New York Giants Draft Watch: Kizer, Watson Dropping, Conley Rising
By Curt Macysyn
The NFL Draft is a few weeks away, and various big boards are already going haywire.
The New York Giants select 23rd will have several options available. Their most immediate needs are: offensive line, running back, linebacker and tight end. With the possible exception of offensive line, there should be suitable options for them to select.
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Some mock drafts have as many as four quarterbacks going in the first round:Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes and DeShone Kizer. Realistically, there could be only two quarterbacks drafted in the first round.
Early on, Kizer was viewed as a project, and that talk has only strengthened. Last week, his former coach, Brian Kelly clarified earlier comments he made about his former quarterback’s NFL readiness. The clarification did stray far from his earlier assessment, however.
"Kelly said, according to the Indianapolis Star on April 7, 2017, “My recommendation was that he needs more time. He needs to play more football. I think the best place to continue his playing is at Notre Dame. But that doesn’t mean we can’t agree to disagree and then go and support him and that’s what we did.”"
Kizer was already falling out of the first round on many big boards, and Kelly’s comments said out loud what most experts already thought. I don’t suspect that the New York Giants are in the market for a first-round quarterback, so Kizer’s status will not impact them too much.
The further we get away from the National Championship game, the less appealing Deshaun Watson looks. Some folks had Watson as an option for the G-Men at 23rd, but I don’t see it that way.
The New York Giants are inching closer to legitimate Super Bowl contention. Now is not the time to go “all-in” for Eli Manning’s replacement. Remember, if nothing else, rookies are also looked upon as having value of special teams. One could argue that it was on special teams where Eli Apple was most effective in 2016.
New York Giants
If the quarterback class gets started early or late, that could impact the Giants. If quarterbacks go early, then players with higher grades get pushed downward. Watson falls into that category. Right now, there are serious questions whether or not he gets drafted in the first.
"Matt Miller of Bleacher Report sees it that way. He wrote this week, “A director of player personnel dropped this bombshell while talking with me this week: ‘I don’t think that run on quarterbacks is gonna happen early. I think it happens in the 20s’.”"
The best chance for Watson is to be drafted by the Buffalo Bills at number 10. This would be eerily similar to the recent selection of quarterback E.J. Manuel in 2013.
One player who has potential to rise up the charts is Ohio State cornernack Gareon Conley. According to NFL.com, Conley’s draft evaluation sounds a lot like New York Giants’ cornerback, Eli Apple.
"“Has NFL size with above-average length. Plays long. At his best when playing with inside leverage and trapping receivers against the boundary.”"
Ironically, Conley may be the beneficiary of teams coming to see his teammates, Mashon Lattimore and Malik Hooker. Some draft boards have Lattimore going second, after Myles Garrett is selected. After LSU’s Jamal Adams, Hooker may be the second best safety in the draft.
Conley has some development to do, but he fits the mold of a NFL press cornerback.
In the pass happy NFL, cornerbacks are at a premium, and only Marlon Humphrey (Alabama), TreDavious White (LSU) and Kevin King (Washington) are rated in most places higher than Conley.
Pretty much every team in the top 10 of the draft can use help at cornerback. The problem is that all of these teams have multiple needs as well.
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All these factors likely make Conley a first-round selection. In the best case scenario, Conley gets snapped up by the Philadelphia Eagles at number 14. Conversely, I cannot see Conley slipping by the Green Bay Packers with the 29th selection.