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.

Section 5: NY Giants Rounds 1-2 Plan

SECTION 5: NY GIANTS ROUND 1-2 PLAN

Last year we tee’d it up with all kinds of ways for the Giants to select Offensive Linemen. The chump GM took none, and said that no linemen were available when he selected. We (and anyone with an IQ over 60) called bull****. Months later, the boob GM was busy scrambling for Offensive Linemen at the end of Training Camp 2021. What a disgrace. We got 4 years of horse manure from David Gettleman. We were on record for not wanting him in December 2017, wanting him gone in December of 2019, and calling him out numerous times for his mistakes. Now it is 2022, he is finally gone, and everyone has figured out how he absolutely destroyed the franchise. The Giants are in dead last in Cap Space for the 2022 season; Schoen just restructured Adoree Jackson’s contract to free up room. But this is where we are.

How does the state of the franchise tie into this year’s Draft? You must regroup. There was only one legitimate starting Offensive Lineman on the roster. GM Joe Schoen has rapidly plugged up OL in Free Agency by getting the following players:
T Matt Gano
C/G Jon Feliciano
G Jamil Douglas
G Mark Glowinski
C Max Garcia

One would argue that the Giants don’t need to draft OL as hard, now that they have restocked the shelves. But that would be incorrect. Of those 5 new players, how many were signed to deals that were greater than 1 year? Bueller? Bueller? Try only one, Glowinski. Everyone else is stop gap. Show me. We have no idea what Gates will look like after injury. Lemieux and Bredeson are the offseason Gettleman survivors in the new regime. Do ANY of these players get you excited about the future of the Offensive Line, beyond the only player I intentionally did not mention, Andrew Thomas? None. Even Glowinski, who is the best of the bunch, is 30 years old. So Daboll and Schoen have to be thinking about getting at least 2 if not 3 credible draft picks for the OL. Me? NUKE THE #$@%^&# and draft it hard. And early. They won’t do that. But they should. If you told me they got Neal or Ekwonu, traded down for Linderbaum, and then got Green or Johnson in R2, I would be speechless. Because that is what I would do. That would give me 12 Linemen coming into camp and 4 get cut. My starting line, by the latest/midyear would be

THOMAS GLOWINSKI LINDERBAUM GREEN EKWONU

Oh. My. God. It can happen. End this 10 year drought. Protect QB.

Let’s talk some strategy. Many people are thinking to get the OT at 1.05 and Trade down with the 1.07 pick. It all depends. Does a QB get drafted really high? Does the team that wants a QB try to move up beyond 1.05? To 1.05? Either way, it would be great. Those dominoes help the siutation enormously.

Let’s say there are a total of 3 highly regarded players (EDGE + Tackle). You could trade down the 1.05 pick and take at least one of the remaining players at 1.07.

Please do not discuss taking a player other than Tackle or Edge in the top 7 picks. We discussed this in the previous post. Wasted real estate.

Can we be blunt here? Wink Martindale, the new Defensive Coordinator, needs to take a back seat in this year’s draft. I want I want I want. My scheme needs CB. Yes, I get it. Defense matters. I love Defense. But if I see another year of a stinking garbage OL, I am going to scream. Maybe we just won this battle with Bradberry not getting cut so that Wink stops asking for CB/S so that we can take care of OL.

OL OL OL

This offseason we saw this narrative come in about how you can get OL in later rounds. Yes! Yes, if your OL coach is Dante Scarnecchia or Bill Callahan. The Giants OL coach is a guy named Bobby Johnson. Johnson has 3 years experience coaching OL. Daboll knows him from Buffalo, so hopefully he can get the job done. But with 3 years experience, Scarnecchia and Callahan know more in their sleep than this guy awake. That does not mean Johnson cannot do well. But it also means that if you get this guy Round 4-7 Day 3 guys, you are likely going to continue to have the same problems we have been having for the past decade. And I do not know if I can take that kind of stuff much longer. So Wink, please be kind. Let the OL get priority here.

THOMAS GLOWINSKI LINDERBAUM GREEN EKWONU

We have Tyler Linderbaum ranked at 1.15. This is not 1980, when Centers rarely if ever got selected in Round 1. Centers are now understood for their value. So anywhere from 1.14 to 1.20 is fine.

The Giants need a TE. But this is not the Class of 2010, so calm down. The only two names who interest the UltimateNYG Draft analyst from this year’s draft are Jeremy Ruckert as a blocking TE and Greg Dulcich as a receiving TE. Do not take either before late Round 3. This means that Dulcich will likely be gone, as he is projected to go in Round 2-3. But Ruckert could be there, as he is projected to go in Round 3-5.

Running back? There are none worth fighting for early in this draft. By early, we NEVER mean Round 1. Drafting a RB in Round 1 is for neanderthals. Early for RB means the Round 2 types like King Henry or Dalvin Cook. In this year’s draft, Wonder is shocked at how many RBs are ~5’11” with great speed. So sit back, let the draft pass everyone by, and collect a credible RB in Round ~4. Plenty of players available.

There is an outside chance the Giants could and may need to trade one of their 2 first picks out of the first round entirely. This would not be an entirely bad thing. If they can amass so much value and collect an additional Round 1 pick for the 2023 Draft, that could be valuable collateral for a trade should the new GM and Head Coach choose to move on from Daniel Jones.

Summary: Go with Tackle (Neal or Ekwonu), trade down (for Linderbaum or even out of Round 1), get another Guard (Green or Johnson), and stop trying to solve OL by committee. If you love EDGE (there are 4 of them at the top of the Draft), take one of them also.

Wonder 2022 Mini Draft Board

At the UltimateNYG Church of Football Drafting, it is QB, Protect QB, and Rush the QB. So philosophically, we want to draft QB, Tackle, and Edge when given the special real estate of 1.05 and 1.07. Despite what this Draft Board has for ranking, it does not matter that there are CBs, Safeties or WRs ranked that high. I do not want to draft those positions. Not at 1.05 or 1.07. If given the choice of taking players who are not QB, T or Edge, I want to TRADE DOWN instead. My ideal draft is Ekwonu or Neal and trading down the other pick. And then if I am picking in the middle of R1, if I can then get Center Tyler Linderbaum, it is a slam dunk. My second best draft is 1 Tackle and 1 Edge. Those are 2 approved positions. Every other position- hard pass, trade down. They lack the positional value.

For clarification, to understand the rankings, they are based on the player, not the position. In 2018, we had Saquon Barkley as the #1 player on the Board. But in a league where championships are not won by running backs anymore, you do not take RB early in the draft. The Giants paid dearly for this mistake, one that we pointed out literally 5 months before he was selected. Taking CB, S, or WR is not as egregious as taking a RB this high, but it is still a waste of value. We argue that there is a significant difference in taking Gardner at ~1.10 versus taking him at 1.05.

Five spots in the draft may not seem like a lot, but go tell that to a team picking in the low teens pining for an elite pass rusher or Tackle this year. Two years ago, when the Giants took Thomas at 1.04, the UltimateNYG crew was silent. Why? We got a terrific prospect and a terrific position of need at Tackle. Yet the Giants squandered a ton of value because there were 3 more elite Tackles in the set of 4 (1.13 Wirfs, 1.11 Becton, and 1.10 Wills), making taking Tackle at 1.04 unnecessary. Thinking of this as a limit from elementary supply & demand, if there are 32 elite tackles in the draft, you could skip taking a Tackle because there will still be one remaining 1 or 2 rounds later. Value is everything in the Draft. The draft is a series of above average decisions over many years, and if you keep routinely squandering value, you will find yourself with … the worst record in the NFL over the past 5 years.

People think Draft evaluations are ultimately decided by how the player did in the Pros. That is true, but it’s far more nuanced than that…

The team and the system that takes you has as much to do with how the player turns out.

The team that takes you has as much to do with the player’s career trajectory as anything. We are dating ourselves, but how many people reading this have heard of Al Toon? If you have not, do yourself a favor and read up on his career. Toon went 1.10 in the 1985 Draft. Another WR was second off the board at 1.16. His name was Jerry Rice. If Rice went off first to the NY Jets and Toon went second to the 49ers, you just have no idea what that would have looked like. Toon, even on the Jets, became an All Pro. Montana throwing to Toon changes everything. Toon racked up ~9 concussions. It is impossible to comprehend the difference between the Jets + O’Brien vs SF + Montana/Young. Toon was picked by the Jets and that was his career. Situation matters. Toon was the fantastic dominant receiver you never heard of because of situation. We see players and we make verdicts on selections, but we mostly ignore the fit. Do not ignore the fit.

We have broken this Board down into 4 Sections.
Top 15
Injured Players
16-25 (in no order)
Miscellaneous

Section 5 will put this all together for the Giants in Round 1 and Round 2 in the next blog post.

SECTION 1: TOP 15

  1. DE Travon Walker (pictured). You cannot teach size and speed. He just has too much upside. Georgia dropped him back, zoned him, did all kinds of things with him, but I just have him as a simple 4-3 DE and LET HIM LOOSE! Seals the edge, stud at doing that. His potential? The sky is the limit. Everything is going for him. Always delivers the effort. If put on the right team with the right fit, will be Defensive rookie of the year. (Put him on ATL, they will double and he’ll disappear as a rookie.) Comp: Bigger Deacon Jones.
  2. T Ikem Ekwonu. Has the most upside of the Tackles. Athleticism. Better at the second level. More powerful in run blocking than Charles Cross. The dropoff to Cross is not big, but there is dropoff. Ekwonu is more physical, has some mauler. Comp: Younger healthier Tyron Smith.
  3. T Evan Neal. Just a massive beast. He can move for his size. It’s just impossible to get around him. I can’t see him failing. Good feet. Massive shadow. You pair him with a Guard, run behind him on 4th & 1, and you are moving the sticks. Comp: Trent Williams.
  4. DE Kayvon Thibodeaux. Immense talent. I want to see more care, more intensity, more motivation. He may have slowed it down to take care of himself so that he did not get hurt pre-draft. Some ask that he needs a consistent motor, and that is why they question this intangible. Interview him. Check out what his high school coach said. Get that read. If clear, has huge ceiling. Gets off the snap great. 4-3 DE, not a 3-4. I do not want him playing 5 technique 3-4. I think Wink Martindale can play either a 4-3 or 3-4, so make it fit if you take him. If he plays with all out abandon, he’ll be terrific and can be scary good. Upside Comp: Myles Garrett. Downside Comp: Jadeveon Clowney.
  5. CB Ahmad Gardner. I love him. If I somehow could get Neal or Ekwonu at 1.05 and trade down just a few spots to like 1.11 and get Gardner or Johnson, I am great. He has the body to gain some weight. Needs just a little more strength. Has the length. Has strong hands, tough to get off the line in press. Plays physical. But he will need to be careful early (as a rookie) against Jamarr Chase or DK Metcalf, because without more strength, if those guys beat him at the line they’ll beat him for a TD. Has talent, blue chip. People are having this debate between him and Stingley… ridiculous. It is so clearly Gardner. Note for Giants fans, this is not who we want at 1.05 or 1.07. Just not enough positional value for a CB this early. He is not a shutdown CB. Close to a shutdown CB, but those are the zebras, not the horses. Think horses. Do not take at 1.05 overall just because we have him as the 5th ranked player in the draft. Comp: a little stronger, slightly shorter version if we cross Cromartie and Ramsey.
  6. EDGE Jermaine Johnson. In a weird way, I like him more than Aidan Hutchinson because I know what I am going to get. Speed. Power. Length. Good athlete. Plays to the whistle. If you can trade down to 1.10-1.12 and take him there, great value. Almost for sure a very good professional football player. He does not have the ceiling of Walker or Thib. But his floor is higher than Thib. Comp: a taller bigger version of Dexter Manley.
  7. EDGE Aidan Hutchinson. With the success of the Watt brothers and the Bosa brothers, it affects Hutchinson’s stock price. But I do not view him as good as those guys. He is not a LBer. He is not a DE like JJ Watt or Bosa, so more of a tweener. 3-4 OLB. Can’t seal the EDGE. Not crazy enough to take on the big Tackles. Can be plenty good but not for me at the top of the Draft. I am not denying his worth. I still have him as the 7th best player in the draft. Just not the top. Comp: Poor man’s Kevin Greene.
  8. S Kyle Hamilton. Great at what he does, but he is a Safety. Like Gardner, you cannot be taking these players at the top of the Draft because their positional value is not there. We had RB Saquon Barkley as the best player on the Board, but that did not mean we wanted to take him at 1.02 overall. RB at 1.02 is a waste, and CB or S at 1.05 (or 1.07) is a waste too. Hamilton is great at what he does, but he is a Safety. Not fast, cannot play with the range of an Ed Reed or Earl Thomas. He has a SS body with a FS mindset. Has good ball instincts so he can see the field. Will be a very good football player. But how much is that worth? He is big and strong. Can drop down in the box, can move between LB and Safety. Hits. Tackles. VG value. Doesn’t cover and rush the passer for value there. Understand, like Gardner, he will be a terrific pro, but the Draft is about value and it is hard to use a super high pick on this player. Comp: Isaiah Simmons.
  9. WR Drake London. Tall. Strong. Fast. Catches the ball. What more could you ask for?! These are the kinds of guys I want as WR in Round 1. Aaron Rodgers makes this guy All-Pro. I want him for the Jets at 1.10* because he will give Wilson a big target who can go up for the ball and be an excellent red zone target. Comp: A better faster version of Mike Evans if in the right system.
  10. T Charles Cross. There is a dropoff from Neal or Ekwonu to Cross. He is fairly similar to Ekwonu except not as big or quick. But he is nonetheless still really good. Not as wide as Neal. Will be a good solid NFL Franchise Left Tackle. Very high floor. You will not go wrong with him at 1.12-1.14. Comp: decent ceiling to a Tyron Smith.
  11. DT/NT Jordan Davis. He loses value in a 4-3. I want to see him as a NT in a 3-4. His value is to take up space in the middle, require 2 blockers to take him on. Can be an All Pro NT with the right system and team. Comp: a faster Ndamukong Suh.
  12. LB Nakobe Dean. All over the field. Good football player. Will be a little of everything. Thumbs up. Comp: Poor man’s Micah Parsons.
  13. WR Garrett Wilson. Speedster. Runs good routes. Can he adapt to the NFL? Can he last? Can he get off press coverages? How well he answers those questions is how well he does in the NFL. At 1.13, obviously I like him, because he is very talented. Comp: bigger version of DeVonta Smith.
  14. ILB Devin Lloyd. Not as good as Dean, but like Dean, he does everything. Solid ILB. Quick. Strong. He gets this grade because he will be a 3 down LBer, which is what you need to be in today’s NFL to get taken in Round 1. Comp: a lesser version of Derrick Brooks IF he plays ILB rather than OLB.
  15. C Tyler Linderbaum. Who did we like last year as our fallback pick at the end of Round 1 or early Round 2? His name was Creed Humphrey. Regular readers of the UltimateNYG blog will know why we liked Humphrey … and why we like Linderbaum. What they have in common is that they were both wrestlers in high school. This ups their value because they understand leverage and hand placement. Shocking (not!) that the Chiefs took him at 2.63 and they have the leader of their OL in one rookie season. Linderbaum is a little undersized for me, smaller than Humphrey. He can have a little too much finesse; otherwise he would be worth more and be rated a little higher. Linderbaum is more athletic, smoother. This guy’s value is going to be huge to a zone blocking scheme. He will be tremendous as a pulling lineman in the run game because he’ll be able to pick up defenders in space. His only problem is- how does he handle the Jordan Davis NT one on one? He does not have the strength of a Nick Mangold to do that. So he will need help in that matchup, and that decreases his value a little bit. If he gains some mass, he may lose some of that speed and athleticism. Still, if the Giants were able to get Ekwonu or Neal at 1.05 (or 1.07, depending on what QBs go early), they could trade down to the 1.14-1.18 area and get Linderbaum. OMG, salivating at what that OL would look like. Comp: Tom Nalen (Denver’s smallish 286 lb great Center from 1995 to 2007).

SECTION 2: INJURED PLAYERS

The second section of this 2022 Draft Review is a Memorial to 3 players who would otherwise be elite top prospects, but fell victim to injury in college. I just do not know how to evaluate these players without a detailed medical evaluation. Not all ACL injuries are the same. And yet, if you are taking a player who tore his ACL in college, he has one less bite of the apple. These are absolute beasts, studs, if not hurt. I absolutely love Ojabo but feel terrible for him because of him getting hurt. Yet, it must change the evaluation and require medical/risk on where to take these guys. These guys will go in Round 1 but I have no idea where they should go because the medical report needs to detail the impact of the injury/risk to their career.
WR Jameson Williams
CB Derek Stingley
EDGE David Ojabo

SECTION 3: PLAYERS RANKED 16-25

Listed alphabetically
CB Andrew Booth
WR Treylon Burks
WR Jahan Dotson
S Daxton Hill
EDGE George Karlaftis
(overdrafting risk on this player)
CB Trent McDuffie
WR Chris Olave
G Trevor Penning
(yes, move him to Guard, barely top 25)
QB Malik Willis
DL Devonte Wyatt

SECTION 4: MISCELLANEOUS

Okay, it is time to talk Quarterback. There is not a single QB in this year’s draft that is worthy of a Round 1 ranking. Yes, I have QB Malik Willis in the 16-25 grouping, but that is because of some potential. So let’s explain. He is a freak, physically strong. He can throw the ball, and run the ball. He has a strong arm. But he is not as evasive as Lamar Jackson, so stop thinking like that. He needs to go to a team where he can sit for 2 years and learn. In today’s NFL, because of rookie contracts, the value is in getting them developed as soon as technologically practicable. So they are going to rush this guy onto the field, and that is a mistake. Because I will be burning 2 years of the cheap rookie deal, that is why his draft value drops, and that is why I do not like him too high. Yet, if is he is taken behind an Aaron Rodgers in GB or a Matt Ryan in IND, I know he will carry the clipboard and will take the time to develop properly for the pro game. Sit. Learn. Patience. Great coaching needed. Upside COMP: Steve McNair. Downside comp: Bust.

These other QBs? QB Kenny Pickett? No. QB Matt Corral? No.

Early Round 2 Guards for the Giants… G Kenyon Green or G Zion Johnson. I prefer Green to Johnson, but very close in similarity. Kenyon Green is going to be a 10 year plug and play Guard. Stick him in and let him go. Will do a good job for the Gmen and if you get a chance to take him at 2.36, run to get your pick in, because that is good value. Comp: for Giants fans, these guys are lesser versions of (yes, Center) Shaun O’Hara.

Do you have a particular player we did not discuss which you would like Wonder to evaluate? Let us know. If the player is mocked in Round 1 but we did not mention him in this post, it probably means that Wonder likes him less than consensus/where he will be selected.