New York Giants 2017 Draft: Day 2 Preview

Which prospects/positions are next on the Giants’ radar?

After taking a break from drafting offense last year—prior to selecting cornerback Eli Apple in 2016, the Giants had drafted an offensive player in the first round in each of their last three drafts (David Wilson, Justin Pugh and Odell Beckham Jr.)—the Giants went back to the offensive side of the ball with their selection of Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram.

Engram is the first Giants tight end to be drafted in the first round since 2002, when the team plucked Jeremy Shockey out of Miami that year. Engram is also only the fourth tight end to be drafted by the Giants in the first round in franchise history, joining Shockey, Derek Brown and Kyle Rote.

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The addition of Engram potentially gives the Giants a guy who can exploit the middle of the field in the passing game and who can contribute in taking away some of the double coverage Beckham often received last year.

While he’s not necessarily a blocker—head coach Ben McAdoo said that part of Engram’s game needs to be developed—he is a guy whom he Giants are hoping will help discourage opposing defenses from deploying so much Cover-2 against their passing game.

Moving ahead to Day 2, the Giants will no doubt be hoping that best available matches up with some needs in the pit (offensive and defensive lines). Let’s look at some prospects that might be on the radar.

Offensive Tackle

Different day, same need. The Giants, as I suspected might be the case, seem ready to roll with experience as far as their starters go.

Ereck Flowers, Bobby Hart and D.J. Fluker all figure to compete for the two tackle spots with the odd man out of that equation either moving inside to right guard or being the first man off the bench in the event of an injury.

While the Giants are optimistic that Flowers will finally find his groove, and while they have high hopes for Fluker to find his first-round mojo, the giants need a backup plan just in cast either or both scenarios don’t pan out.

Offensive tackle should be the higher priority on Day 2, but of course, that’s subject to how the board falls.  Remember, the lower the pick the more polish the prospect likely needs before he’s ready to go.

If the Giants somehow end up taking a tackle in Round 3, that could bode well for the current veterans who are competing for starting jobs and backup spots since a third-round offensive tackle might not be ready to go out of the chute on Day 1.

Day 2 Offensive Tackle Prospects

Antonio Garcia, 6’6”, 302 lbs., Troy
Lanky but athletic offensive lineman who unlike so many other college tackles, should be able to continue at that position at the NFL. Garcia has had  struggles with keeping his weight over 300 pounds, but his lateral quickness and athleticism are hard not to like.
Dion Dawkins, 6’4”, 314 lbs., Temple
Could potentially play both guard and tackle in the NFL, which would increase his value to a team.  Offers a blend of athleticism and power which should enable him to hold his own in both run blocking and pass blocking roles.
Taylor Moton, 6’5”, 319 lbs. Western Michigan
Likely projects to guard at the NFL level, though he does have experience in college at left tackle. He’s probably not an NFL left tackle—the right side might be his calling. Has tremendous size and power, which could give him an advantage if he can keep up with the smaller yet quicker defensive fronts he’d face.

Defensive Line

The Giants defensive line situation is interesting and could play out in any number of ways.

Do they add another defensive end capable of taking some of the burden off Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon, both of whom played more than 90% of the defensive snaps last year? Or do they put more of a focus on the defensive interior?

My best guess is they look inside, perhaps at that 3-technique spot vacated by Johnathan Hankins when he signed with the Colts.

Currently, the plan is for Jay Bromley and Robert Thomas to compete for that starting job, but neither is signed beyond this year and neither really jumped ahead of the other toward the end of last season.

Here’s a look at some prospects who might be in the Giants’ crosshairs:

Day 2 Defensive Line Prospects

Chris Wormley, 6’5”, 298 lbs., Michigan
Big enough to set the edge against the run and then move inside on passing downs. Could be the perfect addition if neither Romeo Okwara or Owa Odighizuwa take that next step forward in grabbing on to the third defensive end spot.
Larry Ogunjobi, 6’3”, 305 lbs., North Carolina Charlotte
Doesn’t possess ideal size, but then again, neither did Pro Bowl defensive tackle Aaron Donald when he came out of college. Ogunjobi is not quite in the same class as Donald, but where they are similar is that both have better than average leverage, quickness and hand strength to get them into a position to disrupt the backfield.
Tanoh Kpassagnon, 6’7”, 289 lbs., Villanova
If there’s a defensive player in this draft that checks off all the boxes the Giants typically look for in a defensive end as far as measurables, Kpassagnon is it. He could still stand to add some bulk to his rather slender frame which would help him better set the edge, but his length and quickness off the snap are very appealing.  

Quarterback

Sooner than later, the Giants need to find Eli Manning’s successor.

While ideally that guy is more of a can’t miss, first-round prospect, it’s not a set-in-stone requirement, as guys such as Kurt Warner, Tom Brady and, more recently Dak Prescott have shown the world.

Interestingly, for a quarterback class on which the NFL draft analyst community was lukewarm at best, three teams traded up to draft their potential quarterback of the future, proving yet again that the guys who do this work for a living—watch film, talk to players and coaches and gather detailed intel on the prospects—often know something that the rest of the arm-chair GMs do not.

It’s very rare that any player, regardless of round, comes in with minimal flaws and starts on the path toward Canton on his very first day.

It takes time to develop and nurture these players, and in the case of a quarterback, the Giants are in a better position thanks to Manning than most teams who are still looking for that quarterback to lead them for the next 10 years.

Manning is secure enough in his position to not see a younger player as a potential threat to his status on the team. In fact, Manning has been known over the years to embrace helping younger quarterbacks hone their craft.

The Giants need to take advantage of this X factor now, before Manning calls it a career. Worst case, if the pick doesn’t pan out, they can always dip into next year’s class, but they’ll never know about 2016 unless they stick their toe into the deep end of the pool.

Day 2 Quarterback Prospects

Nathan Peterman, 6’2, 226 lbs., Pittsburgh
If you’re talking fit, Peterman would be ideal for the Giants’ West Coast offensive system. He was bogged down a bit by dropped passes by his receivers over his career, which no doubt had a direct impact on his overall completion percentage (60.1). He’s also not a candidate to break the pocket if his protection breaks down. He does have the tools a team looks for in terms of accuracy in both the short and long balls and he has shown on tape that he can anticipate the pass rush and get himself out of trouble as necessary.  
Brad Kaaya, 6’4”, 214 lbs., Miami (FL)
There are those who believe Kaaya should have used up his college eligibility because at this point in his development, he still tends to overthink situations, which gets him into trouble. Kaaya’s accuracy peaked at 62 percent last year, and his touchdowns (27) to interceptions (7) ratio was off the charts. Like others in this class, he’s a work in progress, perhaps more so than some of the others currently on the board.  
DeShone Kizer, 6’4”, 233 lbs., Notre Dame
Kizer is another guy whom many believe should have stayed in school to finish out his eligibility, an opinion largely based on his inconsistency in decision-making. The good news though is Kizer offers tremendous size—he’s a load to bring down (think Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers) and he also isn’t afraid to break the pocket if his protection breaks down, though at times it looks like he does so a bit prematurely.