Garett Bolles | Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images
There are lots of players on Denver’s roster who could help the Giants — which one is the right choice?
There are a ton of potential answers. Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy? Left tackle Garett Bolles? Cornerback Patrick Surtain II? Edge defender Bradley Chubb? Safety Justin Simmons?
That’s not an easy choice. In fact, I am actually going to wimp out and not make the choice. You are. In the poll below.
First, I will give you the case for each guy as a Giant. Then, you decide.
Considering all of the resources the Giants poured into wide receiver this offseason, adding Kenny Golladay and Kadarius toney, and with Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton already in the fold, selecting Jeudy off Denver’s roster might seem like overkill.
Jeudy, though, was taken 15th overall by Denver in the 2020 NFL Draft. He was the second wide receiver chosen, and should have been the first as the Las Vegas Raiders somehow thought taking Henry Ruggs III 12th overall was a good idea.
Jeudy caught 52 passes as a rookie, a respectable number, for an an average 16.5 yards per catch. His 46 percent catch rate and 10 drops were concerning, but this is a 6-foot-1, 193-pound player with tremendous talent and upside.
From Joe Marino of The Draft Network prior to the 2020 NFL Draft:
Jerry Jeudy enters the NFL as one of the most electric and polished route runners I have ever scouted at the college level. He projects as a true No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL that a passing game can be funneled through. Alabama lined him up all across the formation and he features the versatility to do the same in the NFL and not restrict the offensive scheme. Jeudy does need to develop more consistency with his hands, but he should be able to produce early in his NFL career with the upside to become one of the better wide receivers in the game.
Umm, yeah, the Giants could find room for Jeudy’s talent.
Chris Pflum says: Had a disappointing rookie season, but the entire Broncos’ offense had a disappointing season in 2020. Drew Lock didn’t play up to expectations in his second season, and their whole offense was just lacking. Jeudy was the top receiving prospect in the 2020 draft class, and averaged an impressive 17.2 yards per catch and 24 touchdowns over his sophomore and junior seasons at Alabama. And, oh yeah, that Alabama connection looms large. Jeudy still has the traits to be a top-flight receiver and the versatility to play both inside and out.
Patrick Surtain II
Even after the Giants signed Adoree’ Jackson in free agency, there was plenty of chatter that they had heavy interest in Patrick Surtain II at pick No. 11 in the 2020 NFL Draft. After all, in an NFL where spread formations and four- or five-wide receiver sets are commonplace there is no such thing as having too many quality cornerbacks.
The Broncos made that apparent interest moot by selecting Surtain No. 9 overall. The Giants then confirmed the fact that they were still looking to upgrade at cornerback by trading up in Round 3 to select Aaron Robinson.
Prior to the draft, Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network wrote:
“Surtain was a terrific cornerback for Alabama the past three seasons. He comes with the size, play speed, and ball skills to start in the NFL. Though lacking polished ball skills, his physical skills and bloodlines lend me to believe Surtain will develop into an outstanding NFL cornerback in the near future.”
Chris Pflum says: The Broncos’ first-round pick in the 2021 draft was widely regarded as the top cornerback in the draft and one of the best corners to come out of the college ranks in recent memory. Surtain would likely be able to get up to speed in the Giants system quickly thanks to his Alabama pedigree. He brings prototypical size and athleticism for the position, as well as the versatility to play in a variety of coverage schemes. While the Giants are optimistic with Adoree’ Jackson, adding Surtain would allow them to move Jackson to the slot and field what would likely be the best secondary in the NFL.
Entering his sixth NFL season, Simmons is a 6-foot-2, 202-pounder regarded as one of the best safeties in the league. He was named to his first Pro Bowl last season. Simmons was No. 45 on the NFL Network list of the top 100 players entering 2021. Pro Football Network listed him as No. 67 on its top 100 players list. Pro Football Focus listed Simmons as No. 23.
You get the idea. Simmons is one of the best players in the league. And, he is in his prime. He is better than anyone the Giants have, but the Giants have a quality trio of Logan Ryan, Jabrill Peppers and Xavier McKinney. Would you take Simmons instead of any of the other choices here and bump one of these three current Giants?
Chris Pflum says: Simmons has emerged as one of the very best safeties in the NFL. At 6-foot-2, 202 pounds, he has prototypical size to go with elite athleticism for the position. Simmons has had at least 93 tackles each of the last three years along with 5 tackles for a loss over the last two years. He’s an elite coverage safety with 9 interceptions and 24 passes defensed the last two years. Simmons just signed a hefty four-year contract, but he’s worth it.
There is no doubt that Chubb is a more accomplished pass rusher than anyone on the Giants’ roster. He had a 12-sack rookie season and has 20.5 sacks and 46 quarterback hits in 34 NFL games. There is no doubt that Chubb could help wreak havoc on the Giants Sunday, and that at least on paper he would make the Giants pass rush stronger.
Still, an article in The Denver Post this week gives me pause. Mark Kiszla writes:
“… between scuffles with offensive tackle Garett Bolles during training camp, an ankle injury Fangio admits has “been slow to come around” and his visit to the Douglas County Detention Center to post bond, something seems off with Chubb.
Once a losing culture takes hold of a locker room, the stench is tougher to get rid of than mold.
“We’ve been in a position last year where it wasn’t good. We started slow. We made good runs, coming back. But being in that hole, man, is not a good feeling. Coming down that stretch where it’s like you have to win to get in (the playoffs) is not a good feeling,” Gordon said.
“I’ve been a part of a winning team before and the atmosphere is just so much better. When you’re losing, everyone can feel it. Everything is so tense. It is what it is. That’s part of the game. Everyone’s tense. Everyone’s on edge. It’s just tough. When you’re winning, it’s loose. Loose is a better atmosphere, it’s a better place to be.”
With the Broncos opening the season against the Giants, Jaguars and Jets, whose cumulative record in 2020 was 9-39, anything less than a 2-1 record for Denver at month’s end would qualify as an unmitigated disaster.
Is Chubb going to be part of the solution? Or a problem?
Chris Pflum says: Chubb was a popular pick for the Giants at second overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. He was the consensus top EDGE in that draft and many thought a suitable replacement for Jason Pierre-Paul. Chubb hasn’t exactly lived up to what many would expect from a pass rusher drafted third overall, but he hasn’t been poor either. The Broncos’ offense provided approximately zero pressure on opposing offenses, making life difficult for their own pass rushers. However, Chubb still took a step forward in his third year despite little support from the offense, a secondary wracked by injuries, and the loss of Von Miller before the season even started. Chubb has plenty of versatility, able to play from a two or three-point stance on the edge, as well as slide inside as an interior rusher.
A 29-year-old left tackle in the prime of his career coming off a year where he did not allow a sack in 622 pass blocking snaps? Yes, please. It would be hard to argue that plunking Bolles into the Giants lineup to protect Daniel Jones’ blind side would not make the Giants instantly better. Because, no doubt it would.
Bolles allowed only 13 total pressures. His Pro Football Focus pass blocking efficiency score of 98.9 percent was best in the league among 27 qualifying tackles. Andrew Thomas (94.2) was worst.
Bolles is the poster child for the kind of development the Giants hope to see from Thomas. After being a first-round pick in 2017, he gave up eight sacks and 51 pressures as a rookie. He has surrendered just six sacks and 73 pressures in 47 games over the last three seasons since that rookie year.
Chris Pflum says: The Broncos’ 2017 first round pick out of Utah certainly looked like a viable first rounder at the time. He had some warts as a 25-year-old rookie who was (only) 297 pounds, but his athleticism and nasty streak stood out. But he just didn’t look like a first, or even third, round offensive tackle for the first part of his career. But he blossomed in his fourth year, allowing just one-half of a sack and just four total penalties (two false starts, one holding, and one I couldn’t identify). The Giants have questions (concerns) at both offensive tackle positions, and Bolles could solve one of those problems.