After another underwhelming season which saw the Giants lose 10 games, including a seven game midseason skid, the G-Men had holes to fill going into the 2015 NFL draft. The team needed to build their offensive line in order to protect Eli Manning and support the run game and they also had a glaring hole at safety after Antrel Rolle left for the Chicago Bears.
With the ninth pick in the draft, the New York Giants select... Ereck Flowers, Offensive Tackle, Miami.
Well that was odd. At least to me. Throughout the process I was never a big fan of Flowers. People got caught up in the fact that he has imposing size at 6-6 and almost 330 pounds, but it was never a tool that he consistently used. At Miami, he would have flashes where he mauled in the run game and achieved good pad level to push guys around, but it never came consistently. As a pass blocker, his feet move like they are stuck in cinder blocks and he tends to get way too high in his stance. He consistently let pass rushers get into his frame or get around him incredibly quick. When you do not have the athletic ability to survive on an island (without help, on the edge), it is imperative that a player can use his arm length to compensate. Flowers has poor hand placement and a relatively weak punch, so his tools are all for naught.
The scary thing for New York is, with Will Beatty going down with injury, it is very likely that Flowers will be starting at one of the two tackle spots this upcoming year. For someone who is has raw as he is, that could have a devastating impact on their offensive line. There is no doubt that there are things to like about Flowers, but not ninth overall like.
Unless he can sure up a lot of things heading into his rookie season, he is in for a steep learning curve and I expect the pass rushers of the NFC East (maybe even Marcus Smith (probably not)) to feast on him. Long term there are absolutely things to like about Flowers, but it comes down to how much the staff is able to harness his physical gifts.
On day two, the Giants made an aggressive move to move up in the draft for Alabama safety, Landon Dawk-... Collins. The move made a lot of sense, in theory, because they had to fill one of their safety spots after Rolle left. Collins received a lot of attention from Eagles fans, as well as the NFL Draft media, during the process, and thus, the Giants were lauded for such a savvy move to grab Collins in the second round. *golf clap*
These were the Eagles best draft picks
After the Philadelphia Eagles made their 2015 NFL Draft picks, we asked you whether you approved of each selection. The numbers below are the result.
The reality is that Collins went in the second round because that is what his talent warranted, and I am still confident in saying he is not and will not be the best safety from the 2015 class. Collins brings a lot to the table that many people tend to fall in love with. He has an intimidating six foot, almost 230 pound build that makes him look like a linebacker. Also, he brings the heat on every tackle, bringing on a lot of highlight hits. To his credit, he is also a very intelligent player who does a very good job diagnosing and reacting to plays. The unfortunate part is that his athletic ability cannot keep up.
There were plenty of times at Alabama where Collins was caught out of position not because he read the play incorrectly, but because he could not move quick enough to actually attack the play in time. His change of direction skills are below average at best and his speed is not exactly burning either. "Well, he's built like a linebacker" is what people love to say to defend his skill set. The comparative size advantage at safety is all but wasted when there is little to no athletic ability to support it. Even compared to linebackers, his overall athletic skill set is middling.
Now, Collins is not a horrible player. Like Liam Neeseon, he just has particular set of skills. Because of his skill set, he has a very specific role that he can fill on an NFL team for him to play well. The Giants need to work him underneath and basically use him as a linebacker who can attack the line of scrimmage and intimidate in the middle of the field. In order to maximize him as a coverage safety, which I would not suggest, he would have to play extraordinarily far off the ball where he can diagnose plays from afar and get a head start on them, as his athletic ability limits him functioning in tight spaces.
Drafting a box safety in a division with Dez Bryant, Desean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and the Eagles young, athletic receiving corps is a bold move and I am not sure how well it will work.
The Giants best pick, by far, was their third round selection of Owamagbe Odighizuwa, an edge defender out of UCLA. Owa, as many are wont to call him, was viewed by many in the draft community of a player whose talent warranted a top 20 selection, but his health issues caused him to fall all the way to the third round.
What made Odighizuwa so appealing was how explosive he is moving forward and his athletic numbers support this. His burst off the line an the impact he made on initial contact was devastating to offensive linemen in college. He consistently disrupted the run game and also generated great pressure in the passing game. Because of his good size, UCLA was able to move him around and allow him to work inside the defensive line at times, where he was just as disruptive.
His biggest issues come from his inability to run the arc around the edge, and where he is consistently running through offensive lineman to the quarterback, rather than around them. Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing if a player has the power to consistently work through contact, which Odighizuwa does, but it is certainly worth noting. It is also worth recognizing that Odighizuwa has had hip issues throughout his career and that could play a factor into his stiff playing style. That hip issue could linger into his rookie season and potentially longer, but there is also a possibility that it gets amended and Odighizuwa is able to play with more flexibility, which is a scary thought.
The Giants defensive line has a core talented defensive linemen with Jason Pierre Paul, Jonathan Hankins and Robert Ayers, and Odighizuwa adds a tremendously athletic piece to that group. He can make an impact rotating at defensive end to start his career and can kick inside in passing situations to create even more issues.
If his health turns out, the Giants absolutely stole Owamagbe Odighizuwa in the third round.
After a flashy first three picks, the Giants go a bit more unheralded in the fifth round with Texas safety, Mykkele Thompson. Thompson is another well built safety, standing at 6-1 and 200 pounds and plays with impressive athletic ability, but really this is no more than a depth and competition move.
Thompson is mentally raw and often takes poor angles in coverage. As a tackler, he fails to square up consistently and can often be left grasping for air. This pick was likely centered around Thompson's impressive movement skills, but he certainly will not be making a great impact early in his career. The Giants are incredibly young at safety and probably want a lot of competition at the position, but it is likely that Thompson gets beat by second year player, Nat Behre for the safety spot opposite of Collins and Thompson will be left to compete on special teams.
In the later rounds, it is never bad to draft for depth an competition, especially when it involves taking more athletic players.
With their sixth round pick, the Giants made an underrated move to draft UConn receiver, Geremy Davis.
There was so much fanfare for Odell Beckham Junior's rookie season and all of it was warranted, but the Giants receiving corps behind Beckham is filled with question marks. Victor Cruz may never be the same after his leg injury and Reuben Randle has never developed into the player the Giants thought he would when they spent a second round pick on him. The Giants needed to add competition and potential to their receiving group and Davis is a good way of creating that.
The 6-2, 217 pound receiver flashes a ton of potential as a catch point player. He does a good job boxing out defensive backs and getting vertical to attack the ball in the air. He consistently made plays in traffic at UConn and makes a lot of sense as a big slot type of receiver in the NFL. He does not have the speed or quickness to consistently separate through his routes, but mitigates lack of separation through his ability to play at the catch point. Luckily, Eli Manning famously tests tight spots on the field anyway, so he could maximize where Davis wins as a player.
The Giants receivers are a mystery outside of Odell Beckham and Davis has a good opportunity to work his way into the line up at some point during this year. If he can display his catch point prowess during the regular season, he will get more and more looks throughout his career.
New York finished out their draft in a very unsexy way (nothing the Giants do is sexy) with taking FSU offensive lineman, Bobby Hart. Hart is a young offensive lineman (only 20 years old) who possesses great size and raw athletic ability. He is incredibly raw from a technical perspective, but there is tangible upside to his game. The Giants needed to add bodies to their offensive line meeting room, and did well to take a player who has as much room to grow as Hart.
Hart projects to a guard and has a good chance of making the team due to the nature of the offensive line at the moment. With the right coaching, he could end up stepping into the starting lineup in a few years.
Of all the teams in the division, I think the Giants had the "worst" draft of the four teams. I did not like their selection of Ereck Flowers in the top ten and I think making Collins the first safety taken was a mistake as well, albeit they may have gotten a decent player. They made a splash in the third round getting a potential stud defensive linemen, but that is dependent of the player's health. On day three, the Giants drafted for depth, but may have gotten a potential impact player in Geremy Davis. While the Giants draft netted them some good players, it is hard for me to stomach the value of their first two picks.