The New York Giants entered the 2017 offseason looking to address needs on both sides of the ball, especially after a lackluster performance on all fronts in the Wild Card round loss to Green Bay. They got off to a good start in free agency addressing offensive needs such as a backup quarterback in Geno Smith and a big target in Brandon Marshall to complement Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. What other pieces did they add during the NFL Draft to try and improve the team? Let’s take a closer look:
Round 1 (23): Ole Miss Tight End
The Giants offense will have no shortage of weapons for Eli Manning to throw to in 2017, and Ole Miss’s Evan Engram will just add to that. Though his body (6’3″, 234 lbs) and measurements (4.42 40 yard dash) seem to project him more as a wide receiver than a tight end, Engram fits perfectly into Ben McAdoo’s system as both a vertical threat down the field and a safety valve catching balls at the line of scrimmage.
While not as quality of a blocker as Miami’s David Njoku, the tight end many thought the Giants would take with this pick, if Engram can provide just adequate blocking for Eli to go with his natural pass-catching/play-making abilities, he will find a prominent role in the offense sooner rather than later.
Round 2 (55): Alabama Defensive Tackle Dalvin Tomlinson
The Giants have had a fascinating recent history in drafting nose tackles in the second round to replace starting players that left via free agency, including in 2010 (Linval Joseph taking over for Barry Cofield) and 2013 (Johnathan Hankins to replace Linval Joseph). They’re hoping that the third time is the charm in Bama’s Dalvin Tomlinson, a 6’3″, 310 lb bruiser who has a knack for stopping the run.
Tomlinson will be in the mix along with Jay Bromley and Robert Thomas to fill in for the aforementioned Hankins, who signed a three-year deal with the Colts a few weeks ago. Big Blue is hoping that Tomlinson can have just as much of a presence up front as Hankins, if not more, for a fraction of the cost.
Round 3 (87): California Quarterback Davis Webb
Perhaps the most unheralded and least scrutinized of the quarterbacks taken in this year’s draft, Davis Webb will come into camp competing for a backup role with Geno Smith and Josh Johnson. At 6’5″, 230 with a big arm and decent touch, Webb is being looked at by the Giants as the possible successor to Eli Manning, who just turned 36 in January. Until Eli can no longer perform at an elite level, Webb will have plenty of time to grow and develop while learning Coach McAdoo’s offense.
Round 4 (140): Clemson Running Back Wayne Gallman
While they still apparently haven’t closed the door on bringing in free agent LeGarrette Blount, this is arguably one of the Giants’ best picks, and certainly one of its best values. Gallman represents the kind of tough, power runners that they had been searching for the whole offseason to go with recently-named starter Paul Perkins, who was the team’s 5th round pick in 2016.
Given the nickname “Train” by players and coaches at Clemson, Gallman scored 17 touchdowns for the Tigers during their national championship run. He looks to bring a physical presence to a finesse offense, and could very well be the Giants’ solution as a 3rd down back.
Round 5 (167): Youngstown State Defensive End Avery Moss
Called in one scouting report “a poor man’s Justin Tuck”, the Youngstown State product recorded 11 sacks his senior season at the FCS level. Though he has had some off-field issues, including a 2012 public indecency charge that led to his dismissal from the University of Nebraska, Moss insists that problems such as those are a thing of the past.
It will be interesting to see not only how Moss can adjust to the game both on and off the field coming from the FCS, but also how he fits into the Giants’ defensive scheme; while Big Blue has a lot of defensive ends, there is no one clear right defensive end to pair opposite Olivier Vernon on the left side.
Round 6 (200): Pittsburgh Offensive Tackle Adam Bisnowaty
Many thought the Giants would do more to address their offensive line, which they have somewhat whiffed on in past drafts, as Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart have had more than their share of growing pains early in their careers. A four-year starter at left tackle for Pitt, Bisnowaty has drawn comparisons to, at least in GM Jerry Reese’s eyes, “a David Diehl-type of guy”. If the Giants can get consistent health and production out of guys like Bisnowaty, as well as undrafted free agent linemen Chad Wheeler (USC) and Jessamen Dunker (Tennessee State), perhaps they didn’t need to reach for lineman early in the draft after all.
All in all, this was a good but not great draft for the Giants. While they didn’t really add any household names per se, they did address some key team needs and sought to make some upgrades at other positions.
In terms of a grade, I’d give them a B.