The NFL 2020 Draft is well underway with last night’s completion of Rounds 2 and 3.
The virtual process and the technology held together quite nicely as the joint ESPN/NFL Network simulcast moved from the ESPN Bristol Studios to Commissioner Roger Goodell’s basement to the GM and Coach homes of the team on the clock and to the homes of the analysts.
In all, a really good first two nights with little to no broadcast hiccups.
Round 1: Giants select Andrew Thomas
For the Giants, the #4 pick of LT Andrew Thomas, Georgia, was an outstanding pick that met with unusually positive feedback and comments from the fan base. The surprise to some was that he was the first OT off the board. Pundits speculated on JedrickWills, Jr. going to the Giants. Others were picking Tristan Wirfs for the GMen.
With the No. 4 overall pick in the #NFLDraft2020, the New York Giants select…
ANDREW THOMAS! | #GiantsPride pic.twitter.com/8EdIBcQIKp
— Giants Nation (@GiantsNationNYC) April 24, 2020
Head Coach Joe Judge said Andrew Thomas jumped out on film very early in the evaluation process. The Giants met with Thomas at the Combine and held several Zoom sessions with him prior to the draft. Judge also referred to his numerous contacts with Georgia coaches and people that know Thomas, including UGA Head Coach Kirby Smart. Judge and Smart both coached at Alabama from 2009-2011.
This pick goes a long way toward protecting Daniel Jones’ blindside on passing downs while improving the run blocking for Saquon Barkley on the left side. Andrew Thomas played his Freshman year at RT and two seasons at LT for the Georgia Bulldogs.
When you play LT in the SEC, you have faced some of the best edge rushers in the country. He gave up only one (1) sack in 2019 which was more a result of coverage and a too-deep QB drop. Thomas will be a force on the Giants line for many years to come.
Round 2: Giants select Xavier McKinney
Yes, there were some fans that wanted a defensive playmaker at #4. Others were hoping the Giants could find a trade partner, move down. Neither happened. So when night 2 started, and with the Giants already having a long wait between picks No. 36 and 99, there was real anticipation, Dave Gettleman might trade #36 to get more picks later.
When the Giants went on the clock at No. 36, there was no time wasted to get a pick in. The Giants selected Xavier McKinney, Safety from Alabama. It turns out that Dave Gettleman had a trade down from No. 36 already negotiated, but only if McKinney wasn’t on the board.
McKinney was rated the top Safety in this draft by Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network. He brings versatility to playback, cover TEs, crash down in the box, and is a ferocious tackler. Lined up with Peppers, the Giants can be extremely flexible to mix up their schemes in the secondary.
Both Gettleman and Judge coveted McKinney and were very excited that his Round 1 talent fell right to them at No. 36. And again, the connections to Nick Sagan help with the evaluation process. Sagan apparently went out of his way to speak on McKinney’s behalf. He called Xavier one of his “favorite players”.
Round 3: Giants select Matt Peart
it was a long wait from Pick No. 36 to Pick 99. Dave Gettleman had no plans to dip into the 2021 picks (he said this would have been necessary) to move up in Round 3. Lots of fans were watching for a Center to fall to the Giants. As the top centers were scooped up, chances became slimmer for the Giants.
As it turns out, Judge and his staff were watching for another Tackle to fall to them. And at #99, the Giants selected Matt Peart, OT from UConn. Peart is a huge man at 6’7” with the longest arms in the draft. Gil Brandt had Peart on him “Don’t Be Surprised” list of under the radar players.
While Peart may not be a Day 1 starter, Joe Judge and his staff fought to pick him. They believe he has tremendous upside and, with coaching, he can bookend the offensive line along with Andrew Thomas. This also is a statement by the Giants on how important they believe the offensive line is to their success.
What’s Next for the Giants Draft?
Rounds 4 through 7 will be Saturday. Unless the Giants find a way to trade back, they will have Pick #110 (fourth pick of the Round 4) and then wait until Round 6 for Their next Pick. With several late-round picks, there is the chance the Giants can put a package together and move up.
Giants’ needs include another Safety, Edge, Center, OLB, and maybe a WR. There are plenty of available prospects that graded as higher Round value. Many NFL people are calling this draft the deepest in 25 years.
So far, a great start for the Giants. Let’s see what Rounds 4-7 bring today.
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