The majority of draft talk surrounding the New York Giants is centered around the fourth overall pick.
Will they go for linebacker Isaiah Simmons, or one of the many talented offensive tackles?
These aren’t the questions I’m posing here, instead, looking at some of Big Blue’s later-round picks, and what value Dave Gettleman could find and add to the roster.
Julian Love, Ryan Connelly, and Darius Slayton were all Day 3 picks, numbers 108, 143, and 170, respectively. Still, all provided valuable contributions during their rookie seasons and will all have prominent roles to play in 2020.
Here are three prospects at each of the quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end positions that could have a similar impact with the G-men this season.
Tyler Huntley // Utah
The Giants have what they believe will be their future franchise quarterback in Daniel Jones, while Colt McCoy is a competent backup in the NFL. However, given the fact that they have three 7th round picks, taking a QB wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.
What better than taking a guy who played 37 games during his college career at Utah, and leads the Utes to a solid 11-3 season this past year. Despite disappointing losses in the Pac-12 Championship against Oregon, and again in the Alamo Bowl blowout defeat to Texas, Huntley still had a near-flawless season.
Throwing 19 touchdowns and just four interceptions, Huntley completed over 73% of his passes for over 3000 yards in 2019. Remarkably, he averaged more than a first-down per throwing attempt (10.3 yards) and had to stand out games against UCLA, Washington State, and fellow QB prospect Jacob Eason’s Washington. Poised in the pocket with an above-average arm, Huntley could be well worth a flyer in the 7th round.
Steven Montez // Colorado
Dave Gettleman likes tall quarterbacks, and at 6ft 5in, 230lb Colorado senior Montez is an absolute gun-slinger, with one of the best arms in the draft. He has been a full-time starter for the Buffaloes since his sophomore season and has had a terrific link up with one of the best wide-outs in the draft, Laviska Shenault.
Averaging more than 62% completion for the last three seasons, his career touchdown to interception record is about 2:1, and his only criticism is that as a result of his raw power, he can overthrow receivers. He’d still be a good addition to the quarterback group in New York.
Cole McDonald // Hawaii
Who doesn’t love a maverick? Cole McDonald is definitely a wildcard pick in comparison to Huntley and Montez. The Hawaii quarterback might not have been a household name before the NFL Combine, but after blowing every other QB out of the water in the 40-yard dash, his jaw-dropping 4.58 was the fastest time recorded on the day.
A dual-threat, McDonald stands at 6ft 4in, threw for more than 8000 yards in his last two seasons, and rushed for 880 yards during his college career. He threw 69 touchdowns in the past two years with 24 interceptions, helping the Rainbow Warriors to a 10-5 season in 2019, and leading them to Hawaii Bowl victory over BYU.
McDonald would provide something different to Giants QB clan, and may still be available in the 7th round.
Eno Benjamin // Arizona State
Arizona State back Eno Benjamin had a sensational sophomore season, and if he had have managed to match that in 2019 he would have undoubtedly been at least a Day 2 pick. Benjamin had over 1900 yards from scrimmage in 2018, and after forgoing his senior year to enter the NFL Draft, he finished with over 1000 rushing yards and just shy of 350 receiving yards.
With a low center of gravity at 5ft 10in, Benjamin does a great job of riding contact, lowering his shoulder and taking on hits from on-rushing defenders. He’s expected to come off the board around the 4th round, but if he’s still there come the Giants’ picks 150 (5th Round), he may be worth a punt.
James Robinson // Illinois State
You don’t rush for over 1900 yards and score 18 touchdowns in your senior season and not get recognized, even if you do play in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Robinson hit the headlines when he rushed for three yards shy of 300 during a win against Southeast Missouri State (SEMO), before following it up with another 210 yards the following week against Central Arkansas.
Dave Gettleman has no problem with picking players from smaller schools, like Oshane Ximines, out of Old Dominion in the 3rd round last season. Robinson has shown his talents lie not only in rushing, but blocking in pass-pro too, something Saquon Barkley struggled a little bit within 2019.
Patrick Taylor Jr // Memphis
What do Saquon Barkley and Dion Lewis have in common? They’re both under 6ft tall. Wayne Gallman measures in at 6ft on the nose, so why not add a taller, bell-cow type running back to the fold in 6ft 3in Memphis back, Patrick Taylor Jr.
Running a 4.57 in the combine, Taylor Jr has height, strength, and pace, and averaged more than 5.2 yards per carrying across his college career. He has kick-off experience, so would be a natural fit to the special teams unit on an NFL team, and would pick up those stubborn two or three yards on second or third down when close to the chains.
Bryan Edwards // South Carolina
Height? 6ft 3in. College career average? 13 yards per reception. Edwards will be a dream scenario in the fourth round for Big Blue if they choose to go wide-out with their first pick of Day 3. Okay, he’s no giant, but he’d immediately become the Giants’ tallest receiver, and his performances in the SEC were far better than just being respectable.
He had several stand out catches while under pressure and in coverage, and according to the NFL Draft Tracker for prospects, he’s viewed as an NFL starter by his second season. Great value for a guy who could fall to the fourth round.
Antonio Gandy-Golden // Liberty
Production, production, production. Echoing the ‘Gettleman doesn’t discriminate against smaller school players’ sentiment from earlier, Gandy-Golden was simply terrific for Liberty in both 2018 and 2019, last season averaging a high 17.7 yards per reception (in which he had 79).
Almost 2500 yards in two seasons, 20 touchdowns and 150 total receptions, despite not having blistering speed, NFL Draft Tracker too thinks Gandy-Golden can be an NFL starter by 2021. Draft analyst Lance Zierlein compares Gandy-Golden to a young DeVante Parker of the Miami Dolphins, and at 6ft 4in, his range for pulling off acrobatic catches is crazy.
Collin Johnson // Texas
You want height? I’ll give you height. Collin Johnson can be that big target the G-men have been looking for for a couple of seasons now. He’s 6ft 6in tall and has NFL lineage given his father, Johnnie, was a 1st Round defensive back in 1980, selected by the LA Rams.
Limited to just seven games last season due to injury, Johnson has averaged over 14 yards per reception since his sophomore season. He can dwarf competing cornerbacks down the field when contesting for a catch. Also a competent run blocker, Johnson can be Daniel Jones’ go-to big target for the next few years.
Devin Asiasi // UCLA
NFL Draft Tracker has him as the third-best tight end in the draft, but CBS Sports’ Mock Draft has him still available at the Giants’ fifth-round pick, meaning Asiasi could have some serious value on Day 3. Another player who could be a starter by Year 2, Asiasi had a productive 2019 with the Bruins, going for 641 yards, 44 receptions, and averaging 14.6 yards per catch. Asiasi is a smooth operator, very capable of making adjustments, and is a similar type of hybrid receiver/tight end style player as Evan Engram. He’s proven to be a safe pair of hands-on third down and could be a quick pick up later in the draft.
Josiah Deguara // Cincinnati
Deguara impressed me at the NFL Combine, particularly during the catching drills and his ability to adjust his body during over-the-shoulder throws. He thrives in the run-blocking game, good hands, and able to mirror defensive lineman to a decent enough standard.
In the receiving game, Deguara was red zone threat for the Bearcats, catching seven touchdowns in 2019, going for over 500 yards and averaging 12.9 yards per reception. Deguara will likely be available in the 6th, maybe even 7th round, and would be a substantial addition to the Giants roster, despite there already be a decent amount of competition at tight end.
Jared Pinkney // Vanderbilt
Not a speed guy having run a 4.96 at the combine, Pinkney is known for his length, athleticism, and 10.5-inch hands. His 6ft 4in, 257lb frame can do some real damage after the catch, and as a blocker has shown some promise despite the odd shaky display whereby failing to move his feet fast enough to nullify some of SEC’s better edge rushers.
The number nine tight end on my big board, Pinkney should still be there in the fifth round. Still, given the Giants need for other areas, it is unlikely to always be an option during a ‘best player available’ scenario anticipated for rounds six and seven.
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