Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
At #10 overall, the Giants look to bolster their smoldering dumpster fire of a secondary by adding a somewhat diminutive, but incredibly talented corner in the mold of Brent Grimes, Joe Haden, and Vontae Davis. Like those other players (who have all been pro bowlers by the way), Vernon Hargreaves seems to lack the ideal size to match up against outside receivers in the NFL. He measures in at 5-10, 204 pounds; however, what he lacks in size, he makes up for with tremendous athletic ability, a fierce competitiveness, and fantastic ball skills (10 Ints and 38 Pass Defenses in three years at Florida). Now before I dive into how Hargreaves fits in with the Giants, I would like to answer an important question.
"Why would the Giants take Vernon Hargreaves when Joey Bosa is still on the board?"
The availability of Bosa at #10 definitely made this decision more difficult. It is no secret that the Giants pass rush was among the worst in the NFL last year, and the chance to add Bosa to a lineup that already boasts Olivier Vernon and explosive pass-rusher Jason Pierre-Paul could be too good to pass up. However, looking at the Giants secondary and defensive line groups as a whole, the argument can be made that the defensive line is the more solid unit overall.
After three big signings along the defensive line by Giants' general manager Jerry Reese, who is
throwing money at anything with legs GM-ing for his job right now, the Giants have a starting four that consists of JPP, Johnathan Hankins, Damon Harrison, and Olivier Vernon. That group may lack depth, but that's about as good a starting four as you'll find in the league. On the other hand, the Giants have only have two CBs on the entire roster: Jenkins and Cromartie. With defenses playing in nickel and dime packages more and more frequently, teams need more than two legitimate cornerbacks. As a result, the "slot corner" has become a bona fide starter in today's NFL, a starter that the Giants do not currently have on their roster.
Now before you grab a pitchfork and demand that this article be retracted in the mighty and infallible name of the "best player available," allow me to clarify something: I am not suggesting that this pick be made based simply on need. I am of the opinion that Bosa and Hargreaves are roughly equal from a talent perspective; however, Hargreaves gains a slight advantage in my book due to his impressive work ethic. He looks like a player that will do whatever it takes to be great. Bosa, on the other hand, is very laid back (which is cool too, dude). When you also consider the fact that Jerry Reese is almost definitely looking for a player in the first round that can make an immediate impact (in other words, can start from Day 1 and possibly save his job), Hargreaves starts to make a lot of sense for Big Blue.
"But is the Giants secondary really the smoldering dumpster fire that you say it is?"
Well, I'll let you decide. In 2015, the Giants pass defense allowed 4,783 passing yards, the most in the NFL. The Giants also allowed the sixth highest completion percentage to opposing quarterbacks (66.3%), and the eighth highest yards per attempt (7.7 yds). What does all of that mean? It means that the Giants not only allowed opposing offenses to rack up passing stats, but they allowed them to do it at an incredibly efficient rate. To sum it up very simply, their pass defense sucked.
"So where does Hargreaves fit in?"
Looking at the long-term first, which one should always do when assessing the value of a high draft pick (Are you taking notes, Elliott fans?), Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will be 30 years old and entering his ninth year in the league by the time the 2016 season rolls around. While he was a Pro Bowl corner a year ago, it is fair to wonder how much DRC has left in the tank. He also figures to count roughly 8 million against New York's cap in each of the three remaining years on his contract. The selection of Vernon Hargreaves would presumably mean the selection of DRC's long-term replacement.
Of course, Hargreaves figures to play a significant role early in his career as well. With Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins set to start on the outside for the 2016 season, Hargreaves would assume these increasingly important slot duties in his first year. Given the learning curve of corners adjusting to the NFL, especially smaller corners, this seems like an ideal situation for Hargreaves. In the slot, his lack of size would be less of a factor, and he has the quickness and closing speed to match up well against slot receivers. Furthermore, as a strong tackler, he could play in nickel packages without being a liability in run support.
In conclusion, adding an athletic playmaker like Vernon Hargreaves to the mix would give the Giants a slam dunk short-term option at slot cornerback, as well as a long-term player on the outside that can improve their secondary for years to come. The Giants were just doing what comes naturally when they lost to the Eagles in Week 17, but with the tenth overall pick Jerry Reese is able to reap the rewards in the form of a talented player at a position of need.
2016 BGN Mock Draft Order
1) Titans (ablesser88) - Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss - [Explanation]
2) Browns (EaglesGenius) - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State - [Explanation]
3) Chargers (StoneColeKiller58) - Jared Goff, QB, Cal - [Explanation]
4) Cowboys (kamjam) - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State - [Explanation]
5) Jaguars (drc242) - Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State - [Explanation]
6) Ravens (rohan915) - DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon - [Explanation]
7) 49ers (LAOJoe) - Myles Jack, LB, UCLA - [Explanation]
8) Eagles (slickpablovick) - Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame - [Explanation]
9) Buccaneers (OneBucFan47) - Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky - [Explanation]
10) Giants (Paulie97) - Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida - [Explanation]
11) Bears (Kiko's Delivery Service) -
12) Saints (kylebruneault) -
13) Dolphins (wildcatlh) -
14) Raiders (Luxury_Used_Vehicles_By_Braman) -
15) Rams (NowWhat?) -
16) Lions (bri g) -
17) Falcons (thealien2696) -
18) Colts (ei78) -
19) Bills (naderg43) -
20) Jets (Quacking_Eagle) -
21) Washington (TheCoxishere) -
22) Texans (jeppsforst) -
23) Vikings (WScott151) -
24) Bengals (burkhart_b) -
25) Steelers (theaction) -
26) Seahawks (tfrank9811) -
27) Packers (3Trace) -
28) Chiefs (jawmo) -
N/A) Patriots - Cheaters
29) Cardinals (big DUB) -
30) Panthers (zatch2k) -
31) Broncos (JALupowitz) -