The offseason is well underway now and, to the surprise of many, the New York Giants have accomplished quite a bit. They have bolstered their defense through an assortment of free-agent signings and even improved the offensive line—the team’s greatest weakness in 2013—with big additions, such as guard Geoff Schwartz.
This week’s mailbag answers a few questions that look ahead to the NFL Draft in May and what the Giants could and should do with the 12th overall pick and the other five picks they currently have.
The Giants have done all kinds of work to the defense, and that’s great, but I feel like the offense still went so untouched in free agency. What are they waiting for?
– Jace (Cape Henlopen, DE)
The Giants had a lot of work to do going into this offseason and they still do. What they needed on offense, there wasn’t much of in free agency, so they took the wise move addressing the defense and Jerry Reese did his best to turn the team into an instance powerhouse. After all, defense still wins championships, right?
Even so, the offense did not go unnoticed. The Giants added key offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz. Schwartz has been the league’s fourth-best guard since joining the NFL in 2008, per Pro Football Focus’ Pete Damilatis.
Since he entered the league, Geoff Schwartz has a +4.3 @PFF grade per 100 snaps played, 4th-best rate of any guard in the NFL.
— Pete Damilatis (@PFF_Pete) March 11, 2014
Add in offensive linemen J.D. Walton and John Jerry, and the Giants may have their new offensive line already constructed. Still, I’d look for them to two more linemen via the draft, maybe a center and a tackle, to bolster depth and create competition for guys like Walton and the returning Chris Snee.
I expect the Giants to also address remaining needs at wide receiver, tight end and defensive line in the draft, with a deep class of talent for them to choose from. The defense looks fantastic and that’s a start, but don’t fret, they aren’t ignoring other major holes on the roster.
Who do you think the Giants should take with the 12th pick?
– Toby (Warren, NJ)
I expect the Giants to take a wide receiver or tight end in the first round, depending upon who is available when they are slated to pick. For weeks now, I have been set on the G-Men taking tight end Eric Ebron out of North Carolina, but after his Pro Day showcased more of his biggest flaw—inconsistent hands—I have my doubts. It’s not exactly the Giants’ style to go all in on a guy with serious drop issues like Ebron has.
Had an 11.43% drop rate in 2013 RT @jjones9: Here at UNC Pro Day where TE Eric Ebron has registered three drops so ffar
— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) March 25, 2014
So if a guy like Mike Evans of Texas A&M is still there at No. 12, don’t be surprised if they select him. Eli Manning needs a big passing target and Evans is the perfect fit. He boasts solid hands and great downfield play-making ability. Lined up opposite Victor Cruz, Evans could star from day one within new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s offense.
If neither is available, or they don’t like the fit, Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin is another appealing option. Though he’s a tackle right now, most believe he won’t stay that way. He has the makeup to be a Pro Bowl offensive guard, garnering comparisons to the New England Patriots’ Logan Mankins.
John Jerry, really?
– Nick (Staten Island, NY)
I know, it doesn’t sound nice on paper. John Jerry had a hand in the whole Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito fiasco and now he’s joining the Giants locker room?
I’m willing to bet Jerry learned quite a bit during this past year with that whole mess and he’s going to do all he can to avoid being involved with that drama again. Plus, he’s joining the Giants. The Giants are a class organization among the league’s best with great leaders like Manning and Antrel Rolle in the locker room. What happened in Miami is highly unlikely to ever happen in East Rutherford.
With that said, Jerry is a talented and versatile athlete who will help strengthen the Giants’ offensive line depth. He started all 16 games the past two seasons with the Dolphins and should get an opportunity to compete against Chris Snee for the right guard job this summer.
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