2020 NFL Draft: Sleepers + Busts

Wonder’s Top 50 discusses some of the players who are undervalued and overvalued. Everything is value in the Draft. Jerry Reese failed (2008+) in the Draft because he consistently overdrafted. His Round 3 selections were a collection of misses. Last year, Gettleman made the Giants draft with his Round 5 selection of WR Darius Slayton, whom we immediately tweeted that Saturday… “LOVE HIS UPSIDE. These are the guys who can make it at the next level.” Here are some more later round guys who can make it in the NFL..


We reviewed underrated players who are in our Top 50: Chase Claypool, Cam Akers, Antoine Winfield, AJ Dillon, Jeff Gladney, Logan Wilson, Kyle Dugger, Jeremy Chinn. Anfernee Jennings, Terrell Lewis. See the comments linked in the previous post.

Additional Sleepers not in our Top 50…

DE Curtis Weaver. Underrated pass rusher, end of R3 early R4. Boise State. 4-3 DE, I would not play him at 3-4 OLB. Gets up the field. Can hold the edge.

G Netane Muti. Fresno State. NASTY! Short arms will make him fall in the Draft, but can play in a phone booth and I love these guys. Get him for a song in R5 or R6. Depth! Maybe a starter long term.

G/C Keith Ismael. San Diego State. Versatility. Phone Booth. Nasty! Tough, won’t take sh*t. Cheap, may surprise as a starter. Think of all the R5 R6 and R7 busts there are year after year, then think about getting a cheap piece of OL depth like Ismael or Muti to help you when one of your starters goes down.

WR Quez Watkins. Love this guy. Weird body, a little over 6′ tall. Strong hands, but weighs 185 lbs, too lean, will get cut in half in the NFL. But between getting coached up and bulked up, you may have something. Can make it on Specials as a gunner or returner too while you wait. Blazing speed. Go for guys with potential in later rounds, because they aren’t making it anyway so here’s one with a shot.

WR Joe Reed. Virginia. Good (not great) speed, Strong, possession receiver on 3rd down to move the sticks. Needs help with technique but has the potential to make it.

BUSTS– Underperformers

There are no big busts forecasted this year. Will there be some Round 1 disappointments? Of course there will be. There always are. We just cannot predict any this year. In prior years Wonder panned names like Andre Smith, Chris Williams and Cyrus Kouandjio. Oh, the grief I got on Twitter from a Bills fan (Alabama Fan?) who ripped us for being negative on Big Cy. Well, he “fell,” was drafted in Round 2 at 2.44 and managed to put together a grand total of 8 starts in his fizzled career, 5 of which were when Cordy Glenn was hurt.

Ross Blacklock, Yetur Gross-Matos, Zack Baun and AJ Epenesa are overrated. You draft a guy in Round 1 .. he better be a stud or a solid QB prospect to be developed. These guys can play in the NFL but our draft analyst Wonder thinks the teams that take them will be disappointed because they will not be able to make the kind of impact you want from Round 1 draft capital. We suspect some will not go in Round 1. If you get these guys in Round 3 you will be happy, but they are expected to go early. No thank you. They are not busts. They are just players who are hyped up for more than we see as value. An example in this category from years gone by for Giants fans is Prince Amukamara. We had him ranked 35th on our board and the Gmen took him at 1.19. Bust? NO. But worth a round 1 pick? No. That’s where we think Blacklock, Gross-Matos, Baun and Epenesa are. Let them fall.

QB Jordan Love may be overdrafted. We have him a 38 on our Board, but caution that he is a Round 2 project, not a Round 1 stud. Can he make it? Perhaps. But the risk is there so that you want to preserve your draft capital for other players on Thursday.



2020 NFL Draft: Wonder’s Top 50

Wonder is effusive in praise of the Offensive Tackles and Wide Receivers in this draft. There are 16 of them in his Top 50. The WR talent is all about the DEPTH. Three rounds deep. This is the best Tackle class Wonder has ever seen, and the Giants would be smart to draft two of them in the first 3 rounds. Plus a WR, and done. Go Tackle, Tackle, and WR in that order. If T Ezra Cleveland, T Austin Jackson or G/T Josh Jones is around at 2.36, you are done!

1. DE Chase Young. The best all-around pure pass rusher in recent years. Great speed. Great push. Flexibility. Penetration. Missing nothing, has it all. Hands, size, strength. For a guy his size, his speed is ridiculous. Young can stop the run and rush the passer, the complete package. Comparison: A motivated, stable, injury-free Jadeveon Clowney. Reminds me of the body type of Mark Gastineau.

2. OT Tristan Wirfs. Fast. Strong. Well coached. Good hands. Agile. The most athletic tackle I have seen in recent memory. Can reach the second level real easy. Just a great football player. You can use him in the screen game. He can pull. He may be the new freak, as the combination of size, speed, strength, coaching and athleticism makes him the total package. I cannot remember a guy at this position being this athletic. Even the great HOFers didn’t have this kind of speed. Highest floor of anyone in the Draft. Comparison: I DON’T HAVE ONE! HE BREAKS THE MOLD.

3. OT Mekhi Becton. The second new breed of Tackle. Mauler. Road Grader extraordinaire. Knocks people down regularly. Could be the most dominating run blocker in the league. So massive that it is hard to get around him. He needs a little bit of fine tuning with coaching and technique (hands, footwork), as his pass protection is in need of a little refinement. When that is done, he will be complete. His upside is limitless. Comparison: Jonathan Ogden.

4. QB Joe Burrow. Incredible intangibles. Appears to be a true leader. Controls the huddle, controls the game. Not the biggest arm, but throws with great anticipation and great understanding of the route tree. Unflappable. Mature. Has his head on straight. Can he save the Bengals? The Bengals can’t save the Bengals. If this were a normal franchise, it would be a great way to start. Comparison: Troy Aikman.

5. LB Isaiah Simmons. Best value is playing SS in the box. Blitz him unaccounted for. Can cover RBs and TEs, can run blitz. Not an unbelievable pass rusher. Can be neutralized by a big Tackle. Almost wasted at LBer. I do not want him swallowed up by an Offensive Tackle. Needs the right scheme, like Seattle, New Orleans or New England.  Move him to LBer and bring in another dimeback. Play him all over the field; his value is how you can’t account for him. Will be grease lightning inside a dome. Comparison: a bigger faster version of Steve Atwater.

6. CB Jeff Okudah. If he gets the hang of the NFL game, he can be a press cover corner and you’ll be able to leave him alone on one side of the field. Big, rangy, fast, athletic, agile, strong hands. Great hips. No apparent weaknesses. Any CB today has to adjust their game to the pros, so no lock here, yet he has big upside. Comparison: slightly poorer version of Patrick Peterson.

7.  OT Jedrick Wills. Wills gets the edge over Thomas simply because he is nasty. Road grader. Tough. Grinder. Fundamentally sound. The only question I have on Wills is against a speed rush. But he will be a tough nasty leader of your OL. I would leave him at RT but he can be moved to LT. Comparison: If Randall McDaniel played Tackle, this is what he would look like.

8. DT Javon Kinlaw. Underrated. South Carolina always stinks so won’t get respect yet. Big. Strong. Quick for his size. Durable. Will stand the grind of the NFL pit and thrive. Great upside. Can be special. If loses a little weight can be a 3-4 DE. That flexibility makes him worth more. Comparison: Fletcher Cox.

9. DT Derrick Brown. Virtually the same player as Kinlaw but I like Kinlaw better. Has played all 4 years at Auburn so he is experienced and will be a great player. Brown just gets more press. Will make a terrific pro. Comparison: Fletcher Cox.

10. WR Jerry Jeudy. The most polished receiver I have seen in 10 years, in terms of running the route tree and adjusting. Great feet, precise. Good strong hands. Doesn’t drop balls. Just doesn’t have the blazing speed. A little small for me. He is 6’1″ 193 lbs, if he were 6’3″ 220 lbs I’d be salivating over him. He will be a really good pro, but needs to be on the right team. Joe Montana would love this guy because their offense was precision. Would compliment Michael Thomas on the Saints, they could not be stopped. Comparison: a cross between DeAndre Hopkins and Marvin Harrison.

11. WR Henry Ruggs. More upside than Jeudy. Could be Tyreek Hill, but Hill is a little tougher and stronger for his size than Ruggs. This guy can take the top off of any defense. Will replace Hill as the fastest NFL WR. Once he catches the ball it is scary. Very scary. Comparison: An actual version of what Johnny Lam Jones was supposed to be. Or John Ross.

12. QB Tua Tagovailoa. Health? Health? Health? Might be worse than Sam Bradford in terms of injuries. Major risk, major reward. Great field vision. Great understanding of the routes the receivers are running, and anticipating how the field opens. Mobile and athletic. Extremely accurate. I do not like his arm as much as others. On a good team with good receivers, he will not lose you the game. Comparison: Tony Romo.

13. OT Andrew Thomas. A slightly lesser version of Tristan Wirfs. Not quite as fast, not as good. But still excellent. Does everything well. Mauler, great pass protector. Smart. Played a lot of tough SEC football against good opposition. A little raw but very good upside. Comparison: If refines technique and learns the pro game, Joe Thomas.

14. WR Ceedee Lamb. Get him the ball on crossing routes, he is super dangerous once he gets the ball in his hands. Scary. Good hands, all around WR. Might be the best WR in the Draft class. Oklahoma spread offense has limited route trees, sometimes it is hard to see what they are going to do in the pros. So lower floor and higher ceiling. Pretty good size, can fill out a little bit. Good speed. Burst off the line of scrimmage is just scary. Gain 10 lbs of muscle over the next 16 months, he can explode. Comparison: DeAndre Hopkins.

15. CB CJ Henderson. It would not totally shock me if Henderson is better than Okudah. Great size, strong, needs to learn how to use his hands in press at the line of scrimmage… but once he does that he can be the nuts. Great hips, great flow. Only thing I do not like about him is that he does not want to get physical in the run game. Comparison: Stephon Gilmore.

16. RB Jonathan Taylor. The only concern on him is he has been used a ton in college. Great kid. Plays tough. Lowers his pads to get the extra yard. Has breakaway speed. Great in the locker room. Was never asked to pass protect, so will need to be taught that. So competitive, he needs to hold onto the ball, another thing he will learn. Football player! Comparison: A better faster version of Frank Gore.

17. CB Trevon Diggs. I love that his older brother is already in the pros. Really good size, great speed, good hands, good length, long arms for a CB. The only thing I do not like about him is playing a Tampa 2. I want him in man to man press. Must learn to jam at LOS vs big WRs. Has good ball skills because used to be WR. Great catchup speed. His floor is solid starter, ceiling can be an All-Pro. Potential is there because he does not have a lot of experience at CB, so there is so much he can learn and accomplish. Comparison: poor man’s Jalen Ramsey.

18. LB Kenneth Murray. The best all around ILB in the Draft. Excellent speed, disrupts plays in the backfield, can blitz. Not the greatest cover guy. Great teammate. Will be a great pro. Has more upside when taught how to cover backs, get off blocks. Comparison: Jonathan Vilma.

19. S Xavier McKinney. Alabama had a great back 7. McKinney was a big part of that. He is solid everywhere. Experienced, can play Tampa 2 two high zone, single high 8 in the box, can cover the slot, takes great angles, knows the football field, can make a play. Plays faster because he knows where to go. Good hitter for his size. Can blitz. Floor is 2.5 (solid starter-pro bowl) and ceiling is All-Pro. Comparison: Jamal Adams.

20. QB Justin Herbert. The great unknown. Great speed, athlete, great size, great durability, great arm, some accuracy, needs to know the route adjustments. Reacting to the adjustments to the Defense, leading the WRs the proper way, pocket poise (my biggest concern)… these are things that are nagging questions for me. Comparison: an athletic Joe Flacco. At best, a bigger, faster Ben Roethlisberger.

21. DE K’lavon Chaisson. Great leader. Played on a top team. Really good quickness. I need him to play a 3-4 Edge Rusher, can seal the edge and rush the passer. He will get swallowed up by good Tackles as a 4-3 DE. Comparison: modern faster version of Kevin Greene.

22. WR Chase Claypool. The most underrated player in the Draft. I have him higher than anyone. When you play at Notre Dame, you aren’t going to be ready for the NFL as a WR. BUT, give him a year to develop, and Year 2 he is going to be a nightmare for NFL defenders. He is so much bigger and stronger than CBs and Safeties. Ran a 4.4 too. Needs coaching, must learn the play and flow. Red zone- OMG what he will be able to do. Bad rap by others in their evaluation, do not sleep on this guy. In Round 2 he will become Daniel Jones’ best friend. Physical MONSTER who, with polish and experience, will be undefendable. Comparison: bigger stronger version of Calvin Johnson (does not yet have the smoothness).

23. LB Patrick Queen. Only reason behind Murray is because I like Murray’s size and height more. Best value not as ILB. His best position is as a 4-3 weakside LB. Comparison: Poor man’s Derrick Brooks.

24. RB D’Andre Swift. Great burst. Great on sweeps. Great pass catcher. However, I don’t like him running up the middle, and I don’t like his short height and short arms in the passing game. As a result, I think he is being overrated. Late first or early second if you want him. Comparison: LeSean McCoy.

25. CB A.J. Terrell. Another undervalued player, imo. Good height, good speed. Good hands. Only thing I do not like is arm length. Can easily gain 15 lbs. Once he has that weight, will come of age in his second year. Great hips. Needs more strength. When he learns the NFL and gets consistency, will be terrific. I think he goes in R2 or R3. Great value. I wish Deion Sanders could teach him. Comparison: a little shorter version of Antonio Cromartie.

26. WR Denzel Mims. Another incredibly underrated WR, him and Chase Claypool. Top end of WR class is so heavy in depth, so he will get overlooked and will be a nugget at 2.50- 3.65. 6’3″ 210 runs a 4.38. More importantly, started 3 years for Baylor, where he saw a ton of action. This guy has another gear. Scary. The only qualification, he has lost focus and dropped some balls he should have caught, but that can be fixed. Wouldn’t shock me if SF at 1.31 take Mims or Claypool. Comparison: Faster Jerry Rice (obviously without the hands, experience and smarts).

27. OT Ezra Cleveland. Another underrated player. Only thing I do not like is that he has shorter arms than I prefer for a Tackle. But he is stout. He gets set quickly, mirrors the DE very well, maintains balance with good footwork. Smart tough guy who won’t get beat. Will get to the second level in the run game because he is athletic. Can carry more weight. Great hands, high school wrestler, tough and strong. Definitely take him if available at 2.36. If the Giants get Wirfs and Cleveland, I promise you you are set at Tackle for the next 10 years. Comparison: a bigger faster version of Karl Nelson.

28. OT Austin Jackson. I actually believe his best position is at Guard. He can be a mauler at Guard. Can he play Tackle, yes. Versatile, so a big advantage in today’s NFL when your Tackle gets hurt. Nothing wrong with taking him at 2.36 and if it does not work out at Tackle, move him to Guard. If Jackson and Becton play together, what a running game you’d have. At Tackle, he will be vulnerable to a very good pass rusher, as I question his footwork and think he is naturally better lined up inside.  Comparison: Gabe Jackson.

29. G/T Josh Jones. Another Guard/Tackle. Another guy to try at Tackle, and can turn him into Guard if does not work out. Shorter arms, questionable footwork. This guy is a mauler, NASTY. Better as a road grader than pass protector. Football player. Comparison: Gabe Jackson.

30. LB Logan Wilson. Underrated because played at Wyoming. Good size and speed. Captain of his team for 3 years. I don’t see many guys like that. Fast to the ball, sheds blocks. Tough, can play inside a phone booth. Has good coverage skills. Comparison: Tedy Bruschi.

31. LB Terrell Lewis. Tore his ACL in 2018. Explodes off the line of scrimmage as a 3-4 DE. Or 3-4 OLB. 4-3 MLB. I think his best position is 3-4 OLB. If he clears his medical, has great upside. Big and fast. Sets the edge. Powerful. Aggressive vs run. If he is healthy, he is an absolute steal. Value at end of Round 2. Comparison: poor man’s Khalil Mack.

32. WR Michael Pittman. Great hands, good body control. Tough, picks up yards after contact. Lacks super speed, but plenty fast. Father played for Tampa Bay Super Bowl winner. Beats zone. Great production. I love team captains. Another underrated WR in a loaded class. Comparison: a bigger faster version of Anquan Boldin.

33. RB Cam Akers. Another underrated player. Great pro. Tough as hell. Will be great in pass protection. Catches the ball. Can even push the pile. I just like the way he runs the ball, a bell cow…. Comparison: Frank Gore.

34. WR Justin Jefferson. The WR class continues.  I do not know if the phenomenal year was due to the great LSU season or how good he was. You cannot go wrong with this guy, he will be an excellent pro. I like the size of the other WRs ahead of him more. His ceiling is lower. Comparison: Randall Cobb or Michael Gallup.

35. RB J.K. Dobbins. Not rated as high as most people. I don’t like the way he catches the ball. Short arms. Short height. If he had the height and weight he’d be top 10. Never seems to fumble the ball. Durable and tough.  Comparison: poor man’s Emmitt Smith.

36. LB Anfernee Jennings. Another underrated Alabama player. I would move him from the Edge to the Middle. ILB in a 3-4 or MLB in 4-3. Finishes plays. Just can’t go wrong with him. Most have him in R3 or R4. You get him at the end of R3 with the compensatory pick, a steal. Hits, tackles, tough, strong, flows to the ball. Gets it done. Worst is that he is going to be a solid pro playing on all 3 downs as a LBer. Can cover the TE. Comparison: bigger faster version of Lance Mehl. For young football fans, Jerod Mayo.

37. LB Troy Dye. Vastly underrated. Flows to the ball. Led his team in tackles 4 consecutive years. Who the F does that? Played the last 8 games of his senior season in a cast because of a broken thumb. Who does that? That is who I want on my team. Would be one of Parcells’ guys. All about team and teammates, you give me 22 of these, I win the Super Bowl. Can play ILB in a 3-4, OLB in a 4-3. Comparison: Bigger taller version of Zach Thomas.

38. QB Jordan Love. ??? Who knows? Could be anything from Jake Locker to Patrick Mahomes. I have no idea. Can throw on the run. Prototypical size for a QB. Can extend plays. What I do not like is he is too quick to get out of the pocket. Doesn’t protect the ball as much as I would like. Feast or famine.

39. S Antoine Winfield Jr. Love him. Underrated. Only thing that makes him held back is shorter arms and shorter height. Quick, fast, tough, great natural ability. Great hands, ball hawk. Father was a terrific pro. 3″ of height and 1.5″ of arm length and in Top 15. Comparison: shorter Ed Reed.

40. C Cesar Ruiz. The best Center in the Draft. But needs more height and weight to move up. Excellent durability. Good height and bulk. Good balance, big strong hands. Smart, if all of my Tackle/Guards are gone he is a good pick.  Comparison: smaller Nick Mangold.

41. G Damien Lewis. Used to playing pro sets, so has pass protection skills. The best pure Guard in the class. R3 value. I would not take him at 2.36. Road grader. Holds his own. Comparison: shorter version of Gabe Jackson.

42. WR Tee Higgins. A little overrated. Worried about his body type in terms of getting hurt. Needs more weight and strength. Good red zone target. Comparison: Poor man’s Keyshawn Johnson if he can stay healthy and learn the pro route tree.

43. S Jeremy Chinn. Underrated. Big, tough and fast. Played under the radar at Southern Illinois, so that is why he does not get the respect. Has the size to cover TEs, can play in the box. I just don’t understand why the ratings on him are so low. End of R2 or early R3 is great value. Versatility. I love him. Comparison: a better version of Taylor Mays.

44. S Kyle Dugger. Another unknown Division 2. Four year starter. Big Safety, great speed. Can run with TEs and slot WRs. Big hands. Downside is that he is a 5th year senior, so already 24. But if I can get 6 years out of him, great. Physical, tough. Steal at end of R3. Comparison: a bigger stronger version of Ed Reed, without the experience of course.

45. S Grant Delpit. LSU, showcased. All well and good, but doesn’t have the speed, will be a good pro but I don’t think he has the instinct or upside potential as the other Safeties I have. Dinged up. Competitive. Comparison: poor version of Landon Collins.

46. RB AJ Dillon. I love this guy, can pass protect, can run. Tough on short yardage, can block. FB. RB. Comparison: faster version of Mike Alstott.

47. G/T Isaiah Wilson. Serviceable Tackle. I like the pedigree. Humongous. Surprising speed and flexibility for such a big guy. Mauler. Needs Scarnecchia. Get him in Round 3 and wow. If he can’t improve his footwork to make it at Tackle, just move him inside. Imagine pairing him with a Road grader like Becton. And has the versatility. If Giants go Tackle in R1, WR in R2, and he is around in middle of R3, you trade up your R3 compensatory pick + a R6 pick and grab him. Comparison: Trent Brown.

48. C Lloyd Cushenberry. Yet another LSU guy. Needs a little more strength to take on the Nose Tackles. Plug and play Center. Very solid pick. Not a road grader. Limited upside but a very high floor. Solid starter for 10 years. Comparison: Bart Oates quality.

49. CB Jeff Gladney. I like him more than most. All I see on film is him making plays. Not tall fast big, but good arm length, just gets it done. I want him on my team, a 3rd CB, a slot CB, sees the ball and gets to the ball. Big tall WRs will give him problems. Experienced. 4 year starter. Comparison: poor man’s Aaron Glenn.

50. QB Jacob Eason. My bubble boy. Flyer. Big. Athletic. Strong. Bazooka arm. Just get me a QB guru to help him. His father is Tony Eason. Comparison: more athletic version of Vinny Testaverde.

Honorable Mention: S Kristian Fulton.



It’s Not Complicated

The great philosopher of the ‘hood, aka Fred Rogers, said: “Simple and Deep is better than Complex and Shallow.” You want to win in the NFL? Here are 3 simple priorities you need to adhere to to win.

  1. QB
  2. Protect the QB
  3. Rush the QB

Is that simple enough? If you are doing those 3 things, you are competitive. If you are not doing those 3 things, you’re not. The NY Giants OL has been in decline/disarray for a decade. The last cog in that machine died when Chris Snee succumbed to back problems. It’s been a complete sh*t show ever since.

When the Giants lost control of the line of scrimmage, they started losing. OL doesn’t have the glorified transparency of statistics that other skill positions have. We have seen it in subtle and not subtle ways, like

  • Eli Manning getting rid of the ball faster to avoid sacks
  • Not being able to throw downfield on as many 7 step drops
  • Saquon Barkley not being given adequate run blocking
  • Lack of any push in short yardage
  • Daniel Jones finishing in 17th place all time for rookie sacks (and having only started 12 games).
    • Giants OL allowed 119 QB hits, ranking 3rd in the NFL in 2019

We are again on the precipice of another defining moment for the franchise. Gettleman, because he is a butcher, finds himself yet again near the top of the draft at 1.04. What to do? Keep it simple. It’s very deep.

You just put your future in Daniel Jones. Nate Solder has failed in his second year, just as Wonder predicted. Jones was not protected by his OL the entire season, and he started getting into the David Carr zip code. What to do? Keep it simple. It’s very deep.

Wonder has given us a preliminary look at the draft. Last year, as one example, he warned that the top of the crop didn’t have much at Offensive Tackle. But this year, it is a splendid crop with not 1, not 2, not 3 but 4 excellent stud Tackles at the top. Wirfs. Becton. Wills. Thomas. Any or all has the potential to be elite “1” All Pro. Wirfs and Becton are projected to that level in his evaluation. What to do? Keep it simple. It’s very deep.

That list of the 3 things is not Gettleman’s list. Gettleman’s list is Run the ball, Stop the run, and Rush the passer. One out of three. Another great philosopher Dimitri Raitzin, my college fraternity brother, warns:

My rule of predicting Gettleman’s behavior: think of what will disappoint you most, that’s what he’ll do.

So here we are with LB Isaiah Simmons being dangled in front of us. Know full well I’ve been begging for a Round 1 LBer longer than anybody. It’s a luxury that the Giants cannot afford at this moment. I said the same thing about Barkley. Barkley and Simmons will have great careers. But that’s not where this franchise is right now. I will love Simmons if he is on my team. Yet what good does that do if Daniel Jones is in concussion protocol?

The OL has been woefully inadequate for many years. That’s directly correlated to this franchise’s inability to be consistent and competitive. The list. Protect the QB. Keep it simple. And deep.

The best move DG can do is trade down anywhere from 1.04 to a range of 1.05-1.12 and take one of these 4 stud tackles.

The second best move is to just take the Tackle you like the most at 1.04.

The third best move is to trade down to 1.15+ and get massive booty. You probably won’t get one of the 4 Tackles but you’ll get a lot of value in return.

The least preferred move is to take Simmons at 1.04. It will work. The Defense will do very well, and the combination of Dexter Lawrence plus Simmons will be the foundation for many years to come. It’s just a luxury that won’t matter if Jones gets hurt (or worse, his play is irreparably altered by bad habits learned from no protection) and/or Barkley isn’t leveraged.

A few posts back we discussed positional value, and explained economically why Barkley destroyed so much cap value at 1.02. Summarized, taking a RB (the cheapest average salary in the NFL) at 2nd overall made Barkley the 4th highest paid RB instantly. The beauty of ‘the 3 simple things you need to do to win in the NFL’ is that all 3 are also (shocking, NOT) completely aligned with positional value. Explained another way, if you take a QB, an elite pass rusher, or a lockdown Left Tackle at 1.04, you do not waste cap value at those 3 positions the way you will with Linebacker. Simmons lines up in any of 5 positions in college (ILB, OLB, Slot CB, CB and Safety), but Inside Linebacker is where he took the most snaps. The 1.04 salary is slotted at $8.15M/year.     Giants 1.04:

  • Offensive Tackle will be paid the 26th highest Tackle salary in the NFL.
  • ILB (Simmons) will be the 15th highest ILB salary.

Football is a very simple game. The great Vince Lombardi lamented how (even in the 1960’s, well before the rule changes making this a pass happy league) there was unfortunately too much importance on one player in the team sport he loved so much. He was referring of course to QB. In 2020 it’s a QB league now more than ever. The second most important thing to having a QB is protecting the QB. The NY Giants haven’t been doing that for a long time, and it’s not a coincidence that the franchise has s*cked for a long time. It’s simple. It’s deep. Draft the stud Offensive Tackle.


UltimateNYG’s draft analyst Wonder is about halfway through the Combine tape. So while his Draft Board is a work in progress, he already has evaluated many players. And there is one guy (beyond Chase Young) who stands out in the 2020 Draft:


“This draft is loaded with Offensive Tackles,” says Wonder. “Contrast that with last year, when it was not top heavy at all. This year it is a great draft for Tackle. Also WR. I have not looked at Defensive Line or Defensive Backs yet, so everything is incomplete, but it is a great moment for the Giants to take Tackle.”

Right now, here is how Wonder ranks the Top 3 prospects at OL:
1) T Tristan Wirfs
1A) T Mekhi Becton
3) T Andrew Thomas

So why not Wirfs? Wonder: “An extra 40 lbs of power. Wirfs is more of a zone blocking scheme fit. Becton is better for a power running game. I would love Becton for the Giants.”

What does Becton offer? Our draft analyst elaborates. “He is a beast. 6’7” Carries 350-360 lbs easily (weighs 364 lbs). MAULER! Powerful hands. Agile. Moves quickly. Mauls defenders like insects. He is athletic. If Becton is coached right and he has the proper work ethic, there is unlimited upside. As a prospect, Becton offers the most potential we have seen in many years.

“This guy will protect Daniel Jones for 10 years. You can’t put a price tag on that. He’ll help turn Barkley loose in the running game. He will change the whole Offensive Line by himself. If you draft him, move Solder’s awful contract to RT. I am not in love with this, but you can even possibly move him to Guard.” Considering how poor the Giants OL has been … for nearly a decade …. doesn’t that mean everything??!! Becton is going to have 80 lbs on the DEs in the run game. Think about that kind of dominance. The game is won and lost at the line of scrimmage. Doesn’t that explain why this position makes so much sense?!

The safe pick is Wirfs, who Wonder projects to be an All-Pro. But if you want to hit a homerun, you take Becton, because if he is healthy and reaches his potential, he could be a perennial All-Pro. Taking Wirfs at 1.04 is not horrible because it will work.

Wonder compares Becton to LT Jonathan Ogden. “Becton is built like Ogden. His upside is Ogden or Pace. I actually played basketball versus Jonathan Ogden in a pickup game. He had tree trunks for legs. So I know what Jonathan Ogden is. By the way, Ogden is a super nice guy, he went easy on us. Mountain of a man.”

Any other comparison? “He can be a much better version of Trent Brown, the Raiders Pro Bowl Tackle (who was coached up by Scarnecchia in New England before hitting paydirt in Free Agency). A much better bigger version than HOFer Art Shell. A bigger better version of DAL T/G HOFer Larry Allen.”

Maybe Judge just pays his old colleague Scarnecchia to coach this kid up in training camp. Everything Scarnecchia touches turns to gold. Just get Becton some decent coaching and it is over.

Let’s talk intangibles. Here is a piece from before his senior year in college. He says all the right things and walks the walk. No red flags here. I like this kid, he seems like he wants to put his head down and get to work, which is precisely the culture of a 10 year lineman.

The last time the Giants took a Tackle really high, they got burned with Ereck Flowers. And once burned twice shy, so you might be afraid to go there again. “Flowers was never projected to be a mauler. He was projected to be a solid LT that could protect Eli. My eval was wrong because even though I specifically said that he needed a year of coaching before establishing himself, he never learned the proper technique to get to the next level. He did a lot better with Callahan in Washington because he had better coaching and better technique. They also moved his feet inside to Guard. Becton, on the other hand, is massive, has much better athleticism than Flowers, and frankly should not be compared to him. He has a much higher ceiling, it is not even close.”

Wonder continues. “The thing which is most intriguing about taking Becton is that other teams will have to gameplan to address what he does in the run game. And once you have a player of that caliber who does that to the opposition, you’ve already won.”  Think about how every week, opposing teams needed to gameplan Lawrence Taylor. Well, right now they don’t need to gameplan Barkley as much because the OL s**ks at run blocking. Becton will change that.

We have been begging for Offensive Line 8-10 years ago, and re-upped the need 2 drafts ago from the moment they selected Saquon Barkley. Frankly, I wasn’t kidding when I said in 2018 that it would be fine if they took OL the rest of the Draft. How about this draft? Wouldn’t you take 2 offensive tackles in this draft? “Not a bad idea. Yes,” said Wonder.

Wonder imagines life on the Giants Offense with Becton. “You get a good solid blocking TE to pair up with him on the left side and oh my God it is a feast of riches. I run 12 package play action out of a set with Shepard, Tate and Engram wide and it cannot be  defended. If you run the ball you’ll get 5 yards every time, so the LBers will be drawn up to stop the run. On play action, Tate, Shepard or Engram can get 10-15 yards easily.”

ODDS and ENDS: This is a thin draft for Tight End. Washington QB Jacob Eason is value. If he can be taught properly, he has an arm. Round 2 coach him up. Another value guy in Round 2 or Round 3 is WR Chase Claypool. More Draft coming while we are all in lockdown.