New York Giants: Arguments For And Against Drafting Isaiah Simmons

The 2020 NFL Draft is days away. The New York Giants hold the fourth overall pick, their third straight season picking inside the top-ten. General Manager Dave Gettleman is heading into his third draft as GM of the Giants and needs to put together a strong class in order to keep his job.

Holding a top-pick again, the Giants are in the position to add a franchise player this year. There are plenty of top-tier prospects that will be available to fill big positions of need. But which position should they fill? Should they take the best player available (likely Isaiah Simmons) or address the offensive tackle position? Simmons has been the fan-favorite selection for most of the pre-draft process. However, it might be time for fans to consider jumping off of the Simmons hype train and look into this year’s offensive tackle class.

Arguments For:

When Will It Be Time To Invest In The Defense?

In the last eight NFL Drafts, seven of the Giants’ first picks have been spent on the offense. The Giants’ defense only accounts for 35.85% of the team’s salary cap, ranking 30th in the NFL (via Spotrac). New York has barely invested in their defense and it shows with the team’s recent on-field performances.

Meanwhile, the Giants’ offense accounts for 49.48% of the team’s salary cap. More specifically, 22.13% of the team’s salary is spent on the offensive line. Dave Gettleman and company have made it a point to upgrade the offensive line and they have invested into it plenty. But offensive tackle is still one of the weakest positions on the team- and one of the most crucial. Maybe they should continue investing.

A Defensive Playmaker or An Offensive Tackle?

Which position of need is more important? An offensive tackle or a defensive playmaker? If the question were “Chase Young or a tackle?”, everyone would be in agreement that Chase Young is the right choice. But that’s not the debate.

The debate is between uber-versatile linebacker Isaiah Simmons and any of the top offensive tackle prospects. Which of the two options should the New York Giants spend their first-round draft pick on? The Giants do not necessarily have a hole at linebacker (after signing Blake Martinez and re-signing David Mayo), but really on the defense as a whole.

Teams can win games with a bad offensive line (see Seattle Seahawks). But it is nearly impossible to have a winning season with the defense the Giants currently have constructed. The Giants’ best players on defense are recently free agents James Bradberry and Blake Martinez- and they were brought in to replace Alec Ogletree and Janoris Jenkins.

They are upgrades, but the defense did not improve drastically this offseason and likely won’t unless they select Isaiah Simmons at fourth overall. He is a linebacker with the ability to man up on tight ends and excel in coverage.

Isaiah Simmons played over 100 snaps at five different positions in the 2019 CFB season. According to Pro Football Focus, Simmons played 100 snaps at strong safety, 116 snaps at outside linebacker, 132 snaps at free safety, 262 snaps at slot cornerback, and 299 snaps at inside linebacker.

If the Giants are looking to instantly upgrade their defense, look no further than Isaiah Simmons. He will fill the coverage role while Blake Martinez and David Mayo stuff the run. The defense would function at a much higher-level as early as this season. But the draft is not always about instant-upgrades. Sometimes teams need to plan for the future and play the long game. Investing in an offensive tackle would be the long-term solution rather than the instant-upgrade.

Arguments Against:

Talent At The Top Of The OT Class Is Loaded.

The top offensive tackles in this draft class are immensely talented. Draft analysts and experts have struggled to rank the top four tackles. Some have Mekhi Becton as high as the first-ranked tackle, others have him as the sixth-ranked tackle. There are many who believe Jedrick Wills is the best in the class while many others believe Wirfs or Thomas is the best in the class.

Regardless of where each expert has them ranked, they are all consensus first-round talents. The Giants would be finding an instant-starter (and a long-term starter) on the offensive line if they took one of those prospects at fourth overall.

Significant Drop-Off In OT Talent After The First Tier.

Those top offensive tackle prospects are great. Wirfs, Wills, Thomas, and Becton all have legitimate All-Pro potential. But after that, this offensive tackle class has a significant drop off in talent.

Second-round prospects, like Isaiah Wilson and Austin Jackson, are- simply-put- projects. They are not pro-ready. They lack technique but do possess ideal, large, strong bodies. NFL coaching might be able to turn them into capable starters but there is no guarantee. Fortunately, they are young and have room to grow, however, the Giants need an answer at offensive tackle sooner than later.

NFL Draft Watch: Top 5 OL Rankings

With the NFL Draft rapidly approaching, over the next few days, I plan on breaking down the best and brightest talents in this year’s class. This offensive line class has a lot of good players. The core four have stolen a lot of the headlines, but how do they rank in my eyes and is there a surprise 5th guy who could join the party?

1. Tristan Wirfs, Iowa

Pro Comparison: Ronnie Stanley

Wirfs is the top guy in this class in my opinion. Wirfs has the most upside and the least downside. Wirfs has a few technical flaws and he needs a little more coaching and refinement. Aside from that Wirfs is a great prospect. Wirfs has incredible athleticism, size, and durability. Wirfs comes from an offensive lineman factory and he’s going to be a stud at the next level. Ronnie Stanley is an All-Pro tackle and projects to be the best-case scenario for Wirfs.

2. Jedrick Wills, Alabama

Pro Comparison: Jason Peters

Jedrick Wills is a great prospect. Good run blocker, excellent pass protector and a good resume. Wills has competed against the best of the best in the SEC, and now Wills is heading to the next level. Wills showed one technical issue, lack of effort. Wills is a superb talent, but there were a few plays where you can see he gives up after a spin move that he doesn’t adjust to. That can change at the next level. Wills biggest downfall for me is the move he’ll have to make. Many see Wills as a left tackle, but he’s typically played on the right side. If Wills has a smooth transformation, he can be a damn good player. Wills reminds me of Jason Peters. Peters is a quiet and steady lineman who does his job at a high level and gets it done consistently.

3. Andrew Thomas, Georgia

Pro Comparison: Laremy Tunsil

I like Andrew Thomas a lot. He is the safest offensive lineman. He’s proven against SEC completion that his transition should be smooth. He’s a good run blocker and good pass blocker. He’s a special player, but he doesn’t have a singular standout trait. Thomas is just a simple and good player. That’s all you can ask for an offensive lineman, Thomas is a steady player and I think his transition will be similar to Tunsil’s. Tunsil had success fairly quickly and provided stability on the left side for the Dolphins, Thomas can do that wherever he gets picked.

4. Mekhi Becton, Louisville

Pro Comparison: Jonathan Ogden

Becton is a monster. At 364 lbs, the man ran a 5.10 second 40 yd dash. Becton is superhuman and an absolute bully on the offensive line. Becton has the most upside of these prospects. If his athleticism translates to the NFL, he’ll be unstoppable. There was just a lot of inconsistency to me in his tape. Some plays he bullied edge rushers, other plays, simplistic stunts threw him off. Becton also is a scary prospect on the physical side. At 360 plus pounds, moving around quickly could cause wear and tear over time. Durability could be a question. If Becton proves to be durable and gains some more knowledge on preventing those stunts and spin moves from killing him, Becton could be the best of these top 4 guys. Jonathan Ogden brutalized defensive linemen, just like Becton has the potential to do.

5. Ezra Cleveland, Boise State

Pro Comparison: Nate Solder

Ezra Cleveland has shot up draft boards. Rumors are swirling he could end up as a first-rounder. Cleveland, Josh Jones, Cushenberry, Ruiz, and Austin Jackson are the tier 2 of offensive linemen. Cleveland has the most upside of all of them if he can gain some more mass. At 310 that sounds unreasonable to ask him to gain more weight, but Cleveland just needs to fill out physically. Cleveland has some flaws, but if coached properly, he can be a franchise cornerstone at the tackle spot. 

Who makes the most sense for the New York Giants: Wirfs, Wills, Becton, or Thomas?

New York Giants, Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Wills, Andrew Thomas, Mekhi Becton

If the New York Giants are keen on taking an offensive lineman, who should be atop their board?

There is no question that the New York Giants are in need of a new offensive tackle to bolster Daniel Jones’ protection scheme. Nate Solder cannot be relied on after two less than adequate seasons in blue, and the position battle between Cam Fleming and Nick Gate doesn’t exactly scream efficiency. While Dave Gettleman might have faith in Gates, he has a minimal sample size of snaps at right tackle, failing to represent a confidence-brewing starter.

Realistically, the Giants can use the fourth overall pack or trade back and gain more draft capital with the sole purpose of drafting an offensive tackle. The top four prospects are Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Wills, Mekhi Becton, and Andrew Thomas.

All four have positive and negative attributes, but some fit better into the Giants’ offensive scheme than others.

To start, Wirfs has been linked to the Giants and is high on Gettleman’s list. His experience playing both left and right tackle makes him more appealing, but he is somewhat raw and needs a bit more development and coaching to reach his full potential. He would be a quality selection if the Giants are high on him.

However, Will’s is the most refined tackle in the draft, but he has very little experience at left tackle, and spending the fourth overall pick on a right tackle might not be the best usage of resources.

Becton is a massive human being at 6-foot-7 and 364 pounds. He has the highest ceiling of the group, considering his frame and rare mobility. Then you have Andrew Thomas, who is a bit undersized for a tackle but is the cleanest left tackle prospect in the draft. He will be a plug and play and likely solidify the position for years to come, but he doesn’t have the versatility to move over to the right side if need be in his rookie season. That is ultimately why Wirfs ranks atop the list for Gettleman Co.

So who is the best option for the Giants?

Personally, I would only draft a tackle if it is in a trade back scenario. That is how you can gain the most resources and solidify a position of absolute need. I believe Mekhi Becton is the best player for the Giants, simply because Nate Solder is capable of playing right tackle and is open to the idea of switching sides.

With Solder on the right side and Becton solidifying the left, the Giants now have a rebuilt offense of line with more potential in 2020. Protecting their investments in Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley is essential, and this action reinforces that logic.

Why do I like Becton? 

Simply, there are not many people on this earth as athletic as the Lousiville product. His size and agility make him impactful, and his potential is so high you can’t pass on him without wondering, “what if.” I do really like Andrew Thomas as a solidified left tackle, but his ceiling is a fraction of what Becton’s represents.

New York Jets: Roadmap To A Ring, Mock Draft with Trades

The New York Jets attacked free agency in a unique manner that I didn’t expect. Rather than spend on Conklin or any other premier guys, they signed their guys to short term prove it deals. In our final edition of Roadmap To A Ring, this is the draft, who do the Jets take with all their picks, including a major trade to add more depth. This draft is not what Joe Douglas will do, it’s what I would do in his spot.

Jets TRADE Pick #11 to Buccaneers for Pick #14 & Pick #76 and select Andrew Thomas OT, Georgia

A whole lot to unload here, the Jets trade down with two of the top offensive tackles on the board. The Buccaneers then take Wills, with the Raiders and 49ers both taking receivers, Thomas is still on the board at 14. The Jets then get their future tackle and an extra pick. This would be a dream scenario for the Jets.

Pick #48 Zack Baun EDGE, Wisconsin

Baun is a high IQ pass rusher. Excellent leader and a great playmaker on defense. I liked him from the first time I saw him play. He’s shot up draft boards and he has become a great steal at this spot. Baun is immediately going to bolster the pass rush and is a GREAT value pick at 48.

Pick #68 Laviska Shenault Jr WR, Colorado

Shenault has a sketchy injury history. This raises some injury question marks. I don’t see many other obvious flaws than that. With that said, Laviska is going to fall. Maybe not to this spot, but hopefully he’s available for the Jets at some point. Shenault is dynamic, quick and an absolute game-breaker with the ball in his hands. At one time he was a top 3 WR in this class. As other guys rose, he fell. Now Laviska would be an excellent selection here.

Pick #76 from TB Cameron Dantzler CB, Mississippi State

Dantzler is an aggressive press corner. He’s efficient and could develop into a solid outside corner. He’s a “dawg” and would fit well in Gregg Williams’s defense. He’s a sneaky solid pickup with a few concerns about penalties.

Pick #79 Donovan Peoples-Jones WR, Michigan

Joe Douglas is dedicated to adding playmakers, boy oh boy would this be a pickup. Jones is an electric receiver. He’s a force in the return game. He’s also a deep threat. He and Shenault would be a dynamic combo and accomplish Douglas’s goal for adding playmakers.

Pick #120 Tyler Biadasz IOL, Wisconsin

Tyler Biadasz has had his stock drop for some reason. He’s likely to be a day 2 pick, or early day 3. He’s a great center and could be a great pick for the Jets to play guard and develop alongside McGovern and potentially take Van Roten’s spot at some point. If Biadasz isn’t the guy, look for Matt Hennessy in the 3rd round.

Pick #158 Geno Stone S, Iowa

Stone is a solid safety. A good option to be a backup for the future. Where he excels is special teams. Stone would fit the Rontez Miles role and has the potential to be better than him already in year one. Stone also has great tackling ability and is a good depth piece overall.

Pick #191 Rodrigo Blankenship K

The Kicker position would finally have its answer. “Hot Rod” Rodrigo Blankenship, is the top kicker in the draft. He’s been the top kicker in college football. He’d immediately take over the Jets kicking role. Those missed kicks wouldn’t be an issue with Hot Rod. There’s potential that the Jets can draft their franchise kicker here.

This draft would be a very very good one. Stone is depth. Biadasz is a future IOL piece. Blankenship is the kicker of the future. Jones and Shenault are excellent playmakers. Dantzler is an immediate depth player with high potential at corner. Thomas is the left tackle of the future. All great assets, all would make for a great draft class. 

Three Positions the New York Jets Could Target In 1st Round

The New York Jets have the 11th pick in the draft. It’s a solid spot to grab a blue-chip prospect. There are three spots the Jets desperately need to improve in the draft. With the opportunity to grab a cornerstone piece at 11, the Jets will target one of these three spots.

Left Tackle

The premier offensive line prospects are a great group. Tristan Wirfs is a spectacular athlete. He’s a great offensive lineman and very agile. Mekhi Becton is a FREAK athlete and very agile as well. Andrew Thomas has the highest ceiling and could be the best of the group. Jedrick Wills is an elite pass protector with incredible potential but would have to transition to left tackle. As long as one of the top 4 guys are there, Joe Douglas seems inclined to add an offensive lineman. There have been rumblings about another position, but, with two weeks to go, I’d say this pick will be a big man. If the Jets trade back, look to Josh Jones of Houston and Austin Jackson of USC to be targeted.

Wide Receiver

The receiver class is more loaded than any in recent memory. There are three key guys who could be targeted at 11 if the Jets target receiver. Henry Ruggs is the dynamic speed demon who lit up the combine. Jerry Jeudy is your prototypical receiver 1 and a crisp route runner. CeeDee Lamb is a little bit of both. Lamb has been the most connected to the Jets and wouldn’t be a surprise per Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller. Lamb and Jeudy are both can’t miss talents. Lamb can be the Hopkins to Darnold’s Watson and potentially be his key playmaker. With that said, I’d love a receiver here, but with the depth in this class at the position, Darnold could use someone at 11 who can protect Sam and give him time to throw. If the Jets trade back, the Jets could grab Justin Jefferson or Jalen Reagor, two-speed demons who could fit well in the Jets offense.

Edge Rusher

This came down to two spots for me. Edge rusher or corner. Pierre Desir and Bless Austin have a lot of potential as a corner duo for next season. I am a big Desir guy, I think he’s incredibly underrated. If they can add another corner in the later rounds then they’d be in a decent spot for the time being at corner. Edge rusher is rough. Jordan Jenkins and Tarell Basham are the projected duo heading into next season. Jenkins and Basham are not the long term duo. Jenkins is on a prove-it deal and Basham isn’t proven. The Jets could use their next star edge rusher. Chase Young will be gone at 11, but K’Lavon Chaisson is a phenomenal talent. He’s dynamic and quick, but with so many other needs, he may not be worth the pick this high or at all with the other needs. If the Jets trade down, AJ Epsensa, Zack Baun and Yetur Gross Matos would all be great targets at the edge spot.

New York Giants Set To Interview The Draft’s Top Tackles

New York Jets, Jedrick Wills

The New York Giants are almost certainly either going to take an offensive lineman or a player on the defensive front with their first round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft – trade or no trade. Those are the two biggest positions of need for the team, the former because the Giants have invested heavily in quarterback Daniel Jones and the latter because the defense has struggled in the sacks department for years. However, there’s few leads yet on just which way the Giants are leaning.

They have one pick in the first round and no matter what they select, there’s still likely going to be a large gap in the team that needs to be filled somehow before the Giants can start winning.

According to Jordan Raanan, though, the Giants are looking at the offensive line positions closely when evaluating draft prospects in the final buildup to the draft itself.

The Giants are certainly putting their time and attention toward the top offensive tackles during the pre-draft process, according to sources. They have scheduled video call sessions in the coming weeks with the top tackles, which include Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs and Georgia’s Andrew Thomas. Louisville’s Mekhi Becton and Alabama’s Jedrick Wills are also expected to be in that mix. The Giants were also supposed to have dinner with the prospects before their pro days, which were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. So there seems to be little doubt the Giants are contemplating a tackle with their top pick.

The Giants drafting any one of these players would almost certainly mean missing out on a premier defensive player at the outside linebacker or the edge rusher position, which are both needs of the Giants. Chase Young was, for much of the season, the player linked to the Giants. Now that it looks like the team is out of the position where they could draft him, Isaiah Simmons is the top defensive player mocked to the Giants.

But on the other hand, the team has learned the problems of having a bad offensive line through multiple failed roster additions that haven’t picked up the quality on the line to the required standard. It’s been a number of years that the Giants have had this problem and at some point, the team is going to have to spend a high draft pick or spend big in free agency for one or more players on the line to help in stepping up.

It’s true that the Giants need sacks but it’s also true that the Giants are heavily invested in Daniel Jones, and Jones’ success is directly tied to having proper protection. Could this be the reasoning for the Giants focusing this much on the tackle position? Based on the team’s plans for meetings, that may very well be the case.

New York Giants To Have Virtual Meeting With OT Prospect Andrew Thomas

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

The New York Giants are preparing for the 2020 NFL Draft like every other team during COVID-19, facetime interviews with prospects, and zoom meetings with team personnel. The world pandemic coronavirus has put a halt on the entirety of the sports world- except for the NFL Draft. The draft will look a lot different this year, but it is still set to take place on April 23rd.

Every NFL team and draft prospect has been put at a disadvantage this offseason due to the virus outbreak. Prospects have not been able to hold Pro Days for NFL teams to scout and meet them, and NFL teams have not been able to travel to meet prospects. This will make it especially challenging for teams to sort their draft boards out within the next couple of weeks.

Regardless, the show must go on. Teams need to familiarize themselves with these prospects somehow. Of course, they will watch hours upon hours of game film as they do every year. But since these teams cannot meet with these prospects in-person, they will have to settle for virtual meetings to get to know the character behind every prospect.

Andrew Thomas FaceTime Meeting

According to Jordan Reid of The Draft Network, first-round offensive tackle prospect Andrew Thomas has an upcoming meeting scheduled with the Giants this week. The offensive tackle out of Georgia has already met with over fifteen NFL teams. His impressive performance during his junior year in college has garnered plenty of interest from NFL teams ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Is He The Pick At Number Four?

Taking Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick would likely be a bit of a reach. Some mock drafts project the Georgia offensive tackle to be drafted well outside of the top-ten selections. Thomas is a talented tackle with a promising future in the NFL, but the consensus amongst draft analysts and NFL executives seems to be that Andrew Thomas is not the top tackle prospect in the draft class.

Additionally, the names that have been linked to the Giants at fourth overall include Isaiah Simmons, Tristan Wirfs, and Mekhi Becton. They are reportedly interested in going offensive tackle with the fourth pick, but it does not seem like that offensive tackle would be Andrew Thomas.

So Why The FaceTime Meeting?

Andrew Thomas is the ideal trade-down draft selection. New York has been clear: they are open for business. If an offer satisfies Dave Gettleman, he is willing to trade back in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. But he will need to be able to land a quality player if he moves down.

Andrew Thomas might be a reach at fourth overall. But at ninth or twelfth overall, he would be a home-run selection. That is likely the reason the Giants are spending time meeting with Thomas over FaceTime. They are aware that he would be an excellent selection for them if they trade down, and they want to ensure that his quality of character is as high as his quality of football talent.

Are the Cowboys Pursuing Trade For New York Jet’s Cornerstone?

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

The Cowboys went down to the wire with the Jets at the trade deadline in negotiations for star safety Jamal Adams. The New York Jets wanted a 1st Round Pick and 2 Seconds. The Cowboys wouldn’t budge on their offer of a 1st and a day 3 selection. The Jets kept Jamal and after briefly being a cause of unrest among the Jets faithful, he went right back to bringing the energy to the defense and team as a whole.

Now, the New York Jets are in an offseason where they’ve spent a small amount of money on short term deals. They’ve invested in the offensive line and are seemingly going to invest a bulk of their draft picks into the offense as well. The Jets are preparing to rebuild this team into a contender in the future, not next season. This means they need to keep the talent they do have on defense for the long haul, so the Jets need to either lock up Jamal for the future or trade him and get compensation for him.

What Could A Deal Look Like?

I and many Jets fans would prefer he remains in Green and White, but the Cowboys are reportedly monitoring the situation between the Jets and Jamal and may be prepping to attempt a trade again. If the Cowboys did make an offer, it would likely include their 1st rounder, their 2nd or 3rd rounder and maybe another pick. The Jets would hypothetically then have a selection to add one of the top offensive linemen at 11 and add a receiver with the Cowboys selection. This would give them much more flexibility and help build for the long term with more guys on less expensive deals.

Is It Really Worth It?

Although some people discredit Jamal’s impact because of how the safety position is valued, he’s more than just a typical safety. Adams is an absolute monster on defense. He led the team in sacks last year with Jordan Jenkins. He’s also masterful in coverage and tackling. Adams is not just a force on the field but also in the locker room. Adams actively recruits players, is the voice of the team and the captain of the defense. He’s well regarded within the Jets community and the league as a whole. The Jets struck gold with Jamal Adams. No matter who they could add with the Cowboys picks, those players couldn’t have the same impact Jamal has had. Jamal Adams needs to remain a Jet, not just for now, but for a very long time.

New York Jets #MockDraftMonday: April 6, 2020

New York Jets

After Joe Douglas’ public comments, this week’s New York Jets mock draft from our experts gains position unanimity with the 11th overall pick.

With a healthy haul of veteran blockers, one would expect the New York Jets to use the 11th overall pick of the upcoming NFL Draft on a so-called “exciting” pick. Perhaps a receiver could be called to replace Robby Anderson. A depleted pass rush could use a sack threat. Even the secondary could use a bit more help, even with some big names lined up.

To paraphrase Jets general manager Joe Douglas…not so fast.

In his first public comments of the offseason, Douglas seemed to hint that the Jets’ offensive line renovation might not be completed just yet.

“I think there’s a real shortage of quality offensive linemen in the NFL,” Douglas said in a Wednesday afternoon conference call, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. “We’re going to do our best to get as many quality ones as we can because you can never have too many.”

Geoff Magliocchetti

1st Round (11th overall): OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
2nd Round (48th overall): WR K.J. Hamler, Penn State
3rd Round (68th overall): EDGE Julian Okwara, Notre Dame
3rd Round (79th overall): CB Bryce Hall, Virginia
4th Round (120th overall): S Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois
5th Round (158th overall): RB AJ Dillon, Boston College
6th Round (191st overall): LB Mohamed Barry, Nebraska
6th Round (211th overall): K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia

The flexibility we thought the Jets would have at the 11th pick seems to have gone by the wayside with Douglas’ apparent commitment to a blocker. But that flexibility can present itself in new ways on draft weekend. With the depth and imperative transactions the Jets have gained and made via free agency, the Jets have plenty of freedom with their remaining seven picks. The wiggle room could be especially advantageous when it comes to their three picks in the Friday session.

Douglas is apparently intrigued by the deep blocking class available on the first day. Even if Thomas goes within the first ten picks, Mekhi Becton, Tristan Wirfs, and Thomas’ SEC compatriot Jedrick Wills should be readily available. Day two would allow the Jets to fill one of their biggest remaining needs: receiving and defensive depth. Hamler is a Friday gem that would immediately contribute to any offense, while Okwara would fill the necessary pass rush void in order to start giving Josh Allen nightmares. The trend of immediate depth contributors extends into day three. Chinn can work alongside the established strong duo of Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, while Dillon becomes a much-needed spell option for Le’Veon Bell.

Brendan Carpenter

1st Round (11th overall): OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
2nd Round (48th overall): WR Tee Higgins, Clemson
3rd Round (68th overall): EDGE Bradlee Anae, Utah
3rd Round (79th overall): WR Bryan Edwards, South Carolina
4th Round (120th overall): CB Troy Pride Jr., Notre Dame
5th Round (158th overall): DE Jonathan Greenard, Florida
6th Round (191st overall): LB Mohamed Barry, Nebraska
6th Round (211th overall): K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia

Taking a receiver with their first pick is tempting, but the Jets would opt to go the safe route to solidify the remaining spot on their offensive line. I originally had the Jets selecting Jalen Reagor out of TCU on day two, but at 6’4″ with a long frame, Higgins would be tough to pass on. He knows how to show up in big games as well. The receiving trend continues with the 6’3, 212-pound Edwards, but there would be some question marks. He missed his final two games with a knee injury and broke his foot while training for the combine. Despite these setbacks, Edwards is another addition that could have a decent upside. Appropriately, the Jets would use the pick earned from the Leonard Williams trade to Anae (13 sacks in 14 starts last season).

Cornerback is a position of need for Gang Green. With Jeff Okudah most likely going in the top-five in the draft, there is no need to reach for one after that. Getting Pride Jr. in the third round would satisfy a need the Jets desperately need to address. He would slide in to play alongside Pierre Desir and Brian Poole in the secondary. Greenard could immediately contribute on the defensive line, especially if Quinnen Williams is suspended.

Dylan Price

1st Round (11th overall): OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama
2nd Round (48th overall): WR KJ Hamler, Penn State
3rd Round (68th overall): EDGE Joshua Uche, Michigan
3rd Round (79th overall): CB Troy Pride Jr., Notre Dame
4th Round (120th overall): OT Ben Bartch, St. John’s (MN)
5th Round (158th overall): RB Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State
6th Round (191st overall): TE Colby Parkinson, Stanford
6th Round (211th overall): OL Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon

In our last mock, I projected Andrew Thomas would be the pick. This time he was off the board, so Wills becomes the key offensive lineman of the future. He, Bartch and Throckmorton are all incredibly versatile offensive linemen. Bartch and Wills can be starters quickly, while Throckmorton provides depth. Hamler has elite playmaking ability and immediately becomes an excellent weapon for Sam Darnold.

Parkinson also becomes a good weapon, with high potential, who could fight for some reps at tight end. Uche and Pride both can develop behind the starters this year and be groomed to take over in 2021. Evans was a pick in my last mock draft who could be the future back for this team.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants NFL Draft Profile: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

The New York Giants are picking fourth overall in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. This is their third straight season picking inside the top-ten. It is a crucial draft that general manager Dave Gettleman needs to get right in order to keep his job.

The Giants have many positions of need, but arguably their weakest position is offensive tackle. Luckily for New York, the 2020 NFL Draft class is rich in offensive line talent, especially in the first round. One of the top offensive tackle prospects in this year’s class is Andrew Thomas, a refined prospect out of Georgia.

This article is the third installment of a new article series here on Empire Sports Media. This new series, the NFL Draft Profile series, will feature breakdowns of notable draft prospects to create a profile that summarizes and highlights the prospects’ top strengths and weaknesses. You can check out the first installment, the Isaiah Simmons NFL Draft Profile, here. The second installment, the Mekhi Becton NFL Draft profile, can be found here.

Granted, I am not an expert draft analyst. However, in this article, I will be breaking down Andrew Thomas as a prospect after watching hours of his film and using credible draft analysis from various sites such as NFL.com, Pro Football Focus, and The Draft Network intertwined with my own analysis. I will use the expert analysis to cross-check and cross-reference. I will use it to confirm or deny what I have seen on film. A YouTube video will also accompany this article on our channel, Fireside Giants. Unlike the last two draft profiles, I did not make this video. Instead, our chief engineer behind the Fireside Giants YouTube channel, Mike Iarrapino, made our Andrew Thomas Scouting Profile video.

Top Strengths:

Polished Technique:

Unlike Mekhi Becton, Andrew Thomas’s technique is not his biggest weakness- it is his biggest strength. Thomas is a polished offensive line prospect with a refined technique that allows him to excel as both a run-blocker and a pass-blocker.

Georgia’s 2019 matchup versus LSU is an excellent game to watch when evaluating Andrew Thomas. Thomas starting at left tackle, was tasked with defending LSU’s first-round EDGE prospect K’Lavon Chaisson. Chaisson has game-breaking speed for his position and is a handful for any offensive tackle that he is matched up against. But Andrew Thomas rose to the challenge and put together an impressive performance shutting down Chaisson despite a lopsided loss to the LSU Tigers.

In this Tweet, below are some of the best clips from Andrew Thomas’s matchup against K’Lavon Chaisson. Note the incredible lateral quickness that Thomas possesses as he efficiently beats Chaisson to the spot each rep and easily redirects Chaisson to the turf while remaining balanced and technical:

Andrew Thomas has excellent balance. He has very active feet that give him the ability to be a secure pass-protector. Seeing Thomas handle a speedy pro-level edge rusher like Chaisson bodes well for his NFL future. But he is not perfect in this regard and does have some technical difficulties against speed rushers that sometimes get him into trouble.

Andrew’s advanced technique also shows up in his run-blocking performance. The Georgia tackle is known for being a proficient run-blocker, and his technique and high football IQ are a big reason why.

Run Blocking:

Andrew Thomas is an excellent run-blocking offensive tackle. He demonstrated time and time again that he has no problem moving defenders to open up holes for Georgia’s talented running backs. Thomas’s run-blocking talents were on full display in Georgia’s 2019 matchups against Notre Dame and Texas.

In the Tweet below are some of my favorite highlights of Andrew Thomas run-blocking. Thomas throws multiple key blocks in single plays. He has high football IQ and great spatial awareness, which allows him to do this.

Andrew Thomas does a great job with cut-off blocks. He seals off defenders away from the running lanes and gives them no chance to get in front of the running back.

Top Weaknesses:

Pass Protection Against Speed Rushers:

I previously presented some highlights from Andrew Thomas’s matchup with LSU speed rusher K’Lavon Chaisson. That was one of Thomas’s most impressive games as he handled the difficult matchup exceptionally well. Still, not every play from that game was a win for Thomas, and some flaws in Andrew’s game did show up against Chaisson (and other speed rushers in other games).

Andrew Thomas’s technique against speedy edge rushers can be inconsistent. His footwork against speed guys sometimes gets him into trouble as his lateral agility can be stunted by lousy technique and footwork. Speed rushers have opportunities to beat Thomas around the edge with pure burst and bend.

The footwork against speed rushers is Andrew Thomas’s main issue. Often his initial kick step does not place him back far enough, and when he tries to shuffle to the right spot, it is already too late. That first step is vital for offensive tackles, and when facing an edge rusher with an abundance of burst, that first step needs to be perfect.

Some issues arise with Andrew’s hands when defending speed rushers. Whether he is late to initiate contact or has his elbows too wide, this is somewhere that Andrew Thomas needs to be more consistent.

He can struggle to keep pace up the arc with speed off the edge so cleaning up his pass sets is necessary. -Joe Marino of The Draft Network

Recap:

Andrew Thomas is a refined offensive tackle prospect. His technique is polished. Thomas also possesses more than enough strength and athleticism to get the job done in the NFL.

Thomas’s strength is as a run-blocker, where he has excellent spatial awareness and high football IQ that allows him to make multiple key blocks in a single play. He does have some occasional whiffs, as all lineman do, but he is a remarkably consistent run-blocker that uses his refined technique to open up holes and drive defensive linemen backward.

Andrew Thomas does struggle at times when matching up against speedy edge rushers and will need to work on this in the NFL. Thomas will need to improve his footwork and lateral quickness/agility against speed rushers off the edge. His hand placement and initial contact can use some improvement, too. His hands are too wide sometimes and cause him to miss the defender. He also has some reps where he waits too long to initiate contact, and, when he does, there is sometimes not enough power behind the punch.

The New York Giants have many different options they can select at the fourth overall pick. If the Giants go offensive tackle in the first round, they need to give serious consideration to Andrew Thomas. Thomas’s proficient run-blocking will help Saquon Barkley flourish in Jason Garrett’s offense that, in Dallas, featured an elite left tackle in Tyron Smith for years.

Drafting Andrew Thomas would not only make Saquon Barkley better, but it would help Daniel Jones develop, too. Jones needs stability at the left tackle position, and while there might be some growing pains for Thomas early on in his career (especially when dealing with speed rushers), he has exhibited the potential to be a premier offensive tackle with a polished technique to succeed as a pass-blocker. This is not me saying that Andrew Thomas should definitely be the pick (I am still leaning towards Isaiah Simmons), but Andrew Thomas to the Giants is a draft pick I would not hate- especially if they land him in a trade-back scenario.