The Barkley Ultimatum

Will Hernandez Dallas Cowboys

Day 3 of the 2018 Draft finished yesterday. The Giants had two remaining picks. They chose QB Kyle Lauletta in Round 4 and DT RJ McIntosh in Round 5.

To quote young Alvie Singer from ‘Annie Hall,’ slapping his hand to his head in frustration, “wrong answer.”

Each year we lay out our picks in the Draft. I know what you’re thinking but please stay with me. If they take a different guy than we wanted we bellyache. This year is very different. It’s all about the position. The Giants drafted the wrong position because they were thinking linearly in one dimension. They had a Draft Board and dogmatically (or at least they claim as such) chose the best player at each juncture. Every GM claims to do this yet somehow you see patterns of need surface regardless. THERE IS ALWAYS A NEED OVERLAY DESPITE ANYTHING YOU HEAR FROM THESE GMs.

Enter Kyle Lauletta. After he was taken, the predictable can-of-quarterback-worms was opened. The Giants PR damage control spin machine was mobilized into action. No, they explained, we didn’t take Lauletta because we have a problem with Webb… we took him because he was a highly rated player and it was too much value for us not to take him. That may be true. For the moment we have to take the Giants at their word.

The problem is not the R4 selection. The problem is OLB-DT-QB-DT. After making the stupendous selection of G Will Hernandez in Round 2, the Giants delivered ZERO additional help at Offensive Line. WRONG ANSWER.

It was not my idea to draft Saquon Barkley at 1.02 overall. But once you have done so it changes the design of your team, whether you like it or not. This is the Barkley Ultimatum. Regular readers of this NY Giants blog know that we don’t believe in drafting Running Back in Round 1, let alone at 1.02 second overall. I’m not going to repeat all the reasons why. As Giants fans we discuss who we want, the picks are made, and these are the guys we root for. To be perfectly clear, we had Saquon Barkley as our NUMBER ONE TOP PLAYER in the NFL Draft. We understand. In fact, it is precisely because we understand how talented he is, that we must think beyond “best player available.”

Once Barkley was taken, the entire agenda of the draft changed for the Giants. BEFORE the draft, we said we wouldn’t argue if the Giants went OL-OL-OL with their next 3 picks. All ‘tongue in cheek’ humor is based in truth. Offensive Line was such a need that we frankly didn’t care if the Giants carpet-bombed the damn thing to fix it.

Enter Barkley. Enter the Barkley Ultimatum. On Thursday evening, as part of my grief self-counseling, I moved on to ‘acceptance’ and quickly pivoted forward. Now that we have bought the Ferrari, I explained, it is time to pave the road with asphalt so the sports car can move. My tweets spewed metaphors that only that character-limited medium can call upon. We delivered a message as succinctly as it possibly could be given: give us the road grader. Give us quality run blockers so that the Giants can leverage this 233 lb running machine.

Cartwheels! By the latter part of Round 1 we were already on the Will Hernandez warpath. He had not been taken! Can we get a miracle? By pick 1.27 we were tweeting that a trade was ok, giving rare blessing to trading up, something this site endorses as infrequently as possible (we did it before Day 2 in 2015 when Collins and Rowe were there). This time, all that stood in the way of an extraordinary road grader and the Giants was 2.33 for CLE. They chose Guard (that’s right, Guard, that needs to sink in) Austin Corbett. This would be like Atlanta (who would later trade to GB) picking Browning Nagle ahead of Brett Favre. It’s even worse than that, if that’s possible, but that’s a story for another day.

Need and best-player-available came together in a Big Bang moment. The Giants rushed to the podium before the Browns could change their minds, and took the crazy beast road grader Hernandez. Bravo. Flip flops. Joy. Giants ecstasy.

We saw it. Giants fans everywhere saw it. But most importantly, Gettleman saw it. Hernandez was such an enormously talented player (11th on our Board overall) that this selection (in our humble opinion) is going to go down as one of the most important draft picks of the decade. Many fans will wear their Barkley jerseys, and he will get all the headlines. But Hernandez is the lunchpail Guard who is going to set the Ferrari free to do all the wonderful things it does. Can you guess which jersey is going to replace my Bradshaw jersey?

More is better. If Hernandez was what the doctor ordered, certainly the Giants would understand that we needed to keep prescribing asphalt for the Ferrari, right? Uh no. OLB-DT-QB-DT. For the record, the 3.66 pick of OLB Lorenzo Carter has Wonder and I very very excited about what he will be able to do to help Bettcher’s defense. It was such a great selection that Wonder looked at the Giants roster and explained that as long as the coaches didn’t screw it up this summer, Carter was going to be starting Week 1 vs the Jaguars. We LOVE the pick. We just need to explain that BPA is linear thinking. It’s one dimensional problem solving. You’ve just bought a Ferrari and the dirt road needs to be paved. Hernandez is a spectacular paver. Get more decent pavers. Now. Immediately.

It is important to articulate that Hernandez made this a successful draft. We are fighting for everything while the clock ticks on “win now.” Hernandez is an important piece. Keep helping Barkley.

Maybe our evals on Hill, Lauletta and McIntosh are wrong. Maybe Gettleman and his team have found more diamonds in the rough. That is mostly irrelevant to our point.

From Rotoworld: “(Guard Patrick) Omameh struggled mightily as the Jaguars’ starting left guard last season, and the Jags replaced him immediately in free agency with Andrew Norwell. So the Giants are picking up the Jaguars’ scraps.”

There is plenty of room to improve this OL. LT Ereck Flowers was in Miami while the Giants practiced for 3 days. The reconstruction of the OL is not done by any means. The Ferrari needs road graders to leverage his purchase. “This is the business we’ve chosen,” explains Vito Corleone. The Giants bought a world class race car. Not only can this asset run but it can catch passes out of the backfield too. Help 37 year old Eli stay upright. Help Barkley to help the Giants. The most leverage from resources is going to be seen at the Offensive Line.

Invest $1 in the Defense and you’ll get a 10% rate of return. Invest that same $1 in OL and you’ll get a 50% return.

The Giants are in the Barkley business now. They have the Shep, OBJ and Engram toys that needed OL help before the 2018 draft. Wait, you just got a 4th toy? You just got a star RB who can do it all?! Start thinking two dimensionally and help with more Offensive Line. That’s the Barkley Ultimatum. That’s the business the Giants have chosen.

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