New York Giants: Defensive Players to Watch at the Combine

New York Giants, Nate Solder, Jon Halapio, Mike Remmers

It is no secret to anyone reading this, but the New York Giants are in serious need of defensive talent.  At the time of this article, the Giants have just $23.2 million of their 2020 cap space allocated to the defensive side of the football.  For comparison, that is less than what both Khalil Mack and Aaron Donald will count towards the Bears and Rams respectively.  The next closest figure is that of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which is $42.9 million.

It is without question that the New York Giants will target the defense in both Free Agency and April’s draft.  Everyone knows the big name prospects that the Giants may or may not be able to get in the first round.  Chase Young, Isaiah Simmons, Derrick Brown and Jeffrey Okudah are all well known and potential targets for Big Blue in the early stages.  Yet, with currently 10 picks throughout the entire draft, including compensatory picks, the Giants need to be able to target defenders at every stage.

Who are some other prospects the Giants could target in days 2 and 3?

EDGE Zack Baun – Wisconsin

Zack Baun has been a named mocked to the Giants in the 2nd round by numerous sources.  However, he doesn’t have a flashy name like Young, K’Lavon Chaisson or A.J. Epenesa.  For Giants fans well in tune with Joe Judge’s plan of versatility, maybe you should get accustomed to it.  Baun is a defensive playmaker that will be best suited in a versatile role.  His quickness and burst are what will make him stand out in pressure generation.  He can quickly fill gaps in the run game, as well.  If Zack Baun is indeed a selection for the Giants, look for him to play all over the field for the defense.

CB Damon Arnette – Ohio State

I will not be surprised to see Ohio State’s Damon Arnette sneak into the first round after a good showing in Indianapolis.  His skills in press coverage would be well suited for every team in the NFL.  Arnette does not have the elite speed most teams may covet in a corner, so safety help is a must.  Where he does excel, are his ball skills and short-area abilities.

EDGE Joshua Uche – Michigan

No, this isn’t an article of Big Ten athletes.  Joshua Uche is just good.  In his interview this week, Jedrick Wills picked Uche when asked who his toughest matchup was in college.  That is saying a lot coming from an Alabama prospect.  Uche is not the most filled out athlete, but his quickness and bend is top-notch.  He has the frame to add more mass, which could really propel him into the top echelon of NFL pass rushers.

S Kyle Dugger – Lenoir-Rhyne

The South Atlantic Conference in NCAA’s Division II is about as far away from the Big Ten as one could get.  Kyle Dugger, however, will be competing with top tier talent on Sunday’s.  Dugger is another versatile defensive weapon.  One could call him a poor man’s Isaiah Simmons.  However, if he gets called to play for the New York Giants, they’d very likely hit it rich.  Dugger may find the best success transitioning to LB.  In fact, he was asked to take part in LB drills at the NFL Combine.  He may not have the same skill set as Simmons, but he comes with similar versatility.

LB Akeem Davis-Gaithers – Appalachian State

Another prospect from a “smaller” program, Akeem Davis-Gaithers has the talent that the Giants are looking for.  He’s a linebacker that comes with a very good range.  In college, he occasionally was asked to cover wide receivers, but absolutely has the athleticism to cover running backs and tight ends in pass defense.  Similar to Uche, he could afford to put on some extra pounds.  With his hard-hitting mindset, it would be extremely beneficial for him to do so at the next level.

S Shyheim Carter – Alabama

The Giants have had success with Alabama safeties and Shyheim Carter could be the next.  Like Landon Collins, Carter does his best work near the line of scrimmage.  Another versatile, hybrid player, the New York Giants could very well benefit from his services.  Also like Collins, however, he is not someone you’d trust covering a running back or tight end in coverage.

LB Cameron Brown – Penn State

A late-round prospect, Cam Brown is the type of linebacker the Giants have needed.  He has incredible range and athleticism.  Often being bumped out to cover wide receivers in the slot and tight ends.  The Nittany Lions used him quite often in pass defense of the flat zones.  He’s got the range to play WILL but will need to bulk up and clean up his tackle finishing for the NFL.

 

New York Giants Upgrade Line And Receivers In Three Round Mock

New York Giants, Dave Gettleman

Early mock drafts often aren’t that accurate to the actual results, but that doesn’t stop them from being one of the favorite pastimes of the offseason – and the New York Giants so far have been mocked to a number of different players. There’s no consensus pick this year like there was when the Giants selected Saquon Barkley, and this draft more closely resembles last year’s one where the Giants took Daniel Jones to the surprise of many.

Experts so far have been trying to predict which player the Giants could surprise everyone with this time, and NFL.com has released their latest three round mock draft. 

Like in many mock drafts, the Giants are seen as upgrading an area which has been much maligned during recent seasons despite a number of efforts to improve it by adding players like Nate Solder – the offensive line.

Solder may end up fearing for his job if this prediction is correct, because the mock draft has the Giants taking Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton, one of the top prospects at the position along with Alabama’s Jedrick Wills, another player who has been linked to the Giants.

Perhaps more notably, however, the mock draft has the Giants picking at number six overall rather than number four – the scenario includes a trade with the Chargers, who move up to take Justin Herbert at the spot where the Giants would formerly pick.

PROJECTED TRADE WITH CHARGERS. GM Dave Gettleman moves down two spots to re-gain the third-round pick he sent to the Jets for Leonard Williams, plus a 2021 second-round selection. An additional asset could be included in this deal, as well, like in the Bears- 49ers trade from three years ago, when Chicago gave up two third-rounders and a fourth to move up one spot and select Mitchell Trubisky. The Giants’ choice between Becton, Jedrick Wills and Andrew Thomas will be one of the more interesting storylines in the early part of the draft.

The Giants picking a tackle with their first pick isn’t a ground breaking prediction, however. It’s been predicted by many that the team will go in this direction and it fits their needs based on last season. The later rounds are where things get murkier and where the best selection gets less clear, and the mock has the team make an odd choice here.

Receiver is a spot where the Giants suffered last season due to an early suspension for Golden Tate as well as injuries that included many weeks of concussion trouble from Sterling Shepard, but if these predictions hold true, the Giants will select LSU receiver Justin Jefferson with the 36th pick.

Of course, Jefferson has a stat line from college which is worthy of getting him drafted – maybe even higher than the second round. More than a thousand receiving yards along with eighteen touchdowns aren’t stats to laugh at for a receiver coming out of college as a junior, but one question remains… Do the Giants really need a receiver enough to take one in the second round? With Shepard, Tate, and Darius Slayton among others, there’s options at the position already even if last season has shown that Shepard may not be the most reliable leading receiver.

Other areas such as the secondary are in more dire need of support, but the mock has the Giants selecting a player to help with that area in round number three.

That player is experienced Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette, who is coming out of the Buckeyes as a fifth year senior and started 11, 12, 13, and 11 games over the most recent four years. From the looks of it, his play style may just help the Giants avoid giving up yards to passes underneath, something that would be a major step in the right direction.

Here’s some of what the Draft Network has to say about the prospect:

Highly physical corner who loves to crowd the kitchen and cancel throwing windows before they develop. Versatile in playing from various leverages and is adept at getting his eyes into the backfield in timing with route breaks to find the ball first and play through the catch point. Grabbiness can draw flags but it’s worthy for his play style.

This draft haul would likely bring in a little bit of controversy, possibly around the Giants taking a receiver in the second round and waiting until round three to address the worse off secondary, but all of the players here could arguably improve the Giants – and combined with free agency additions could help the team avoid ending up in the same draft position next year.