As the media, fans and so-called experts continue to dissect the New York Giants‘ haul from the NFL Draft, voices like Jeff Diamond begin to emerge.
A former NFL executive, Diamond believes the Giants had a solid draft, including their selection of quarterback Daniel Jones with their first draft choice.
Diamond sees Jones as a good fit and a move that makes sense for Big Blue.
The knee-jerk reaction of many after the draft was that Jones could have been had later in the first and the Giants could have drafted Josh Allen, a defensive end from Kentucky with the sixth pick. Allen won the Chuck Bednarik Award, given by the Maxwell Football Club to the nation’s top defensive player, and was considered one of the top players in the draft.
Most thought Allen would be off the board when the Giants picked sixth. Many draft insiders espoused a theory that the Giants could have taken Allen and gotten Jones later in the first round with the No. 17 pick.
That, of course, holds true only if one of the other quarterback-needy teams passed on Jones, a scenario which may not have played out in the real world.
Diamond, a former general manager of the Minnesota Vikings and president of the Tennessee Titans, understands the logic and thought process in the Giants deciding to take Jones sixth overall. This, even as it was panned as a reach and a panic in the immediate aftermath of the selection.
“The prevailing opinion was that Jones would have been available with the Giants’ No. 17 overall choice when they picked Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence,” Diamond told MSGNetworks.com. “And that outstanding edge rusher Josh Allen from Kentucky, chosen one pick after Jones by Jacksonville, was the better choice at No. 6,”
“That would’ve been a great scenario for the Giants but if they thought Jones was the best fit and were concerned he wouldn’t be there, then I don’t blame them for taking him at No. 6. I say what’s done is done and let’s give this time to play out. In my 20-plus years of sitting in draft rooms and participating in the draft as a general manager or team president, I’ve seen plenty of draft picks get panned by analysts and fans only to wind up as Pro Bowlers. And vice versa — picks that were praised and turned into duds. There have been first-round QB busts such as Ryan Leaf and Heath Shuler and third round success stories like Joe Montana and Russell Wilson. That’s the inexact science of any pro sports league draft with the NFL Draft the most highly publicized and scrutinized.”
Jones was a three-year starter at Duke who led the team to consecutive bowl game wins over the past two seasons. He didn’t have big numbers, but had a very good NFL Combine, showed athleticism at the position and throws a nice ball with good placement.
There is little doubt that he can develop into a good NFL quarterback, it is all about perception with the sixth pick and the expectation of taking a quarterback so high in the draft.
Diamond offered his thoughts on a few other moves made by the Giants around the draft as well as their undrafted rookie free agents:
Diamond on the two other Giants selections in the first round:
“Dexter Lawrence is a good run-stopping defensive tackle, not a big pass rusher during his Clemson years (10 career sacks). For now, he’s a cheaper version of Damon Harrison who was a still productive player when the Giants traded him to Detroit. Deandre Baker looks to be a very good cover corner and should start early.”
Diamond on the Giants rest of the draft:
“As for their draft beyond Jones, we’ll have to see in about two to three years how it all plays out. I think grading a team’s draft right after the fact is absurd … nobody knows now how it will turn out. I do like Ryan Connelly, the fifth-round linebacker from Wisconsin.”
Diamond on if any undrafted rookie free agents signed by the Giants stand out:
“On the undrafted college free agents, I like the versatility that Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey brings in a possible role similar to what Taysom Hill does for the Saints. We’ll just have to see on the rest of the undrafted guys as usually there are a few eventual contributors on a team’s list.”