The New York Giants went for functionality and necessity over flash and risk at the 2020 NFL Draft as they didn’t take a single skill player with their 10 selections over seven rounds.
A major concern over the past few seasons, the offensive line, was heavily addressed as general manager Dave Gettleman took three blockers — including Georgia’s Andrew Thomas with the fourth-overall pick.
While the trenches were supported, though, the Giants opted not to make a serious investment at the defensive end to build up a struggling pass rush.
Though it didn’t bother Gettleman much.
“We’re going to be fine,” he said. “It’ll get better. No, we didn’t draft what you guys would call a blue-goose pass rusher, but a lot of the time it’s a group effort. It’s not about who gets the sacks, it’s about the number of sacks and the number of pressures.”
With the draft completed, amNewYork Metro delves into the Giants’ selections:
Round 1, Pick 4: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia: Consensus All-American who started three seasons for a program that is constantly in the conversation of having the best offensive line in the nation. Unlike the other top offensive-tackle prospects, Thomas can step in immediately and start at either tackle spot.
Round 2, Pick 36: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama: Believed by many to be the top safety available in the 2020 draft, McKinney fell into the Giants’ laps in the second round — prompting them to pass up on some of the top edge-rushing talent available in Iowa’s AJ Epenesa and Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos. Last season, McKinney was a third-team Associated Press All-American and a first-team All-SEC member, leading Alabama with 95 tackles. He also posted three sacks, three interceptions, and four forced fumbles in 13 games. Expect him to slot in alongside Jabrill Peppers to create a promising core of safeties.
Round 3, Pick 99: Matt Peart, OT, UConn: The Giants continued to build depth on the offensive line, nabbing the Bronx native who was a first-team All-American Athletic Conference selection in 2019 at right tackle.
Round 4, Pick 110: Darnay Holmes, CB, UCLA: Holmes adds more options at the cornerback position further down the depth chart after the Giants added James Bradberry to lead a young secondary featuring Deandre Baker and Corey Ballentine. He’s a strong cornerback given his size (5-foot-10, 195 pounds), but there are concerns about his ability to keep up with pro route runners.
Round 5, Pick 150: Shane Lemieux, G, Oregon: Gettleman continued stocking up on those “hog mollies” by taking the 6-foot-4, 310-pound Lemieux, who started all 52 games at left guard over four years with the Ducks. He was voted to the second-team All-Pac-12 and was an AP second-team All-American in 2019. The Giants could experiment with him at the center spot.
Round 6, Pick 183: Cameron Brown, LB, Penn State: While the Giants were linked to Clemson star Isaiah Simmons with their fourth overall pick, they waited until their fourth pick of the sixth round to nab a linebacker — a position whose needs subsided after Gettleman picked up Blake Martinez and Kyler Fackrell last month. Brown was a third-team All-Big Ten honoree last season and has pass-rushing upside.
Round 7, Pick 218: Carter Coughlin, EDGE, Minnesota: Big Blue waited late to address their need at the edge, taking a prospect in Coughlin who was a second-team All-Big-Ten selection in 2019, posting 4.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss. A high football IQ makes up for a small frame, but it remains to be seen if that will be enough to translate to success at the NFL level.
Round 7, Pick 238: TJ Brunson, LB, South Carolina: Surgery to repair a sports hernia didn’t see Brunson lose any time last season, but his production slowed to 77 tackles, six for loss, one interception, and five pass breakups. In 2018, he was South Carolina’s co-MVP with 106 tackles, 10.5 for loss, and four sacks. A gritty inside linebacker that brings plenty of physicality, Brunson could be an intriguing steal of sorts, but a lack of speed will bring problems when pursuing plays that move outside.
Round 7, Pick 247: Chris Williamson, CB, Minnesota: The Florida transfer started nine of 12 games last season for the Golden Gophers, accruing 57 tackles, four for loss, 2.5 sacks, one interception, and three passes defended. At 6-foot, 205 pounds, Williamson has the frame to build up into more of a linebacker, which might be the best course of action given his inconsistencies in covering athletic receivers.
Round 7, Pick 255: Tae Crowder, LB, Georgia: The title of “Mr. Irrelevant” as the last pick of the draft goes to Crowder, who was a two-year starter with Georgia. He posted a combined 122 total tackles, 10 for loss, and 1.5 sacks in 27 games with the Bulldogs.