The New York Giants are likely not approaching the 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft as a team in need, but that doesn’t mean Big Blue shouldn’t use a pick on one of the five prospects.
New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman addressed multiple positions of need in his first offseason. But following a 3-13 season, there was only so many voids the first-year GM could fill.
While the G-Men upgraded their offensive line, linebacking corps, and backfield, they also lost some key players at cornerback. Gettleman cut veteran Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to save cap space. Ross Cockrell signed a two-year deal with the Carolina Panthers.
New York Giants
The Giants did add depth at cornerback, signing William Gay, B.W. Webb, and Curtis Riley. However, none of the acquisitions are expected to become full-time starters. Gay has been considered the favorite to land Big Blue’s nickel cornerback position, but the top two starting roles belong to Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple.
Jenkins is clearly New York’s best talent at the position. The Giants have given Apple a clean slate. The 22-year-old has yet to prove himself a consistent talent on the outside.
The news of Jenkins’ brother, William Jenkins, this past week has only put a spotlight on the team’s need at the position. As of now, there has been no connection linking Jenkins to his brother’s charge of aggravated manslaughter, other than the victim’s body being found at Jenkins’ Fair Lawn, NJ, home.
The thought of losing Jenkins is a scary notion for Giants fans. It would make Apple the team’s No. 1 cornerback heading into Week 1.
There’s no reason to believe Jenkins won’t be on the field in 2018 at this time. There’s also no reason the Giants shouldn’t explore adding another cornerback ahead of training camp.
Supplemental Draft CB Options
The 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft provides the Giants with two potential cornerback options. There hasn’t been a player taken in the Supplemental Draft since 2015, but both Western Michigan’s Sam Beal and Virginia Tech’s Adonis Alexander have the talent to be selected on July 11.
The Giants have also scouted Mississippi State safety Brandon Bryant, but cornerback is unquestionably Big Blue’s top need. The G-Men have options at safety with Landon Collins, Darian Thompson, Andrew Adams, and Michael Thomas. The same cannot be said for the cornerback position.
The Giants could look to go the free agent route. Re-signing Rodgers-Cromartie makes plenty of sense. However, New York has limited cap space. According to Over the Cap, the Giants have just over $7.2 million in cap space. They have also yet to sign their first-round pick, Saquon Barkley.
That’s another reason adding a cornerback in the Supplemental Draft could make sense for the G-Men. Signing a rookie draft pick would be substantially cheaper than signing a veteran free agent, as long as the pick isn’t in the first two rounds.
Gettleman would be forfeiting a draft pick in 2019, but the Giants also find themselves in a great position. Only the Cleveland Browns sit ahead of the Giants in the draft. So if Big Blue uses a pick on a prospect, the only team that can steal the selection in the same round is Cleveland.
The Giants have been building a team to win now. The signing of Nate Solder and selection of Barkley has made that clear. Can Gettleman afford to ignore New York’s need at cornerback given the moves he’s made this offseason?
The answer is not as clear-cut as yes or no. In my opinion, the Giants should make a bid on both cornerbacks, but Beal should be the top target.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound prospect was expected to be the top returning cornerback in the MAC, according to Pro Football Focus.
NFL Network analyst Gil Brandt reports that at least one team has a second-round grade on Beal. He also reports that Beal is likely to be selected after the second-round because it’s the Supplemental Draft.
The Giants should be willing to go as high as a third-round pick on Beal. That might be a reach for the former Western Michigan cornerback, but it could also prove to be an important addition should Jenkins or Apple miss any time in 2018.
Alexander should also be on New York’s radar. He may not be as well-rounded of a prospect as Beal, but he has the physical traits to develop into a potential starter at the next level.
The Giants should be willing to use a sixth-round pick on the 6-foot-3, 197-pound cornerback. Alexander is more of a project than Beal. He is unlikely to see much action in his rookie season.
If the Giants are serious about going all-in this season, adding a cornerback ahead of training camp should be a priority. The 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft just might be Big Blue’s best opportunity to add talent without breaking the bank.