NYG 2022 Draft: Day 2 Recap

After the buzz of Day 1, where the Giants absolutely destroyed it, I admit it is somewhat anticlimactic to be reviewing these players. Yet you also know that the Blog LOVES Round 2 and we recognize that you make your team in this part of the Draft. These are the people who become solid starters.

Our infatuation with Joe Schoen got off to an amazing start yesterday, when he arguably selected the best Offensive Tackle and Edge Defender in the entire 2022 class. The new GM did even more to win our affections, trading down from 2.36 to 2.38, collecting the 5.146. Then, he traded down again to 2.43 and collected the 4.114 pick. Ladies and Gents, these R4 and R5 picks do not grow on trees. Each time we got some additional value. With the 2.43, the NY Giants selected WR Wan’dale Robinson. Some indicated that he was projected to go in R3/R4, implying it was a reach and bad value. Not our draft analyst, Wonder…

“Underrated Prospect. I like him. And the guys I trust like him too. He is a potential steal. Can be a playmaker. Has a very good chance to succeed. Basically when you line him up in the slot and give him an option route, he is going to go one direction and he will be unguardable. So this is reasonable value for Round 2. He has a quick twitch, a fast and explosive guy. He is like a faster version of Julian Edelman with real speed, except not as thick or strong. Good hands, a burner, jitterbug, small.”

Shepard tore his ACL last season so the Giants are probably getting some insurance. Given Kadarius Toney’s reported baggage (not putting in requisite effort last year in preparation/meetings etc), it is another reason for depth. While I am not enamored of the “toys,” at least this WR came in Round 2. I have a kind spot in my heart for the Amani Toomers, Sterling Shepards, and Steve Smiths who put their heads downs and win games for you. This is a reminder of so much evidence not to draft WRs in Round 1.

Next, the Giants selected G Joshua Ezeudu with the 3.67 pick. “Reasonable,” says the UltimateNYG analyst. We wanted the Giants to hit OL hard. We know that Round 2 did not lend itself to selecting a lot of vg value there, as OLmen like Tyler Linderbaum and G Kenyon Green were long gone. It makes sense that the Gmen returned to this position, and we are glad they did. Added Saturday afternoon, Wonder: Ezeudu is ok, but there were other players I preferred. His ceiling is somewhere between a replaceable starter and a solid starter.

At. 3.81 the Giants selected CB Cordale Flott. These last 2 picks were in a position of need.

Added Saturday afternoon, Wonder: “JAG.” (Just a guy. Can make, cannot, not in love with the pick.)

THIB + NEAL = MONSTER DRAFT

What a fantastic draft day.

Do I really need to write this blog post up? Some days it just writes itself. What are the 3 things we preach over and over in terms of NFL architecture?

QB
Protect QB
Rush the QB

And in terms of allocating Draft resources, if you are picking so high at 1.05 and 1.07, you need to be leveraging those picks for those 3 things or else you Trade Down.

The Giants got a Royal Flush. They were helped out immensely by the mistakes of the top 4 selecting teams, and we will walk through those later. But first, let’s go THIBODEAUX.

4-3 Defensive End Kayvon Thibodeaux may be the best player in the Draft. Wonder ranked him 4th best if only because of questions about his intensity… was he holding back to stay healthy for the Draft? No matter, because the NFL is here, he has immense talent, and “if he plays with all out abandon he will be scary good.” Wonder asterisked Thib, asking whoever selected him to do their homework. No one outworks Joe Schoen. I am fairly certain that Schoen did the due diligence on Thibodeaux. Where Gettleman failed on the due diligence numerous times, I am betting that Schoen has checked the box. Why? Because Schoen’s reputation to this point is meticulous when it comes to these matters. The Giants grilled him. They did “EXTENSIVE RESEARCH” on him. The NFL grilled him. Assuming the Giants are satisfied with his character/desire, the sky’s the limit. UPSIDE MYLES GARRETT.

Addendum… the Giants actually employed a SMOKE SCREEN! OMG, the Giants played poker! The transparency is over. There is a new sheriff in town and his name is Joe Schoen.

Offensive Tackle Evan Neal is “impossible to get around” him on the pass rush. 6′ 7 1/2″ 337 lbs. When Thibodeaux is next to him, Thibs looks like a munchkin. Big, terrific movement for a guy his size. Grade ‘A’ Offensive Tackle. We graded Ekwonu the #1 Offensive Tackle and Neal the #1A Offensive Tackle. So the Gmen got a premier Offensive Lineman. UPSIDE TRENT WILLIAMS.

Smoke screen Part 2. We heard about how the Giants were high on Cross at Tackle. Cross is a terrific prospect and will make a very good OLman. But the Giants took Neal over Cross. More finesse. Good. Maybe the days of the media tipping the Giants’ hand are finally over. Maybe an Outsider named Joe Schoen KNEW what the other NFL teams knew, that the Giants were open book and that it had to stop. No more getting fronted for the Floyds and Conklins and Smiths.

PROTECT QB: ANDREW THOMAS + EVAN NEAL
RUSH THE QB: KAYVON THIBODEAUX + AZEEZ OJULARI

This is how you build a football team. Tremendous Draft.

Wonder: “Before the season, Kayvon Thibodeaux was the premier pass rusher and arguably the number one draft prospect for 2022. He has the ability to be All-Pro for a number of years. So to get that at 1.05 overall, that is worth whatever risk there was. Evan Neal has the ability to be the number one pass protector and number one road grader in this year’s Draft. So the Giants potentially may have collected the best pass rusher, pass protector and road grader in one evening. Incredible Draft.”

How did the Giants get their cake and eat it? 4 teams who went before them made their own mistakes, some bigger than others.
JAC took Travon Walker. He was #1 on our board, and a DE pass rusher with the most upside of anyone in the Draft. Yet you just took Trevor Lawrence. Protect him. Take an Offensive Tackle. If they do that, it tightens the choices the Giants can make.
DET took Aidan Hutchinson. Yes, an EDGE. But enough risk. Wonder estimates there is a 20% chance he busts. And at 1.02 there should be zero chance of that kind of floor. 80% that the Lions did fine. But I would have been less enamored with Hutchinson than I am with Thibodeaux.
HOU showed continuing dysfunction by taking the injury risk + CB positional value destruction of Derek Stingley. Wrong position. Wrong player. Wrong spot in the Draft. Wrong. Of course Stingley will be a terrific player if healthy, but there is risk. And we maintain that CB is not worthy of 1.03 unless you know he is a shutdown CB.
NYJ took Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. They took the better CB but they still blew positional value at this spot. Ralph Vacchiano had the Giants taking Gardner with one of their picks (probably the 1.07). Give me the pass rusher. (The Jets atoned later, trading back into R1 for Edge Jermaine Johnson at 1.26.)

So this is how the Red Sea parted for the Gmen. No Offensive Linemen were taken when it came time for them to pick at 1.05. They could have Traded down, which I actually preferred, because they would still get a terrific Offensive Tackle. OR, they could seal their own fate at 1.07 by (themselves) taking a non-Tackle at 1.05 (Thibodeaux) and then leaving themselves with the choice of Ekwonu or Neal at 1.07. The Panthers took Ekwonu, the Giants took Neal, and that is textbook for how you draft. Later, it was disclosed by Schoen that is exactly how they played it, as they saw risk after Thibodeaux was gone, so with 3 Tackles, they could pause there at 1.05, take the EDGE first and clean up at Tackle after Carolina was done. Well played.

Here is a metaphor for you. On the last play of the Super Bowl, Jamarr Chase has beaten Jalen Ramsey, arguably the best CB in the game, and he is wide open for a 60 yard TD to win the game. Except the Rams pass rush, with an overloaded right side of Miller and Donald, sack the QB and Burrow cannot get the ball out to his WR. Sure, I am cherry picking. How about another huge moment. This time it is the 2011 post season, NY Giants vs GB Packers, and Aaron Rodgers has Greg Jennings wide open (minute 6:59 to minute 7:28) for a TD, having beaten Aaron Ross. Except Osi Umenyiora strips the ball before Rodgers can make the throw. Protect the QB. Rush the QB.

I just went back through every Round 1 of the NY Giants. Wonder and I will both go on the record saying this is the best Round 1 since 1981 when they took Lawrence Taylor. Of course there is a lot of football that Mr. Thibodeaux and Mr. Neal have to play. Mark it down.

The NY Giants took two GIANT STEPS TO PROTECT QB and RUSH THE QB. Thibodeaux. Neal. Fantastic.

NYG Draft Leaker Revealed, Part 2

Yesterday, we revealed who the NY Giants leaker is. There is consistent inside knowledge of the Giants Drafting intentions in their first pick. Subsequent picks are never quite known due to the unfolding of the Draft Board, as too many variables affect who will be available.

We documented what happened in 2016.

In 2017, the Giants were picking later in Round 1, so it was harder to exactly know how the Board would unfold.

In 2018, everyone and their mother knew about Gettleman’s full bloom love for Barkley.

In 2019, the Giants selected Daniel Jones. We described in detail what went down, who leaked the pick, and how the intentions of the Giants were disclosed before Draft Day. Because no one else in their right mind would pay 1.06 for Jones, that is likely why the Giants were not fronted, despite their intentions being known beforehand.

In 2021, we got more of the same telegraphing. Draft Day morning:

With the 11th overall pick in the NFL Draft, the New York Giants will select

Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle.

I think, in the end, the Giants are going to take whichever Alabama receiver is still there – and yes, it could just as easily be DeVonta Smith

Ralph Vacchiano

So Waddle goes off at 1.06, and the other Alabama receiver, DeVonta Smith, is about to be the pick.

Except the Philadelphia Eagles (who picked at 1.12, right behind the Giants) knew how reliable the information was, how strong the leaked information was (whether they are getting it directly from Vacchiano or anyone else), and they did what the Titans and Bears did in 2016. They fronted the Giants, traded with Dallas at 1.10, and took Smith. This was all documented by Vacchiano a day later.

Yes, the Giants wanted Smith.

Ralph Vacchiano

This year, with the Giants holding 2 cards, the 1.05 and 1.07, they have more flexibility. Sadly, we will probably get the Giants’ draft intentions before they select. We all read the beat reporters to get a better understanding of what the team will do, but when there is too much information, it hurts what the team wants to do, be it Conklin, Floyd, Jones, Smith or whomever they target.

Giants Draft Leaker, Revealed

April showers bring May flowers. For the Giants, April Drafts bring April Leaks.

It is frustrating as all hell for Giants fans every year to watch as seemingly “everyone knows” what the Giants are going to do in the NFL Draft… and I am here to tell you that not only is the Giants Leaker real, we are pretty certain we know who he is and we are going to reveal him here in this blog post. All that we want as Giants fans is for the leaks to stop so that the team can be more competitive and make selections without the world knowing who they are taking beforehand.

UltimateNYG has been blogging the Gmen for over 15 years. Generally speaking, the mainstream media is compromised in what they can say in order to maintain access to their sources. We aren’t, so we get to say what we want. We just have to back it up with track record.

Here is the back story on The Leaker from last April. We knew there was a leaker but could not disclose who it was. For the beat writers, this is their grist, their livelihood.

What I could not tell you then, but which I can finally reveal now, is that we had a source with the same information overlapped from Ralph Vacchiano in 2019’s Draft. That does not mean he got his information the same way we got ours (perhaps he did, and we do not know), but I will share with you a story and you can draw your own conclusions.

As a reminder, on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, let’s set the table.

It is Wednesday, April 24, 2019, and I get a text from a Giants Source (“GS”).
“Call me.”
UltimateNYG: “Hey, what’s up.”
GS: “You’re not going to believe it, but I know who the Giants are taking tomorrow at 1.06.”
UltimateNYG (knowing how credible GS is): “Wow. Who?”
GS: “Just don’t share the information (on Twitter or the blog).”
UltimateNYG: “Not a problem. Who are they taking?”
GS: “You are going to freak. They’re taking Daniel Jones.”
UltimateNYG: “What???!!! You’ve gotta be kidding me. Jones at 1.06?! Overdraft. Let me check… Wonder has him as the 50th ranked player on his board. What a waste. What are they doing? They could get him at 1.17, or maybe even in early Round 2. How did you find this out?”
GS: “You’re not going to believe it. It’s John Mara.”
UltimateNYG: (stunned silence)
GS: “Yep. John Mara was playing golf at Winged Foot and he blabbed the pick. There were enough people there within earshot.”
UltimateNYG: “What is he doing? How can he be reckless with that kind of information?!”
GS: “I know. I know.”
UltimateNYG: “I do not know what is worse, overdrafting the 6th pick on Jones or the owner blabbing his own team’s draft intentions. GS, this is like Warren Buffett announcing the stock he is going to buy in the open market BEFORE he buys the stock. How can Mara do that?”
GS: “Yah, I don’t get it either.”
UltimateNYG: “He’s the leaker. Can I at least share the pick privately.”
GS: “Yes, but you can’t reveal the source of the information.”

The information was held in confidence, until now.

The pieces of the puzzle fit. Mutiple different draft leaks. Multiple General Managers. Who else would be that senior? And think about this- why do you not hear any effort on behalf of the Giants to flush out and fire the employee who keeps leaking? Surely, logically, Reese or Gettleman would have gotten rid of the person who was undermining their efforts! Only one answer makes sense- the leaker can’t be fired because it is John Mara. This kind of conclusion, reached via inference from more than a few, is shown in the confounded nature of Todd McShay coming up with yet more leaks about Charles Cross, followed by one exasperated fan and another…  

So let’s summarize- Vacchiano and others have had such good information for years. The Titans and Bears fronted the Giants in 2016. There was an “intelligence failure,” a leak that reporters had shared, that was disclosed prominently by John Clayton a few weeks later. Fast forward to 2019, and we are told via John Mara that the Giants will make an outlier move and take Daniel Jones at 1.06. That same evening, Ralph Vacchiano reports the same thing on Jones. 24 hours later, the Giants confirm what we heard and what Vacchiano reported, and they take Jones at 1.06. Maybe a pair of outsiders in Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll can put an end to the leaks. If national Draft guys like McShay “keep(s) hearing” about Giants Draft intentions, we aren’t so sure.