Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The Giants and GM Dave Gettleman really are sitting pretty at No. 4 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. They don't need to draft a quarterback after doing so last year at No. 6. And with a few more holes to fill, any top prospect will be an immediate help next season and after.
But what truly is the right pick here?
Of course, Gettleman could easily trade down and still get a solid prospect while collecting draft capital. Some believe that he should focus on that in the first place. In this scenario, though, let's go with what experts believe he'd do at No. 4, and that is take an offensive tackle.
There are four that are generally considered to be first-round talents, and mock drafts have a variation of them being chosen by Big Blue, including Iowa's Tristan Wirfs and Louisville's Mekhi Becton.
However, would Gettleman pass up on the chance to make his defense better with a can't-miss prospect in Isaiah Simmons?
This is the debate experts and Giants fans alike are having at the moment. Simmons is a physical freak that proved it during the NFL Combine when he ran a sub-4.4 40-yard dash and posted a 40-inch vertical leap. And if you watch the tape, you can see why he could be the ultimate catalyst for the Giants' defense, with the ability to play anywhere on the field.
So let's try to break down this debate by looking at the pros and cons to drafting Simmons, or one of the top tackles in the draft as April 23 gets closer by the day...
Clemson LB/S Isaiah Simmons
- Numbers don't lie: Simmons' stats are insanely impressive. His 104 tackles and 16.5 tackles for loss led Clemson, while finishing second in interceptions with three. He also had a career-high eight sacks on the year. Put those alongside his 40-time and vertical, and you see what this physical specimen can really do on the field.
- Swiss Army Knife: Patrick Graham could make a really good impression in his first year as defensive coordinator with New York if he could have Simmons to deploy literally anywhere on the field. He's taken snaps at outside linebacker (116), inside linebacker (299), slot corner (262), free safety (132) and strong safety (100) last season, thanks to Pro Football Focus. The Giants have an influx of linebackers, but Simmons doesn't need to be secluded to one spot.
- Coverage, coverage, coverage: Giants fans, you know why I repeated it three times. Giants LBs are notorious for not being able to cover tight ends or running backs out of the backfield, which is why opposing offenses love to exploit that when Big Blue is on their schedules. That definitely wouldn't be happening with Simmons on the field. He covered top WRs while in college. That's a big fix for the Giants.
- What's the fit?: Yes, having the versatility to play any position on defense is a good thing. But experts are curious to see what Simmons' team actually does with him. Clemson DC Brent Venables was very creative with Simmons, and his new DC will need to be as well. Is Graham that guy?
- Giants are already set at LB: With Blake Martinez coming on board, he joins David Mayo -- who re-signed -- and rookie Ryan Connelly, who is returning after tearing his ACL last season. Then, on the outside, Kyler Fackrell was signed to work alongside Oshane Ximines and Lorenzo Carter. The Giants don't need Simmons when you look at it from a depth chart point of view.
Top Options: Tristan Wirfs (Iowa), Mekhi Becton (Louisville), Jedrick Wills (Alabama), Andrew Thomas (Georgia)
- There's a definite need/fit: Cam Fleming might have signed with the Giants, but Gettleman could use a better option there. Also, you have to consider how much longer Nate Solder can play left tackle. Wouldn't you rather have a younger player protecting Daniel Jones' blindside?
- Pure athletes: While Simmons is an insane athlete, so are these tackles. In particular, Wirfs and Becton are rare when it comes to tackles. Wirfs ran a 4.85 40-yard dash, which is insane at 6-foot-5, 320 pounds. Also, Becton ran a 5.11 at a massive 6-foot-7, 368 pounds. That kind of blocking, run or pass, from these tackles is why they're so high in mock drafts.
- Trade back potential: The Giants could use more draft picks, and they're in a prime spot to trade back with a quarterback-needy team like the Dolphins (No. 5) or Chargers (No. 6). They could do so and still grab one of these tackles and be perfectly content.
- Which one is the right pick?: You know what Simmons can do on a field. But, between these four top choices, Gettleman needs to be sure they're the right pick. Giants fans still don't forget Ereck Flowers and how he was the next best thing at left tackle. That can't happen again.
- Opportunity Cost: What do I mean by this? Think Daniel Jones and Josh Allen in last year's draft. Allen slipped to the Giants at No. 6, but Gettleman wanted his QB of the future. While Jones still needs room to grow, Allen had a solid rookie season. Who knows what's going to happen with these two down the road? What if this tackle doesn't pan out, and Simmons is the stud he's expected to be? Missing out on that would haunt anyone's dreams.
So, which avenue should Gettleman take at No. 4? If it were up to this writer, Simmons would absolutely be the way to go.
Simply put, Simmons' projections to go along with the Giants needing a defensive difference-maker makes him too hard to pass up if he's on the board. His ability to cover, get into the backfield, and go sideline to sideline doesn't come along too often.
And forget the fit. Linebackers are Graham's bread and butter, and he may be salivating at the chance to work with Simmons' skill set. He'll find a way to use him in every situation. Simmons should immediately start next to Martinez if he hears his (virtual) name called by Big Blue. And that might be the perfect combo this team has been searching for.
Gettleman does love his "Hog Mollies," and his line could use one of these top options. But he also preaches taking the best player available at the time of choosing, and not focusing on a need. Simmons is that man if he's on the board at No. 4, and that's by a long shot.
Go get the player that could be the Giants' next Lawrence Taylor. Yeah...I said it.