The New York Giants shook up their defense in a big way Thursday morning, trading two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and a 2018 fourth-round pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a third and fourth-round selection in this year’s draft.
It’s a move that helps the team find a fresh start after a dreadful 3-13 season that resulted in the cleaning out of management. Pierre-Paul was entering the second year of a four-year, $62 million deal and became expendable as the Giants move to a 3-4 defensive scheme under new coordinator James Bettcher.
With Pierre-Paul now out of the picture, the Giants’ defensive line in that new scheme could consist of Olivier Vernon and Dalvin Tomlinson at the defensive ends with Damon Harrison in the middle.
However, the NFL Draft might provide New York with an alternative, possibly dominant option to add to the defensive end conversation.
With the No. 2 pick in the draft, the Giants have an opportunity to take NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb, the most dominant pass rusher available in this year’s draft class.
As a three-year starter, Chubb compiled 25 sacks in 38 games along with 54.5 tackles for a loss, quickly showing his ability to become a disruptive force in the backfield off the edge.
He looks the part, standing at 6-foot-4, 269 pounds with long arms used to keep blockers at bay and wrangle in ball carriers. But a strong NFL Combine only further cemented his place as a top-five draft prospect, running a 4.65 40-yard dash, putting up 24 reps on the 225-pound bench press and recording a 36-inch vertical jump, which ranked second among all draft prospects in Indianapolis.
The Giants look to be interested, having already held a private workout with Chubb. They will host him at team facilities in the coming weeks, per Ian Rapoport.
Adding him to the defensive line not only gives the Giants depth should injuries strike of if new general manager Dave Gettleman isn’t done shaking up the roster, but he adds the promise of an elite pass rusher joining an organization that has prided itself on defense for most of its existence.
History also suggests the Giants could have some good luck with this pick. The last time they selected No. 2 overall in the draft, they also went defense in 1981. The pick? Lawrence Taylor.