Dan Graziano breaks down the 2016 New York Giants draft class.
My take: The Giants aren't the most nimble team in the draft, so I'm not surprised they got outmaneuvered for Jack Conklin and Leonard Floyd. As for trading down ... meh. Takes two to tango. And the way the draft is right now (look at Keanu Neal at 17 and Ryan Kelly at 18), most teams believe that, if you like a guy, you don't wait around and hope he'll be there later. Apple is a big corner who's just 20 years old and makes sense for the Giants. GM Jerry Reese said, "Absolutely, it's a need pick. Look out there at our corner depth, and you can see that." I agree with him. You can argue the Giants should have been able to maneuver to get the guys they wanted, but I can't fault them for taking this player if they felt stuck in that spot.
The kid was surprised: Apple said he spoke to the Giants only once during the draft process -- at the combine -- and that when he saw a New Jersey area code pop up on his phone, the New Jersey native thought one of his friends was prank-calling him. It took him a few seconds after answering before he realized it really was Giants head coach Ben McAdoo. "It was kind of crazy to see my name up on the screen at No. 10," he said.
Wild pre-draft process: Apple was the prospect who was asked by a Falcons coach at the combine whether he "liked men" -- a controversy that resulted in public apologies from the Falcons. He was also the prospect who was reported by an anonymous scout in a report earlier this week to struggle with life skills, such as cooking. "Ridiculous," Giants scouting director Marc Ross said. "This guy came from a good family. Went to college. And we're asking about cooking? I mean, come on. The guy plays football, shows up to practice, goes to class, has great parents … and we're talking about cooking. It's not a factor at all. It's if he does things that are football-oriented that work out."
My take: I'm a sucker for dudes with piles and piles of really good college tape. Shepard had combined totals of 137 catches for 2,258 yards and 16 touchdowns over his final two seasons at Oklahoma. He got better every year. Giants scouting director Marc Ross said he was a guy who'd been making an impression for years -- that he always came away from Oklahoma games impressed, and not just during Shepard's senior year when they were looking at him for this year's draft. Yes, he's 5-foot-10, 194 pounds, but wide receivers can play bigger than their size, and everything about Shepard says he does. You can argue an offensive tackle or a safety would have been a better "need" pick here, and you may be right. But they also needed a wide receiver, and Shepard is just a heck of a football player. Love this pick.
What's it mean for Victor? You're going to see a lot of forced narratives about Shepard as a similar player to Victor Cruz. I think that's unfair. Shepard is a more accomplished college player than Cruz was and deserves the chance to make his own name. But I can't really control that. I can tell you the Giants still aren't sure Cruz will ever be fully recovered from his knee injury and return to his former levels, and that it's unlikely he's on the team beyond 2016. GM Jerry Reese described Shepard as a slot receiver. Coach Ben McAdoo said he could move around to different spots. He'll be who he'll be, but the hope is that he'll be even better (and last longer) than Cruz.
My take: At least they keep swinging, right? General manager Jerry Reese described Thompson as a "free safety" and a "center fielder" and said he's the kind of guy who makes the calls on the back end of the defense. This is what the Giants didn't have last season and what Steve Spagnuolo's defense needs. If Thompson is all the things they believe him to be, and he can step in and start right away, then this is a good pick. But those feel like big "ifs," and I think the Giants needed to come out of the first two nights of the draft with at least one new player who weighs more than 210 pounds. They went cornerback/receiver/safety and they still have needs on both lines.
Ball hawk: Thompson this past season broke Eric Weddle's Mountain West Conference record for career interceptions with 19. "I have a knack for finding the football," he said. "I feel like an interception is just as good as a touchdown, so that's what I'm going after." The ball skills obviously are a big part of what drew the Giants to Thompson, and they hope they translate at the next level. Giants coach Ben McAdoo said Thompson's "instincts and twitch" are the qualities that enable him to find the ball.
Round 4, Pick No. 109: B.J. Goodson, ILB, Clemson| Highlights
My take: The Giants love guys who crush it at the combine, and no linebacker in Indy this year topped Goodson's 30 bench press reps. They had him in for a visit and like that he was a middle linebacker and team captain on a Clemson team that made it to the College Football Playoff National Championship. At best, he's a two-down linebacker at the NFL level and can help right away on special teams.
Instant connection: Goodson said he "fell in love" with everything new Giants linebackers coach Bill McGovern told him during his pre-draft visit to East Rutherford. That points up an interesting factor to consider when analyzing the Giants' linebacker position this year. During his time at Boston College, McGovern had a reputation for getting the most out of players and turning lesser-known prospects like Mark Herzlich and Luke Kuechly into stars.
School spirit: Goodson attended the same high school -- Lamar High School in South Carolina -- as former Clemson linebacker Levon Kirkland, who played 11 NFL seasons as a member of the Steelers, Seahawks and Eagles from 1992-2002.
My take: While he gives the Giants six running backs on their roster, I think Perkins offers something the other five don't -- specifically, a hyper-quick shiftiness that breaks defenders' ankles and forces missed tackles. Like any fifth-round pick, he's going to have to work his way up the depth chart and contribute on special teams. But it's not insane to think he could move past the likes of Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams, Bobby Rainey and Orleans Darkwa with a strong camp and first couple of months.
Another workout warrior: The Giants love guys who do great things at the scouting combine, and Adams' 4.64 time in the 40-yard dash was the best this year among tight ends in Indianapolis. He admits he needs to be sharper in and out of his breaks, but he was a reliable pass-catcher for the Gamecocks. The Giants view him as an athletic player who can refine his game at the pro level.
Fills a need? Giants GM Jerry Reese said Adams is a better blocker than a receiver at this point in his career. Obviously, he'll need to contribute on special teams and earn playing time, but the Giants did struggle last season after the loss of blocking tight end Daniel Fells to illness, and if Adams can block, they likely will make room for him.