Here’s a situation that could play out when the Giants are on the clock at No. 2 on April 26:
Saquon Barkley has been taken first overall by the Browns, the Giants are not well enough impressed by any of the quarterbacks to select one, they have improved their offensive line in free agency and don’t want to pick a guard that high, and because most quarterback-needy teams have found pieces in the shuffled deck of veteran free agents there is not as much value as there should be in trading back.
What might the Giants do if that kind of mayhem took place?
Well, they could embrace it and add a little mayhem to their roster.
They could draft Bradley Chubb, the defensive end from North Carolina State as the cornerstone for their new 3-4 scheme.
It’s been a while since the Giants have had a true disrupter up in the front of their defense, someone who can create chaos. Chubb had 26 tackles for a loss in his senior year to go with 10 sacks. At 6-4 and 269 pounds he has the athleticism to be an edge rusher, the strength to hold up in the run game, and the RPMs to be a creative playmaker.
“I’m high motor, high energy, passionate,” Chubb said on Saturday. “I’m a guy who is going to get after the quarterback or whoever has the ball in their hands. I’m running 50 yards down the field just to get the ball. I’m doing a lot of great things as a pass rusher, a lot of great things stopping the run. I’m just a guy who is going to play with a relentless motor.”
And he’s a guy who plays the second-most important position on the field, the first being quarterback.
“It impacts the game tremendously,” Chubb said of a pass rush. “My job is to get after one of the best players on the field, one of the highest-paid players on the field. It changes the dynamic of the game. You saw it in the Super Bowl, a sack and a forced fumble [by Eagles DE Brandon Graham] and there’s the game. Take it back to when the Broncos won and Von Miller going crazy in that game. This position is such a priority and such a premium in this league because you are getting after one of the most important positions.”
Chubb isn’t alone in that philosophy. Remember what Giants general manager Dave Gettleman said at his introductory press conference in late December: “In terms of team-building, I’m old fashioned. Offense scores points, defense wins championships.”
He noted that there have been six matchups in the Super Bowl between the NFL’s No. 1 offense and it’s No. 1 defense, and the top defense has won five of the six.
“Style of offense has changed . . . so obviously the style of defense has changed to a certain degree,” he said. “But, at the end of the day, it’s the same three things you had to do in 1935 that you’ve got to do now in 2018. You’ve got to run the ball. You’ve got to stop the run. You’ve got to pressure the passer.”
Chubb would cover two of them.
He’d also be a nice welcome-aboard present for new defensive coordinator James Bettcher, who was on the staff in both Indianapolis and Arizona with Dwight Freeney and the defensive coordinator for the past two years with Chandler Jones, two players with whom Chubb is often compared.
Chubb, though, likes to make other comparisons to his play.
“I try to take Khalil Mack and Von Miller and put them into one person,” he said. “Khalil Mack is a more powerful guy, probably the best long arms in the game right now. Von Miller is the speed and finesse guy. Just trying to put those together and have some power moves and some speed moves that I can go to.”
If he came to the Giants there would, of course, be inevitable comparisons to the last time the Giants selected at No. 2 in the draft.
“They picked Lawrence Taylor,” head coach Pat Shurmur said this week, mentioning that bar and not for the first time since taking over. “And the last time they had the third pick in the draft they picked Carl Banks. Those were two franchise-changing players.”
Would Chubb be able to handle that?
“I would take it on with a [full head] of steam,” he said. “Just go out there and compete to be my best. A lot of people are going to have expectations of me no matter how high I go or how low I go. It’s just something where I have to stay humble and keep working on myself.”
B.C. would not have to be L.T. right away. He’d be paired with Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul at first, which would help both of their production numbers by allowing them to take a few snaps off now and again. And if the two veterans do not rebound from a somewhat disappointing 2017 season, Chubb would eventually replace either of them.
But is he worthy of being the second player taken in the draft? Chubb thinks so.
“My confidence level is going to say I’m the best player [in the class],” he said. “I feel like I put that on tape over four years. I feel like I’m the best player and I’m not going to say any one person is better than me. There are a lot of great players. Saquon Barkley put up ridiculous numbers the past couple of days. Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, all the quarterbacks. A lot of great players. I just feel like I’m up there at the top.”
When it comes time for the Giants to pick, he may very well be there on their board too.