be a great fit for Lemieux. He could earn a starting spot as a powerful run-blocker as soon as this season, especially thanks to his fit in the offensive scheme the Giants figure to run. Even if he is just a backup, in the long run, this is a solid value for him here.

Round #6, Pick #183 – Cameron Brown (LB, Penn St.) C

Brown is an athletic, lengthy downhill rusher who’s a heavy hitter at the linebacker position. He certainly needs to put on muscle if he’s ever going to become an every-down middle linebacker, but his athletic profile and aggressive nature should make him an awesome situational weapon. Brown plays without discipline far too often, over pursuing open-field tackling opportunities, but that’s likely fixable with the right coaching. He likely won’t be a major factor in coverage with his lack of physicality and reactionary instincts, but he could do a decent job covering tight ends down the road in sub-packages. Brown is a solid athlete but I have concerns about his long-term projection as sometimes instincts and anticipation are really hard to teach.

Round #7, Pick #218 – Carter Coughlin (LB, Minnesota) B+

Coughlin was a playmaker above all else as a 4-year starter at Minnesota. He doesn’t look like he would be a force on defense, but he uses his high football IQ to make plays like tackles for a loss, sacks, and forced fumbles. He’s a bit of a tweener at the linebacker position, as he lacks the size to be an every-down middle linebacker and isn’t strong enough to consistently beat tackles off the edge, but his football IQ and speed (4.57 40-yard dash) should at least earn him a roster spot and role on special teams.

Round #7, Pick #238 – T.J. Brunson (LB, South Carolina) B-

The Giants clearly made a point 0f drafting high-character players. Brunson fits the bill – he was a team captain for two years, won the Leadership Award at SC, and took home the team’s Co-MVP in 2018. Brunson is undersized at 6’0″, 230 lbs but he could be used in special 3rd-down packages as a pass-rusher and should be really good on special teams with his speed and tackling ability.

Round #7, Pick #247 – Chris Williamson (CB, Minnesota) C

Williamson is far from a polished player, lacking good tackling form and natural anticipation. His aggressiveness and physicality could make him a contributor on special teams or perhaps as a sub-package safety, but I don’t see him having any kind of massive upside. If he can improve his coverage ability he might be able to work in as a slot corner, but I’m not huge on his long-term potential.

Round #7, Pick #255 – Tae Crowder (LB, Georgia) C

Crowder was this year’s Mr. Irrelevant, and it’s hard to imagine him having any kind of a real future with this team as their 4th linebacker drafted in this class alone. His length and hitting power make him a solid run defender, but he rarely played on passing downs at Georgia, and he’s likely more of a 1-down bit player in the NFL.

Giants Draft Grade: B

Bottom Line: I love what the Giants did with their first three picks, as Andrew Thomas and Xavier McKinney should come in as above-average starters this season and Matt Peart could become the starting tackle opposite Thomas as soon as next season. Shane Lemieux could become a solid starter potentially, but more likely a high-level backup. Outside of those guys, I’m not sure I see anyone with the upside to be anything more than a core special teams guy or defensive role player. Giants fans will be upset that they didn’t come away with a receiver in one of the best classes for that position of all time, but I actually like their receiving corps for 2020 with Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, and Golden Tate leading the charge, along with Evan Engram who likely leads the team in targets. This was a low-key, solid draft for the Giants.

  
What's up, I'm Jacob. I grew up watching Peyton Manning play and stuck with the Broncos after he retired. I'm also probably the only Clippers fan you'll ever meet. I'm from Southern California but I'm a junior at the University of Michigan studying sport management. Beyond my passion for sports I play guitar, grill a mean rib eye, and enjoy gambling on pretty much everything.

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