A Look at the Eagles NFC Opponents’ Drafts: The New York Giants

A Look at the Eagles NFC Opponents’ Drafts: The New York Giants
The pecking order in the NFC East is pretty well established. The Eagles and Dallas Cowboys remain the main contenders, while the New York Giants and Washington Redskins are believed to be a considerable step behind.
 
Yet the Redskins enjoyed a solid draft and the Giants are in the same boat.
 
Both appeared to improve themselves with the draft and with new coaches, they could be headed in the right direction.
 
That doesn’t mean that the gap has closed this year, but the drafts were positive steps for both teams.
 
Here are the Giants draft choices
 
Round 1, No. 4:  Andrew Thomas, LT, Georgia
 
Round 2, No. 36:  Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
 
Round 3, No. 99:  Matt Peart, OT, UConn
 
Round 4, No. 110:  Darnay Holmes, CB, UCLA
 
Round 5, No. 150:  Shane Lemieux, G, Oregon
 
Round 6, No. 183:  Cam Brown, OLB, Penn State
 
Round 7, No. 218:  Carter Coughlin, LB, Minnesota
 
Round 7, No. 238:  T.J. Brunson, ILB, South Carolina
 
Round 7, No. 247:  Chris Williamson, CB, Minnesota
 
Round 7, Pick No. 255:  Tae Crowder, LB, Georgia
 
There were four offensive linemen taken among the top 13 choices and the Giants selected the first of those four, Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas.
 
He was considered the player most ready to step in and play. Some suggested it was safe pick but he should be a fixture for the next decade.
 
Thomas will likely be the starting right tackle and eventually move to the left tackle, although veteran Nate Solder should man the position this season.
 
Last season Giants quarterbacks were sacked 42 times, 15th in the NFL. Thomas should help the line’s improvement. The Giants also selected Connecticut’s offensive tackle Matt Peart in the third round so it’s possible that Peart and Thomas could be long-time bookends on the line, although Peart is considered much more of a project.
 
In between the Giants selected Alabama safety Xavier McKinney in the second round. This was also hailed as a great pick because some had assigned a first-round grade to McKinney. Plus, he should immediately challenge for a starting spot at free safety.
 
Don’t be surprised if McKinney eventually becomes a Pro Bowl player, similar to another former Giants safety from Alabama Landon Collins, now with the rival Redskins.
 
While Thomas and McKinney are considered the crown jewels of the draft, the overall grade will depend on how the rest of the choices fare.
 
Was it a reach drafting Peat in the third round?
 
Only time will tell but if he eventually becomes a starter, and it likely won’t happen this year, then the pick will be well worth it.
 
Fifth-round pick Shane Lemieux started 52 games at offensive guard for Oregon. He isn’t expected to come in and start, but gives the line some much needed depth.
 
The Giants didn’t select a defensive lineman in the draft, but playing a 3-4 defense, they did add three linebackers – Penn State’s Cam Brown, South Carolina’s T.J. Brunson and Georgia’s Tae Crowder, who was the last player selected in the draft, earning Mr. Irrelevant status. It’s possible that at least one of these three can find time this season in certain packages.
 
A key player to watch is fourth round corner Darnay Holmes of UCLA. The Giants desperately need depth at corner and Holmes provides that. Seventh round corner Chris Williamson of Minnesota is somebody likely will have to make the teams as a special teams player.
 
It's possible that just the first two picks this year, Thomas and McKinney are starters this year, but this draft has quite a few players led by Holmes who could be starters down the road. This was a good draft that will provide the Giants with much needed depth, especially in its biggest area of need, the offensive line.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo courtesy of University of Georgia

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