With ten picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, the New York Giants made some splashy moves adding talent on both sides of the ball. The biggest surprise of their draft haul was the selection of Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick. With the conclusion of their third preseason game and the majority of training camp wrapped up, let’s take a look at how their draft class is progressing.
Round One, Pick Six: Daniel Jones, Quarterback, Duke
With several talented and higher ranked signal-callers available, the Giants used their first pick of the night to select Daniel Jones. In his three years leading Duke, Jones amassed 17 wins and 19 losses. He threw for 8,201 yards with 52 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. Jones also had 406 runs for 1,323 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground. Throughout his college career, Jones was often tasked with carrying his team to victories with minimal help. His wide receivers were plagued with drops and his offensive line was often beaten.
Through three preseason games, Jones has given the Giants and their fan base lots of reasons to be optimistic. He has completed 25 of 30 pass attempts for 369 yards and two touchdowns. Jones has passed for the seventh most yards through three preseason games, while also posting the second best passer rating with at least ten attempts.
Jones has looked extremely comfortable in Shurmur’s offense and has taken steps forward each week. He is going through his progressions, recognizing defenses, looking off safeties, and has shown off excellent ball placement and arm strength. Jones has made several NFL type throws like hitting receivers in the endzone among tight coverage for scores and dropping dimes on the sidelines. His 40-yard pass to Latimer on the sideline was perfectly thrown in week two. He added three more gorgeous passes in week three. Two of those throws went to Brittan Golden and another to rookie Darius Slayton.
Jones has three fumbles in the preseason but came back to lead scoring drives after each one. Nothing has appeared to rattle the young signal-caller. Jones has proven the Giants correct in their evaluation of him and has more than proven worthy of the number sixth overall pick.
Round One, Pick 17: Dexter Lawrence, Defensive Tackle, Clemson
The book written on Dexter Lawrence depicts him as a run-stuffing defensive tackle who will anchor the interior of the defensive line. The reality is far different. Lawrence has both the ability to consistently draw double teams and to collapse the pocket while providing a pass-rush up the middle. He can play multiple positions up and down the defensive line and create difficult mismatches for blockers. According to Pro Football Focus, Lawrence achieved a career pass-rush grade of 88.4 during his time at Clemson. With his stellar ability to stop the run combined with his ability to add pressure in the passing game, Lawrence should be a three-down player for the Giants.
In his first two preseason games, Lawrence did not register a tackle or assist. After the third game, he was credited with one solo tackle and one batted pass. While his state line is unimpressive, Lawrence’s value to the defense has been very clear. He has been a recipient of consistent double teams and has opened up lanes for his linebackers. When Lawrence has been in games, running up the middle has been difficult. Against the Bears, Lawrence showed off his ability to slice through the center and guard to bring pressure on passing plays. Against the Bengals, he again pushed the pocket and had a big impact on the running game.
Lawrence has looked the part of a dominant defensive player throughout camp and has been unblockable in one on one situations. He has looked comfortable in his transition to the NFL and ready to continue his stellar defensive play for the Giants.
Round One, Pick 30: DeAndre Baker, Cornerback, Georgia
Baker capped off an excellent college career by winning the Jim Thorpe Award, an award given to the nation’s best defensive back, last season. Baker thrives as a press corner who can lock up his man in single coverage. He showed off the ability to shut down one side of the field in college.
During training camp, Baker has often locked down his assignment and routinely disrupted the passing game. Against the Jets, he was caught in a few precarious positions and struggled to hand off his man after being picked on crossing patterns. He didn’t play against the Bears or Bengals due to a knee injury but was dressed in week three and has already been back at practice. Baker should be good to go for the start of the regular season.
The Giants made a draft-day trade for the rights to move up and grab Baker. He has rewarded that decision by locking up the second starting corner position opposite Janoris Jenkins. Baker looks like a valuable addition to the Giants’ defense.
Round Three, Pick 32: Oshane Ximines, Defensive End, Old Dominion
The Giants finally addressed their pass rush in the third round of the NFL draft. Ximines was a consistently productive rusher in college and comes into the league with a good variety of pass rush moves. He has strong hands, fast feet, and a very nice spin move to get after opposing quarterbacks. He has flashed in training camp and has been difficult to block when he turns on his speed coming off the edge.
He collected his first NFL sack in week two against the Bears and added two more against the Bengals in week three. Ximines has routinely used his speed on the edge to beat offensive tackles and get to the quarterback. Against the Bengals, he showed off his versatility by collecting a sack with a rush up the middle.
Ximines will have to work on his overall game to be an every-down player for the Giants. His biggest area of weakness is against the run and setting the edge. That being said, against the Bengals Ximines stopped the run extremely well and set a good edge. Ximines looks to be improving weekly in that regard. He should see the field early and often in passing situations rushing the quarterback and has the potential to grow into a three-down player.
Round Four, Pick Six: Julian Love, Cornerback, Notre Dame
Love is the second of three cornerbacks the Giants selected in the 2019 NFL draft. Playing for Notre Dame, Love was a very consistent defensive player. Widely considered a top ten defensive back coming into the draft, Love posted one of the top coverage grades of any cornerback last sesason.
With the Giants, Love has been working across multiple different defensive positions. He has spent a majority of his time as the second string safety playing behind Antoine Bethea. He has also spent time at the outside corner and playing the nickel position.
On tape, his solid fundamentals and instincts jump off the screen. Through three preseason games, he has six combined tackles. In week one he was caught out of position a few times but was started to settle in. Against the Bengals he was much better in coverage, making some great plays at the point of the catch. He should be another talented addition to the Giants’ defense.
Round Five, Pick Five: Ryan Connelly, Inside Linebacker, Wisconsin
Connelly was billed as a smart and instinctual player coming out of college who lacked in top-end athleticism. Throughout three games he has consistently flashed. In the absence of Alec Ogletree, Connelly has run with the first team. Additionally, he has been given the added responsibility of calling the defensive plays.
Against the Bears, he cut through the offensive line and made it into the backfield almost immediately on several plays. In week three he made a hard tackle to drag down the Bengals running back who had a lot of open field in front of him. With his ability to read the offense and get himself in the right position, Connelly looks like a big addition at inside linebacker who could push for early playing time.
Round Five, Pick 33: Darius Slayton, Wide Receiver, Auburn
Slayton has blazing speed and offers a different dimension to the Giants passing game. His 4.39 40 yard dash was one of the fastest at the combine. Slayton possesses an intriguing combination of height, speed, and strength. Slayton developed a strong connection with Daniel Jones during camp as well. A hamstring injury slowed down his ability to practice or get snaps in the first two weeks of preseason. Slayton made his debut for the Giants against the Bengals. He caught a great pass in which he leaped up to corral a high throw from Jones just outside the goal line. Slayton will have some work to do to make an impact this year, but with his speed, he has a good chance at being used in certain situations.
Round Six, Pick Seven: Corey Ballentine, Cornerback, Washburn
Ballentine has been another big surprise for the Giants. He leads all players in take-aways at training camp. Ballentine’s interception week one against the Jets was beautiful. He ran step for step with his assignment, turned to locate the pass, and made an excellent leap and catch for the pick.
Ballentine had several pass breakups against the Bengals in week three and showed off sticky coverage and speed. He did have a miscommunication with Jabril Peppers against the Bengals that allowed a touchdown, but that should be cleaned up with more film study. Ballentine looks like another defensive selection who should contribute immediately for the Giants.
Round Seven, Pick 18: George Asafo-Adjei, Offensive Tackle, Kentucky
Big George was making strides in training camp. As a result, he earned some reps with the first-string offensive line at right tackle. He has good fundamentals and technique, but a concussion has moved him to the sidelines. In all likelihood, Asofo-Adjei will start the year on injured reserve after missing a lot of important time over the preseason.
Round Seven, Pick 31: Chris Slayton, Defensive Line, Syracuse
Chris Slayton has been seeing playing time with the second and third-string defenses playing tackle. Slayton has the desired build for the 3-tech position and has a good initial burst off the line. In week one, he came into the game in the second quarter and was able to apply some pressure on the quarterback on several plays. He has collected five combined sacks on the preseason but looks destined to play a reserve role this year.