The New York Giants hold the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. With free agency just about over, the Giants spent a lot of money but did not fill every hole. New York did secure an inside linebacker, Blake Martinez, however, he still will not thrive in the pass-coverage role that the Giants desperately need to fill. This makes Isaiah Simmons still a suitable option at fourth overall.
But the Giants did not sign a bonafide-starter at the offensive tackle position either. Cameron Fleming was signed by New York with hopes of starting at right tackle opposite of Nate Solder, but that could change in next month’s draft, too.
The option for an offensive tackle or a linebacker (Isaiah Simmons) with the fourth overall pick is still there. Dave Gettleman and company will have a tough decision to make: take the best player available in Isaiah Simmons and change the face of your defense? Or address a major position of need with a stud offensive tackle prospect?
First-Round Offensive Tackle Draft Success
In the last three years, eight offensive tackles have been drafted in the first round:
- Ryan Ramczyk- 2019 First-Team All-Pro.
- Garrett Bolles- Has not missed a game, good PFF grade (75.9 overall).
- Isaiah Wynn- Missed 24 out of 32 games with injuries.
- Kolton Miller- Has not missed a game, average PFF grade (65.0 overall).
- Mike McGlinchey- Played in 28 of 32 games, integral to San Francisco’s dominant offensive line.
- Kaleb McGary- Has not missed a game, 13 sacks allowed, poor PFF grade (53.0 overall).
- Tytus Howard- Missed 8 games in rookie season with an injury.
- Andre Dillard- Played 4 games, sat behind Jason Peters. Expected to start in 2020.
- Jonah Williams- Missed entire rookie season with an injury.
First-round offensive tackles are volatile. Many of them miss significant time with injuries or struggle to play at a high level early on in their careers. Drafting an offensive tackle is a long-term upgrade. But it does not necessarily improve your team right away. Drafting an inside linebacker in the first round, however, has proven to have an instant impact.
First-Round Inside Linebacker Draft Success
In the last three years, nine inside linebackers have been selected in the first round:
- Reuben Foster- Career derailed by suspensions and injuries.
- Jarrad Davis- Has played in 41 of 48 games, poor PFF grade (40.4 overall), and 15.3% and 13.7% missed tackle rates.
- Haason Reddick- Started 20 of 48 games, poor PFF grade (40.1 overall), 12.1% and 12.6% missed tackle rates.
- Rashaan Evans- Started 23 of 31 games played in, missed 1 game, recorded 11 combined tackles on 16 starts in 2019 with a 13.3% missed tackle rate and a poor PFF grade (49.8 overall).
- Leighton Vander Esch- 2018 Second-Team All-Pro with 140 tackles and 6.7% missed tackle rate, missed 7 games with injury in 2019.
- Tremaine Edmunds- Played 31 of 32 games, 115+ tackles both seasons, 9.4% missed tackle rate in 2019.
- Roquan Smith- Missed 4 games in 2019 with injury, still managed 101 tackles with a 3.8% missed tackle rate.
- Devin Bush- Started 15 games as a rookie, 109 combined tackles with 11.4% missed tackle rate, and average PFF grade (62.9 overall).
- Devin White- Played in and started 13 games as a rookie, 91 combined tackles with 11.7% missed tackle rate poor, PFF grade (50.6 overall), and led the NFL in fumble return yards and touchdowns (121 yards, 2 touchdowns on 3 forced fumbles and 4 fumble recoveries).
Despite mostly poor Pro Football Focus grades at the position, the inside linebackers have been impactful in their first seasons. Many of them totaled over 100 tackles in more than one season and many played in the majority of their team’s games as starters on the defense.
If the Giants do decide to draft Isaiah Simmons, they will be getting the best and most versatile inside linebacker prospect of the last four years. He will have an instant impact on the team and significantly boost the defense’s talent level. However, drafting an offensive tackle is a long-term selection with an impact that might be more valuable but take longer to arrive.
Shoutout to @BigBlueUnited on Twitter for inspiring this article.