Eli Manning just turned 37, and he's in obvious decline. Pat Shurmur has indicated that he wants to keep Manning on for one more year, but he'll want his own franchise quarterback for 2019 and beyond.
Josh Rosen seems like he'd be the consensus top quarterback available, though Sam Darnold might have something to say about that. I could even see the Giants flipping picks with the Browns, like the 49ers and Bears did last year, so that the Broncos, Jets, Cardinals, etc. don't jump past them for Rosen. That said, it would be ideal if they love two quarterbacks equally so they don't have to move anywhere.
NFL coaches and owners are wary of the sort of things Rosen has discussed to the media, and his open views could hurt him. Scouts have told us that his teammates don't like him either, so that's a major strike against him. And for the cherry on top, even if his high school coach criticized him. Rosen has been prolific in some big games this year, so that could push him into the top spot, but as Charlie Campbell reported, two NFL general managers have expressed major concern about Rosen.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Ronald Jones II, RB, USC
Shane Vereen is an impending free agent, so the Giants will need a new running back. Orleans Darkwa, Wayne Gallman, Paul Perkins... all of these players are pedestrian. New York needs an upgrade here, and it would get that with Ronald Jones, who could be chosen in the first round.
Rd. 3, Pk. 2
Brett Toth, OT, Army
The Giants obviously need to do something about their poor offensive line. They've suffered countless injuries this year, but they still wouldn't be very competitve if everyone were healthy because of their poor blocking. Hopefully Brett Toth will be able to play in 2018, as he may have service obligations.
Rd. 4, Pk. 2
Will Clapp, G/C, LSU
Weston Richburg is an impending free agent, and the Giants can do better at center anyway.
Rd. 5, Pk. 2
Deon Cain, WR, Clemson
Brandon Marshall was a predictable bust as an acquisition last offseason, so the Giants should look for a third receiver to go along with Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard.
The Giants wanted Jack Conklin last year, and he didn't make it to their pick. I think the same thing could happen this year with Garett Bolles. If Bolles is off the board, I think the Giants could look to upgrade their linebackers with a player like Reddick, Jarrad Davis or Zach Cunningham.
I've surveyed sources at teams, and they believe that Reddick will go somewhere in the first round. I personally am skeptical that he should go in Round 1 because he has a grand total of three practices and an exhibition game at his NFL position. I also agree with some scouting sources who believe it is a lot easier to transition by moving closer to the line of scrimmage rather than backing off of it. The position change is why some teams gave Reddick mid-round grades. Still, Reddick has a lot of teams that like him, so he should go in the first round.
Reddick (6-1, 237) was an edge rusher in college who has to move to outside linebacker in the NFL. He showed that he can make that switch at the Senior Bowl as he flew around the field and was constantly around the ball. Still, sources with teams say that Reddick is a real project for the NFL and will take time to develop at linebacker considering he has no game experience there. In 2016, Reddick totaled 65 tackles with 22.5 tackles for a loss, 10.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and three passes broken up. He was an excellent edge rusher, yet there were times where he got destroyed in the ground game.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
The Giants could use more talent at tight end. Jerry Reese likes freak athletes, and Engram's 4.4 speed as a tight end could be dynamic in New York's offense.
Engram is a dangerous receiving weapon. The 6-foot-3, 236-pounder is a fast, athletic tight end who can hurt defenses vertically. He has the speed to get separation and is dangerous with the ball in his hands. Engram needs to add weight for the next level and get better as a drive blocker, but he already shows good intelligence and effectiveness with cut blocks at the right spot. Engram has a good attitude and tries hard as a blocker.
Engram amassed 65 receptions for 926 yards and eight scores in 2016. Against Florida State and Alabama, he showed that he is a dynamic receiving tight end for the NFL in the mold of Jordan Reed. Engram totaled 120 yards on nine receptions with a touchdown against the Seminoles and nine catches for 138 yards and a score versus the Crimson Tide.
Engram had a slow 2015 with only 38 receptions for 464 yards and two touchdowns. In his first two years, he was excellent for Ole Miss. Engram caught 38 passes for 662 yards with two touchdowns in 2014. He was a dangerous receiving threat who carved up Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State that season. As a true freshman, he caught 21 passes for 268 yards with three touchdowns.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Caleb Brantley, DT/NT, Florida
The Giants could use an interior defender after losing Johnathan Hankins in free agency. Brantley could be a steal.
Brantley totaled 31 tackles with 9.5 for a loss, 2.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 2016. He was very disruptive with his quickness at the point of attack and was superb against Tennessee and Georgia. The 6-foot-3, 307-pounder used his agility to fire through his gap and routinely achieved penetration into the backfield. He is a dangerous interior pass-rusher.
Brantley flashed a lot of disruption at the point of attack as a redshirt sophomore in 2015. He totaled 29 tackles with 6.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks that season. While 6.5 isn't a huge sack total, it is a quality number for an interior defender, and Brantley showed the potential to be a three-down defender in the NFL.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State
The Giants get some offensive line competition.
Johnson (6-7, 298) has athletic potential, but he needs a lot of work. He lacks strength and doesn't generate any push in the ground game. Johnson ties up his blocker, but is not a force at the point of attack to push a defender out of their gap. In pass protection, Johnson has the athleticism to protect against speed rushers, but he is weak at blocking inside moves and gets bull rushed too easily. Even undersized speed rushers have success when bull rushing him. Johnson is a finesse player who needs development, but he has natural size and athletic ability to work with.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Ben Gedeon, ILB, Michigan
The Giants grab a linebacker to compete.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Joe Yearby, RB, Miami
The Giants could use a speed back to pair with a more physical runner.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Rashaad Coward, DT, Old Dominion
The Giants grab some interior defensive line depth and hosted Coward on a visit.
The Giants grab their heir apparent to Eli Manning. It doesn't make sense for them not to take their quarterback of the future when they are picking this high. <br> <br>
WalterFootball.com was first to report that Rosen would enter the 2018 NFL Draft, and he made his public announcement in the first week of January. In 2017, Rosen completed 63 percent of his passes for 3,717 yards with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The junior was up-and-down over the season with highs and lows, including at least one concussion. He had a legendary performance in UCLA's 2017 season opener versus Texas A&M, leading one of the greatest comeback wins in college football history, turning a 44-10 third-quarter deficit into a 45-44 win. <br> <br>
Of the top quarterback prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft, Rosen has the best mechanics and is the most natural pocket passer. He throws a tremendous ball and can really spin it with his powerful arm. Rosen's tight spiral helps him to get his passes through tight windows and beat good coverage. The 6-foot-4, 210-pounder has serious arm talent with field vision and pocket presence. Rosen has well documented concerns with his intangibles. Team sources told me Rosen made efforts to be a better teammate over the last year and half and showed progress there. Some general managers have told me about their concerns about him being a partier so Rosen will need to ease some doubts during his pre-draft interviews and visits. There also are durability concerns with Rosen after he missed seven contests over the past two seasons and was knocked out of a few games as well.<br> <br>
Rosen had an impressive debut as a freshman in 2015, completing 60 percent of his passes for 3,670 yards with 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. As a sophomore, he completed 59 percent of his passes for 1,915 yards with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions in six games before suffering a season-ending injury.
It may be confusing as to why Barkley, who in my view could be the best player in this class in any other scenario, would slip all the way to pick 9, but it ultimately comes down to need. The Browns, Niners, and Jets all will value QB over skill positions; and the remaining teams either have their franchise RB (Ajayi, Howard/Cohen, Johnson, Gordon) or have a massive need on the other side of the ball (Colts). The one team in the top ten who doesn't have that luxury, or really any hang up about grabbing a RB? The Giants, who have arguably the worst run game in the NFL right now. The Eli transition, which is likely coming sooner rather than later at this point, is going to be a whole hell of a lot smoother with what looks like one of the best RB prospects to come out in recent memory, and considering who some of those other prospects were in the last several classes, that's certainly saying something.
Unless Davis Webb has really impressed them behind the scenes, the Giants would probably look to grab their heir apparent to Eli Manning if they end up picking this high in the 2018 NFL Draft. <br> <br>
I'm going to keep Darnold in the 2018 mock for now, but soon, he could be moving to the 2019 version. Sources have been telling me that they're hearing Darnold wants to return to USC next year rather than enter the 2018 NFL Draft, but he is getting a lot of pressure to enter the draft. Walt has Darnold in his 2019 mock, so it makes sense to have one version with him declaring for the time being. <br> <br>
This fall, Darnold has had issues with interceptions and decision-making. He also has admitted to having issues with confidence. Darnold is an accurate passer without an elite skill set, but he has developed good anticipation, feel and timing. Darnold is a rhythm thrower who would fit best in a West Coast system to maximize his ability to throw accurately in the short to intermediate part of the field. He also throws accurately on the run.<br> <br>
In 2017, Darnold has completed 64 percent of his passes for 3,787 yards with 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. A general manager, who has scouted Darnold in person this year, told me that he likes the "it factor" that Darnold displays. That general manager thinks there's nothing wrong with Darnold's throwing motion or arm strength, and that Darnold has some similarities to Philip Rivers. Other scouts feel that Darnold is a good prospect with the ability to be a plus starter, but they don't think he's elite, and on tape, they say he is not better than Mitch Trubisky and Deshaun Watson were before the 2017 NFL Draft. <br> <br>
Darnold was very impressive as a redshirt freshman in 2016 and impressed evaluators even though he wasn't being graded yet. Along with a quality skill set, teams like his intangibles and moxie. Darnold completed 67 percent of his passes in 2016 for 3,086 yards with 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The 6-4, 225-pounder led USC on a nine-game winning streak to end that season.
The Giants still could use more tackle help for their offense. Here's a bookend to go with Ereck Flowers. <br> <br>
McGlinchey was very impressive at left tackle for the Fighting Irish in 2016. He looked natural in pass protection, and one wouldn't have thought that he wasn't playing the position before last season. <br> <br>
McGlinchey has excellent feet to get depth in his kick slide and cut off speed rushers. As a run blocker, McGlinchey can get movement at the point of attack. He flashes heavy hands to push defenders out of their gaps and open holes for his back. McGlinchey also has a nice ability to bend at the knee, and that in combination with his feet, keeps him from having to reach after edge rushers. His performance in 2016 protecting DeShone Kizer is evidence that McGlinchey is a future starting left tackle in the NFL and a first-round pick. <br> <br>
McGlinchey (6-7, 310) is a tough run blocker and has been part of a good Notre Dame line for years. In 2015, he showed well as a right tackle and had a more physical style of play than former Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley. The one area that McGlinchey really needs to improve is his repeated problem with false starts.
The Giants have starting center Weston Richburg, along with guards Justin Pugh and D.J. Fluker, heading into free agency. Even if Richburg is re-signed, New York could easily be in the market for more talent at guard. They also need tackle help. If they draft a left tackle, they could move Ereck Flowers to the right side. <br> <br>
Williams is out indefinitely after tearing a knee meniscus and straining some other ligaments against USC. In speaking with one general manager, he said he thinks Williams is overhyped and clearly needs to spend a lot of time in a weight room for the NFL. Williams had a moderately disappointing showing in the 2017 season opener against Maryland. He allowed a few pressures and had plays where he allowed defenders to gain leverage on him. He also had two critical holding penalties in the fourth quarter, including one that negated a successful conversion of a fourth-and-14 situation. <br> <br>
Williams (6-6, 290) started at left tackle as a freshman and sophomore for the Longhorns. He was a steady pass protector and a consistent run blocker. Williams has good length, quickness and athleticism. It would be good to see him become stronger and show more heavy hands.