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Cover 3: Most intriguing rookie?

Posted May 8, 2017

Three Giants writers debate which draft pick is the most intriguing of the 2017 class:
In the wake of the 2017 NFL Draft, the newest members of Big Blue report at the end of the week for a three-day rookie minicamp held at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. So we asked out writers in this week’s “Cover 3” to name the most intriguing player in this year’s draft class.

JOHN SCHMEELK
First, allow us to define “intrigue.” A google search yields this: arouse the curiosity or interest of; fascinate. Using that definition as a guide here, I’m going to eliminate Dalvin Tomlinson since I think everyone pretty much knows what the Giants will get out of him. Davis Webb will be fun to watch, but he won’t make an impact for a couple of seasons. I’m going to go with Evan Engram, which might seem boring, but it’ll make sense once I explain.

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The Giants have never really utilized a player like Engram in their history. He will play tight end, but he has a wide receiver’s body and skillset. He can block, but he is not going to make a living being the point of attack blocker on power running plays. The Giants are going to have to get creative in how they line him up, as opposed to how Will Tye and Larry Donnell were used the last couple of seasons.

Engram lined up primarily in the slot in college, but also played in the backfield and a bit in the traditional in-line role. How the Giants use him will be very intriguing to watch. They can leave the same personnel on the field, but Engram’s versatile skill set will allow them to line up in a variety of different formations to create favorable matchups. Eli Manning’s superior ability to read defenses should provide ample opportunities for him to find big plays all over the field. Engram is unlike any player the Giants have ever had and it will be fascinating to see how they use him. Consider me intrigued.

DAN SALOMONE

Last year’s selection of Eli Apple brought to light the importance of having three strong cornerbacks. But there’s another position where you need a dominant trio: defensive end. That’s why I’m going with fourth-round pick Avery Moss from Youngstown State. Olivier Vernon played more snaps than any defensive lineman in the NFL last year. Jason Pierre-Paul was on a similar trajectory until an injury caused him to miss the final four games of the regular season (he still finished 21st among defensive linemen in total snaps). The Giants need to find a third defensive end in the rotation. After Vernon’s and Pierre-Paul’s combined 15.5 sacks last year, the rest of the position group combined for just 1.5.

General manager Jerry Reese called Moss a true defensive end – “You don’t see a lot of those guys these days” – and he can play the run as well as rush the passer. It’ll be interesting to see how he progresses in the competition with players like Romeo Okwara, Owa Odighizuwa and Kerry Wynn. There weren’t a lot of blemishes on the defensive side of the ball last year, but we all know what Steve Spagnuolo can do with a strong defensive end rotation.

LANCE MEDOW

The Giants’ most intriguing pick this year was, by far, their third round selection: Cal quarterback Davis Webb.  With Eli Manning still running the show for the immediate future, this was clearly a down-the-road investment, as opposed to a player who fills an immediate need, so that fact alone makes Webb an interesting choice. There will be projections on Webb’s potential based on what he shows in the preseason.  Webb has the characteristics most teams look for in a young quarterback, specifically height (6-5) and, most importantly, a strong arm.  He also stood out at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, where he was named Most Outstanding Player after guiding the South Team on three scoring drives, highlighted by a 39-yard touchdown pass.
 
Although there will be a transition from Cal’s offense to the Giants’ scheme, the positive for Webb is he won’t face the pressure of having to step in right away and he’ll have the benefit of learning the game over a number of seasons from a polished veteran in Manning.  That could be a huge benefit in the long run, given most teams who select quarterbacks have an immediate void to fill at that position and want the rookie to step in right way.  While Webb spent just one season at Cal, he also gained valuable experience at Texas Tech where he started his career, so learning a new offense and adjusting to different personnel should not be an issue.  The fact that he lost his starting job to Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs 2017 first round pick) at Texas Tech and didn’t become a distraction to the team says a lot about his ability to deal with adversity.