New York Giants 2016 NFL Draft Retrospective

New York Giants, NFL Draft Retrospective

How does the New York Giants 2016 NFL Draft class look three years later?

Coming off of another 6-10 campaign, the New York Giants decided against boltering their offensive line, as they had done in the previous three drafts, especially after Michigan State tackle Jack Conklin was snapped up by the Tennessee Titans. The Giants then saw the Chicago Bears jump in front of them,via trade, to acquire Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd. With no where else to turn, general manager Jerry Reese looked to his magic draft board and selected cornerback Eli Apple from Ohio State. With veteran Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie already in the fold, and newly signed Janoris Jenkins on the roster, CB wasn’t nearly a top concern.

Original Grade

Sports Illustrated: A

Sports Illustrated absolutely loved the Giants draft and thought they did well to not only get prospects like Eli Apple early in the draft, but they also loved late round choices like running back Paul Perkins in the fifth.

FanSided: A

FanSided also applauded the Giants overall draft haul and made specific mention of the move to get wide receiver Sterling Shepard.

Draft Class

Round 1 (No. 10)

Eli Apple

CB, Ohio State

Current Team: New Orleans Saints

Played in 30 games for NY Giants. 1 Interception. 121 Total tackles. 2 Forced fumbles. It’s a toss up whether the selection of Apple or the 2015 choice of tackle Ereck Flowers (No. 9 overall) was a worse selection. Neither player remains with the New York Giants, as Apple was dumped by new general manager Dave Gettleman for a 2019 fourth-round draft pick. The low level of compensation speaks for itself.

Round 2 (No. 40)

Sterling Shepard

WR, Oklahoma

Current Team: New York Giants

Played in 43 total games for NY Giants with 42 starts. 190 receptions for 2,296 receiving yards. 14 touchdown receptions overall, with 8 touchdown catches in rookie season (2016). Two selections keep this draft class from a failing grade, and Shepard is one of those selections. He’s mostly performed in a secondary role with the G-Men, but with the Odell Beckham trade to the Cleveland Browns, it’s time for Shepard to shine.

Round 3 (No. 71)

Darian Thompson

DB, Boise State

Current Team: Dallas Cowboys

Played in 18 games with 17 starts for NY Giants. 82 total tackles in NY Giants career. Only 1 interception for Big Blue. The biggest head-scratcher of this draft, Thompson went from a steal to a draft bust in no time flat. Time will tell if the Giants made the right decision or gave up too early on the former Boise State Bronco.

Round 4 (No. 109)

B.J. Goodson

LB, Clemson


Current Team: New York Giants

Played in37 games for NY Giants with 20 starts. 116 total tackles in NY Giants career. 2 interceptions and 1 forced fumble in 2018. Starting right inside linebacker for Big Blue. Along with Shepard, B.J. Goodson represents a value pick for the Giants. He took over as a defensive starter in 2017 and made the transition to James Bettcher’s defensive scheme in 2018. Also a valuable special teams performer.

Round 5 (No. 149) 

Paul Perkins



Current Team: New York Giants

Missed all of 2018 NFL season due to injury. 25 games for Big Blue with 5 starts in two seasons (2016-17). 456 rushing yards in 2016 with a 4.1 yards per carry average for the G-Men. 0 touchdowns in Giants career. Hopes were high when the NY Giants drafted Perkins out of UCLA in 2016. Big Blue thought they had found the answer at running back when he averaged 4.1 yards per carry in his rookie season, but 2016 was Perkins’ high water mark, as he has not been durable and missed all of the 2018 season with a hip injury.

Round 6 (No. 184)

Jerell Adams

TE, South Carolina

Current Team: Houston Texans

Played in 29 games for Giants with 3 starts. Just 24 catches for 214 receiving yards for Big Blue. Averaged 8.9 yards per catch for G-Men with only 1 touchdown. Another player who flamed out quickly for the New York Giants. Adams came on board when the tight end room was barren and could not break through. Lack of talent at the position led the Giants to sign Rhett Ellison in free agency and draft Evan Engram in 2017. Big Blue cut Adams before the 2018 NFL season, and he didn’t latch onto anyone else’s roster.

Retrospective Grade

The worst is over for the New York Giants at No. 10 overall selection Eli Apple (Ohio State) was shipped off at the trade deadline to the New Oreans Saints for a draft pick. That clearly hurts the draft re-grade, but the team isn’t still throwing good money after bad players. Instead, either Jack Conklin or Laremy Tunsil would have helped the offensive line.

Pairing safety Keanu Neal with the now departed Landon Collins would have formed a formidable duo as well. No do-over need for second-round selection wideout Sterling Shepard but think about how history may have been different if the G-Men drafted running back Kenyan Drake in place of disappointing third-round selection safety Darian Thompson. If not Drake, then tight end Austin Hooper (Stanford) or guard Joe Thuney (NC State) would have filled other positional voids on the team.

It’s hard to believe that the New York Giants originally received an A for this draft. It’s obvious that cornerback Eli Apple was a reach, and teams looking to rebuild cannot whiff on back-to-back high draft picks. The selections of Apple and tackle Ereck Flowers have set the franchise back significantly. Safety Darian Thompson became a huge disappointment as he couldn’t lock down a starting nod in the defensive backfield. This draft continues to be saved by wideout Sterling Shepard and linebacker B.J. Goodson, although Goodson may have already reached his ceiling.

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