Two linebackers not named Isaiah Simmons the New York Giants could target in the 2020 NFL Draft

New York Giants, Patrick Queen, Kenneth Murray

Taking a look at two linebackers the New York Giants can target in the NFL Draft:

Predicting where the Giants will go with the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft is impossible. General manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Joe Judge have made it incredibly difficult to break down there estimated selection.

Gettleman has mentioned the depth at tackle in this draft class but also addresses that Nate Solder has struggled to cover Daniel Jones’s blindside. Figuring out how to allocate a top-five selection isn’t only difficult for us, but it is problematic for the executives in charge.

The Giants could easily pass on Clemson stand out defender Isaiah Simmons, but for the sake of trading back, there are other linebackers to consider later on in the first round. Let’s look at two linebackers that could fit the bill for the Giants.

1. LSU – Patrick Queen

Having only spent one season as a bonafide starter with LSU, Patrick Queen emerged as one of the best linebackers in the country last season. He’s a bit undersized at 6’0″ and 229 pounds, but his elite speed and instincts give him the developmental upside teams are looking for. He has the ability to play all three downs, covering running backs and even slot receivers adequately. He can be a little slow in the run game diagnosing plays, but when he does, his quickness shows up significantly.

Queen has incredible sudden agility and athletic ability. His lack of experience has knocked him a bit, but those are all things that improve with live-action. I believe he has the highest upside of any linebacker not named Isaiah Simmons.

There is a chance Queen slips to the end of the first round where the Giants could have a shot by trading up to secure him.

2. Oklahoma – Kenneth Murray

Some argue that Murray is an even better prospect than Queen, as he stands a bit taller at 6’2″ and 241 pounds.

Murray also contains elite speed, despite being a bit slower than Queen. However, for his size and additional weight, it makes sense that he is only .2 seconds slower than the LSU product. Murray landed a 4.52 40-yard dash while Patrick logged a 4.50.

However, the former four-star recruit out of Missouri Coty, Texas, exploded onto the scene for the Sooners in 2017. Ever since it’s inception into collegiate football, he has climbed the ranks and establish himself as one of the most talented linebackers in the country.

His playmaking ability is impressive, and his speed shows up all over the field. Murray tallied at 102 total tackles and 17 for a loss in 2019, showing off his ability to diagnose the run and react quickly to screen passes. He is another extremely talented player with high upside, similar to Queen. If the Giants do trade back into the middle of the first round, Murray might be a player worth considering.

Another interesting traffic tidbit, NFL analyst Ian Rapoport stated that no negative words have been correlated to Murray from teams. He is building a nice draft stock for himself.

New York Giants: Two LSU Defensive Prospects That Make Sense In A Trade-Down Scenario

The New York Giants hold the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. For now… And maybe forever. But the opportunity still exists for New York to trade back and grab extra draft capital. General manager Dave Gettleman stated in February that the Giants are “open for business.” He admitted that the team is open to trading down from fourth overall but he also indicated that they do not want to trade down too far.

Gettleman does not want to trade back and compromise the talent-level of his first selection in exchange for additional picks. He only wants to trade back if he can ensure himself a top-tier prospect. But there are two LSU defensive prospects available in the later parts of the first-round that could be home-run selections for the New York Giants if they do decide to trade down.

Patrick Queen, LB, LSU:

If the Giants do not take Isaiah Simmons at fourth overall, why not take the next best thing? Simmons is not the only linebacker in this class who excels in coverage- Patrick Queen out of LSU does, too. Benjamin Solak of The Draft Network described Queen as: “A highly adept zone cover defender who overlaps short zones with ease and makes high-quality plays accordingly.”

Patrick Queen is an athletic inside linebacker, considered by most to be the second-best in this class. He ran a 4.5s 40-yard-dash at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine to go along with his impressive 18 bench press reps. Queen might be a bit undersized at 6 feet tall and 229 pounds. But he more than makes up for his size with his intensity.

Patrick Queen has a high motor that never seems to turn off. He racked up 85 total tackles in 2019 including 3 sacks and 12 tackles for loss. He also added an interception against top-tier quarterback prospect Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama:

If New York selected Patrick Queen it would have to be after the first twenty-or-so picks. So they would have to be trading down pretty far to make Queen an option. There is a chance he slides into the second round but that is highly unlikely. A trade for Patrick Queen that makes sense: acquiring the ninth and twentieth overall selections from Jacksonville in exchange for fourth overall. The Giants would be moving back five spots, still able to draft an offensive tackle at ninth overall. Queen would then be a strong option at the twentieth overall selection.

K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU:

There is another Louisiana State product that could make sense if the Giants trade down. Dave Gettleman made it clear this week that the Giants are “not in position” to acquire a “25-sacks-a-year guys.” But he also pointed out that “we haven’t gone through the draft yet” and assured that the Giants “will just keep building it.”

Enter K’Lavon Chaisson: a 20-year-old athletic specimen out of LSU. He did not run the 40-yard-dash at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine, but if he did he would have ranked amongst the fastest at his position. Chaisson made life difficult for opposing offensive tackles in the SEC with his explosive burst off the edge and quickness to get to the quarterback. He stands tall at 6 feet 3 inches and weighs in at 254 pounds with lanky 32 and 1/4 inch arms.

Most draft analysts regard K’Lavon as the second-best edge rusher in this draft class behind only Chase Young. The Giants desperately need a stud, primary pass-rusher off the edge and if they trade down, K’Lavon Chaisson could be that prospect. The LSU edge rusher put his athleticism to good use, dominating the competition for 6.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss en route to a National Championship.

K’Lavon Chaisson is projected to be a mid-first-round draft pick. He has been commonly mocked around the fifteenth or sixteenth overall selection so New York would have to trade back pretty far for Chaisson to become an option.

Should the New York Giants target LSU LB Patrick Queen in the 2020 NFL Draft?

New York Giants, Patrick Queen

Taking a look at LSU defender Patrick Queen and if the New York Giants should consider him in the 2020 NFL Draft.

There is always the chance that New York Giants’ general manager Dave Gettleman selects an offensive tackle with the fourth overall pick. However, making that move would guarantee missing out on Clemson stand-out defender Isaiah Simmons. As one of the highest graded players in this draft class, Simmons would immediately upgrade the defense and give coordinator Patrick Graham a weapon to use all over the field.

Being a self-proclaimed “defender” over “linebacker,” Simmons has the speed and diversity to play slot corner, safety, and linebacker. Passing on him would be extremely difficult, but there are ways the Giants could supplement the loss of Simmons if they elect to take a tackle.

In a more creative mock scenario, the Giants could trade back and gain an additional second-round pick to use in the 2020 NFL draft. If they can manage to add that type of draft capital, they could package both second-round picks and move up to grab a defender like LSU’s Patrick Queen. Queen is projected to go in the mid/late first round, which could be a good spot for Big Blue to make a move. It’s possible he could be out of reach, but crazier things have happen in the draft.

What does Patrick Queen offer the defense?

Queen is one of the highest-ranked linebackers in the draft and is coming out of a program that has produced high-end linebackers in recent years. NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein projects him as a quality year one starter. With eye-opening tape and impressive physical and mental attributes, the one-your starter for LSU has plenty of room left to develop. The Giants would be getting a semi-raw but extremely talented prospect with elite speed at the inside linebacker position. He’s like a Ryan Connelly on steroids, essentially.

With the ability to drop back in coverage and stop the run, Queen is a sideline-to-sideline defender who can make plays. Landing him would be a nice consolation prize if the Giants pass on Isaiah Simmons. Queen and the Giants virtually met last week.

New York Giants Set To Have Virtual Meeting With Stud LSU Linebacker Prospect

New York Giants, Patrick Queen

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.

Patrick Queen Virtual Meeting

According to Jordan Reid of The Draft Network, first-round linebacker prospect Patrick Queen has an upcoming meeting scheduled with the Giants in the coming days. The linebacker out of LSU has already met with the Packers, Eagles, and Ravens. His ability to command a defense, demonstrated in LSU’s National Championship-winning 2019 season, has garnered plenty of interest from NFL teams ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft.

It is highly unlikely that Patrick Queen slips into the second round. But if he does, it would be a home run selection for the Giants. If the Giants were to draft Queen, it is more likely that it would be in a trade-down scenario later in the first round.

Patrick Queen is an excellent coverage linebacker with top-notch instincts in zone coverage. According to Pro Football Focus, Queen never allowed a reception longer than 20 yards on 488 career coverage snaps. Check out this remarkable interception that Patrick Queen made versus Alabama below:

One other thing to note here for the Giants is that they are still interested in drafting a top-tier linebacker despite signing Blake Martinez in free agency. New York recognizes that Martinez is not a coverage linebacker (allowing a completion percentage of 83.8% when targeted). Still, in dire need of a linebacker who can guard tight ends, the Giants are doing their due diligence on the draft’s top prospects. This indicates that fan-favorite prospect Isaiah Simmons is still on the Giants’ draft board. Signing Blake Martinez will not discourage New York from drafting a linebacker early in 2020.

New York Giants Full 7 Round Mock Draft

New York Giants, Kaden Smith

The New York Giants once again find themselves picking in the Top 10 in the NFL Draft for the third year in a row.  For Giants fans, the practice of wondering which of the more elite-level talent in this pool of players will suit up for Big Blue.  

With a coaching staff starting to take shape, things begin to get a little more clear on the types of players that could be sought after.  Here is an early look at what the New York Giants could do with their 7 rounds in April’s 2020 NFL Draft.

Round 1 – Pick 4

Isaiah Simmons, LB/S Clemson

Versatility has been a word Giants fans have seen a lot since the hiring of Joe Judge.  Big Blue Nation has been clamoring for a game-changing linebacker for years and may finally get its wish.  

Isaiah Simmons is that answer for the New York Giants.  We have seen how game-changing sideline to sideline defenders can be.  Simmons is built like a linebacker but has the athleticism you’d see in a defensive back.  A guy that can play at nearly any level of the defense, Isaiah Simmons is a true 3-down hybrid that will force opposing offenses to take notice.

Round 2 – Pick 36

Mekhi Becton, OT Louisville

Many believe offensive tackle is where the Giants could and should go in April, but the defensive talent is too good for them to pass up.  Mekhi Becton may not be one of the top tackles in the class, but he has the length, flexibility, and strength to be an immediate NFL starter.  

Round 4 – Pick 100

Bradlee Anae, EDGE Utah

This is where I think the New York Giants will have to have some fortune.  Not having their 3rd round pick that they gave up in the Leonard Williams trade could be missed.  They are scheduled to, and will likely receive a 3rd round compensatory pick due to the departure of Landon Collins, but for now, let’s keep that off the table. 

Bradlee Anae is a name we may begin to see more of as the draft process carries on.  The Giants having the chance to take him with the 100th pick in the draft seems unlikely.  In the very slim chance he is available, they should have that pick at the moment the clock starts.

New York has got to address the pass rush this offseason.  It is absolutely something they could do in free agency, but Anne is a prospect that would be worth taking regardless.  He tied a Utah record with 29.5 career sacks, notching 12.5 in his senior season. He has strength and good footwork off the edge.  What makes him impressive is his evolving skillset of pass rush moves, making him a young artist at the position.

Round 5 – Pick 132

Michael Pittman Jr., WR USC

Considering the lack of experience and injuries at the receiving position, continuing to build weapons for Daniel Jones is important.  One upgrade I think that would be beneficial is a red zone target that could compliment this receiving group. 

Michael Pittman Jr. does not have the speed or burst off the line you’d want in a WR, but he makes up for it.  At 6’4” and roughly 220 lbs, Pittman has the size and hands to go up and get the football. He can be physical and isn’t afraid of contact, which shows up in his crossing routes.  Apart from his red-zone presence one area that Pittman could really benefit the New York Giants is in his run blocking ability. Pittman and Sterling Shepard leading the way for Barkley? Yes, please.

Round 6 – Pick 163

Patrick Queen, LB LSU

Still no official word on whether or not Queen has declared for the NFL Draft, but if he does, someone may get a sleeper.  The New York Giants need linebackers that can cover, and Patrick Queen can do just that. This season, he allowed only 165 total yards in 355 coverage snaps, according to PFF.  Queen can not only cover the field, but he rarely misses tackles. Something the G-Men could really benefit from.

Round 7 – Pick 195

Antonio Gibson, WR Memphis

Hear me out.  Gibson is an explosive player that can also generate yards with power and contact.  He’s a weapon that may benefit from a move to running back. This is where that popular New York Giant word comes into play yet again. Versatility.  Antonio can line up at WR, RB and can even return kicks. This is the kind of weapon you take a chance on with these late-round picks.

Round 7 – Pick 215

Jaron Bryant, CB Fresno State

If you’re still with me, thank you.  Your passion to read into the 7th round of a mock draft in January matches mine.  You have a sense of what the New York Giants need to address this offseason, and a lot of that is in the defense.  Jaron Bryant may be able to help and again… he’s versatile! He has a great physical frame but could benefit to add a bit of muscle.  Bryant is a solid tackler but lacks the speed you’d like to see in a true cover corner. This could all mean a transition to safety in the NFL.