New York Giants, Josh Doctson and Trading Down

In 2015, Eli Manning lost 62 completions to his receivers. 62 times Manning threw an accurate pass that his receiver couldn’t bring in. That sounds like a lot, right? It is. Only three quarterbacks lost more receptions to their pass catchers and none lost more than 64. Those 62 receptions cost Manning five touchdowns and 563 yards.

Manning has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league over recent years. His quality was always masked in Kevin Gilbride’s system that overstressed the quarterback position. In Ben McAdoo’s offense, an offense that allows him to get rid of the ball quickly, Manning has mostly thrived. He has completed over 62 percent of his passes in both of the past two seasons while compiling almost 9,000 yards with 65 touchdowns and 28 interceptions.

Even though McAdoo’s offense has allowed Manning’s production to turn the corner, the quarterback’s supporting cast still needs significant upgrades at multiple spots.

It’s not just that his receivers were failing to consistently catch the ball last year. The group as a whole was limited in the impact it could have. Only Odell Beckham could consistently get open or make plays on the ball in the air. Manning was regularly being asked to throw lesser receivers open, so his frustration would have been multiplied when those difficult throws were being turned into incompletions by receiver incompetence.

Beckham is a mismatch receiver, nobody in the league can cover him. The Giants need to take advantage of his presence not by scrimping on the rest of the skill positions but by maximizing his impact with an investment in a second quality starter. Manning is good enough to manage the pocket and throw with anticipation to overcome offensive line issues in McAdoo’s offense, but he can’t have all that work ruined by receivers who can’t separate or win at the catch point.

Adding Josh Doctson in the first round of the draft should be the Giants’ preference.

Doctson is an ideal complement to Beckham. He is an accuracy-erasing receiver with a different type of frame but a similar ability to win in different ways. Even though Doctson didn’t face a huge amount of press coverage in college, he should comfortably fit into McAdoo’s offense and make an immediate impact as a rookie starter. Offensively, the Lions shouldn’t be looking at anyone else if they stay in their projected slot in the draft. Corey Coleman would make sense as a fit but not at that point. Ronnie Stanley or Jack Conklin would also make sense, especially Conklin, but the offensive line shouldn’t be a priority with this quarterback in this offense.

In a perfect world, the Giants would have a safety at this spot that they could take or Myles Jack falls this far but nobody is rationally expecting that to happen. Karl Joseph has the talent and is an ideal fit alongside Landon Collins as the safety pick here, but a knee injury means the Giants likely wouldn’t have to take him at this point. Joseph would be more likely to come after a trade up into the late first or after a trade down from 10th overall.

The Giants should have options to add another cornerback. They already signed Janoris Jenkins this offseason and they retain Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie since last season but a third option is always important in today’s NFL.

Since Jerry Reese despises investing picks in athletic linebackers, spending a pick on a third cornerback to play more nickel could be a solution. One of Vernon Hargreaves, Mackenzie Alexander, William Jackson and Eli Apple will be available at this point in the draft if the Giants value them so highly. If not, Reese can always ignore the holes on his roster and spend capital on another defensive lineman, Sheldon Rankins would make the most sense as an interior presence.

Projecting trades is always tough because it’s harder to speculate what options will be available to the specific team. There are a lot of players in this draft who would come in and contribute immediately for the Giants but very few are valued at where they pick in the first round. That makes them a perfect team to seek out a trade down, even if it’s a trade that is made at a slight discount.

Of course, Jerry Reese believes in trading down as much as he believes in the importance of linebackers so that’s a moot point.

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