What If The New York Giants Traded Back In The 2018 NFL Draft?

New York Giants. Dave Gettleman, Pat Shurmur

The New York Giants are in the second year of their rebuild. In 2019, New York is once again on pace to finish with a top-ten draft pick. The 2-8 Giants currently hold the third overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

The Giants picked 6th overall in 2019 and 2nd overall in 2018. 2020 will be the Giants’ third straight year with a top-ten pick if they continue to lose the way they have. But a recent rumor from Benjamin Allbright suggests that in 2018, the Giants had the opportunity to trade back with the Denver Broncos in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

In this article, I will be exploring a hypothetical scenario that might have taken place if the New York Giants accepted the Denver Broncos’ offer in 2018. Of course, this is not definite. Everything has a cause and effect and there is no guarantee that any of these hypotheticals would have happened. But this is one scenario that could’ve happened if the Giants traded back in the 2018 NFL Draft.

The 2018 NFL Draft

If the rumor is true, then the Denver Broncos offered the New York Giants the 2018 5th overall pick, the 2018 40th overall pick, and what became the 2019 20th overall pick. Had the Giants made that deal, they would have likely missed out on Saquon Barkley. But they would have been able to fortify their offensive line with already All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson.

Nelson was drafted sixth overall by the Indianapolis Colts in 2018, so it is fair to assume that he would have been available for the Giants to draft with the fifth overall pick. So the Giants would have missed out on Saquon Barkley for Nelson, but they would have gotten a nice consolation prize at running back in the second round.

Nick Chubb would have been available for the Giants with the 34th overall pick since he was actually drafted 35th overall by the Browns in 2018. The Giants would then be picking again with Denver’s second-round pick, 40th overall. The Broncos drafted Courtland Sutton with this pick. Sutton would have been a solid option for the Giants.

Courtland Sutton, Harold Landry, Josh Jackson, Jessie Bates, and D.J. Chark were some of the top prospects available at this pick. Assume the Giants drafted based on need, Jessie Bates would have been a home run selection as the top safety available.

So, had the Giants made this trade, they would have ended up with an All-Pro left guard in Quenton Nelson, a thousand-yard-rusher as a rookie in Nick Chubb, and a rookie safety who totaled 111 tackles with 3 interceptions and 7 passes broken up in Jessie Bates.

The 2019 Offseason

I will be going through this hypothetical scenario under the concept of “ceteris paribus,” meaning “other things being equal or held constant.” So, Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon still get traded, and the Giants still draft Daniel Jones and Dexter Lawrence.

The Giants drafted Dexter Lawrence with the 17th overall pick. Some controversy arose with this selection because the draft class still had a top-tier offensive tackle available. With the 20th overall pick, the Denver Broncos selected tight end, Noah Fant.

The Giants had and still have Evan Engram, so it is hard to believe they would have gone the same route as Denver did with Fant at pick 20. Instead, the Giants would get that offensive tackle prospect that they desperately needed then and even more desperately need now.

Andre Dillard was drafted by the division-rival Eagles with the 22nd overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Dillard was the top offensive tackle prospect available and was though to be a premier pass-protector. Dillard has only started three games for the Eagles this season as they are grooming him to take over on the left side when Jason Peters retires, but he would have been a day-one starter on the right side of the Giants’ offensive line.

And this article was not written to be a Debbie Downer or Negative Nancy. I am not trying to criticize Dave Gettleman and the work he has done in the NFL Draft these last two years because I think he has done a superb job. This article was written for fun, as a hypothetical “What If?” situation, the same as “What if Eli Manning remained a San Diego Charger?” so, please, do not attack me on Twitter. This article was also written to point out that trading down in the NFL Draft can reap huge benefits, even if a team is trading only a few picks back.

New York Giants: Options At Weak Right Tackle Position In The 2019 Offseason

The New York Giants have holes throughout their roster. They have depth and talent at some positions, such as running back and tight end. But at other positions, they lack talent and depth. One of the Giants’ weakest positions is the right tackle position. This is a position the team will need to upgrade this offseason in order to see their offense grow in 2019.

Current Giants:

The Giants’ current starting right tackle is the second-year player out of USC, Chad Wheeler. To start the 2018 season, the Giants had Ereck Flowers starting at right tackle. After constant poor play by Flowers, Wheeler took over the starting job.

Unfortunately for the Giants, Wheeler has not been a huge improvement over Flowers. Anything is an improvement over Flowers, but the Giants were hoping to get more of an upgrade at the position when they put Wheeler in. Chad Wheeler finished the 2018 season with a below average 47.1 grade on Pro Football Focus, ranking 80th in the NFL.

Despite his low season grade in 2018, the Giants could move forward with Wheeler as their starter. Though many Giants fans may disagree with that course of action, the Giants could go through with it because of Wheeler’s age. He is only 24 years old and has plenty of time to develop. As general manager Dave Gettleman has stated before, he does not quit on talent.

If Gettleman does decide to move on from Wheeler, he has a few options to choose from in the 2019 offseason.

Free Agents:

The Giants’ main target in free agency should be Carolina Pathers’ right tackle Daryl Williams. Williams is slated to become a free agent this offseason after suffering an injury and missing the 2018 season. Since Daryl is coming off of an injury, his price tag should be reduced. At 27 years old, Williams would be a great piece of the future for the Giants if they manage to sign him. Williams had a 78.0 Pro Football Focus grade in 2017, third best in the league.

Many fans and reporters alike have speculated that the Giants will be interested in Daryl Williams due to Dave Gettleman’s connection with him. Gettleman was the general manager of the Panthers when Williams was drafted. Since Williams is one of his former draftees, it would make sense if Gettleman wanted to go after him in free agency.

Daryl Williams will likely have a competitive market, so it is no guarantee that the Giants will be able to sign him. If they are unable to sign Williams, there will be other tackles available in free agency.

Ja’Wuan James is another right tackle who will have a competitive market this offseason. James had a 70.7 Pro Football Focus grade in 2018 and was a great player for the Miami Dolphins. James is also only 27 years old, so he too could be a player for the Giants to build around. If the Giants strike out on Williams, James is their next best option.

The Giants could consider a few veterans to start for a year or two if they are unable to secure any younger options. Veteran options include Jared Veldheer, Austin Howard, and Andre Smith.

NFL Draft:

If the Giants are unable to sign a right tackle in free agency, they could look to draft one. Drafting a right tackle would mean having one to be around for the future, rather than overpaying on a veteran for a year or two.

Jawaan Taylor, right tackle out of the University of Florida, will likely be the top right tackle taken in the 2019 draft. He is projected to be a mid-first round draft pick. It is unlikely the Giants select Taylor as they will be picking too high to take him, with more talented players on the board. Expect the Giants to focus on right tackle in the middle rounds of the draft. In rounds 2-4, players such as Dalton Risner, David Edwards, and Andre Dilllard will be options for the Giants.

Dalton Risner is a good run blocker out of Kansas State. He checks in at 6-foot-4, 297 pounds. He began his career as a center in college, but he moved outside after a performing past expectations. Risner is projected to go in rounds 2-3.

David Edwards, the 6’7″, 315 lbs, massive lineman out of Wisconsin is also projected to go in rounds 2-3. Edwards was an exceptional player in 2017, but struggled heavily in 2018. He is a stout run blocker, but will need to improve his pass protection at the professional level.

Andre Dillard is a senior out of Washington State. He weighs in at 300 pounds and stands tall at 6′ 5″. Dillard is an athletic tackle who has the ability to slow down edge rushers. This will be a useful trait at the pro level. However, he is not the strongest lineman and will need to gain some strength to succeed at the next level.