The Giants’ interest in N.C. State defensive end Bradley Chubb is real, but that doesn’t mean they should draft him No. 2 overall. In fact, in my opinion, they shouldn’t.
This leads our Five Giants Observations: NFL Draft Edition as the national noise about who’s going where reaches a deafening climax, just more than two weeks out from the draft’s first round on April 26.
Here’s my best read and informed opinions on the Giants and their draft process:
Look around and suddenly you’ll see Chubb connected about as strongly to the Giants with the No. 2 overall pick as any player has been to any team in the top five of this draft. But while Chubb is a very good player, I do not see the logic of the Giants drafting him there for numerous reasons. For one: Why, holding the second pick with other premier players available at other positions, did the Giants trade Jason Pierre-Paul to Tampa Bay for a third-round pick, creating the supposed need to draft Chubb? Money? OK. Lack of leadership, lost confidence in JPP, and injuries? Sure. But those aren’t good enough reasons to me for GM Dave Gettleman to essentially run in place by removing talent at the defensive end position only to draft someone in its place. I know, the Giants need room in the near future for potential contract extensions for Odell Beckham Jr. and Landon Collins. But don’t forget, the Giants, in the next year or two, will/should get Eli Manning’s $22-23 million cap hit off the books and replace it with a rookie QB contract. Also, while Mike Mayock told me recently he thinks Chubb is similar to the Chargers’ Joey Bosa (yes, that’s a wow), I’ve had scouts tell me Chubb gets lost on tape too much for a top guy. I’m looking for an answer on the JPP/Chubb trade-off, but right now in the context of how important this draft pick is for the franchise I don’t get it.
Manning, 37, doesn’t have much time left. The Giants can commit to him for “years” all they want; if they want to win one more Super Bowl with Eli, they need to give him more help NOW. So if the Giants aren’t going to draft a quarterback, the position player they draft at No. 2 has to be on the offensive side of the ball. The defense’s problem last season wasn’t talent, outside of a healthy stud linebacker; it just had a bad 2017 season for reasons such as cohesion, communication, coaching and effort. The offense, however, has lacked elite talent at key positions for years, namely at running back and offensive line. I believe Wayne Gallman and Paul Perkins both will impress and surprise people in 2018, but the presence of only those two and Jonathan Stewart on the roster indicates the Giants clearly intend to draft a running back high in this draft (no lower than the first three rounds). Names to watch in rounds two and three include LSU’s Derrius Guice and N.C. State’s Nyheim Hines.
If the Giants draft a non-quarterback at No. 2 overall, I think they should take Penn State RB Saquon Barkley. If not Barkley, my next choice is Notre Dame offensive guard Quenton Nelson. Then Chubb. That’s my opinion. If Beckham re-signs, having Barkley, Beckham, Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard and it appears a healthy Brandon Marshall on the field at the same time would give Manning his BEST-EVER skill position group. If this Beckham situation explodes and he gets traded, Barkley’s game-breaking and nose for the end zone would be needed that much more. And yes, I’ve been writing it for months: the Giants love Barkley. So do the Browns, who I strongly believe would take him at No. 4 if he’s still there (and if they don’t take him at No. 1).
I am comfortable with the Giants drafting Barkley at No. 2, even though they obviously have to entertain trading down if they aren’t going QB. But the ONLY way I’d be OK with the Giants drafting Chubb is if they traded down to No. 6 first. For example, the Buffalo Bills could make a trade up from No. 12 to No. 6 with the Indianapolis Colts and then make a second deal with the Giants to get all the way up to No. 2. The Giants would know they’d get either Barkley, Nelson or Chubb at No. 6 (though likely not Barkley, as I mentioned above), because three of the first four picks would be quarterbacks (Cleveland at one or four, the Bills at two, and the Jets at three), and Denver at five conceivably could take a QB, too. I still think the Giants should go offense at the top of the draft, but consider: the Colts just got the No. 6 overall pick, two 2018 second-rounders and a 2019 second-rounder from the Jets to move back three spots. If the Giants can get an even better haul for sliding back only four slots and still get Chubb? That’d be tough to pass up, no doubt. Remember this, too, on drafting Chubb high: The Giants drafted Michael Strahan in the second round (40th overall in 1993 out of Texas Southern), Osi Umenyiora in the second round (56th overall in 2003 out of Troy) and Justin Tuck in the third round (74th overall in 2005 out of Notre Dame). The position is important but the Giants have found stud defensive ends in lower rounds plenty of times before, identifying talent that helped them win two Super Bowls. Just saying.
While everyone is throwing out wild theories and guessing about what’s real and whats misinformation, here is my theory on all the Chubb-to-Giants talk, one that I think is plausible: The Giants want Barkley at No. 2. They know the Browns are likely going QB at No. 1, but they also know Cleveland GM John Dorsey and his staff love Barkley, that the Browns are hoping Barkley falls to No. 4, and that Barkley WOULD fall there if the Giants dont take him (because the Jets are clearly going QB at No. 3). So the Giants are throwing up a Chubb smokescreen to make sure Cleveland goes QB at one so Gettleman can take Saquon. Again, that’s a theory. But I don’t think it’s crazy.
Great question. NOBODY knows the Giants’ thinking here. It’s remarkable actually. My feeling, though, is that the Giants’ true feelings about Manning could dictate the pick if they go QB. If they really believe Manning can/should/will start at QB for the next two to three years, then Wyoming’s Josh Allen (a project) and USC’s Sam Darnold (a shorter-term project) could be the pick, as both also look like personality fits with new Giants head coach (and experienced QB coach) Pat Shurmur and new QB coach Mike Shula. However, if the Giants agree with me that Manning doesn’t have much time left, they need to take the QB most ready and capable of playing as soon as possible. That, to me, is UCLA’s Josh Rosen, who had dinner with the Giants Tuesday night and visited the facility on Wednesday. Rosen could sit and learn behind Manning in the short term but would be ready when needed. Darnold has great potential, but his turnovers and decision-making, frankly, scare me. The Giants also have given Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield a lot of thought, but I think they’d take Rosen over Mayfield. Rosen is the best pure passer in this draft.