It is hard work predicting a team’s draft board from the outside. The New York Giants are no different. Piecing together interviews, snippets of conversations, and third-hand information is not an ideal way to formulate a plan. On top of all that, teams often release misinformation to confuse opponents who may be drafting ahead of them. And at the end of it all, the NFL Draft is a convoluted guessing game anyway.
Be that as it may, ESPN’s Jordan Raanan released what he thinks is the Giants’ draft board. In his words, the list is, “based on what I’ve heard from sources around the league and people inside and around the Giants organization over the past few months, these are the players most likely to be selected with the No. 23 overall pick (in order).”
Number one on the list is Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis.
The weird thing about this collection of players and the “in order” clarification by Raanan is that the players don’t appear to be in the proper order at all. The claim is that Davis would be the most likely player selected with the 23rd pick in the first round. However, Raanan’s balancing act between deciding who the Giants would want most and who will be available at the pick is really just blatant guessing.
Later down the list, Raanan states that if tight end O.J. Howard “were available, he would be the pick.” Yet he ranks Howard sixth. That means if Howard is available, the Giants are going to take him, yet he is probably not going to be available. At number seven is running back Christian McCaffrey. The description for McCaffrey is that he would be an easy pick if he was available and Howard was off the board. It doesn’t take an insider to understand that Howard is thus first on the Giants’ actual draft board, and McCaffrey is second.
But they aren’t. Howard is six; McCaffrey seven, and each should probably be lower. Whatever level of assumption took place to drop them down the list didn’t take place at all for a number of other prospects in this draft. Charles Harris is listed as perhaps the team’s second-ranked pass rusher behind Myles Garrett. Garrett didn’t make the top 10 list at all, presumably because he won’t be available at 23. But if Howard and McCaffrey won’t be either, why are they listed?
The Vital Information
The non-confusing portions of this piece are very informative though. Again taking the details at face value (Raanan admits he doesn’t have any way of knowing such a draft board for sure), the top targets for the Giants are clearly linebacker and offensive tackle.
Davis is listed first. Following him are tackles Garett Bolles and Cam Robinson. Then fourth is linebacker Zach Cunningham. It seems hard to imagine all four guys are gone by the time the Giants pick. That means they are very likely to come away from day one of the draft with either a new linebacker or new offensive tackle. That is, unless Howard or McCaffrey were available as well!
Most interesting are the players ruled out by Raanan as having no chance of being selected first by New York. Ryan Ramczyk, David Njoku, and Dalvin Cook are all listed as write-offs who the Giants will not be taking. Ramczyk and Cook “aren’t clean enough prospects” for round one; Njoku is too risky and not enough of a blocker. Three players who have been thought of as highly possible first-round picks for NY seem to be out of the running entirely.