New York Giants NFL Draft Profile: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

New York Giants, Tristan Wirfs

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 Tristan Wirfs, an uber-athletic tackle out of Iowa.

This article is the fourth 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. The third installment, the Andrew Thomas NFL Draft profile, can be found here.

Granted, I am not an expert draft analyst. However, in this article, I will be breaking down Tristan Wirfs 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 Tristan Wirfs Scouting Profile video.

Top Strengths:

Athleticism:

Tristan Wirfs has all the measurables to make NFL scouts fall in love with him. He is one of the most athletic offensive linemen to enter the league in recent memory. He lit up the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine, finishing first among all offensive linemen in the 40-yard-dash, the vertical jump, and the broad jump.

Tristan Wirfs comes in at 6′, 5″, 320 pounds. He possesses 10 1/4″ hands and 34″ arms. He has the height and weight to be an NFL tackle, but some critics question Tristan’s arm length. 34 inches is considered to be a bit short, which is why some have suggested that Wirfs would make a better guard or interior offensive lineman at the next level. Tristan’s vertical pass sets are another reason some make that suggestion, but we will discuss his technique more later.

The speed and acceleration displayed at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine constantly showed up on the field. However, Wirfs’s weight room heroics do not show up on the field as often as you would like. Tristan often struggled to defend the bull-rush off the edge. Whether it be caused by a lack of strength or poor technique, there were too many instances where Wirfs was put on skates.

Mauler In The Run Game:

Tristan Wirfs is the ideal lead blocker. His speed and athleticism give him the ability to lead block for running backs twenty yards down the field. It is intriguing to see just how well Wirfs’s Combine measurements translate to his on-field performance.

Take this clip from Iowa’s 2019 matchup against USC for example:

As great as he is as a lead blocker, that is not all that is special about Tristan Wirfs. He is also a smart run-blocker that opens up huge holes with timely cut-off blocks. He has the power and quickness to drive defenders back coming out of his stance. Playing the right tackle position with that much speed allows Tristan to excel in the outside running-game.

Top Weaknesses:

Struggles To Defend Inside Pass-Rush Moves:

This is also something that Mike Iarappino discusses extensively in the Tristan Wirfs Scouting Profile video on Fireside Giants. More often than not, when Tristan Wirfs lets up a pressure, he gets beat on an inside move. The main reason for this is his footwork/kick steps and the angles he takes on his pass sets. Tristan’s pass sets are can be too vertical. This is when his body is perpendicular to the line of scrimmage. This will be discussed further in the next subheading.

Although he is cerebral enough to anticipate twists and games inside, his lateral agility won’t allow him to get into good positions with his body. He struggles to redirect when a defender has countered or made an inside move. – Drae Harris, Senior NFL Draft Analyst at The Draft Network

This flaw, though, is the reason that some analysts suggest that Tristan Wirfs should play guard in the NFL. It is much more difficult to get beat on an inside move at the guard position because there is not as much space between a center and a guard as there is between a right tackle and a guard. It is also much more difficult to get too vertical in pass sets as a guard because of the spacing.

Tristan has never played guard before and has made it pretty clear that he wants to play offensive tackle in the NFL. But these technical flaws might force a team to move him inside if he cannot figure them out.

Inconsistent Technique:

There are some reps where Tristan Wirfs does everything right. On some plays, Wirfs has a quick get-off, keeps his shoulders and feet aligned, keeps his head up, initiates solid contact, keeps a wide base, and finishes the play strong. Unfortunately, those reps of technical perfection do not happen often enough.

Wirfs has demonstrated that he understands what a pass-block rep with proper technique is supposed to look like. But he has not demonstrated that he understands how to consistently have pass-block reps with proper technique. NFL coaching will hopefully fix this and make Tristan more consistent.

There are times when Wirfs’s shoulders are turned nearly ninety degrees away from the line of scrimmage. This makes it nearly impossible for him to get beat around the edge but it also makes it really easy for a speed rusher to swim inside. If Wirfs can keep his shoulders more square to the line of scrimmage in his kick slide, he can keep the defender in front of him. Being too vertical also creates a “soft shoulder” which makes it extremely difficult to anchor down against a power rush. For a better understanding of this “soft shoulder” concept and how it impacts Tristan Wirfs’s pass protection, check out this video by Brett Kollman.

Another inconsistency in Tristan’s game has to do with his hand placement. There are times when Tristan’s hands get placed a little too far apart when blocking defensive linemen. Think of it this way: when bench pressing, is it easier to get the weight up with a wide grip or a grip about even with your nipples? Bench pressing human beings is essentially an offensive lineman’s job. Widening your arms compromises your power. Tristan needs to keep his elbows bent inwards. This technical issue could be one of the reasons why Wirfs occasionally gets put on skates in pass sets or gets no push on run blocks.

Earlier I discussed how much of a mauler Wirfs is as a run-blocker. But he is not perfect in that facet of the game either. Tristan does have a bad tendency to swing his arms back coming out of his stance. This is what offensive line coaches refer to as a “wasted motion.” Swinging your arms back to generate power in your punch just allows defensive lineman more time and a wide-open window to grab a hold of your chest and overpower you. Wirfs has the strength to neutralize that most of the time (at least at the collegiate level), but that might be different in the NFL. Lining up against the likes of Fletcher Cox and Demarcus Lawrence will cause Tristan Wirfs to quickly learn how to keep his thick, strong arms in front of his chest at all times. Once a defensive lineman grabs hold of a lineman’s chest, the rep is over and the defensive lineman won.

Recap:

I think the potential is there for Tristan Wirfs to be great. But I think he has a lot of work to do. Obviously his excellent run-blocking abilities and otherworldly athletic talent make him a first-round prospect. But there are some technical flaws that Tristan will need to clean up to be successful in the NFL.

There is a really strong chance that the Giants take Tristan Wirfs in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The rumor mill seems to indicate that Wirfs is one of the Giants’ top targets. Even if they do not take him at fourth overall, he would be a top target for them in a trade-down scenario. Tristan’s experience at right tackle makes him a potential day-one starter on the Giants. His dominance as a run blocker would also make him Saquon Barkley’s best friend.

But, of course, drafting an offensive lineman in the first round is about the quarterback’s progression. The game is much easier to play when the quarterback has time to read a defense. Daniel Jones did not have a lot of time in the pocket as a rookie but adding Tristan Wirfs to the offensive line could fix that. However, if finding a true pass-protecting offensive tackle is Dave Gettleman’s goal, Jedrick Wills is probably the more polished and the more pro-ready prospect.

The Giants can not go wrong with this offensive line class. Even if they decide to wait until the second or third round, there is a good chance New York snags a long-term starter at offensive tackle. Tristan Wirfs has all the tools and potential to be that long-term starter. Giants fans should be ecstatic if they hear Tristan Wirfs’s name called when the Giants are on the clock next Thursday.

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.

New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins Performs During On-Field Workouts At The Combine

On Saturday, the quarterbacks, tight ends, and wide receivers participated in the NFL Combine. Many players helped improve their draft stock by impressing in the on-field workouts.

The quarterbacks got to show off their accuracy and arm strength during the on-field workouts. While the prospects were throwing at the Combine, all eyes were on one quarterback in particular: Dwayne Haskins Jr. from Ohio State University.

Dwayne Haskins Combine Highlights

One thing that scouts and analysts immediately noted for Dwayne Haskins was how quickly the ball zipped out of his hand. He has great arm strength. On top of that, Haskins can make every throw. And he can do it better than every other prospect who threw on Saturday.

To start the on-field throwing drills, the quarterbacks threw slant routes. On these slant routes, Haskins showed off his arm strength. As Daniel Jeremiah noted, you can see the ball jump out of his hand. He completed every pass and put the ball in stride and on the money on every throw during the slants.

During the curl-routes and out-routes drills, Haskins impressed. Dwayne showed great timing anticipation during these drills. His accuracy in the intermediate range was a strength in college, and that seemed no different at the combine.

Dwayne Haskins showed off his deep accuracy on the corner routes. The prospects were struggling with this throw before Haskins took a crack at it. Kurt Warner even said the prospects were completing about 10% of the throws. But once Dwayne Haskins stepped up to throw, that changed. He put every throw right on the money. He had great height on his passes and tremendous accuracy, touch, to go along with perfect timing.

Giants fans everywhere will agree with Daniel Jeremiah: Giants’ super star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. could have corralled the second pass by Haskins. Engram, too. Dwayne Haskins could be the future of the Giants’ franchise come April. The Giants seem to like him.

New York Giants’ offensive coordinator Mike Shula payed extra attention to Dwayne Haskins on Saturday. The team met with Dwayne on Friday night, then continued to scout him on Saturday. According to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, Shula spent a lot of time chatting with Haskins on the sideline.

…Giants OC Mike Shula did stand and chat with Dwayne Haskins on the sideline during the early portion of today’s throwing session for about 8-10 minutes. Didn’t see that with anyone else. Shula also put Haskins through his initial throws before the WR portion. – Pat Leonard

Haskins was officially weighed and measured on Friday. He stood tall at 6 foot 3 and three eighths and weighed 231 pounds. It is safe to say Haskins is a big guy. Unfortunately for Dwayne Haskins, he is not a fast big guy. He ran a 5.04 40 yard dash at the Combine. He was the slowest quarterback in his group.

A good thing for Dwayne Haskins is that he is more of a thrower than a runner. His slow 40 time will not affect his draft stock at all because it is not important. Haskins will never be asked to run 40 yards straight down the field. He is a strong-armed accurate passer. He plays his best when he has time in the pocket and can scan the field. Dwayne Haskins is an accurate, pro-style quarterback.

New York Giants: Quarterback Prospects Weigh In At The Combine

Should the New York Giants draft Oklahoma star, Kyler Murray?

The 2019 NFL Scouting Combine officially began on Thursday, February 28th. On Thursday, the 2019 Draft prospects were officially weighed and measured. All eyes were on this year’s quarterback class.

After NFL teams had their coaches and general managers conduct press conferences on Wednesday, fans and analysts were keeping a keen eye on a few specific prospects. For the Giants, those prospects were Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins.

Giants’ head coach Pat Shurmur committed to veteran Eli Manning Wednesday. However, him and general manager Dave Gettleman both acknowledge Eli’s age. He turned 38 years old in January. As Pat Shurmur said, Eli is “closer to 40 than he is to 20.”

With Eli’s age being a factor, the Giants are aware they need to have a plan for the future. Gettleman and Shurmur both admitted they are thinking about a succession plan and they are scouting this year’s quarterback class. With all this in mind, it is easy to assume the Giants took notes of the quarterbacks’ measurements.

Kyler Murray

Possibly the most intriguing prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft is Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray. Murray won the Heisman Trophy in 2018 as he put up 42 passing touchdowns and 4361 passing yards, along with with 12 rushing touchdowns and 1,001 rushing yards. He is the definition of dual-threat.

Despite his magical 2018 season at Oklahoma, Murray comes with a plethora of question marks. The main one being his size. But Murray answered all questions during his official weigh in and measurements at the Combine.

Throughout Kyler’s college career and this year’s NFL offseason, there has been speculation about Murray’s height. Some predicted he would be measured at only 5 feet 8 inches. However, at the Combine, Murray measured out a little taller and heavier than expected.

Kyler Murray’s official weight at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine is 207 pounds. This is a huge win for Kyler Murray. Many analysts predicted his weight to be closer to 180 pounds. Murray proved today that the Russell Wilson comparisons might not be much of a stretch. He actually weighed in 3 pounds heavier than Wilson did at his Combine.

On top of his surprising weight, Murray impressed scouts with his height. He was measured at 5 feet 10 inches, just one inch below Russell Wilson. He even had some of the biggest hands in the class with 9 and a half inches (bigger than 6 foot 3 inch Drew Lock).

Murray’s weight and measurements might entice a quarterback-needy team to take him in the top 10. After Shurmur’s press conference, some might believe the Giants could be that team.

Dwayne Haskins

Before the 2019 NFL Combine, Giants fans were all in on Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Now the fanbase seems to be split between Haskins and Kyler Murray. Either way, both seem to be great options, and after Combine measurements, Haskins deserves just as much of the spotlight.

Dwayne Haskins had great measurements at the Combine. He has a solid, prototypical NFL body. Dwayne stood tall at 6 foot 3 inches and three eighths. This is the average height for quarterbacks in the NFL. Knowing that Gettleman likes big quarterbacks, this should be music to his ears.

Haskins also weighed in an ideal weight. He was a solid 231 pounds. To compare Haskins’s body type to a notable pro, Patrick Mahomes is listed at 6 foot 3 and 230 pounds. Haskins has nice sized hands at 9 and five eighths inches.

With the ideal size for an NFL quarterback, and his fantastic film at Ohio State, Haskins looks to have a promising NFL career. He has been mocked to the Giants in numerous mock drafts. With a good showing at the combine, the Giants could become even more interested in Dwayne Haskins.

Drew Lock And Daniel Jones

Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins are the two best quarterbacks in the 2019 NFL Draft. There is a strong possibility that both of them are selected in the top 10. However, they are not the only quarterbacks receiving first-round buzz.

Drew Lock from Missouri is the consensus third-best quarterback in this draft class. Some have been lead to believe he might even be selected in the top 15. He is a tall, strong arm quarterback. He is listed at 6 foot 3 and six eighths inches, as well as 228 pounds. Unfortunately, Lock only had 9 inch hands. Some teams might even consider that to be too small.

Duke quarterback Daniel Jones has the ideal quarterback body. He stands mighty tall at 6 foot 5 and weighs in at 221 pounds. He has large hands, too, at 9 and six eighths inches. Not only does Jones have the ideal body, he also has a connection to the Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning. Daniel Jones was coached by Eli Manning’s same quarterback coach. He could be an option for the Giants if they trade back, or if he slides into the second round and the Giants decide to draft another position in round one.

If the Giants choose to draft a quarterback in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, they have multiple options. As the Combine continues, the Giants will be keeping a close eye on these players as they participate in drills. Expect to see the Giants conduct formal meetings and interviews with a few of these prospects.

New York Giants: Head Coach Pat Shurmur Is Committed To Eli Manning

With the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine taking place this week, the New York Giants’ staff conducted interviews on Wednesday. The hot topic surrounding these interviews was, of course, the Giants’ quarterback position. The Giants were asked about their plans for the position in 2019 and beyond. The Giants would not reveal too much about their plans beyond 2019. However, head coach Pat Shurmur made one thing clear: Eli Manning “is back.”

What Coach Shurmur Had To Say About Eli Manning

This is not the first time coach Shurmur has said to the press that he wants Manning back in 2019. But for the first time all offseason, we heard a definitive answer. Rather than saying he wants Eli back, Shurmur said “He’s back.” There is a big difference between the two.

Coach Shurmur is confident Eli can still compete at a high level. He does not blame Eli for the Giants’ 5-11 season. Shurmur thinks that if the rest of the team plays better, Eli will too.

“I think Eli can help us win games, and he proved, when the players around him started playing better, that he can play at a very high level and help us win games,” Shurmur said. “So, yeah, at this point I want Eli back.” – Pat Shurmur

Despite this, Shurmur did not rule out the possibility of adding another quarterback to the roster in the offseason. The Giants will be doing their due diligence on the 2019 Draft Class to try to identify a franchise quarterback. In fact, Shurmur made it clear he has already started evaluating the top prospects at that position.

What Coach Shurmur Had To Say About 2019 Quarterback Prospects

When asked about Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins, Shurmur admitted that he has already watched every single play from both of the prospects’ junior seasons. Both prospects only started one season in college, so there is not too much film for the Giants to evaluate. But Shurmur has already watched every play from Haskins’s and Murray’s careers.

Regarding Murray’s controversial height, Shurmur did not seem too unsettled by it.  He noted that Murray’s height did not seem to effect his ability to throw the ball in college. Shurmur pointed out a key statistic during his press conference: “For a sub-6-foot player, he only had five balls batted down.” Shurmur is willing to look at quarterbacks of all shapes and sizes.

“Times have changed. Quarterbacks come in all shapes and sizes. … Russell Wilson won a Super Bowl, so I think you’ve got to look at the total player, you’ve got to look at his productivity, and you’ve got to look at whether he fits. And I think we as coaches then will use their skillsets to the best of their ability to get the most out of them and win games.” – Pat Shurmur

Both Shurmur and general manager Dave Gettleman floated the idea of a quarterback succession plan. They both made note of “the Kansas City Model.” What they were referring to was how the Chiefs groomed league MVP Patrick Mahomes. They drafted him in 2017, had him sit a full season and learn behind veteran Alex Smith, then promoted Mahomes to the starting quarterback job for 2018.

Mahomes went on to throw 50 touchdown passes and win league MVP while leading his team to the AFC Conference Championship game. The Giants would love to have similar success. If the Giants are confident in one of the 2019 Draft’s quarterbacks as a franchise guy, they will not hesitate to draft him and groom him behind Manning.

New York Giants Draft Profile: Edge Defender Jachai Polite

The New York Jets drafted Jachai Polite in the third-round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

His last name might be Polite… but on the football field, he’s as rude as they come.

Jachai Polite is 3-4 edge rusher out of the University of Florida. He decided to declare for the 2019 NFL Draft after a productive junior season. Polite is expected to be selected in the first round of the draft.

In his junior year, Jachai was able to total an impressive 11 sacks. On top of that, he added 19.5 tackles for loss. Polite was also able to force 6 fumbles and have 4 passes defended.

Strengths:

Jachai Polite has a variety of elite speed-rush moves. He is able to win with the spin move, swim move, and his incredible bend. His bend allows him to win on the outside and make his way back to the quarterback. His frame and flexibility are ideal for NFL edge defenders.

Jachai is a thin edge defender, which is the reason for his speed. He should be expected to run a quick 40 yard-dash. His speed and quickness off the edge could draw comparisons to Von Miller. It is one of his biggest strengths and makes him an exciting prospect in this class.

Weaknesses:

Jachai Polite is an elite speed-rusher, however, every prospect has his flaws. Polite is not limited as only a speed-rusher, but he is not elite in run defense. He can hold his own, but he will not be a strong, consistent presence against the run. Polite might need to gain weight and strength once he makes it to the NFL.

Too often Jachai gets pushed off of the line and out of the play against the run. He also does not have enough strength and power to move tackles into running lanes. He is a secure tackler and has solid pursuit, so if the runner comes in his area, Jachai will make the play. But he has not consistently shown the ability to go through blockers to get to the runner.

Draft Stock:

Right now, days before the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, Jachai Polite is considered a top-25 pick in this year’s draft. However, he has room for improvement. Some added weight and an impressive showing in the bench-press could move him up some teams’ draft boards.

Jachai will be expected to perform near the top of his position’s class in the dash, shuttle, and cone drills because of his speed and quickness. But if he performs well in the strength tests and interviews too, he could improve his stock.

In order for Jachai Polite to be in play for the Giants, a couple of things need to happen. First, the Giants need to decide they do not consider any quarterback in this draft class to be a franchise guy. Second, the Giants need to trade back.

Polite is not expected to be a top 10 pick. But, if the Giants move back between picks 10 and 20, Jachai Polite could be a home run selection along with the added draft capital the Giants would acquire in that trade.

New York Giants: What The Giants Will Be Looking For From Quarterbacks At The Combine

The 2019 NFL Scouting Combine will begin on February 26 and last until March 4. On Saturday, March 2, the quarterback prospects will participate in their workouts.

Much has been made of the New York Giants’ quarterback position. Eli Manning’s future with the team has been a controversial topic for a couple of years now. After the Giants passed on a quarterback with the number 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, fans are eager to see if the Giants will make up for it in 2019.

After all, Eli Manning is not going to get any younger. He is 38 years old and cannot play forever. Reports indicate the Giants are considering drafting his successor in the 2019 NFL Draft. If that is the case, the Giants will need to pay close attention to the quarterback prospects at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine.

Complete List Of Quarterback Prospects

  1. Dwayne Haskins Jr., Ohio State
  2. Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
  3. Drew Lock, Missouri
  4. Will Grier, West Virginia
  5. Daniel Jones, Duke
  6. Tyree Jackson, Buffalo
  7. Ryan Finley, N.C. State
  8. Jake Browning, Washington
  9. Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State
  10. Trace McSorley, Penn State
  11. Gardner Minshew, Washington State
  12. Brett Rypien, Boise State
  13. Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt
  14. Easton Stick, North Dakota State
  15. Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
  16. Jordan Ta’amu, Mississippi
  17. Clayton Thorson, Northwestern

The complete list of prospects participating in the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, from every position, can be found here.

During the NFL Combine, prospects will go through measurements, weigh-ins, drills, workouts, and interviews. It is an important week for the prospects trying to cement their draft status.

Weigh-Ins And Measurements

At the NFL Combine, teams take measurements of all the prospects. That includes their height, their weight, their hand size, and their arm length. Some teams look at these measurements as an important part of projecting a quarterback’s professional strengths and limitations. Others consider that to be an outdated form of evaluation.

The Giants are one of the teams that puts emphasis on the quarterbacks’ measurements. They will be looking for a quarterback with the prototypical NFL build. A tall, strong-arm quarterback with big hands is what the Giants like to see.

One quarterback to pay attention to in the weigh-ins and measurements is the 2019 Senior Bowl MVP, Daniel Jones. Daniel is coming out of Duke and is known for having the prototypical NFL body. It is possibly his best trait. Jones is expected to measure about 6’4″. His hands were measured at about 9 3/4″ and he weighed in at 215 pounds.

To put this into perspective: Eli Manning is 6’4″, weighs 218 pounds, and a hand size of 9 3/4″. Daniel Jones basically has the exact body of Eli Manning. Jones was even coached by Eli’s former college coach.

There are clear connections between Jones, Manning, and the Giants. However, talent is more important than body, so Jones will have to prove himself as the most talented quarterback in the draft if he wants the Giants to draft him with the 6th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Drills And Workouts

The fan favorite 40 yard-dash does not mean as much for the quarterback position as other drills do. However, in select prospects, the 40 time is a special drill to keep an eye on.

In 2018, that special case was Lamar Jackson. However, Jackson decided not to run the 40 at the Combine.

In 2019, that special case is Kyler Murray. Murray is expected to run about a 4.40 40 yard-dash. He could set a record time for his position.

The quarterbacks have their own drills, the throwing drills. Last year, Sam Darnold went number 3 overall without throwing at the Combine. So, throwing at the Combine is not extremely important, but it gives prospects a chance to make scouts look again when evaluating their accuracy.

Will Grier out of West Virginia is a prospect to keep an eye on in the throwing drills. He struggled with his accuracy during the Senior Bowl, but the Combine could be a chance to redeem himself.

The Giants likely will not be looking for a speedy quarterback. The 40 yard-dash is not something the Giants will be paying close attention to. For example, Eli Manning ran a 4.92 40 yard dash, and he has been the Giants’ quarterback for 15 years. The Giants prefer an accurate, strong-arm, pocket quarterback who can read defenses and make all the throws necessary. The Giants will watch closely to make sure the prospects they like are accurate and have an “NFL-arm” at the Combine.

Interviews

While these players will be evaluated during their workouts and drills, that is not the most important aspect of the Combine for them. The Giants and all other teams will put great importance on the quarterbacks’ interviews.

Teams like to use the combine as a way to get to know the players. Since quarterback is such an important and complex position, the interview looks to dissect many important traits for quarterbacks.

Teams will ask them questions to see how they can handle the media. They will ask them about their relationships with teammates and coaches, along with their work ethic. Most importantly, the teams will be testing the quarterbacks on their football IQ.

The football IQ they will be testing for in a quarterback is their ability to read defenses, call protections, and understand play concepts. Many teams even give the prospects markers and a white board and pop quiz them on plays and concepts.

A prospect who will need a great interview to secure his spot as a top ten pick is Dwayne Haskins Jr. out of Ohio State University. Possibly Haskins’s best trait is his football IQ. Teams will try to figure out if Dwayne is the real deal in the interview room at the Combine.

Here are a couple of videos where Dwayne Haskins shows off his football IQ and has his throwing abilities analyzed:

New York Giants: Top Quarterback Prospect Might Not Meet Gettleman’s Criteria

The 2019 NFL Draft class has a few quarterbacks near the top of the big board. Many New York Giants fans have been eagerly waiting for their team to make the move of drafting a quarterback for a couple of years now. Giants quarterback Eli Manning has regressed with age. He turned 38 earlier this month, and was noncommittal regarding his future with the Giants.

All these factors lead Giants fans to believe that general manager Dave Gettleman will draft a quarterback with the 6th pick in the draft in 2019. Fan favorite quarterback Kyler Murray sits near the top of the board. However, there may be some reason to believe Gettleman is not interested in the Heisman Trophy winner.

Gettleman’s Criticism For Spread Offenses

Last offseason, Dave Gettleman participated in a very telling interview discussing quarterbacks. As general manager of the Panthers, in 2013, Gettleman signed Colby Cameron from Louisiana Tech as an undrafted rookie. Gettleman considered that to be a bad decision because of Cameron’s inability to run a pro-style offense.

“He was in that spread no-huddle system [in college]. I felt awful for the kid, but in August our quarterback coach was still in the huddle with him helping him make the huddle call. This kid was a three-and-a-half-year starter at a Division I school.”

It is important to Dave Gettleman that his rookie quarterbacks have the ability to run a pro-style offense. Dave has six key traits he looks for in quarterback prospects. He calls them “Quarterback 101 through 106.” These six traits are making a huddle call, identifying a mike linebacker, making a protection call, taking a snap from center, calling an audible and throwing a hot route. Many college quarterbacks are not required to do this, especially when playing in a pro-style system.

The issue with Kyler Murray is that he ran a spread, college-style offense. He almost never took snaps from under center. He typically always had the additional help of getting plays from the sideline and did not have to make a huddle call.

These could be red flags for Dave Gettleman. When the combine takes place in February, Dave Gettleman will certainly look to interview Murray and try to find out more about his abilities to run a pro-style offense.

A Pro-Style Prospect That Gettleman Might Enjoy

One prospect near the top of the draft board who played in a pro-style system is Dwayne Haskins. Haskins played one season as a starter at Ohio State University and absolutely lit it up. He threw 50 touchdown passes to only 8 interceptions. Haskins playing in a pro system could mean Gettleman likes him as a prospect and will consider drafting him in 2019. In the following video, Dwayne Haskins demonstrates his ability to call protections, make pre-snap reads, and read defensive coverages like a professional quarterback would: