Grading The New York Giants 2015 Draft Class
Coming into the NFL Draft the Giants three biggest needs were offensive tackle, safety, and pass rusher. Throughout much of 2014, the Giants offensive line failed to protect Eli Manning and get anything going in the run game. Meanwhile, with longtime safety Antrel Rolle departing to the Bears in the offseason and Stevie Brown signing with the Texans, the Giants had holes to fill at both strong safety and free safety. Factor in Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s return to Big Blue, and it was clear the Giants would look to bolster their pass rush in this year’s draft. Let’s have a look at how the Giant’s draft panned out:
Round 1 (9th Oveall): Ereck Flowers, Offensive Tackle Miami
Flowers is a mammoth of a man and has extremely high potential at just twenty-one years old. He started the last two years at left tackle for the Miami Hurricanes after starting at right tackle as a freshman. This past season he allowed zero sacks and was only called for holding twice, it is hard to get much better than that. He is still a bit raw and has to work on his footwork to succeed at the next level; however, Flowers has the potential to be an elite right tackle or very good left tackle in the NFL. While this fills a major need for the Giants, I have questions as to whether this was the best value at ninth overall. If going by best player overall, one could make the argument Trey Waynes, Todd Gurley, or Devante Parker should have been the pick. Regardless, the addition of Flowers should prove to be the missing piece in the Giants overhaul over the past few seasons.
The Giants will most likely start Flowers at right tackle as a rookie, enabling Justin Pugh to return toright guard where he has played much better in the NFL. Add in the fact Weston Richburg will most likely start at center replacing the disappointing J.D. Walton and Geoff Schwartz will be back healthy at left guard, and you can make the argument the Giants will have improved at four of their five positions on the offensive line. While there was better available at ninth overall, in my opinion Flowers was still a verysolid pick that could anchor the offensive line for the next decade plus. Look for him to potentially take over the left tackle position in 2016 if Will Beatty is a draft casualty next off season.
Round 2 (33rd Overall From Titans): Landon Collins, Strong Safety Alabama
One could argue that safety was the biggest need for the Giants coming into the season. Having only Cooper Taylor and Nat Berhe on the roster was a bleak thought for Giants fans. Collins was in my opinion the top safety in this class and has the potential to be a star and defensive captain for the Giants down the road. There was even chatter of him being a possible landing spot ninth overall to the Giants, nabbing him at the top of the second round was a steal. While it was unfortunate to have to give up a 4th and 7th round pick to get him (especially with a player such as T.J. Clemmings still on the board in the 4th,) Reese and company made the right move trading up to get an impact player at such a position of need. Collins is stout against the run as well and will help improve a run defense that finished dead last in 2014. All in all, this was a great pick up for the Giants.
Round 3 (74th Overall): Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Defensive End UCLA
This was my favorite pick for the Giants and an absolute steal in the third round. I thought he was in play for the Giants in the second round if they hadn’t traded up for Collins. He is absolutely shredded and has pure pass rushing ability. Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo must be drooling over the thought of having Odighizuwa in his ACE package on passing downs next seasons. This was definitely the best value pick for the Giants. Odhghizuwa has the potential to be an elite pass rusher in the NFL. Teams typically do the best in the draft when value and need match up, and in this case the Giants got exactly that.
Round 5 (144th Overall): Mykkele Thompson, Free Safety Texas
This pick was a bit of a head scratcher as most draft pundits did not even have him as a draftable prospect. The Giants could have most likely signed Thompson as an undrafted free agent, so hard to find value in this pick. Regardless, the pick fills a need and as of now he is the only pure free safety on the Giant. Will be interesting to see how it plays out if he makes the team. This was my least favorite pick of the Giant’s draft.
Round 6 (186th Overall): Geremy Davis, Wide Receiver UCONN
Another very underrated pick is the addition of Geremy Davis in the 6th round. Davis is an extremely talented wide receiver who suffered from horrible quarterback play throughout his career at UCONN. He adds depth and insurance if Cruz is unable to come back to form, and could be a legitimate wide receiver in the NFL if he is able to develop his game over the next few years.
Round 7 (226th Overall): Bobby Hart, Offensive Tackle Florida State
By the time the seventh round rolls around there tends to be slim pickings for teams. The best teams can usually hope for is a developmental player that has potential to be a successful player in the league. Hart is extremely raw, has good size and could be a serviceable offensive lineman in this league. He adds some much needed depth at offensive line for the Giants.
Overall I was extremely pleased with this draft. As I mentioned earlier any time you can fill your three biggest needs with the first three picks and have very good value overall with two of those picks, you have had a successful draft. After two abysmal drafts in 2012 and 2013 that set this franchise back, the last two drafts may have the Giants on the right track back to the playoffs. This was a great draft that could be the foundation of a team that will be a contender to return to the playoffs in 2015.
Overall Draft Grade: A-