- Dan Graziano, ESPN New York Giants reporter
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Mel Kiper Jr.'s immediate post-draft grades are out, and they come complete with all of the appropriate disclaimers about the relative value of immediate post-draft grades.
As I always try my very best to explain (without much success), on-the-spot evaluations of drafts aren't about predicting how the players will play because that's impossible. Many of these grades will look ridiculous in three years, after some players have outperformed expectations and some have failed to meet them. The point of these grades, rather, is to assess the way the teams managed the draft in the moment, given what was available and how they maximized the value of their picks.
That said, in this Insider piece, Kiper gives the Giants a B-minus. He gives them good marks for addressing needs but thinks they reached in a couple of places, such as Rounds 1 and 5.
Personally, I gave the Giants' draft a B-plus, mainly because I graded them on a curve. I don't think this was an especially good or deep draft, period, and I think the Giants were wise to pick the players they liked at positions of need rather than pass on guys like Ereck Flowers in the first and Mykkele Thompson in the fifth for players who might be a tad better but still not great.
And I think it's very important to understand that this is what they did. Factoring in the Landon Collins trade, the Giants effectively spent four of the seven draft picks they still had as of Friday morning on the position of safety, which was their most glaring need going into the draft. The reason they can stand there at the podium and insist that "this organization always takes the best player available" is that they don't care that we can see their noses getting longer. It's obvious that need was a factor, and in a draft like this, it absolutely should have been. They only insist otherwise because it deepens a bit of their organizational mythology and sounds good for the fans.
Throw out the last two picks they made, because picks in the sixth and seventh rounds are supposed to be special teamers who become cool stories if they're ever anything more than that. The Giants' first-round pick filled a need on the offensive line. Their second-round and fifth-round picks were safeties (and their fourth-round pick helped them get one of those safeties in a trade.) Their third-round pick addressed the murky future of their pass rush.
I understand the Giants have gone 13-19 the past two years and have a ton of needs, but you're foolish if you really believe the draft fell so perfectly for them that these "need" guys were all there when they happened to be picking. The better explanation is that, each time the draft got to the Giants, there was a pool of very similar (and not very exciting) options available to them, and they picked the one they felt best fit a need. There's nothing wrong with that. It's a pretty smart way to go, actually. Especially in a draft that was as thin as this one appears to have been. That's why I graded them a bit better, I think, than Mel did. Even in the spots where they reached a bit, I'm not sure there were too many better ways for them to go.
Mel Kiper gives the Giants a B-minus for the draft. He gives them good marks for addressing needs but thinks they reached in a couple of places.