Just Brees-ing Through: Why the Saints are My Super Bowl Pick

Just Brees-ing Through: Why the Saints are My Super Bowl Pick

As week 13 approaches, the playoff picture is starting to take shape. In the AFC, the true contenders look to be the Patriots, Steelers, Chiefs and Chargers. In the NFC, the Bears, Rams, Vikings and Saints are looking like they are leading the pack.

The Saints – to put it bluntly – are legit. If you watch them play anyone (except for the Bucs in Week 1), they are far and away the best team in the league. As we all know, the best team does not always withstand the rigours of the playoffs. When watching them play, however, it is clear that the Saints are built to compete.

The Saints are my Super Bowl pick, and here are the reasons why: Continue reading

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Who are the Early Candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year?

Who are the Early Candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year?

We’re in the middle of Week 7 of the NFL regular season, and as fans, we’ve gotten to see what the rookies of our favorite teams have been able to accomplish thus far. A few weeks prior, we discussed potential offensive rookie of the year candidates, and today we talk defense.

Personally, I think the DROY race is much more fascinating than the OROY race. Why? The sheer talent on the defensive side has been impressive. I look forward to seeing the progress of these defensive studs for the remainder of their rookie year.

8. Donte Jackson, CB, Carolina Panthers 

Carolina Panthers CB Donte Jackson.

In starting five games for the Panthers, Donte Jackson has shown that he can ball out, despite his pedestrian frame of 5’10”, 180 lbs. Thus far, he’s amassed 28 tackles, a forced fumble and 3 interceptions.

To move up in the rankings, Jackson must assert himself as a ball-hawking corner. He’s tied for being the league leader in interceptions, so if he can continue this trend by finishing the season as the interception king, some voters will give him the nod.

7. Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch.

To quote Skip Bayless, the “Tackling Dutchman” has been a welcomed addition to the Cowboys’ linebacker corps. His 50 tackles on the season may not be a wildly impressive stat, but his influence on the field, as well as the fact that he plays for “America’s Team” may push him into consideration.

If Vander Esch wants to win DROY, he’ll have to collect a few sacks and prove to be a quality coverage linebacker. The trio of him, Jaylon Smith and Sean Lee will be an exciting one to watch for the rest of the season.

6. Roquan Smith, LB, Chicago Bears 

Chicago Bears LB Roquan Smith.

Like Vander Esch, Smith’s production hasn’t been stellar, but his impact has been. In his four games starting, Smith has racked up 31 tackles and 1 sack. Again, not wildly impressive, but his impact can be felt by helping other defensive standouts like Khalil Mack and Leonard Floyd get to the QB through his good coverage ability.

Smith must become a more proficient and active tackler to receive DROY consideration. He must also get to the quarterback more, as 1 sack isn’t going to cut it. Regardless of the DROY race, Smith has a promising future in the Windy City.

5. Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Before the draft, Fitzpatrick was labeled the “safest” prospect to select. Thus far, it’s hard to argue with that logic. His hard-working mentality has been a welcomed edition to Miami’s lax culture. Through his three games starting and his six overall games playing, the Alabama product has 37 tackles and 1 interception to his name.

Again, his presence is felt through the culture change he’s given this Dolphins squad. To receive more consideration, he’ll have to assert himself as an elite cover safety.

4. Denzel Ward, CB, Cleveland Browns 

Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward.

The highest picked defensive player in the 2018 NFL Draft ranks #4 in the DROY race (for now). Ward has had a strong start to his rookie campaign. He’s amassed 28 tackles, a forced fumble and 3 interceptions thus far.

I’d give Ward the same advice as I did Donte Jackson – assert yourself as a ball hawk. If Ward becomes the interception king and is regarded by season’s end as a top 10 corner, he should win DROY.

3. Bradley Chubb, DE, Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos DE Bradley Chubb.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a massive Bradley Chubb fan during the draft process, but I am now. He’s been as dominant as anyone, with 20 tackles and 6.5 sacks through seven games.

If Chubb wants to run away with the DROY trophy, he has to finish with 13+ sacks and show that him and Von Miller are going to be an issue in the AFC West.

2. Darius Leonard, LB, Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts LB Darius Leonard.

Is this my Colts bias talking? Potentially, but Leonard has the stats to back me up. In five games, “The Maniac” has put up 62 tackles, 4 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. It’s safe to say that he’s been an issue for opposing QBs.

To be DROY, Leonard just has to keep playing his best football and stay healthy. Leonard should aim to get at least one or two interceptions, as well.

1. Derwin James, S, Los Angeles Chargers 

Los Angeles Chargers S Derwin James.

Derwin James is laughing at all the teams who passed on him on draft day. Through six games, James has eclipsed 36 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 1 interception. What separates James from Leonard is his reputation of being a thumper, but it will be interesting to see who take it home.

Who are the Early Candidates for Offensive Rookie of the Year?

We’re four weeks in and this season has been nothing short of riveting. As a draft geek, I love seeing how rookies fit with their new teams, and there have been some standouts thus far on both sides of the ball.

Today, let’s take a look at who are the early offensive rookie of the year candidates.

8. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb.

Just barely nudging into consideration is an emerging weapon for Baker Mayfield. Chubb has been an afterthought thus far, but his performance against the Oakland Raiders put the league on notice.

Chubb rushed for 105 yards on 3 attempts (yeah, that’s an average of 35 yards per carry) against Oakland, and the Browns are looking to give him more carries moving forward.

7. Josh Rosen, QB, Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals QB Josh Rosen.

This is a true dark-horse pick, but if Rosen can turn this struggling franchise around, then he’ll most definitely be considered for OROY. I thought it was foolish to throw him into the fire against the Bears, but he showed some encouraging traits in his first start against Seattle.

Against the Seahawks, Rosen went 15 for 27 for 180 yards and 1 touchdown. Although these aren’t great stats, given that this was his first start and he didn’t throw any picks, it’s not bad. If Rosen can show that he can be an upper-tier QB in the NFL, he’ll OROY consideration.

6. Phillip Lindsay, RB, Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay.

Lindsay is the only undrafted rookie I have on this list, but boy is he deserving of it. I wanted to also include Lindsay’s teammate, Royce Freeman on this list, but Lindsay has shown way more explosiveness and he jumps off your screen.

So far this season, Lindsay has 267 yards rushing and he’s averaging 5.9 yards per carry. If Lindsay can continue with this type of production and be a factor in the passing game, Lindsay should get be in the OROY discussion.

5. Sam Darnold, QB, New York Jets

New York Jets QB Sam Darnold.

In some aspects, it’s been a tough transition for the former USC quarterback. He’s thrown 4 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, and his first appearance on Thursday Night Football ended in a loss to Baker Mayfield’s Cleveland Browns. However, Darnold has shown that he’s the future of the Big Apple.

His performance against the Detroit Lions put him on a pedestal that was probably too high for him, but he showed some spark. If he can revive this season and put the Jets in the middle of the pact, Darnold could become this year’s OROY.

4. Kerryon Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions 

Detroit Lions RB Kerryon Johnson.

Johnson has had a quite, but impressive first four weeks of the NFL season. He became the first Detroit Lions running back since 2013 to rush for over 100 yards in one game.

Through four weeks, Johnson has run for 216 yards for 5.7 yards a carry. He has also been a factor in the passing game, too. In order for Johnson to become OROY, he must be entrusted to be the bell-cow and he must be given the ball more in the passing game.

3. Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns 

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield.

It looks like Hue Jackson’s plan of benching Baker for Tyrod Taylor for a year didn’t work in his favour. That’s alright, though, since Mayfield has shown promise in both his first appearance and first start, respectively. Could Mayfield become Cleveland’s saving grace? If so, would a mediocre record be enough of an accomplishment for him to win OROY?

In his first appearance against the New York Jets, Baker went 17 for 23 and 201 yards. In his first start against the Raiders, the Oklahoma QB went 21 for 41 and 295 yards, with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Not a stellar performance, but Cleveland’s offence putting up 42 points is noteworthy. The title of number one overall pick has lofty expectations, and if Baker can meet them, he’ll be OROY.

2. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley.

Let’s not lie to ourselves, everyone thought Saquon would be the unanimous OROY coming into the 2018 NFL season. Has he lived up to expectations? I don’t think he has, but I blame a lot of that on how poor the Giants are as a collective. It’s no secret: Barkley is versatile. However, in order to win OROY, he must demonstrate that he is an elite running talent.

Over the first four weeks, Saquon has accumulated 260 rushing yards with 3 touchdowns. As well, Barkley has 27 receptions for 193 receiving yards. He’s been good, but he has to push it into the next gear to get my OROY vote.

1. Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley.

Perhaps an unlikely leading candidate for OROY, Alabama’s Calvin Ridley has been incredible in the first quarter of the season. Ridley has been an excellent complimentary piece to Julio Jones, and while that isn’t translating into wins, the Falcons must be happy with what they’ve seen.

Ridley has 264 receiving yards and a league-leading 6 receiving touchdowns. Julio takes a lot of targets, as he leads the league in receiving yards, but Ridley will get his fair share of attention from Matty Ice. Look out for Ridley to be my pick for OROY.

Bold Predictions for the 2018 NFL Draft Class

Bold Predictions for the 2018 NFL Draft Class

The 2018 NFL Draft has come to an end. Now that the dust has settled, let’s talk about how the first round picks will pan out.

2018’s first round picks will be graded using a scale ranging from future Hall of Famer to absolute bust. Let’s see how each team’s pick will do for them.

1. Cleveland Browns: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Prediction: Bust

The pick that shocked the world will end up in flames. Mayfield is accurate and an electric playmaker. However, I have my concerns with him. He’s had legal issues, unsportsmanlike conduct on the field and on the sidelines, which does not bode well for the prototypical NFL quarterback. He isn’t Johnny Manziel, but he won’t be Peyton Manning, or even Joe Flacco, for that matter.

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield.

2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Prediction: Pro Bowler

This is a match made in heaven. Some suggested that the Giants should have drafted a quarterback, but when’s the last time Eli Manning had a running game? The answer: since Tiki Barber. Barkley will be an electric playmaker for the Giants and the trio of Manning, Beckham and Barkley will be quite the spectacle.

New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley.

3. New York Jets: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

Prediction: Pro Bowler

The Jets must have sprinted to get that draft card in to the commissioner. Darnold fell into their lap, and he should be a nice fit in the Big Apple. Darnold has good leadership intangibles and has great QB traits. I doubt he’ll be a Hall of Famer, but he’ll make a few Pro Bowls and lead his team to some respectable playoff runs.

New York Jets QB Sam Darnold.

4. Cleveland Browns: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

Prediction: Quality Starter

Many suspected that the Browns would have taken Bradley Chubb with the fourth pick, but they opted for local standout Denzel Ward. Personally, I like the move, since I’m not as high on Chubb as some are, and I like the idea of having more Ohio State players. Ward won’t be as good as his former teammate Marshon Lattimore, who won Defensive Rookie of the Year, but look for Ward to make some Pro Bowls in the future.

Cleveland Browns CB Denzel Ward.

5. Denver Broncos: Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State

Prediction: Quality Starter

Like I said before, I’m not as high on Chubb compared to others, but he’ll be a quality starter. It’ll be interesting to see who will start opposite Von Miller, since Shane Ray is still a solid starter. The Broncos will likely regret picking Chubb, since there will be players who were picked after who could make a great impact for their respective teams. However, I’m happy they didn’t select a quarterback.

Denver Broncos DE Bradley Chubb.

6. Indianapolis Colts: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

Prediction: Future Hall of Famer

The Colts may have gotten the steal of the draft. Yes, Nelson is a guard, but ask any QB who has to play Aaron Donald or Fletcher Cox and they’ll tell you that guard play is important. Andrew Luck has been a human piñata since he got into the league, and his resurgence will be attributed to the additional protection.

Indianapolis Colts G Quenton Nelson.

7. Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Prediction: Bust

Buffalo traded up with Tampa Bay to select their quarterback of the future. Allen has a cannon of an arm, but he’s very unpolished and will need to adapt to NFL defensive schemes. His football IQ is lacking and he has to play Bill Belichick twice a year. Evidently, he’ll become a bust in Buffalo.

Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen.

8. Chicago Bears: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Prediction: Quality Starter

I’m a big fan of Smith going to the Bears. He fits Chicago’s mantra of being blue collar and tough, and he gets to join his former teammate Leonard Floyd. Smith will end up being a staple in the Bears’ defense.

Chicago Bears LB Roquan Smith.

9. San Francisco 49ers: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

Prediction: Quality Starter

San Francisco invested in Jimmy Garoppolo’s future by getting a tackle in Mike McGlinchey. Left tackle Joe Staley is old and they traded their right tackle Trent Brown to the New England Patriots. McGlinchey will start at right tackle and eventually slide over to left tackle. McGlinchey will struggle early in his career, but I see him having a Eric Fisher type career where he struggles early on, but improves as the years pass.

San Francisco 49ers OT Mike McGlinchey.

10. Arizona Cardinals: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

Prediction: Pro Bowler

The Arizona Cardinals traded with the Oakland Raiders to nab their future starting QB. Rosen is loved by some and hated by many, due to his smug behaviour. Because of this, Rosen fell to 10. The UCLA product was my favourite QB in this year’s draft, but I think his ceiling is limited. He may make a few Pro Bowls, but he won’t be a generational talent.

Arizona Cardinals QB Josh Rosen.

11. Miami Dolphins: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama

Prediction: Pro Bowler

Miami got a great player in Minkah Fitzpatrick. His outstanding work ethic and Alabama pedigree makes him a special talent. The Dolphins lack hard working, dependable players, and Fitzpatrick has the ability to be a culture changer. Because of this, he will make a few Pro Bowls in a likely successful career.

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

Prediction: Bust

I like Vea, but I don’t see him succeeding in Tampa Bay. The thought of him and Gerald McCoy in the middle of the defensive line is scary, but Vea will be marginalized by McCoy’s exceptional play. Hopefully this doesn’t happen, but I envision Vea being a bust.

13. Washington Redskins: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

Prediction: Quality Starter

I was not a fan of this pick, but Washington won’t be too disappointed by this pick. Payne gets to join former Alabama teammate Jonathan Allen in the Capital, but Payne won’t be a difference maker, even with a supporting cast. He’ll be a decent player, and that’s about it.

14. New Orleans Saints: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA

Prediction: Bust

The Saints traded a boat load to the Green Bay Packers in order to select Marcus Davenport, and it will end up not being worth it. Davenport tests well, but he doesn’t dominate his lower level competition as much as one would want. Davenport won’t end up being the dominant edge rusher opposite Cam Jordan that NOLA wants him to be.

15. Oakland Raiders: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

Prediction: Quality Starter 

Oakland shocked many draft analysts when they selected Kolton Miller. Their right tackle position hasn’t been solidified, and Donald Penn is getting closer to retirement. Miller will be a decent tackle, but Jon Gruden and Reggie McKenzie could have maximized the value of this pick more.

16. Buffalo Bills: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

Prediction: Pro Bowler

Buffalo traded up to select their next great defender in Tremaine Edmunds. His impressive tape and athletic ability will make him a Pro Bowl talent for the Bills.

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Derwin James, S, Florida State

Prediction: Pro Bowler

The Chargers were the beneficiaries of James slipping to them. His instincts and playmaking ability will make him a great safety. He learned his swagger from former Florida State teammate Jalen Ramsey, and that alone will earn him a few Pro Bowls.

18. Green Bay Packers: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

Prediction: Quality Starter

The Packers nabbed one of the best corners in this year’s draft. Alexander is a physical, ball hawking corner who’s skill set can fill a void in the Packer defense. His flashy play will help him be respected around the league, but his size will hurt him from being a Pro Bowl talent.

19. Dallas Cowboys: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

Prediction: Quality Starter

The Dallas Cowboys have been solid at drafting in recent years, and Vander Esch shouldn’t disappoint. Some analysts believe he could be Brian Urlacher, which I vehemently disagree with, but he has that old school mentality. He won’t be a Pro Bowl level linebacker, but he’ll be a solid starter.

20. Detroit Lions: Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas

Prediction: Quality Starter

I’ll never understand this pick, but to be fair, I’d consider it a safe pick. It’s a reach, most definitely, but Ragnow will be a quality starter in the NFL. He didn’t warrant a first round pick, and James Daniels is the better center prospect, but Matthew Stafford should be happy that he has a quality snapper now.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Billy Price, C, Ohio State

Prediction: Quality Starter

Again, I don’t understand why these teams take average centers in the first round. Again, the Bengals and Andy Dalton will be happy to have a decent center with Price, but they could have gotten better offensive linemen at this stage of the draft. In essence, bad pick, yet still a good player.

22. Tennessee Titans: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

Prediction: Pro Bowler

The Titans’ strategy in this draft was quality over quantity. They traded up for three of their four draft picks, and it should work out for them. Rashaan Evans, their first round pick, has Pro Bowl potential and will slide right into this defense.

23. New England Patriots: Isaiah Wynn, OT, Georgia

Prediction: Quality Starter 

With Nate Solder signing with the New York Giants, the Patriots used one of their first round picks on an undersized tackle. Isaiah Wynn is a good prospect who could be a great guard, but it seems as though Bill Belichick wants to play him at tackle. His 6’2″ height is concerning for a blindside tackle, but perhaps he can make it work.

24. Carolina Panthers: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland

Prediction: Bust

I didn’t understand the D.J. Moore hype train during the late stages of the draft. He’s a solid prospect, but he’s not a first round talent, so I expect him to be a bust. Cam Newton might be able to make him a better player, but Carolina would have been better off with a Calvin Ridley or Courtland Sutton.

25. Baltimore Ravens: Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina

Prediction: Quality Starter

The Maxx Williams experiment didn’t work out, so the Ravens got two of the top tight end prospects in Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews. Hurst is a volume catcher who can be a game changer, and Joe Flacco (or Lamar Jackson) will love to throw to him.

26. Atlanta Falcons: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Prediction: Quality Starter

Julio Jones’ future in Atlanta is up in the air, but if he comes back and is paired up with Calvin Ridley, the league will be put on notice. Matt Ryan should be ecstatic to get Ridley who’s an excellent compliment to Jones. I don’t see him being a Pro Bowler, but he’ll be respected around the league.

27. Seattle Seahawks: Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State

Prediction: Bust

Seattle had one of the most surprising selections of the first round in drafting Rashaad Penny. Ultimately, it’ll end up not panning out for them. Penny is an all-round back, but he doesn’t warrant a first round pick and the expectations surrounding a first round running back.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech

Prediction: Quality Starter

Pittsburgh surprised the football world when they picked Edmunds, but he’ll end up being a good player for them. He has good instincts and a solid work ethic, and should personify the Pittsburgh Steelers well.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

Prediction: Bust

The Jags opted to draft another Florida product in the first round. Bryan has a lot of good physical traits, but he lacks instincts and might find himself lost in the mix in Jacksonville’s competitive defensive line.

30. Minnesota Vikings: Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida

Prediction: Future Hall of Famer

This prediction might seem bold, but I really like this fit for Hughes. Him and Xavier Rhodes will be an exciting one, and they could have a better Legion of Boom on their hands.

31. New England Patriots: Sony Michel, RB, Georgia

Prediction: Quality Starter

New England picked two Georgia products in Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel. Michel was highly productive at Georgia, even with Nick Chubb taking some of the carries. Michel is a great fit in New England, since they have a running back by committee approach.

32. Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

Prediction: Pro Bowler

Few players fit their team’s mantra quite like Lamar Jackson does to the Baltimore Ravens. His electric play will make him supersede the average Joe Flacco. Eventually, I see Jackson becoming a Pro Bowl quarterback.

Grading the New York Giants Draft

Grading the New York Giants Draft

The 2018 NFL Draft recently concluded.  It’s too early to truly know how these players will pan out in the NFL, but it’s fun to give teams “grades” anyway.  My favorite team, the Giants, did very well in the draft in my opinion.  They addressed their revolving door at RB by getting a generational talent, added a day one starter on the o-line, and possibly found their QB of the future as well.  So, let’s look over each pick and give them a grade, shall we?  By the way, I might do this for other teams, but figured I’d start with my favorite squad.

Round #1, Pick #2: Saquon Barkley (RB- Penn St.)

Some Giants fans wanted to grab a QB with this pick, but most were in the Barkley camp.  Giants GM Dave Gettleman certainly was, as he didn’t waste any time with selecting Saquon.  He didn’t even listen to any trade-up calls, as clearly he was high on Barkley.  Barkley and Peyton Manning were the only players to earn a perfect grade from Gettleman in all of his years of scouting.  Barkley could instantly become the guy that gets 20+ touches a game, and end the Giants “backfield by committee” nonsense that’s been going on for years.  2nd and 9s will start to become 2nd and 6s or 5s.

Putting Barkley in an offense with Odell Beckham Jr. and Evan Engram should make the Giants a fun team to watch.  I was extremely hyped about this pick.  The only questions are, should they have taken a QB, and should they have traded down for a RB?  Personally, I would say no to both of those questions.  Some critics may question whether it was worth it to take a RB so high in a passing league, but Barkley is a great pass-catcher.  Saquon certainly seems to be worth it.  (Grade: A) Running back Saquon Barkley poses for photos during a news conference, Saturday, April 28, 2018, in East Rutherford, N.J. Barkley was selected as the number two overall pick in the NFL football draft by the New York Giants. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)Barkley mentioned that he “kind of fell in love what this place” when talking about the Giants.  He could be the face of the franchise for Big Blue.  (Photo Credit: AP/Julie Jacobson)

Round #2, Pick #34: Will Hernandez (OG- UTEP)

Hernandez had a first round grade from the Giants, and will immediately help an o-line that has struggled the last 3+ years.  He will probably be starting alongside Patrick Omameh, a guard the Giants added in free agency.  That would mean John Jerry would be out of the lineup, who has underwhelmed throughout his tenure with the Giants.  Justin Pugh left in free agency, so this makes the pick of Hernandez even more important.

Hernandez is a shade under 6′ 3″, “short” for an NFL o-lineman (I laugh as a guy that’s 5′ 9″), but he weighs in at well over 300 lbs.  To me, Jason Kelce is proof that “short” interior o-linemen can not only succeed, but thrive in the NFL.  Hernandez is a nasty lineman, who will help bring the Giants back to the old-school football they were known for.  He is the kind of “hog molly” that GM Dave Gettleman has raved about.  Gettleman mentioned that Hernandez played for a disastrous, winless UTEP team in 2017, but he played just as tough in the first game as he did in the last.  That’s the kind of character the Giants should be looking for.  (Grade: A+)Image result for will hernandezHernandez says he “wants to embarrass defenders”.  Gettleman mentioned that “he’s a little cranky”.  You can’t blame him, considering he was an NFL-level talent on an 0-12 team.  (Photo Credit: Joe Robbins)

Round #3, Pick 66: Lorenzo Carter (OLB- Georgia)

Gettleman discussed that it’s great when “need meets value”, and that appeared to happen again for Big Blue in the 3rd round.  Just as Gettleman had a 1st round grade on Hernandez, he had a 2nd round grade on Carter, and was able to pick those players in the round afterwards both times.  That could just be the effect of having picks at the top of each round.  But it’s worth mentioning, considering Gettleman apparently tried trading up for Carter.

Carter is a physical specimen at 6′ 5″, 250 lbs.  He could definitely compete at edge rusher in the Giants 3-4 scheme, as the Giants needed a linebacker to add to the mix there.  Carter only had 15 sacks in 4 years, which is disappointing, especially considering his 4.5 40 yard dash time.  So if nothing else, he could definitely be a big contributor on special teams for the G-men.  (Grade: B+)LB Lorenzo Carter can help the Giants with rushing the passer, one of the things Gettleman has stressed the most.  (Photo Credit: USA Today Sports/Crystal LoGiudice)

Round #3, Pick #69: B.J. Hill (DT- NC St.)

A few picks after the Giants selected Carter, they were on the clock again as a result of the JPP trade.  This should purely be a depth pick, as Hill likely won’t start in 2018 unless injuries force him to.  After all, there’s only three d-linemen in a 3-4 defense.  He could certainly rotate into the game at times, but I expect Damon “Snacks” Harrison and Dalvin Tomlinson to take up most of the snaps at defensive tackle.

If the Eagles proved anything from their Super Bowl run, it’s that you can never have too many d-linemen.  Gettleman took DT Vernon Butler with a 1st round pick while he was with Carolina in 2016.  This was despite the Panthers having the solid duo of Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short at defensive tackle.  Hill had a solid career at N.C. State, with 187 tackles in 44 starts, so maybe he’ll be a starter one day.  I’m okay with him being just depth for now, but not exactly thrilled either.  (Grade: B-)While he likely won’t make an impact on day one, Hill adds solid depth on the d-line.  (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Round #4, Pick #108: Kyle Lauletta (QB- Richmond)

Kyle Lauletta wrote this awesome article for the Player’s Tribune, and it makes me hyped about his possibility of being the future for the Giants at the QB position.  He seems like the classic underdog story, as he was overlooked because of all the top-flight QBs in this draft.  Not only that, he played for Richmond Spiders, not exactly a college football powerhouse.  Lauletta will likely compete with Davis Webb for the backup position, and possibly to replace Eli a few years down the road.

Lauletta has ideal size for his position (6′ 3″), and Gettleman talked about him having “instinctual things that you can’t teach”.  He put up decent stats with the Spiders last season, tossing for 3,737 yards, and 28 touchdowns to 12 interceptions.  The big question with Kyle is his arm strength, as it’s not exactly elite.  In any case, learning behind Eli Manning will definitely help Lauletta’s development.  I reacted negatively to the Giants taking Davis Webb last year, considering it was the 3rd round.  He was taken a pick after Kareem Hunt!  Since it’s the 4th round however, I’m more okay with the Giants looking to the future with this pick.  (Grade: B+)Lauletta impressed at the Senior Bowl, and he could very well be the heir apparent to Eli one day.  (Photo Credit: Chet Strange/Getty Images)

Round #5, Pick #139: R.J. McIntosh (DT- Miami)

The Giants came into the draft needing depth on the d-line, and so that’s why they took Hill in the 3rd round.  But Big Blue doubled down with McIntosh in the 5th round, and I don’t think they should have.  Finding depth at receiver or corner would’ve been more ideal here in my opinion, as the Giants needed that.  Some Giants fans wanted them to draft a tackle, but I think Adam Bisnowaty, Chad Wheeler, and (sigh) Ereck Flowers will compete at RT.  I wish they could’ve found a trade partner for Flowers, but I digress.

So taking another defensive tackle was a bit of a head-scratcher, but he was certainly good value.  He can be used as a pass rusher at defensive end, and on the interior of the d-line.  In any case, the Giants were probably going to get a depth guy here anyway.  So I can’t be too upset.  (Grade: B)R.J. McIntosh was the second defensive tackle taken by Giants in 2018 NFL Draft. McIntosh will add more depth to the d-line.  (Photo Credit: USA Today Sports)

Overall Grade: A-

To me, the Giants hit a home run with their first two picks.  While I would’ve liked them to add some depth at receiver and corner, they signed some as undrafted free agents.  Those guys could possibly compete for roster spots.  The depth they got in rounds 3-5 could possibly help them years down the road, as they may have gotten one of the draft’s biggest steals in QB Kyle Lauletta.

GM Dave Gettleman had a great first draft, and he’s certainly popular among most Giants fans.  He did have the luxury of drafting high in these rounds.  But with only 6 picks, he made the most of them.  The Giants running game got a huge boost with Barkley and Hernandez, and “hog mollies” were added on both sides of the line.  The Giants are returning to their old-school style of football, and you’ve got to love that as a fan.

Three Draft Sleepers at Every Position: Safety

Three Draft Sleepers at Every Position: Safety

Like cornerbacks, safeties are an important part of modern NFL defenses. Safeties like Malcolm Jenkins now have the responsibility to play a linebacker role in certain sub-packages. NFL teams are trying to find hybrid players who have versatility, so finding sleeper picks in the 2018 NFL Draft will be a priority for many teams. So, who are the three sleepers at safety in the 2018 NFL Draft?

Marcus Allen, Penn State

Don’t get this guy confused with Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen. Allen, the safety, was apart of the Penn State resurgence. He’s tough and has good speed and strength, and with a better football IQ through studying tape, Allen can be a special player.

Projected Round: 5th Round

Projected Team: Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers’ safeties lack depth or even talent, for that matter. Allen will be a nice fit in the secondary that includes Casey Hayward and Jason Verrett.

Penn State safety Marcus Allen.

Kyzir White, West Virginia

White is one of the more underrated safeties in the NFL Draft. He’s feisty and is a classic West Virginia defender. His average athleticism makes him slip in the draft a little, but whoever nabs him will be pleased.

Projected Round: 4th Round

Projected Team: Buffalo Bills

Buffalo doesn’t have a pressing need at safety, but White’s tough demeanour makes him a great fit for the nickel role. Also, White is exceptional depth under Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer.

West Virginia safety Kyzir White.

Van Smith, Clemson

Smith isn’t the fastest or the biggest hitter, but he’s consistent and is a smart player. Decision making is an underrated skill, and Smith is one of the best decision makers at safety in this draft.

Projected Round: 5th Round

Projected Team: Green Bay Packers

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Josh Johnson could be a nice duo in 2018, but they need more depth at safety. Smith would be excellent depth and could start at the “money backer” role.

Clemson safety Van Smith.

Three Draft Sleepers at Every Position: Cornerback

Three Draft Sleepers at Every Position: Cornerback

In the modern NFL, having multiple quality cornerbacks is essential for success. With many defenses playing in nickel and dime coverage a lot of the time, defensive backs have become increasingly important.

Cornerbacks are usually the flashiest and loudest on the field, and some of the best come in the first round. However, players like Richard Sherman and Josh Norman slip in the later rounds have made their impact on their respective teams. So, which corners in the 2018 NFL Draft could be a mid-round pick and make a substantial impact for the future?

Isaac Yiadom, Boston College

Every year, some players just slip under the radar, and Yiadom is one of those players. He’s long, rangy and has great ball skills. He’ll be a great number two option wherever he ends up.

Projected Round: 4th Round

Projected Team: Green Bay Packers

Green Bay loves tall corners, and Yiadom can play alongside second year player Kevin King. Getting him in the fourth round is a solid value pick and he fits the Packers’ system well.

Boston College cornerback Isaac Yiadom.

Rashaan Gaulden, Tennessee

Known for flipping off Alabama fans, Gaulden has some feisty in him, to say the least. He’s a prototypical nickel corner who’s physical and is quick enough to match up against slot receivers.

Projected Round: 5th Round

Projected Team: New Orleans Saints

New Orleans has an emerging superstar in Marshon Lattimore, and getting some depth at the position will further help this ascending defense.

Tennessee cornerback Rashaan Gaulden.

Tony Brown, Alabama

Tony Brown is the definition of a throwback player. He’s fast and tough and is a perfect fit for the modern NFL nickel corner. He has solid coverage skills and is quick enough to blitz.

Projected Round: 3rd Round

Projected Team: Arizona Cardinals

Arizona is a fantastic fit for Brown. Tyrann Mathieu is now in Houston, so finding that designated nickel corner will be a big priority in the draft.

Alabama cornerback Tony Brown.