The Real Question for the New York Giants at 4

New York Giants, DeAndre Baker

The New York Giants have a very real dilemma if they do not trade back in the 2020 NFL Draft this April.  Of course, any Giant fan will hold on to the dream of Chase Young falling to New York, but the roads to get there are nearly impassable.  

It would take a team willing to outbid the Miami Dolphins, who hold five picks in the first two rounds this year, for Washington’s pick.  Which would also mean the Redskins would be willing to move outside the Top 5.

Possible? Sure. So is me winning a lottery jackpot upwards of one billion dollars?

What options do the Giants realistically have at 4?

Fans of the New York Giants should stick to three options assuming they stay at number 4.  Those options are offensive tackle, a versatile defensive unicorn, and another young cornerback.

Offensive Tackle

Fortunately for the Giants, the offensive tackle class has some very good talent.  There are four options right now that the Giants could consider at the 4th overall. Alabama’s Jedrick Wills, Georgia’s Andrew Thomas, Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs, and Mekhi Becton out of Louisville.  

Jedrick Wills seems to be separating himself a bit from the rest, but Mekhi Becton has been gaining quite a bit of steam heading into the pre-draft process.  I wrote in my most recent mock draft that I believe Andrew Thomas would be the best fit for the Giants run game, but Becton Wills and Wirfs all have their arguments as well.  Admittedly, I’m beginning to lean more towards Wills, while not being able to deny the lateral movement of Becton. Regardless, if Dave Gettleman wants to add a hog molly with the 4th pick, there are plenty of options.

The Unicorn

All I really need to say here is the name “Isaiah Simmons” and end this paragraph.  Everyone knows his name and what he can do. He’s versatile, he’s talented and he has very few, if any, weaknesses to his game.  Simmons can play a variety of positions, which is what makes him attractive for the Giants here. He wouldn’t fix all of the defenses issues, but wherever he plays best would be an upgrade for New York.

His best fit for the Giants would likely be linebacker.  Either as an interior LB or as the WILL in a 4-3 front. Regardless, he can cover running backs, tight ends and even wide receivers, as well as be an impact blitzer.  If you’ve been a fan of the Giants for awhile, you likely desire a talented sideline-to-sideline linebacker that can defend the pass against running backs and tightends as much as I have.  Simmons is that answer.

Cornerback

Albeit the least likely of the three options, one can not rule out the Giants potential attraction to Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah.  Okudah’s man coverage skills and athletic ability may result in him evolving into one of, if not the best cornerback in the NFL during his time.  He is physical and can stay on a receivers hip through any route. Okudah’s ball skills are tremendous. He may need to work on his zone presence a little, but the value he adds in the pass game outweighs that.

The Dilemma

To me, the real debate for the Giants if they choose to stay at four is simple.  Linebacker or offensive tackle. Of course, Simmons can play more than just linebacker, but he is best suited for the middle of the defense.  He’s not a true EDGE rusher and putting him at safety takes him away from being a consistent impact on every rep. If the Giants draft Simmons, it is to play him at linebacker.  

As much as I covet a game-changing linebacker for this team, is a linebacker more valuable and more of a dire need for the New York Giants?  It certainly is something they need to address, but let’s not ignore the issues at offensive line.

The problems along the offensive line have been rampant for the Giants for years.  Nate Solder was given a big contract but has not lived up to it. The right tackle has been a carousel of players with no clear answer.  Misfortune and durability have crippled the starting center role. Trying to patch the line up can no longer be an answer.  

OL Nick Gates showed promise last season.  He stepped in when Mike Remmers was injured and looked good.  Whether or not he can be a consistent starter quality talent for New York is still a question.  Free-agent Jack Conklin has been a name linked to the Giants for some time now, but his signing with Big Blue is no certainty either.  Even with the addition of Conklin, do either him or Gates have what it takes to play left tackle? Can Nate Solder drastically improve?  

Finding a talented offensive line is not just a problem that plagues the Giants.  Every team in the NFL values talent on their line every off-season. There are plenty of teams with good lines, but having depth is another thing.  Jack Conklin could command big money in free agency, which the Giants have, but are they willing and able to outbid other suitors? Time will tell. 

The 2020 offensive tackle class this year is pretty talented.  As noted earlier, there are four options for the Giants with the 4th pick.  Usually, if a position of need is deep, I am all for waiting to select a player.  However, is this really something worth risking to wait until taking with the 2nd pick?  Would players like Josh Jones, Lucas Niang and Austin Jackson have the same impact and longevity? They might, but why let another team dictate who you can pick if you have the fortune of being able to choose whoever you want?

Isaiah Simmons is a fantastic athlete and I will not be disappointed to hear his name called to the Giants in April.  I will be the first in line to buy his jersey.  However, when it comes down to it, offensive tackle is a much more important need than a linebacker. The Giants have taken risks in the last two drafts.  A running back with the 2nd overall pick, and then a controversial QB selection in 2019. It is imperative for the success of the team to give both of those players help.  Even if that means sacrificing a unicorn in the process.