The New York Giants certainly did not hold back in this years’ free agency. They spent upward of $200 million on Janoris Jenkins, Damon Harrison, and Olivier Vernon. They also re-signed defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and recently signed linebacker Keenan Robinson. Each of these players have one thing in common: they all play on the defensive side of the ball. The Giants didn’t add any offensive talent in the free agency, and that’s where the NFL draft is going to come into play.
The Giants focusing solely on defense gives away the fact that they are most likely going to draft an offensive player in the first round of the draft. As the annual mock drafts are released, three offensive players are considered to be the front-runners. The most popular options among accredited analysts are Laquon Treadwell, Ezekiel Elliott, and Ronnie Stanley.
NFL media analyst Daniel Jeremiah predicted the Giants will choose Treadwell in one of his latest mock drafts. Eli Manning desperately needs another option besides Odell Beckham. The odds of the Giants re-signing Rueben Randle are slim. Victor Cruz may never play at a high caliber again. Dwayne Harris isn’t really a number two wide receiver. The options seem to be very slim for Big Blue.
Drafting Treadwell makes a lot of sense. Beckham is the only receiver on the Giants’ roster who is a proven legitimate threat. If the Giants go into the season with Beckham as the only real threat at receiver, it forces defenses’ to double cover him. Adding Treadwell or another offensive threat to their roster would take the pressure off Beckham and force defenses to shift their attention.
Todd McShay of ESPN released a mock draft that has the Giants taking Elliott tenth overall. While this scenario seems the likeliest, it is also very risky. The Giants are not usually known to take risks. Drafting a running back in the first round is just something the Giants don’t do. If the Giants were to draft a running back this early, they would have to consider him a superstar.
The average career of a running back in the NFL is around two to three years. It is a recyclable position to most coaches. NFL organizations feel that it’s a waste to pick a running back that high if he can’t have an instant impact. Todd Gurley happened to be a high-risk, high-reward candidate in last years’ draft. This scenario ended up paying off big time for the Los Angeles Rams.
Elliott would be a perfect fit with the Giants, and he can be an instant contributor. Rashad Jennings is a decent running back, but he is highly injury prone. He doesn’t have the durability to be the Giants’ bell cow back. It’s safe to say that Andrew Williams isn’t capable of being the Giants’ featured running back either.
Williams may have been a superstar in college, but his skills haven’t translated over to the NFL. Giants coach Ben McAdoo will most likely have Williams be the goal line running back. This leaves the Giants with third down specialist Shane Vereen and Orleans Darkwa. Both of these players do not have the capability of being an every down back.
With little depth at the position, Elliott is the running back the Giants desperately need. He has proven to be a dual threat. Elliott is equally effective in the passing game and the running game. McAdoo and Manning need an every down running back in order to have a balanced offense. They need to have the option to run the ball effectively when they need to. The Giants haven’t had that luxury since Ahmad Bradshaw was a member of the team.
Nate Davis of USA Today predicted the Giants would choose Stanley with their 10th overall pick. This is probably the safest bet for Reese and the Giants. Eli Manning needs a stable offensive line in order to be effective. The Giants’ offensive line has improved over the years, but it is still very shaky.
Adding Stanley into the mix would solidify the line and add an element of toughness. The running and passing game would instantly improve. Giving Manning time in the pocket is one of the most essential things that this team needs. Manning hasn’t been able to drop back and pass the ball without being under pressure. When you give any quarterback some extra time, the sky is the limit, especially when you have a wide receiver like Beckham.
Any of these three players would make a great addition to the Giants. Reese already took a gamble signing multiple unproven free agents. It’s safe to say that it should be expected that the Giants are going to be bold in the draft as well. No team ever won a championship playing it safe.
[Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images]