The New York Giants have holes left to fill despite allocating plenty of money toward the defense this free agency period. Signing James Bradberry and Blake Martinez was supposed to sure-up the cornerback and linebacker position, but those weren’t the only deficiencies the Giants faced in 2019.
The upcoming NFL draft represents an opportunity for GM Dave Gettleman to finally build a worthwhile defense, something the team hasn’t had in quite some time.
A three-round mock draft to fix the New York Giants’ defense:
1.) 4th overall
This is an easy one — Isaiah Simmons is the only option for the Giants a 4th with the assumption that Chase Young is off the board. Simmons is a self-proclaimed “defender” and can transform the defense into a more productive unit. His ability to play in the slot, mid-high safety, stop the run and rush the passer gives defensive coordinator Patrick Graham a player he can have fun with.
Simmons record 8.0 sacks and 16.5 tackles for a loss in 2019, proving he can collapse the pocket and get into the offense’s backfield. As one of the most physically gifted and intelligent (football IQ) players entering the draft, the Giants can’t miss on him, especially since Gettleman has never drafted an offensive lineman in the first round of a draft.
2.) 36th overall
Here’s a bit of a different selection — Antoine Winfield Jr., out of Minnesota. Winfield is a stellar free safety ball hawk who can fill a void in the secondary the Giants have left open for years. Last season, they attempted to fill the hole with Antoine Bethea, who was awful in coverage and allowed seven touchdown passes.
The Minnesota product is a gritty football player with average athleticism and size, but he’s instinctually gifted and is in the right spot at the right time. A good coach who can improve his open-field tackling could make him a staple in the Giants’ defensive backfield for years to come. His seven interceptions, two forced fumbles, and 62 combined tackles should tell you everything you need to know about the stud safety.
3.) 99th overall
The Giants address the pass-rush position with Julian Okwara at 99 overall, filling a gap that was left in free agency after the team passed on Jadeveon Clowney and Markus Golden. There’s still time to sign a pass rusher, but Big Blue has minimal funds remaining, and the draft seems like a reasonable allocation toward finding another player.
Okwara is an intriguing prospect who has flashed talent at times but has struggled against the run and has picked up some injuries along the way. As the brother of former Giants, Romeo Okwara, he would bring a familiar aura around the facilities, but he’s still a raw talent with room to grow.
The Notre Dame product followed up a great 2018 campaign with a lackluster 2019, which saw his production topple after a broken leg ended his season early. Luckily, a broken bone will heal entirely, and it wasn’t a ligament issue. He can become a bigger, stronger player over time, and taking a flier on him at No. 99 would be a solid move.