2020 NFL Draft News and Rumors: Monday, April 13
Will the Giants surprise us once again in the first round?
Last April, the New York Giants pulled a bit of a shocker when they selected quarterback Daniel Jones with the sixth pick of the draft. And while many Giants fans responded with unhinged anger, most would have to agree that selection is looking pretty good at this point.
Could Dave Gettleman and the Giants pull another surprise this year? The short answer is yes. The consensus is that the Giants are likely to select Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons with the fourth overall pick, but more and more people inside the league tell me the Giants will go “left tackle or defensive line.”
My thoughts were shared yesterday in an article with good friend Pat Leonard, the Giants beat writer for the New York Daily News.
Even though they selected Dexter Lawrence in the first round of last year’s draft and gave away a third-round pick for Leonard Williams, whom they subsequently franchised, Auburn’s Derrick Brown seems to be the leader in the clubhouse for Gettleman’s Giants — and why not?
Derrick Brown could make a lot of sense for the Giants
Brown, ranked second on my big board since January, is a dominant three-down defender who plays with a great motor. One can make the argument that Brown is a more complete defender than Chase Young, who sits atop my board.
Related | Tony Pauline Scouting Report: Auburn DT Derrick Brown
My opinions aside, people I’ve spoken with point to the fact that this is a Gettleman type of pick. They feel the selection of Brown would be similar to the way Gettleman loaded up on defensive tackles in Carolina, where he selected Star Lotulelei and Kawaan Short in the first and second rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft, respectively, and later chose Vernon Butler in the first round of the 2016 draft.
League insiders also believe Brown is the type of player and personality who will fit in perfectly with new head coach Joe Judge.
Looking at the comments from the article on my Twitter feed as well as Pat Leonard’s feed, most Giants fans are already apoplectic over the possibility that the team could select Brown. I’ll go on record and say they are wrong. Despite not fitting the team’s need at edge rusher or linebacker, Derrick Brown is the type of player who makes an entire defense better.
What the Giants may do with their offensive line
If they go left tackle, Andrew Thomas is a name that is thrown about frequently with the New York Giants. He’s much more of a sure thing on the blind side than any of this year’s other top tackles, and I’ve been told since the NFL Scouting Combine that a move to right tackle is expected for Nate Solder.
Related | Tony Pauline Scouting Report: Georgia OT Andrew Thomas
The belief among league insiders is that the Giants will look at interior offensive linemen in round two, primarily targeting a center. Cesar Ruiz of Michigan would be the obvious candidate and the best available player for the Giants at the top of round two — if he’s available. I’ve received a lot of late first-round grades on Ruiz the past week, and he may not make it to the Giants’ selection in round two.
The other player the team has a lot of interest in is Matt Hennessy from nearby Temple. Hennessy, who is listed as a guard on certain boards around the league, has primarily received late second and early third-round grades from teams. The question is whether the Giants, who gave up their third-round selection in the trade for Leonard Williams, would select Hennessy at the top of round two.
Featured | Full 7-Round NFL Mock Draft
Center Matt Hennessy drawing interest around the league
The Jets, who own the Giants’ selection in the third round, also have a lot of interest in Hennessy. I am told if they select Hennessey, it would be to play center. Newly signed free agent Connor McGovern would then slide over to guard, the position many thought he played his best football at while in Denver.
The Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, and Pittsburgh Steelers all have a significant interest in Hennessy. Of that group, Pittsburgh projects him to guard.
Related | Tony Pauline Scouting Report: Temple C Matt Hennessy
James Morgan over Jake Fromm?
Quarterback James Morgan of Florida International continues to move up draft boards and presently sits at the top of day three on many boards around the league.
I know of several teams who have Morgan rated ahead of Georgia’s Jake Fromm, who has received grades that range from the late part of round three through the early portion of round five.
Morgan, who participated in the Shrine Game as well as the combine, has had video conferences with almost half of the league’s teams, including multiple calls with teams where he chatted with head coaches and offensive coordinators.
So who’s showing the most interest in the signal caller? When I interviewed Morgan during a podcast immediately after the combine, I named the New York Jets and New England Patriots as his prime suitors, which remains true today. Also in the mix are the Green Bay Packers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Related | 2020 NFL Draft prospect James Morgan is built for the spotlight
Small school quarterback Ben DiNucci in demand
Ben DiNucci of James Madison is another signal caller who could surprise, this time in the late rounds. The Pittsburgh transfer was not graded by scouts entering the season despite his terrific junior campaign. DiNucci followed that up with a senior year that included 3,441 yards passing and 29 touchdowns as well as a completion percentage of 71 percent.
For some reason, DiNucci was snubbed from all the postseason All-Star events. He has had numerous video conferences with the New England Patriots, Carolina Panthers, and Chicago Bears.
Previous updates from Tony Pauline
April 21 (Page 2)
Anthony McFarland, Jaylon Johnson, Jabari Zuniga, Alex Highsmith, and Braden Mann
April 20 (Page 3)
Terrell Lewis, Dolphins QB plans, Saints WR targets, Giants/Herbert
April 17 (Page 4)
Zack Baun’s failed test, Jordan Love and the Dolphins, and more
April 15 (Page 5)
Denzel Mims rising up boards, C.J. Henderson a potential top 12 pick, and teams looking to trade down
April 14 (Page 6)
Chase Claypool at TE, Tyler Biadasz’s stock is falling, and watch for Auburn’s OL Jack Driscoll
April 13 (Page 7)
Giants draft plans, James Morgan, and other quarterback news
Tony Pauline is Pro Football Network’s Chief NFL Draft Analyst and Insider. Follow him on Twitter @TonyPauline. Follow PFN on Twitter @PFN365.