This is perhaps the most crucial draft of Dave Gettleman's long career, because if he doesn't get it right it could be the last one he ever runs. The 69-year-old GM has overseen a team that has won nine games in the last two seasons.
Without a significant improvement in 2020, his career could be done.
It's probably not fair to put that much on one draft, since it's hard to evaluate a draft class instantaneously. But those are the stakes that Gettleman is facing, especially in the first round when the Giants are scheduled to pick fourth overall on Thursday night.
Not that he needs or even wants the advice, but here's what Gettleman and the Giants need to do to make sure the first round is a success:
Try to trade down (but not too far)
That is the Giants' preference, as SNY has reported, and they've stepped up their efforts to try to strike a deal. Multiple NFL sources have said the market for trading down a few places -- like with the Miami Dolphins at No. 5 or the San Diego Chargers at No. 6 -- doesn't seem to be there. The Dolphins seem to be interested in trading up, but if they move it might be to No. 3.
If the Giants want to trade down, the most willing partners are likely lower, like at No. 14 (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), No. 15 (Denver Broncos) or No. 16 (Atlanta Falcons). But that's just too far, unless the package is overwhelming -- think multiple first rounders and much more. Gettleman is right that it's hard to pinpoint exactly where the drop-off from the top tier is in this draft class, but there could be a significant difference in the player he gets at No. 4 and the one he gets at, say, No. 14.
But he should keep working the Dolphins and the Chargers, and he shouldn't be worried that the Dolphins now seem to want a tackle. The tackles at the top are so closely rated, according to most scouts, that they'd be fine taking the second-best one and picking up extra picks if they can.
Keep the focus on the offensive line
It sure seems like the fan consensus is for the Giants to draft Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons, and for good reason. He's a heck of a defensive player who could help the Giants in many different ways.
But Gettleman was not wrong on his first day as Giants general manager when he said that fixing the offensive line was his most important job. He's just done a terrible job at it so far, and that needs to change. A defense can be built with a good scheme, even without a superstar player. But an offense simply can't work if the line can't block.
Some pieces are already in place. The guards are set with Will Hernandez and Kevin Zeitler. But every other position has only a stop-gap at best. And that's really dangerous at tackle, especially with Nate Solder struggling and clearly in his final year with the Giants. There is no young tackle in the pipeline ready to step in. And there really needs to be one now.
Adding one would be a big step toward fixing this massive problem. And if Gettleman doesn't fix it soon, not only will he end up unemployed, but the Giants will end up wasting the starts of the careers of both Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones.
If they stay put, take Iowa T Tristan Wirfs. If they drop, Alabama T Jedrick Wills would be a fine second choice
They were not wrong when they fell in love with Wirfs at the beginning of this process, and his dazzling performance at the NFL Combine proved that. He's got all the tools scouts love in offensive linemen - the size, strength, intelligence and technique. The athleticism is a bonus, that's becoming necessary in an era where most quarterbacks can move.
So if all four tackles are on the board, Wirfs should be their guy. If they drop down, or if the Dolphins jump over them and take Wirfs, Wills is a heck of a tackle, too. He may not be quite as good of a prospect (again, depending on who you ask) but if he's good enough to dominate in the SEC he's going to translate to a heck of a pro.
And by the way, if they do drop down farther than expected, they'd be fine with Georgia's Andrew Thomas or Louisville's Mekhi Becton too. What they don't want to do is get antsy and switch positions, or drop into the second tier of tackles like USC's Austin Jackson or Boise State's Ezra Cleveland.
They are in position to get a potentially great tackle to anchor their line for a decade. Given how big of a disaster their line has been for the previous decade, they really can't afford to pass that up.