Linemen and a QB are on the wish list

The News-Times - - NFL -

EAST RUTHER­FORD, N.J. — Af­ter trad­ing of­fen­sive cat­a­lyst Odell Beck­ham Jr. and sacks leader Olivier Ver­non to Cleve­land and los­ing peren­nial lead­ing tack­ler Lan­don Collins to free agency, the New York Giants are re­build­ing head­ing into the NFL draft.

The ques­tion is, where does gen­eral man­ager Dave Get­tle­man start? He has 12 picks over­all, in­clud­ing two in the first round (Nos. 1 and 17), and three of the first 37.

Af­ter win­ning eight games the past two sea­sons, there aren’t many po­si­tions where the Giants don’t need help.

The po­si­tion fans iden­tify first is quar­ter­back. Twotime Su­per Bowl MVP Eli Man­ning is 38, head­ing into the fi­nal sea­son of his fouryear, $84 mil­lion, and has taken the team to the play­offs once (2016) since win­ning the NFL ti­tle in Fe­bru­ary 2012. There is no heir ap­par­ent on the ros­ter, al­though Get­tle­man drafted Kyle Lauletta in the fourth round a year ago.

There are some po­ten­tial choices in Ok­la­homa’s Kyler Mur­ray, the Heis­man Trophy win­ner, Ohio State’s Dwayne Hask­ins, Duke’s Daniel Jones, and Mis­souri’s Drew Lock. Us­ing the ‘Kansas City’ model, all could ben­e­fit from learn­ing the ropes from Man­ning and be­ing ready for a Pa­trick Ma­homes’ type emer­gence in 2020.

Get­tle­man rec­og­nizes he has other ma­jor needs. The defensive line is desperate for an edge rusher or two. The of­fen­sive line needs a right tackle. A cor­ner­back, a safety, an in­side line­backer and a deep threat at re­ceiver all would help.

If you lis­ten to Get­tle­man, he is go­ing to take the high­est-rated player on his board, re­gard­less of po­si­tion. He has pref­er­ences, though.

When he was hired by the Giants in De­cem­ber 2017, he re­minded ev­ery­one of some­thing for­mer coach and two-time Su­per Bowl win­ner Tom Cough­lin once said.

“He said big men al­low you to com­pete, and that’s re­ally just so true,” Get­tle­man said. “The O-line and the D-line, I be­lieve in the hog mol­lies. We’ve had some great groups here, had great groups everywhere I’ve been, and we’re go­ing to get back to that. They do al­low you to com­pete.”

His other comment that day was the cliche that of­fenses score points, and de­fenses win cham­pi­onships.

The picks will re­flect those prin­ci­pals. No one will be ask­ing: “Where’s the beef ?”

The last time the Giants took a quar­ter­back in the first round was in 2004. The guy they se­lected was Philip Rivers with the fourth pick over­all. Just as quickly, they shipped Rivers and three draft picks to San Diego for Man­ning. If the Giants be­lieve there is a fran­chise maker at quar­ter­back, it would be in­ter­est­ing if they used to same route to get Man­ning’s replacemen­t... If not, maybe the sec­ond round.

DEFENSIVE LINE

The de­fense switched to a 3-4 scheme last sea­son with new co­or­di­na­tor James Bettcher. It was a strug­gle. Op­po­nents scored 412 points, av­er­aged 118.6 yards rush­ing, and held the ball more than 31 min­utes a game. A ma­jor prob­lem was get­ting pres­sure: New York was limited to 30 sacks, with the now departed Ver­non lead­ing the team with seven. Six play­ers who are no longer with the club ac­counted for 13 1-2 sacks. Tackle B.J. Hill (5 1-2 sacks as a rookie) and Dalvin Tom­lin­son are back. They are go­ing to need help.

NO BECK­HAM

Beck­ham was the ma­jor out­side threat with his quick­ness and speed. Ster­ling Shep­ard, who signed a $41 mil­lion, four-year ex­ten­sion, and free agent Golden Tate will be Man­ning’s top two tar­gets, along with tight end Evan En­gram, who needs to stay healthy. Shep­ard and Tate are slot guys, though. It would help if the Giants found a burner who could keep the safeties oc­cu­pied, and there are a few in this crop.

OF­FEN­SIVE LINE

The group gave up 47 sacks last sea­son de­spite adding left tackle Nate Solder as a free agent and draft­ing left guard Will Her­nan­dez in the sec­ond round. Cen­ter Jon Ha­palio is back af­ter miss­ing most of last sea­son. Kevin Zeitler, ac­quired in the Ver­non deal, is a solid right guard. Right tackle could use an up­grade. Chad Wheeler filled in af­ter the team gave up on 2015 first-round pick Ereck Flow­ers.

POST COLLINS

New York signed 34-yearold Antoine Bethea to fill the ma­jor void when Collins went to the Red­skins. Michael Thomas, Sean Chan­dler and Kam­rin Moore are ex­pected to fight for the other safety spot. Don’t be sur­prised if a rookie gets a shot to start.

As­so­ci­ated Press

In this Feb. 27 file photo, New York Giants gen­eral man­ager Dave Get­tle­man speaks dur­ing a news con­fer­ence at the NFL foot­ball scout­ing com­bine in In­di­anapo­lis.

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