Giants Select Division Rival’s Stud WR In 2019 NFL Re-draft

Daniel Jones

Getty In PFF's 2019 NFL re-draft, the Giants would not have drafted Daniel Jones, but rather selected a promising WR from a division rival.

Things could be so, so different right now.

The New York Giants could look completely different on offense if the 2019 NFL Draft would’ve gone down differently. Pro Football Focus’s Trevor Sikkema released a re-draft of the 2019 draft, with the Giants not selecting Daniel Jones with the sixth pick. The selection was not received well at the time, to say the least.

Sikkema’s re-draft sees the Giants with a different approach, reaching once again but this time for Washington Commanders wide receiver Terry McLaurin. The 26-year-old was selected in the third round (76th overall) by the Commanders that season and has been one of the best receivers in the NFC, ranking top 10 in the conference in receiving yards the past two seasons. His receiving yards would’ve led the Giants in each of his three professional seasons, while his touchdowns would’ve led the team the last two. McLaurin’s 2019 season of 919 receiving yards and seven touchdowns garnered PFWA (Pro Football Writers of America) All-Rookie team honors.

The Giants selected Darius Slayton with the 171st pick of that same draft, which serves as a direct comparison. Slayton’s only edge over McLaurin is receiving touchdowns in 2019, as his eight touchdowns bested McLaurin’s seven. Aside from that, McLaurin has bested him in yards and touchdowns every time across the last three seasons. The Giants are still searching for answers at the position, with PFF recently ranking the club’s receiving corps 22nd of 32.

Slayton, meanwhile appears to be a cut candidate as NJ.com’s Zack Rosenblatt reports. “It feels like Slayton is headed toward getting cut or traded,” Rosenblatt explained. “He had a rough spring, relegated to backup duty even with so many receivers injured — and he had a bad case of the drops too. Cutting/trading him saves $2.5 million too.”

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While McLaurin has been very productive, he also finds himself potentially on the outs with his current team, the Washington Commanders. After not reporting for team minicamp as he seeks a new contract, the team denied trade rumors, with Ron Rivera not mincing words, saying “We’re not trading Terry.”

Time Ticking For Daniel Jones

Sikkema’s re-draft doesn’t feature Daniel Jones anywhere in the first round, and with the team declining his fifth-year option, Vinnie Iyer of The Sporting News has already pondered whether he’s a bust. Jones has notoriously struggled with turnovers, amassing a 12-25 record in 37 career starts. Last season, he missed the final six games with a neck injury, adding that as another concern for his future. While Jones will have this upcoming season to prove himself with a new head coach and offensive coordinator, his early career results have not been promising. The 25-year-old will hope for help from his aforementioned receiving corps as he looks to cement his place as a starter moving forward.

Jones’ Future Could Hinge On Cap Space

The Giants’ cap space issues are well-documented by now, with James Bradberry’s release, Darius Slayton’s previously-mentioned status, and seemingly every front office move made with an eye towards the cap.

The Athletic’s Dan Duggan looked toward the salary cap situation for next year and noted Jones’ future with the team could also rely on the issue. Noting the team is looking at $54.4 million in cap space next season, which would be fourth-most in the league, Duggan speculates on a possible franchise tag. In terms of Jones’ status with the team, Duggan states, “If Jones shows enough promise this season that the new regime believes it can win with him but isn’t ready to make a long-term commitment to the 25-year-old, the franchise tag enters the equation. As noted above, the quarterback franchise tag for 2023 is projected to cost $31.5 million, which would take a huge chunk out of the Giants’ cap space.”

This could signal the inevitability that even if Jones steps his game up, the Giants may seriously consider heading in a different direction at quarterback.

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