New York Giants Drop 12 Spots In Five Year Draft Rankings

New York Giants, Kareem Martin

The New York Giants have wasted opportunities to get better in the NFL Draft – that’s a known fact. The team has hit on some selections, like Saquon Barkley and arguably quarterback Daniel Jones, but the team has also missed in several drafts with their first round picks and brought in players like Ereck Flowers and Eli Apple who have ended up off the team after a relatively short period after disappointing stints.

Overall, while they have brought in some good players in recent years in the Draft, and found some gems like Darius Slayton last year, they aren’t a great drafting team. That was reflected when the New York Post released their annual five year draft ratings.

The Giants fell from 8 to 20, a large drop that shows just how bad the last few years have been for the franchise. One of the primary reasons, of course, is that the draft where the Giants picked Odell Beckham Jr. has fallen out of the time frame of the rankings.

20. New York Giants (8)

Pro Bowlers: 2
Best Pick: Landon Collins (2015, second round)
Worst Pick: Ereck Flowers (2015, first round)

The Giants drop 12 spots this year with Odell Beckham Jr. coming off the books. The Giants’ 29 wins in this period are better than just one team — the Browns. Daniel Jones looks like a keeper and could boost this score in the coming years.

The team has of course brought in some players that will last such as Saquon Barkley, but there’s been just as many players such as Flowers and Eli Apple, and even Landon Collins – while Collins was listed by this article as the best pick of the Giants during the last five years, somewhat interestingly considering the Giants took Barkley during that span, he’s not currently a part of the team’s long term future after not being a good enough fit at the end of the day.

The Giants have a pivotal draft coming up this month. Depending on what happens, either the team will take a step forward in the rebuilding process with the addition of a highly touted college player, or General Manager Dave Gettleman will likely reach the end of his leeway with the organization and enter the season on the hot seat after wasting a chance for the team to improve. Furthermore, the effects of this year’s draft may ripple through the next years as much as any recent one. This is, after all, a turning point year in the rebuilding process.

Sports could be closer to returning than you think

Madison Square Garden

Believe it or not, sports could be closer to returning than you think.

Yesterday, Dr. Fauci delivered good news, saying that he believes that the coronavirus outbreak is slowing. He stated that by May, the economy should slowly be able to get going again, and social distancing restrictions could be relaxed to an extent.

In the sports world, this is fantastic news. Though it’s doubtful that it will be in front of fans, sports may be able to get going in May when the curve is even flatter. President Donald Trump and league commissioners agreed that games beginning again is a focus in restarting the economy. Trump and the commissioners were all on a conference call last weekend.

Right now, the MLB is trying to figure how the entirety of the season will be played, while the NBA and NHL are preparing for the playoffs. All games across the leagues may be played in only a few cities or states, for the safety of the players. Doing that would reduce travel risks.

What we may end up seeing before those core leagues return is a return to golf and racing. Both of those are non-contact sports that don’t need weeks of training before a season resumes. Most golfers have been practicing on their own, while drivers have been racing in simulators to stay sharp.

The core leagues are working with health officials to come up with realistic timelines and ideas to keep everyone safe while still providing entertainment and contributing to an economy that needs serious help right now.

I think that in a month from now, leagues will have definite plans to start up again, and we could see games and events soon after. At least for right now, we have the MLB The Show players league, NBA H-O-R-S-E competitions, and the NFL draft to look forward to.

Stay safe, and be patient. Sports will be back before we know it!

New York Yankees: Miguel Andujar could end up as trade bait in 2020

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

The New York Yankees could use Miguel Andujar as trade bait in 2020 if they need to.

When the Yankees plugged in Gio Urshula at third base in 2019, nobody expected him to finish the year with a .314 batting average, 21 homers, and 74 RBIs.

Urshela’s offensive production topped Miguel Andujar’s in 2018 when he posted a .297 batting average with 27 homers and 92 RBIs. The former Toronto Blue Jay saw his career take a massive turn last season, cementing himself as the Yankees’ starting third baseman for the future.

Trying to find a new position for Andujar to thrive in will be difficult, but manager Aaron Boone has attempted to stick him in left field, a defensive position that the young Dominican has never played in before.

“It was another good day for him out there. I don’t want to overstate it because they were two fairly easy plays, but talking about a sun field where there was a lot of wind,’’ Boone said several weeks ago in Miguel’s second outing in left field. “I am watching the pitcher and the batter and my eyes shift and [Andujar] is already on the move like he should be. I think he is reading the ball well out there and he is moving. So far it looks natural to him.’’

Andujar hasn’t been tested or challenged too much at the position, which may present a false hope before the regular season has even begun. Considering the New York Yankees do have Giancarlo Stanton, Clint Frazier, Brett Gardner, and Mike Tauchman as reserve options, and Miguel is far down the list. However, his offensive efficiency will be utilized moving forward, but it is possible he could represent trade bait if the Yankees need to fix a specific position. At the trade deadline, the Yankees could need support in the bullpen, etc., one that Andujar simply can’t fill. This would allow them to use his value differently, and while he does represent hope for the future, the Yankees haven’t won a World Series in over a decade, presenting the idea of a win-now mentality. Leveraging talent already on the team to bolster other groups with deficiencies might be a reality for them later on in the season.

 

Did the New York Giants really upgrade their secondary? Here’s a look

New York Giants, James Bradberry

Taking a look at the New York Giants‘ secondary and if they really took a step forward this offseason.

The Giants entered this off-season with one essential goal, upgrade the secondary and ensure the pass rush had support in 2020. Replacing Janoris Jenkins was a necessity after being cut later on in the season. Finding a new number one corner would be expensive and complicated, considering the competition for players like Byron Jones in free agency. Ultimately, the Giants passed on Jones, who inevitably signed with the Miami Dolphins, allocating resources toward former Carolina Panther James Bradberry instead.

Comparing Jenkins to Bradberry:

Jenkins has been a consistent corner for the Giants over the past two years but losing began to take its toll. In 13 games last season, Jenkins recorded a 53.8% completion rate against, 503 yards allowed, and three touchdowns. His 14.3% missed tackle rate ballooned in 2019. While he was solid in coverage and only really allowed a completion half of the time, there were plays that he took off and tackles he failed to make.

This is what resulted in him getting cut by the Giants, leaving a void in the secondary for general manager Dave Gettleman to fill.

Bradberry, who signed a three-year, $45 million contract with the Giants this off-season, played in 15 games for the Panthers in 2019. At 26 years old, he posted 12 passes defended, a 59.8% completion rate, 644 yards allowed, and one touchdown. His ability in coverage was solid, and his low touchdown numbers were stellar.

Two years ago, Bradberry posted a 44.2% completion rate, one of the lowest in the NFL. Despite his impressive numbers in coverage, he allowed six touchdowns, which was slashed by five this past season. Clearly, he adapted and lowered his touchdown totals, which may have resulted in being a little bit more conservative in coverage. If he can put those two categories together and play at a high-level, Bradberry can be better than Jenkins and ultimately restore the number one corner position for the New York Giants.

How about the rest of the secondary?

The rest of the secondary is relatively young, but the Giants have invested plenty of capital in young corners and safeties. After a recent interview with the defender Julian Love, he expressed his confidence in playing free safety. His comfort in the defensive backfield and adaptation in 2019 allows him to play there in the future if the Giants see him in that role.

With Love, Cory Ballentine, and DeAndre Baker all entering their second year in the NFL, I anticipate a substantial jump from all three, which would increase the production of the secondary exponentially.

Gettleman may invest in a free safety in the NFL draft — a player like Antoine Winfield Jr. is a talented prospect, but they should be confident that Love can hold down the spot. This would also imply that Grant Haley and Ballentine would feature as the slot corner and continue to develop there.

MLB: The 10 biggest cheats in baseball, and it doesn’t exclude the New York Yankees

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, Jose Altuve

Throughout the history of sports, there have been cheaters, and that includes the New York Yankees.  From ice skater Tanya Harding to bicyclist Lance Armstrong to the Patriots and the Houston Astros, cheating has always entered into the results of sporting events.  Some cheating was relatively innocent to some that were totally outrageous.  Here is a look at this writer’s top ten baseball cheats.

10. Ty Cobb

It may be shocking to know that a name as famous as Ty Cob was involved in cheating at the game he is known for.  In fact, this cheating athlete was known to frequently trip base runners as they ran around the diamond,
step on infielders with his sharp cleats, and steal signs as well, maybe relatively minor compared to some, it shows that the best of athletes still cheat sometimes.

9. Whitey Ford

The beloved “Chairman of the Board” Whitey Ford did in fact cheat for the New York Yankees.  Apparently he would use his own wedding ring to cut open the baseball and then proceeded to put mud inside before pitching to the batter. He even conspired with his catcher, Elston Howard, who would use his shin guard to slice the ball as well.  Ford would later admit, “I used enough mud to build a dam,” referring to the 1963 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

8. Danny Almonte

Kids cheat at sports too.  Pitching sensation, Danny Almonte found a way to cheat.  There are rules in baseball, and these rules were broken in the Little League World Series of 2001.  Almonte was mowing down hitters with his 70mph fastball.  The age limit for Little Leaguers is 12. After the series documents turned up, proving Almonte was actually 14 years old giving him an unfair age advantage.

7. Kenny Rogers

In the 2006 World Series, something fishy was going on with Detroit Tigers pitcher Kenny Rogers in Game 2. While he was taking his spot on the mound, the cameras caught something strange. There was a strange substance on Rogers’ hand, which he later described as “dirt mixed with
rosin.”  The altered ball would not perform as expected.

6. Graig Nettles

Craig Nettles boasted a 22 year-long career in baseball. He earned himself the nickname “Puff” and played for the Montreal Expos, Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, and Minnesota Twins. In 1974, Nettles was caught cheating by way of using superballs, which are said to help hitters by adding an extra bounce to a bat.  When discovered, the balls were taken off the field, and Nettles was given a 10 game suspension.

5. Joe Niekro

Joe Niekro’s cheating method makes for an interesting addition to the vast amount of cheating methods that other players used. It’s unclear how
long Niekro was doing it, but it was in 1987 that he was caught.  He was pitching for the Minnesota Twins at the time, and during the game an emery board and a sheet of sandpaper fell out of his pocket.  Niekro was removed from the mound and suspended for ten games.

4. Gaylord Perry

Everyone knew that Gaylord Perry was using a “spitball” and it led to MLB making it illegal.  It’s a well-known fact that he would slab a nice helping of Vaseline underneath his cap, or even inside his sleeve. This was so that he could swipe it on the ball for a spitball. The additive you make the ball fly unpredictably.  Somehow this was overlooked, and Perry made it to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

3. Barry Bonds and company

From Barry Bonds to Alex Rodriguez the former New York Yankee the “steroid era” will forever affect the baseball sport and the validity of records for those players and the dozen upon dozens of undiscovered cheats. These groups of baseball cheats together comprised one of the most legendary and notorious examples of fraud in the history of modern sports. In the case of one of the greatest baseball players ever, Alex Rodriguez will never be considered for the Hall of Fame.

2. The New York Giants

The New York Giants came as close as a team to the cheating Houston Astros as a team could come. ESPN once called this 1951 team the “biggest group of cheaters in baseball history.” They would use an actual telescope in order to steal signs from the opposing team’s catcher. Once they knew what pitch the pitcher was about to throw, they would ring either a bell or a buzzer to inform the batter. Although the technic was ancient compared to the electronics used by the Astros it was just as egregious.

Pete Rose

Although not part of the top ten because it doesn’t involve actual cheating in a game, Pete Rose broke a cardinal rule by betting on baseball.  Suspended for life, this great baseball player may never enter the Baseball Hall of Fame, which he so richly deserves due to his clearly illegal deeds.

1. The Houston Astros

During this baseball postseason, the Commissioner of Baseball after an investigation determined that the Houston Astros when out of their way to electronically steal signs and relay them to hitters.  It may have cost the New York Yankee a World Series bid and may have cost the Los Angeles Dodgers a World Series win.  That is not to mention the stats of players they played against that year.  The New York Yankee player Aaron Judge may have missed out on the MVP for that year when Astros player Jose Altuve received the nod.

The sign stealing was so egregious that they were fined, their general manager and field manager were suspended and later fired.  It is still controversial as the Commissioner failed to strip them of their 2017 World Series title, and did not fine or charge any Houston Astros player for wrongdoing.

 

Giants Select Tristan Wirfs in Fennelly’s Next-to-Last Mock Draft

New York Giants, Tristan Wirfs

The NFL Draft is a little less than two weeks away and New York Giants fans are getting antsy. There’s a lot of uncertainty and the team has a ton of options in the draft.

One of those options is a trade back, but I don’t see anyone who would be willing to trade up to No. 4, or even No. 3 for that matter. The only teams willing to do that would be the teams seeking a quarterback, and they may not have to trade up to get their man.

Miami and the L.A. Chargers, who hold the fifth and sixth picks in this draft, could probably stay at those spots and come away with the quarterbacks they want, so no trade for the Giants here. If the Dolphins or Chargers do make a deal, it would likely be with Detroit for the third overall pick as they are open for business as well.

Using Fanspeak.com’s mock draft simulator, here is how I would handle the first six rounds for the Giants (the seventh round is a crapshoot that most teams breeze through, so I won’t even attempt to make those four picks).

Round 1, Pick 4: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

The first three picks off the board were LSU QB Joe Burrow (Bengals), Ohio State EDGE rusher Chase Young (Redskins) and Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons (Lions). That left Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah, Auburn DT Derrick Brown and two of the four top OTs in the draft in Alabama’s Jedrick Wills, Jr. and Wirfs. I chose Wirfs because of his athleticism, versatility and football acumen. The choice was an easy one since Simmons was off the board and the Giants probably won’t take Okudah or Brown. Wirfs will likely start at right tackle first and then be slid over to the left side when the Giants finally realize Nate Solder is finished.

Round 2, Pick 36: Grant Delpit, S, LSU

The Giants need a safety and Delpit can be that presence in the box they’ve been missing. At 6’2″, 213 he is a hitter who will compliment Jabrill Peppers perfectly. Delpit is a first round talent who is falling in the draft after posting a disappointing 2019 season but many aren’t taking into account that he played through a high ankle sprain. We all know about those, no? I took Delpit over Michigan center Carlos Ruiz and USC WR Michael Pittman, Jr. and let me say it wasn’t easy…

Round 3, Pick 99: Matt Hennessy, C, Temple

I am restraining myself from making picks that fans will love and making ones that aren’t so sexy. Offensive lineman aren’t sexy but no one ever complains when you draft them. Such is this particular selection. Hennessy is a big, tough kid who has room to grow and Giants really need to upgrade at center. Really like his prospects.

Round 4, Pick 110: Willie Gay, Jr., LB, Mississippi State

Missing out on Simmons doesn’t mean the Giants won’t take a linebacker. Gay is an ascending talent who at 6’2″ and 240 pounds runs a 4.46 40. He will add to the Giants’ growing linebacker unit and possibly be used in a multitude of roles, including special teams. Gay may not make it this far in the draft, however. Many have been reviewing his tape and have bumped him up in the order.

Round 5, Pick 150: Jauan Jennings, WR, Tennessee

Jennings isn’t fast but is 6’3″ an has an innate ability to break tackles. Has good hands and will make the contested catches in the red zone. He can also block in the run game, something the other Giants receivers are not particularly built for.

Round 6, Pick 183: Michael Warren II, RB, Cincinnati

A pure sleeper but a tough inside runner the Giants could use in short yardage situations and on early downs to soften up defenses. We saw Saquon Barkley get hurt last year and forcing him to run inside could wear on him. Warren could absorb – and dish out – some of that punishment to the tune of 5-6 carries per game. They signed Dion Lewis as change-up back so Warren would play the battering ram role for the unit.

New York Knicks Draft Profile: Aaron Nesmith

The New York Knicks have been adamant about one thing that they must add to their team this offseason: Perimeter shooting. The lack of shooting has hampered the Knicks’ offense in 2019. One player that could help solve the problem is Vanderbilt Sophomore Aaron Nesmith.

Nesmith is the best shooter in the entire draft. He shot an other-worldly 52% from three on over 8 attempts per game this past season. Overall he averaged just over 23 points a game for the Commodores. He can flat out score.

While we don’t know exactly where in the draft the New York Knicks will be picking, Nesmith would be a reach if they were to end up with a top 5 pick. He would more likely be an option with the Clippers’ pick that the Knicks acquired in the Marcus Morris Sr. trade.

Fitting in with the Knicks

If the Knicks can nab Nesmith with the Clippers’ pick, he could be of tremendous value. At 6’6 tall and weighing 213lbs Nesmith can play the 2 or the 3 at the NBA level. Having shooters like Nesmith will spread the floor and ultimately benefit everyone.

Athletically, he’s not anywhere near some of the top prospects, and that is his greatest flaw. Of course, what he lacks in athleticism, he makes up for as a dead-eye shooter. Opposing defenses simply can’t afford to let him roam the perimeter undetected.

His ceiling may not be that of a superstar, but you cannot always draft a player based on top-end potential. Nesmith is a high IQ player who is the best pure shooter in the entire draft. The Knicks need to start surrounding their playmakers with shooters, and Aaron Nesmith could help out right away.

The New Divisions Could Give the New York Yankees a Huge Edge

New York Yankees, Yankees, Luke voit

The MLB has been experimenting with ideas to get baseball up and going in May, and this is huge for sports. If the MLB is able to start up their season it means that the NBA and NHL can startup as well. Sports fans are hoping for a breakthrough, and honestly, this could be seen if this proposal goes through. There’s one major controversy though, a realignment of divisions for this season is part of the plan to limit travel. With an unprecedented crisis causing proposed unprecedented change, how would it affect the Bronx Bombers?

Helps Acquire the Top Seed

The New York Yankees have always wanted to have a shot to clinch the #1 seed, as the last time they did this, they won the World Series in 2009. This is very easy now, as they could be playing the Tigers, Pirates, and Blue Jays a whopping 54 times. If they win 75% of those games that’s already 40-41 wins. The only team that wasn’t sub-.500 in these proposed divisions was the Phillies, at 81-81. The Yankees could get 60+ of their wins off of divisional games, note that they won 54 games in their division in 2019 when the competition was much better. This could help lock up a very important #1 seed in 2020, even if it feels cheap.

League Rivals Are Much Stronger Divisions

The Yankees are in the Grapefruit League, and the other two divisions are stacked now. The other two divisions host only 2 teams in total that were sub-.500 in 2019, one in each division. One division (the East) has the pennant winners in the same division. This means their rivals for that top seed are going to have to brawl for the 4 playoff spots available.  This is all while the Yankees only face the cakewalk division in front of them, and if the Phillies are our closest approximation to “opposition”, then things are looking so good for the Yanks.

Should These Divisions Even Go Into Place?

Well from a safety perspective, yes, of course, they should. Obviously these divisions aren’t perfect but for health reasons, these divisions are best the way they are, with some minor changes at most. From a baseball perspective, it’s not great but again I do believe they will alter these divisions, but not by much.

Yes I know it’s completely unfair to teams who are in impossible divisions, but at the same time, I can’t make these decisions. It will be a weird year for baseball, and sports in general, but if you want baseball back soon, this is the MLB’s best bet.

New York Jets: One sure-fire player in the 2020 NFL Draft to help Gang Green

New York Jets, Jedrick Wills

The New York Jets have several holes to fill, but they can select one sure-fire player to bolster the offense.

While the Jets allowed Robby Anderson to leave in free agency, signing Breshad Perriman as his replacement, the offense didn’t necessarily get ‘better.’ Bolstering the unit to ensure Sam Darnold and LeVeon Bell play to the peak of their abilities should be the priority moving forward, which is where the 2020 NFL Draft comes into play.

Jets’ general manager Joe Douglas reinforced the offensive line this offseason, signing Connor McGovern to play center, Greg Van Roten at right guard, George Fant at left tackle, and Alex Lewis at left guard. The only position in need of an upgrade is right tackle, where they can find a stellar player in Jedrick Wills.

If Wills falls to the 11th pick, he will undoubtedly be the selection for the Jets, who could use a top-end start and potential All-Pro tackle to solidify the spot for years to come. While it might not be as sexy as picking Jerry Jeudy or Ceedee Lamb, Darnold and Bell benefit the most, completing a rebuild of the front five on offense.

What would Wills bring to the New York Jets?

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein describes Wills as a fundamental genius with quick, accurate punches. His varied approach toward taking on pass rushers allows him to develop a rhythm and use his vision to locate stunts and diverse blitzes.

After watching Wills extensively, I saw one consistent trait — his technique is astounding. His timely punches and footwork compare to NFL starters with ease and having protected Tua Tagovailoa’s blindside ay Alabama, we know he’s faced off against worthy talent.

If the Jets are willing to spend a top draft pick at the right tackle position, they must go with Wills and never look back. It’s possible he’s selected prior to the 11th overall pick, but passing on a cemented talent at an essential position for the next five years-plus would be a mistake.

New York Mets News/Rumors: Does MLB have clue? Read, Smile, and Weep

Will there be a baseball season?

For the New York Mets and fans everywhere, emotions have been on a roller-coaster as we have seen spring training cut short, and the season delayed by two weeks.  Then it appeared that the season would start later than that.  As the coronavirus spread and more people died, it suddenly appeared that there might be no baseball season at all. Now with cases reaching their apex and many areas, it seems more likely that there will be games played in some form at some point.  What the season will look like is still an open question.

The Arizona Plan

Over the last weekend, MLB formulated a plan to have baseball start as early as next month.  It is dubbed the Arizona Plan, a plan to have all of baseball for 30 MLB clubs, including the New York Mets held in a bubble. Games to be played at Chase Field domed home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and another ten minor league parks along with some college fields, all within 50 miles of downtown Pheonix, Arizona.  There are multiple obstacles to this idea, including Mets players playing in searing 120-degree temperatures, playing two or three games in the same park each day to get as many games in as possible.

Baseball from coast to coast?  Not quite!

No sooner than the Arizona Plan was introduced, the MLB floated the idea of a Grapefruit League, and Cactus League played in both Arizona and Florida minor league parks.  Add to that; they have also proposed the possibility of realigning the divisions, which would be more or less geographic.  This would have teams from both the American League and National league playing regularly against each other instead of the traditional divisions. To this writer, this is totally messed up.  It will not be a season with a giant asterisk after it, but something that baseball has never seen before, and would have no relationship to any other previous season.

Baseball:  The new experiment, will baseball ever be the same?  The evolution of the game

Necessity is often the catalyst for creative ideas.  Baseball and the New York Mets want to get a baseball season in and may be open to all types of changes to make that happen.  Changes like seven-inning doubleheaders, no more mound visits by the catcher, and electronic strike zone, players in the stands and not the dugout, and the changes go on and on.  Some of these changes are out of social distancing and necessity and may be temporary, but some just may stick and become part of the game going forward. The most likely to hold is how the players interact with the media and the electronic strike zone.

Play Baseball and they will come… probably not!

With the coronavirus, all baseball fans, including the fans of the New York Mets, are starved for some baseball and now realize that many familiar things about baseball won’t look the same and are willing to put up with the changes just so that we can watch some baseball.  One of the first ideas to have some ball games was to play them without fans in the stands.  That may now be a moot point.  Seton Hall University released a poll that indicated 72% of respondents wouldn’t feel comfortable attending large sporting events before a vaccine for the coronavirus was widely available.  So with that vaccine at least a year away, it seems if finally, fans can attend games, they may not come anyway and may remain mostly vacant.

MLB has decisions to make, and they need to do it fast

With each passing day, the major league baseball season becomes shorter and the likelihood of baseball reaching into November becomes more realistic.  With all the different plans proposed by MLB, these plans need to start to come together, so that the most games can be played.  Of course, the progress of the coronavirus will control what the Met baseball season ultimately looks like.  It’s not out of the realm of possibilities that if the downward curve is steep enough that games could actually be played in home parks around the country.  The one thing that is certain is that this season will look like no other.