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New York Giants Off the Clock: 2019 NFL Draft Defensive Needs Checklist
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7 May 2019 02:13 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence. (Image Source: Richard Shiro/AP Photo)

With the 2019 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror we take the New York Giants off the clock. Having already broken down their picks on the offensive side of the ball, we take a look at how the G-Men did in addressing their defensive needs:

Needs on Defense: Defensive Line, Outside Linebacker, Inside Linebacker, Cornerback, Safety

1. Interior Defensive Linemen: Dexter Lawrence, Clemson (1st Round, No. 17 overall); Chris Slayton, Syracuse (7th Round, No. 245 overall)    

I like what the Giants did with Dexter Lawrence at No. 17. If you’re going to run a 3-4 defense having an anchor in the middle is a must and they traded away their nose tackle Damon Harrison during the 2018 season. Lawrence replaces Harrison and will allow Dalvin Tomlinson to play at end, which is where the Giants envisioned him when they called his name in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In Tomlinson and 2018 third-round pick B.J. Hill they might have their ends for years to come, but depth was shaky, which is where Syracuse’s Chris Slayton could come in. At 6’4” he has the length teams look for in their five techniques.

Potential Pick at No. 6: Ed Oliver, Houston (No. 9); Rashan Gary, Michigan (No. 12); Christian Wilkins, Clemson (No. 13)

Potential Pick at No. 17: Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State (No. 19); Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame (No. 28)

There was no shortage of D-linemen the Giants had to choose from, although outside of Dexter Lawrence the rest of the prospects were more the five-technique type and New York may have been zeroed in on a nose tackle early on. It should be noted that Rashan Gary (Packers), Jeffery Simmons (Titans), and Jerry Tillery (Chargers) were all drafted by 3-4 teams.

2. Cornerback: Deandre Baker, Georgia (1st Round, No. 30 overall); Julian Love, Notre Dame (4th Round, No. 108 overall); Corey Ballentine, Washburn (6th Round, No. 180 overall)    

Did you check out New York’s depth chart at cornerback heading into the draft? They needed quality and quantity at the position, adding both in Nashville. In Deandre Baker, the G-Men selected a prospect I thought they should consider at No. 17 and considering they traded up to get him, they very well may have. He will push for playing time this season. Really loved what they did here.

Potential Pick at No. 30: Byron Murphy, Washington (No. 33); Rock Ya-Sin, Temple (No. 34)

Potential Pick at No. 37: Sean Bunting, Central Michigan (No. 39); Trayvon Mullen, Clemson (No. 40); Greedy Williams, LSU (No. 46)

If you knew the Giants were trading up to select a cornerback at No. 30, fans would have pounded the table for Greedy Williams, while media pundits would have pegged Byron Murphy as the guy. Had they stayed at No. 37 the choices of Sean Bunting and Trayvon Mullen, along with Williams were pretty solid.

Off the Clock (Rd. 1): 1-4, 5-8, 9-14, 15-20, 21-26, 27-32; NYJ Checklist: Offense, Defense;

3. Outside Linebacker: Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion (3rd Round, No. 95 overall)    

They traded away Olivier Vernon and the addition of Markus Golden wasn’t going to replace the pass rush lost. It’s also time for the organization to groom their own edge rusher. Is small school product Oshane Ximines the guy? Time will tell. But he fits what they needed: an edge rusher who has enough quickness and agility to handle playing outside linebacker in New York’s 3-4 scheme. An argument could be made, that the G-Men should have addressed this need sooner.

Potential Pick at No. 6: Josh Allen, Kentucky (No. 7); Brian Burns, Florida State (No. 16)

Potential Pick at No. 17: Montez Sweat, Mississippi State (No. 26)

We didn’t expect Josh Allen to be there at No. 6 and we were just as surprised to see him get by the Giants. They had a second chance to take a bite at the SEC pass-rush apple when Montez Sweat was still on the board at No. 17. GM Dave Gettleman wouldn’t have gone wrong with selecting either guy to step in at outside linebacker.  

4. Inside Linebacker: Ryan Connelly, Wisconsin (5th Round, No. 143 overall)    

With starters B.J. Goodson and Alec Ogletree back, this wasn’t a pressing need but the franchise needed to look towards the future and in Ryan Connelly they may have added an underrated prospect who could be groomed for a bigger role down the road.

Potential Pick at No. 6: Devin Bush, Michigan (No. 10)

With LSU’s Devin White off the board, Devin Bush was probably the only other inside linebacker the Giants would have considered in the first round. Would he be viewed as a reach? Probably, but I see Pro Bowls in Bush’s future.

5. Safety: None  

As predicted the Giants didn’t prioritize safety in the draft. After all, it was Gettleman who signed free agent Antoine Bethea and traded for Jabrill Peppers. Clearly, he believes he’s done enough to replace Landon Collins. We shall see.  

Potential Pick at No. 17: Darnell Savage Jr., Maryland (No. 21); Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State (No. 27)

It will be interesting to follow how Darnell Savage Jr. and Johnathan Abram pan out compared to Jabrill Peppers, who Gettleman seems to value more than most in the industry do. Even if Peppers works out, 34-year old Antoine Bethea isn’t here for the long haul so going safety would have made sense with the future in mind.

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.

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