The Giants go into the draft this year with their lowest pick since they selected Philip Rivers 4th overall in 2004. This draft is critical for Jerry Reese. The Giants general manager is on the hot seat this season, after two consecutive lack luster drafts and just one playoff appearance in the last five seasons. However, since the Giants are lacking in so many areas, it seems like Reese can’t go wrong with whomever he chooses in the first round.
If Darqueze Dennard sneaks out of the top ten, the Giants must absolutely select him. Dennard has undeniable size, unquestionable ability, and can come onto any team to be an immediate contributor. Aside from Jadaveon Clowney, Dennard is arguably the best defensive player in the draft. Dennard was the nation’s Jim Thorpe Award winner and a first team All-American. The Giants will need help at corner this upcoming season as they could be parting ways with Terrell Thomas, Corey Webster, and Aaron Ross. Dennard combined with players like Prince Amukamara, Trumaine McBride, Will Hill, Stevie Brown, and possibly even Antrel Rolle could conceivably make the Giants one of the best defensive back fields for years to come.
If Dennard is not available, this might be the year the Giants finally select a linebacker. Although the Giants don’t value the position, there are few factors that play into this decision. The most pertinent of which is the Giant’s philosophy of taking best player available. With the 12th overall pick the best player available will most likely be a linebacker. The linebacker selection will ultimately come down to two players: Aaron Barr from UCLA or C.J. Mosely out of Alabama.
Barr was the Lott IMPACT award winner, and is the slightly better of the two players because of his athleticism. The former UCLA star was a former running back/receiver who made the switch to linebacker in 2012, and led the nation with 13.5 sacks that season. Mosley on the other hand is an inside linebacker by trade, but is versatile enough to switch to an outside position. That will prove to be important if the Giants and Jon Beason are able to work out a deal before he hits the market on March 11. Mosely might be the most underrated player in the draft. His teammates at Alabama described him as the heart and soul of their defense and awarded him their MVP award. Both players are a steal at this position and with the top two offensive line prospects (Jake Matthews, Texas A&M and Greg Robinson, Auburn) likely off the board, these two guy are the most these players would be the best available.
If the Giants sign Beason and decide that his re-signing is enough to sure up the linebacker position, they will likely go with an offensive lineman. Taylor Lewan, from Michigan, has been moving up the mock draft boards. Lewan plays with a great mix of technique, tenacity, and athleticism, which is everything you could want in an NFL lineman. Antonio Richardson from Tennessee should also still be available. Richardson is rawer than Lewan but, at 6’6” 327lbs., his physical prowess is flat out ridiculous. Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandijo would be a great building block for arguably the worst offensive line in football. Kouandijo struggles a bit in the pass blocking game, but his run block abilities are unmatched, which is a desperate need for Big Blue.
In the later rounds the Giants can begin to focus on the skill positions, particularly, half back. Michael Cox is the only healthy running back on the current roster and if the Giants learned anything from last year they will want to add depth at running back. An obvious choice would Andre Williams. He is a hard, physical, north-south runner whose large frame allows him to run through would be tacklers, without losing speed. He ran for 2,177 yards and 18 touchdowns this season Boston College. Williams is a great short yardage and red zone runner, which something the Giants won’t have if they choose to not re-sign Andre Brown.
Since the draft has moved back to May most of what the picks will be shaped by what the Giants do in free agency, which begins on March 11th, so it’s a bit early to narrow it down to just a few players. However there are many areas that need work and Jerry Reese may want as much time as possible to get this draft right. If he doesn’t, it could mean his job.