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Giants Now (4/29): PFF gives Giants 'A' for draft

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Giants's 2020 Draft Class gets "A" from PFF

The people at Pro Football Focus think the NFC East got a whole lot better as a result of the 2020 NFL Draft.

The analytics website handed out grades and gave the Giants an “A” for the 10-member draft class, which began with offensive tackle Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick. That was the good news. The bad news, if you're keeping score at home, is that two other teams in the division were in the same range. The Cowboys earned an "A+" and the Eagles got an "A-" for their respective classes. The Redskins, meanwhile, were given a "B."

Here was PFF's report card for the Giants:

[Day 1: Andrew Thomas was PFF's OT1 in this class, and a large reason why he got the nod over Tristan Wirfs and Jedrick Wills was his elite production against the best of the best in the SEC. Thomas had a 92.7 overall grade in 2019 that ranked third in the FBS among tackles, and he was one of few to perform at a top-10 level in both pass protection and as a run-blocker. As a matter of fact, Thomas' overall grade tied for the best we have ever seen from an SEC tackle with La'el Collins back in 2014. Throw in his size, strength and athleticism, and the fact that he did this in an NFL-type of scheme, and he is the best tackle in the class.

Day 2: Safety wasn't a pressing need, but when you have a guy like Xavier McKinney on the board at the 36th overall pick, you throw needs out the window and steal McKinney from everyone else. McKinney was 19th on the PFF Big Board and is easily the most versatile safety in the class. There have been only five safeties to play over 450 snaps in the box, slot and at free safety over the past two years, and only one of those five produced 70.0-plus grades at all three of those alignments — Xavier McKinney. Regardless of alignment or role, McKinney performed at a high level in each of the past two seasons, producing grades above 79.0 against the run, as a pass-rusher and in coverage.

Matt Peart was a solid pickup for the Giants at pick No. 99. He's coming off a season in which he recorded an elite 90.2 overall grade that ranked seventh in the FBS — succeeding as both a pass-protector and run-blocker. He is built like an offensive tackle you'd dream up from a size and length perspective at 6-foot-7 with 36 5/8-inch arms. The big concern with Peart is his play strength. He has to add more to his frame, and if he does that, he could become a quality NFL starter.

Day 3: New York kicked off Day 3 by making a great move and taking Darnay Holmes 110th overall. He was 86th on the PFF Big Board, and while he is short with poor arm length, he has the tools teams should have taken a chance on in the second or third round. Holmes had a down year in 2019, seeing his PFF coverage grade drop from 80.3 in 2018 to 61.8, which had a negative impact on his draft stock. But the Giants were the beneficiary of it — they got great value at a valuable position.]

To view PFF's grades for all 32 clubs, CLICK HERE.

Giants sign 10 rookie free agents, waive 6 players

The Giants yesterday made their first post-draft roster moves when they claimed one player off waivers, released six others and announced the signing of 10 rookie free agents.

The signings of the new players are contingent on the passing of physicals that will be conducted after travel restrictions are lifted.

The Giants' roster currently stands at 85 players, five under the current limit.

The newest Giant with NFL experience is safety Monte Hartage, who played in four games last season for the Miami Dolphins, including their Dec. 15 loss to the Giants in MetLife Stadium. He was credited with seven tackles (five solo), one pass defensed and one special teams tackle. Hartage, 6-0 and 190 pounds, joined the Dolphins as a rookie free agent from Northwestern on May 9, 2019. He was waived at the end of training camp and spent most of the season on the Dolphins' practice squad before joining the active roster for the first time on Nov. 30. After he was waived and did a nine-day stint on the practice squad, Hartage rejoined the roster on Dec. 14 for the rest of the season. He was released on Monday.

Hartage's defensive coordinator in Miami was Patrick Graham, who now holds the same position with the Giants.

The Giants' rookie additions are quarterback Case Cookus of Northern Arizona; wide receivers Derrick Dillon of LSU and Binjimen Victor of Ohio State; tight end Kyle Markway of South Carolina; tackle Tyler Haycraft of Louisville; defensive ends Oluwole Betiku, Jr. of Illinois and Niko Lalos of Dartmouth; linebacker Dominique Ross of North Carolina; and defensive backs Christian Angulo of Hampton and Malcolm Elmore of Central Methodist.

Those waived were tight end C.J. Conrad, center Tanner Volson, defensive back Derrick Baity, punter Sean Smith and long snappers Colin Holba and Drew Scott.

View photos of every undrafted free agent signed by the Giants.

Giants place 'May 5 tender' on OLB Markus Golden

The New York Giants placed a "May 5 tender" on outside linebacker Markus Golden, who has not signed with a team since becoming an unrestricted free agent last month.

If he does not sign the tender, Golden retains the ability to sign with another club until July 22. After that date, he has until the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the season to sign with the Giants.

Should he sign the tender, it would be at a rate of 110 percent of his 2019 salary.

Golden, originally a second-round draft choice by Arizona in 2015, had a career-high 12.5 sacks for the Cardinals in 2016 but suffered a season-ending knee injury the following year. In all, Golden has played in 62 games with 40 starts, recording 195 tackles, 29.0 sacks, 71 quarterback hits, 39 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries, one of which he returned 42 yards for a touchdown last season vs. New England.

Golden recorded 10.0 sacks in 2019, his first season with the team, to become the first Giants player with double-digit sacks since Jason Pierre-Paul had 12.5 in 2014 and the first Giants linebacker to accomplish the feat since Lawrence Taylor had 10.5 in 1990.

View photos of outside linebacker Markus Golden.

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