As we count down the days until the start of NFL training camp, there continues to be a slew of predictions and what-ifs being generated, many of which have interesting takes.
One such take is Pro Football Focus’ hindsight look at how the first round of the 2021 draft should have gone in hindsight. Author Sam Monson leaves the New York Giants' trade with the Chicago Bears in which New York moved down from No. 11 to No. 20, picking up an extra first-round pick to use in this year’s draft.
And with that No. 20 overall pick, Monson has the Giants drafting interior defensive lineman Christian Barmore instead of receiver Kadarius Toney.
Notes Monson of his selection:
Barmore was the best interior defensive lineman in this draft, but he slid to the second round for a reason that wasn’t obviously apparent from his tape. As a rookie, he had 48 total pressures — 11 more than any other first-year interior player. Barmore looks set to have a huge second season, and the Giants could have used a presence like him on their defensive line even with the talent they already have there.
Based on their respective rookie seasons, Barmore, who went to the Patriots in the draft's second round, was productive, delivering 46 tackles, three tackles for a loss, and two pass breakups in 17 games (two starts).
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Barmore played all over the defensive line for the Patriots and might have made for a nice long-term answer ahead of Austin Johnson, whom the Giants were only able to sign for one season before losing him via free agency this past of-season.
Toney, drafted 18 slots earlier and playing a completely different position, appeared in 10 games due to injuries (four starts, and caught 39 of 57 pass targets for 420 yards and no touchdowns.
Many were surprised that the former Florida receiver went in the first round to a Giants team with Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton already on board, probably just as many were surprised that after the 2021 season, that trio plus Toney only accounted for three receiving touchdowns (two by Slayton, one by Shepard).
Even more, people were surprised when the Giants underutilized Toney in the offense. The prior coaching staff cited some early season concerns over time the youngster had missed in the summer due to injuries and a bout with COVID-19.
But what’s interesting about this re-draft is that Monson still had offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw still left on his board—he had the left tackle going to the Vikings at No. 23, which is where Darrisaw was drafted.
The Giants, who last year had to struggle through the season with a broken offensive line, could have used a player like Darrisaw or maybe even guard Landon Dickerson, who went to the Eagles in the second round, to shore up an offensive line that the prior regime tried so hard to convince everyone was on its way into developing into a solid unit.
Regardless, the Giants expect big things from Toney in his second season, a year in which he’ll have a more modern offense with an eye at getting the ball into the hands of the playmakers and letting them do their thing to pick up yardage.