If anyone ever tells you teams don’t care about mock drafts, this story is why they’re wrong. The Giants are heading into a pressure-packed draft, having dealt a former first-round pick and superstar wide receiver — Odell Beckham Jr. — for a second pick in the 2019 first round. They have Eli Manning winding out his career, with GM Dave Gettleman supporting him, and a questionable quarterback class to choose from after passing on Sam Darnold last year. 

Their two picks, No. 6 and No. 17, offer an endless list of possibilities, not to mention the rest of their draft selections. They have to do mock drafts to figure out these scenarios.

Let’s see if we can do it for them in our “GM for a day” series. Colleague Jared Dubin took on the crazy task of working with Jon Gruden as he played Mike Mayock for the Raiders recently. Now I’m going to strap on my big boy pants and start yelling about hog mollies and gold jackets as I attempt to impersonate Mr. Gettleman. 

There are plenty of picks here and plenty of needs, which means New York can go in any direction. Let’s go.

Round 1

Picks No. 6, No. 17

Personally I see three different scenarios for the Giants here. They’re going to take one big body defensive or offensive lineman in this draft. The question is how do they fill out the rest of this first day.

The Hog Molly Plan

To me this is the most realistic plan for the Giants, even if it’s not one that Giants fans will love. It involves Gettleman seeing a draft full of talented offensive and defensive linemen and using his two first-round picks to land one of each, two of one or the other — some combo of big-bodied guys who will battle in the trenches. Just look at what Gettleman said this offseason about drafting these guys. 

“I am always going to keep working on those lines, on those groups. You cannot have enough hog mollies, you can’t, because people get hurt. You can’t have enough,” Gettleman said in February. “People looked at me in ’13 [with the Panthers], we took a defensive tackle in the first round, a defensive tackle in the second round, and I had people say — and maybe they’re right — ‘Gettleman has no idea what he’s doing.’ I’m always going to do that.”

People like to criticize Gettleman for many things: you can’t criticize him for being dishonest. He’s pretty transparent during the draft process. Which is why I think you’ll see them double down on guys in the trenches. 

Given the way the draft lines up, I would suggest they’re probably only looking at Jawaan Taylor or Jonah Williams in terms of offensive linemen at No. 6. Either could theoretically replace Chad Wheeler at right tackle and/or be an answer long-term on the left side of the line if the Giants decide to move on from Nate Solder after 2019 (they can save $9 million in cap space next year or $14 million the year after). Taylor played on the right side at Florida last year so he might be a better fit as an immediate help type of option.

Defensive line could work at No. 6 too: we should expect to see Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams and Josh Allen off the board in the first four picks, but one could conceivably slip to the Giants at six if something really goes awry in this draft. Gettleman never trades up in the first round, but I could see him flipping with the Jets to get Williams. If one of those guys falls, it’s a no-brainer move. If not, Brian Burns, Rashan Gary, Montez Sweat or Clelin Ferrell could all fit the bill with that first pick. 

If the Giants go defensive line with the first pick, they could come back and grab an offensive lineman at No. 17. Garrett Bradbury would make sense, unless New York is completely locked in on Jon Halapio at center. It’s worth noting that Gettleman praised him extensively in the above linked Giants.com article before talking about hog mollies. Cody Ford or Andre Dillard could be there at 17 — it’s unlikely Taylor will be, and Wiliams is a long shot as well. 

Let’s say they go offensive line early, there should be plenty of defensive stars left on the board. Ferrell or Christian Wilkins could be there. Gary, Burns and Sweat might still be on the board. Jeffery Simmons, Dexter Lawrence and Jerry Tillery could be fallback options as well. 

There are so many different combinations you can create with these big boys down low. It’s very, very easy to imagine Gettleman going this route. It’s what I anticipate the Giants will do. 

Draft a QB Plan

This was initially going to be called the “Burn It All to the Ground Plan,” but it really depends on when the Giants take a quarterback. It’s a damn shame that the draft isn’t in Radio City Music Hall this year, with the famous New York City theater jam-packed with frothing, inebriated Giants fans just looking for an excuse to riot if Gettleman takes Daniel Jones at No. 6.

Don’t laugh: it’s an idea that’s been floated in at least one reputable mock draft. The logic in going QB at six is you get your pick of guys, whereas the draft might dictate who you select at No. 17. If Gettleman is truly in charge of the draft — and not being pressured by ownership — I don’t see him taking one at No. 6. It’s just not his style and I have a hard time believing he’s in love with Jones, Kyler Murray (he could be there, seriously) or Dwayne Haskins. 

Haskins was the choice by Danny Kanell in our CBS Sports HQ live mock draft on Thursday. Again, I get it. I just don’t think Gettleman will go this route if he is truly in charge of building the roster. 

Taking a QB at No. 17 feels more realistic for a Gettleman plan, because he’ll be confident in the guy he’s taking at No. 6 making an impact on the offensive or defensive side of the ball. The problem here is the well could be dry once the Broncos, Bengals, Dolphins and Redskins all make selections. 

If the Giants emerge from this draft with some combo of Jones and Gary or Haskins and Sweat, it won’t be bad, per se, but it doesn’t feel like the kind of haul you want with two first-round picks. 

The Gold Jacket Plan

Gettleman took Saquon Barkley second overall last year and repeatedly said you need to be able to see a guy in a gold jacket if you take him second in the draft. Sixth doesn’t quite qualify for Gettleman — he said it’s right on the fringe of expecting a HOF caliber talent with the pick you’re making — but it’s conceivable he falls in love with someone’s talent and decides to punt on positional versatility. 

The only real position I can see that happening with here is linebacker. And maybe tight end. Any of the top end pass rushers (Gary, Sweat, Burns, Ferrell, Allen, etc.) would be acceptable at sixth, even if a few of them would be a little surprising. 

But if Gettleman goes away from taking big bodies or a quarterback, I can really only see him doing it for Devin White or Devin Bush. White is going to the Buccaneers in plenty of mock drafts so it might not be an option, but Bush at least should be there. There aren’t any wide receivers that qualify. I could see Gettleman getting a wild hair and taking Bradbury here, but he has to believe he can land the NC State center at 17. 

One wild card for this spot? T.J. Hockensen. The Giants already have Evan Engram, but he’s a receiver more than a blocker, whereas Hockensen lays wood in the run game. I could see Gettleman praising Hockensen as an elite-level talent and condensing his formations even more, keeping two tight ends in with Hockensen blocking for Eli and Saquon. 

Day Two

Picks No. 37 (2nd), No. 95 (3rd)

Nice job by Gettleman to get that third-round pick from the Browns as well. This was going to be a shaky draft for the Giants without the addition of 17 and 95. Now they’re getting four top-100 players. 

Obviously what the Giants do in the first round will/could/should dictate what they do with these two picks to a certain extent. Gettleman made hay last year on the second day, grabbing Will Hernandez on offense and B.J. Hill on defense. Both guys appear to be starter-caliber talent and look like really nice value selections just a year in.

If the Giants go with two defensive linemen in the first round, you can bet that a) Gettleman is in charge! and b) they will circle back for some offensive line help in the second. I additionally wouldn’t be surprised to see a wide receiver come off the board in this space. 

The 37th overall pick is a borderline first-round selection in this class. Trading down could be an option and I wouldn’t hate it, but I would assume someone Gettleman has graded highly lands in his lap. Some names that could make sense by position:

  • DL: Jerry Tillery, Jeffery Simmons, Dexter Lawrence
  • WR: N’Keal Harry, Hakeem Butler, Kelvin Harmon
  • OL: Chris Lindstrom, Yodny Cajuste, Garrett Bradbury, Kaleb McGary, Greg Little
  • EDGE: Chase Winovich, Jaylon Ferguson
  • DB: Juan Thornhill, DeAndre Baker

All three of those defensive lineman went in the first round of our HQ mock, but two of them fell in Ryan Wilson’s most recent seven-round mock. I think Bradbury goes first round, but I wouldn’t be stunned if he fell to the top of the second. Any of those receivers could be first-round guys but there’s a lot of buzz about multiple receivers coming off the board at the top of the second round.

There is going to be a LOT of variability when it comes to where people land in drafts this year, particularly when it comes to the bottom of the first and the top of the second round. Don’t assume anyone outside of about three or four guys are definitely going to be first-round picks in this class. 

Winovich is a guy who’s really intriguing — how about Devin Bush, Rashan Gary and Winovich as a trio for the Giants? (Cue the Jim Harbaugh rumors.) Knowing there will be talented edge guys available at 37 makes life a lot easier for the flexibility in the first round. 

The 95th pick could easily be a quarterback, with Ryan Finley or Jarrett Stidham fitting the mold of a mid-round flier for the Giants in this spot, someone they could develop for a year behind Eli and see how things shake out heading into next season. 

On the other hand, Wilson had the Giants taking wideout Miles Boykin out of Notre Dame and that would feel like a steal at this point. Maybe someone like Andy Isabella is still on the board? Germaine Pratt or Jahlani Tavai would be a fit here as a linebacker. It wouldn’t be stunning to see a backup running back either, if Darrell Henderson of Memphis or Devin Singletary of FAU fall. 

The Giants can get a quality player with this final pick if they stand pat. Man, this is a huge draft for New York.

Day Three

No. 108, 132, 142, 143, 171, 180, 232, 245

Now we’re getting in more of the fringe range in terms of guys who are expected to make an impact. But the Giants have a ton of picks to work with here. Don’t be surprised if one of them is used to move up the board earlier in the draft. (Pair 95 and 108 to move up the board in the third round and grab someone they’re targeting specifically, etc.)

If one of the mid-tier quarterbacks falls to this spot, it would make too much sense for the Giants to take him. That quarterback will be absurdly scrutinized with respect to his ability to take down Eli in a competition. We will write 700 stories on it between now and August. Buckle in.

There are a bunch of tight ends in this area who could make sense, whether it’s Kahale Warring (great name), Drew Sample, Isaac Nauta or Dax Raymond. 

Last year the Giants had just one (one!!) pick after the fourth round. This year they’ve got six of them.

One trend to watch here: Gettleman loves to lean on P5 schools when he’s making later-round picks. With the Panthers he had 14 picks in the fourth round or later and 11 of them came from power five conference schools. Last year he batted .500 with Kyle Lauletta out of Richmond and R.J. McIntosh out of Miami. That’s not an unusual trend for an NFL GM, but it’s worth noting when projecting out who the Giants might take in later rounds. 

I would expect them to be active moving on their board here, packaging multiple later round picks in order to move up a couple of spots and grab players. Seeing the Giants come out of this draft with a draft class of 12 players would be quite surprising. 

Don’t be shocked either if they get future picks — if the Giants don’t go with a quarterback, it means there’s limited pressure on Gettleman to win this year (read: ownership is giving him some rope on this Eli situation barring a total disaster in 2019) but there will likely be an impetus on finding someone in the next two drafts, which means future assets are a must.