Dave Gettleman may not be a perfect GM for the Giants, but it’s hard to argue with the impact his 2018 draft class is going to have for the franchise.
Lots of NFL executives questioned the New York Giants’ decision to draft Saquon Barkley with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. That caused many to downgrade New York’s draft class as a whole. The team’s first unofficial depth chart tells a much different story.
The coaching staff believes they’ve already found three starters out of their 2018 Draft class. Barkley is, as expected, slated to be the team’s No. 1 running back, but the hits don’t stop there. Second-round pick Will Hernandez is leading the race to win the starting spot at left guard and third-round selection B.J. Hill is being listed as a starter on the defensive line.
On one hand, teams picking so high in the draft generally have lots of holes to fill. As such, it shouldn’t shock anyone to see rookies all throughout the team’s two-deep depth chart. It’s still unusual for a team to nail their first three selections as first-year starters. That speaks well for Gettleman and the rest of the front office.
Picking Barkley may not provide the team great value due his position, but he’s almost certainly going to put up big numbers in his first campaign. It won’t surprise anyone if he ends up as the Offensive Rookie of the Year. His ability to run between the tackles and catch the ball out of the backfield should garner him a lot of touches in Eli Manning’s offense.
In many ways, the Barkley selection set up the move to select Hernandez in Round 2. He’s got a big adjustment to make after physically dominating defensive lineman at UTEP. Hernandez does, however, have the size and strength to punish opponents in the run game. He’s the ideal left guard to open holes for Barkley. Don’t be surprised to see him struggle a bit in pass protection, but he’s ready to be an above-average run blocker from day one.
Hill is the biggest surprise of the group to crack the starting lineup. He was a productive defender at N.C. State but didn’t really flash the ability to be an immediate NFL starter. Even if Hill doesn’t keep his starting position all the way through the preseason, the fact that he’s currently listed as the team’s No. 1 option means he should be a regular member of the defensive line rotation all season long. That’s terrific value for a player obtained in the middle of the draft.
In the end, it’s probably going to take the Giants several drafts like this to get back to the top of the NFC, but this is a serious step in the right direction. It should be very interesting to see just how much impact this rookie class has as the season progresses.