I recognize that there is plenty of season to play still and that we still have no idea of who exactly will declare for the draft or where the Giants will pick, but I'm a draft junkie and just want to get my first mock draft out of the way for now to start building up some thoughts for the future of the Giants.
If I was to give a list Without any real explanations of postions of needs for the Giants it would be like this (not in order of importance): OLB (for Keith Bulluck), Shut Down corner AND cornerback depth, Interior OL Depth and future starters, Running Back (Jacobs could be gone), Return Game (is that a coaching issue? A blocking issue? or the return man?), Powerful Full back which Hedgecock is no longer.
My personal philosophy is to take Best Player Available. The Giants seem to do a combination of Need and Best Player Available.
What’s interesting about Mock drafts is that I think people need to clarify if their mocks are what they would personally do, or what they think a team Could do.
This mock draft is what I think the Giants Could do. Not necessarily what I would personally do in this upcoming draft.
OLB Bruce Carter, North Carolina
Alternate picks: TE Kyle Rudolph Norte Dame, CB Brandon Harris The U, DE Robert Quinn North Carolina North Carolina, RB Ryan Williams VA Tech
Well, the Giants went to the North Carolina well in 2009 and ended up with Hakeem Nicks. Why not go back at it this draft? Plus last time they took a LB out of North Carolina in the first round it worked out pretty well I think (On the field). Carter is a very good player who, if he falls into the 20’s (which I’ve seen projected) will match need AND Value which is hard to do in the draft and the Giants will pounce on Carter. If Carter’s available when the Giants pick (hopefully 32nd) It’d be a great selection in my opinion. I haven’t necessarily given up on Clint Sintim, but it’d be hard to pass up a player like this, especially with Sintim and Bulluck’s average play.
If you see DE Robert Quinn there I think that should be THE pick if he still available when the Giants pick. Before the season Quinn was listed as high as #1 on some boards. With his suspension there are “character concerns” and he could be this year’s Dez Bryant. I don’t care that we just drafted JPP if he’s available when the Giants select he should be the pick. Would anyone really be complaining right now if the Giants had drafted Dez Bryant in the first round?
While it’s frustrating on draft night to take best player available at a position you don’t need help at you never how the season will turn out and it could end up be a blessing. Quinn is dominant and is often compared to DeMarcus Ware or Mario Williams in terms of his potential.
RB Mikel Leshoure Illinois
I don’t care if the Giants running game has been productive this year by the numbers. There is still much need for improvement in that area. Bradshaw could use someone to push for playing time to make him focus on holding the ball and Jacobs might not be with the team next year. This season Leshoure is averaging 5.2 yards per carry, has 11 touchdowns and while he is listed at 6-1 230 pounds, he possess speed. He’s only been really productive for one season, although he played fairly well last season in limited duty. The Giants may very likely not keep Brandon Jacobs after this season and Leshoure could very well be the best player available at the juncture the Giants pick, if he’s still available.
This is again need and value. LeShoure has been Very impressive this year and just absolutely dominated North Western, but if his lack of playing time earlier in his career and not a blazing 40 yard dash makes him slip a bit he could be just what the Giants need for the run game.
Alternate Picks: OT Joseph Barksdale, CB Curtis Brown Texas, C Kristofer O’Dowd, G Marcus Danon, CB Jimmy Smith Colorado, LB Greg Jones, Michigan State.
Round 3: Center Kristofer O'Dowd, USC
This is very appropriate value at this juncture as O'Dowd is one of the best centers in the draft this year and it also fulfills a potential need with the aging Shaun O’hara. He can also provide depth at guard.
After Round two the probability that players will play, start, and be productive in the N.F.L. goes down drastically and from here on out teams need to grab Strictly B.P.A. Grab the players you think can play in this league. Linnenkohl is one of those players who will have a defined role in the N.F.L. and could definitely start sooner rather than later.
If a player like S Deunta Williams from North Carolina falls this far that’d be great, or a RB like Shane Vereen from Cal. (I’m not intentionally going back to North Carolina, but their defensive players are very good and I would like them on the Giants).
Round 4: S Ahmad Black, S, Florida
Black has been super productive this season for the Gators registering 94 tackles already and nabbing three interceptions. He has 11 career INT. In 2008 Black had 7 Interceptions. I really loved the Chad Jones pick last season, but who knows if Jones will ever play professional football. Black might be playing himself out of the mid-rounds, but we’ll wait and see what happens.
Alternate picks: I think this is a time where the Giants could look to bolster their Running depth or linebacker depth if they don’t go that route in the first two rounds. The Giants have shown that their philosophy has usually been (lately) that they think they can find Running backs and linebackers around round 4 (Jacobs, Andre Brown, a slew of linebackers: Goff, DeOssie, Dillard, etc). So it might be more likely that they forego RB and LB in the first two rounds and look for that help in round four.
Round 5: (Compensatory pick? Not sure if Giants will get any comp picks this year or not, it’s not announced until later. If not there will be only six picks this year because their fifth round pick was traded to Minnesota for Darius Reynaud and Sage Rosenfels; the Giants also gave up a conditional 2012 pick, which based on both performances so far: Reynaud awful, and Rosenfels not playing at all could turn out to be nothing)
CB Davon House, CB New Mexico State
Listed at 6’ 190 pounds House is the kind of cornerback that the Giants prefer (taller ones). Aaron Ross has struggled as the third CB this season, and in fact the Giants have often avoided using a nickel back all season all together. I think this is good value at this juncture. He had three interceptions last year, but none this year. If the Giants don’t draft a cornerback in the first two rounds I hope they can nab one that falls and provides good value in the middle rounds of the draft.
Alternate: Again B.P.A. Maybe a player like Marvin Austin (North Carolina, again not intentional) falls because of character concerns. There are a lot of players from North Carolina who are going to have to answer questions and could see their stock drop, which is why their talent intrigues me this draft. Austin is very talented but his talent did not always meet production AND he was suspended so double whammy. Great gamble if he falls into the fifth round, but he could still go as high as first round.
Charlie Gantt TE Michigan State
A very good blocking Tight End who also has some abilities as a pass catcher. The Giants have a very good pass catcher with Travis Beckum and a decent starter with Kevin Boss, but not much depth after that. The Giants may consider moving Bear Pascoe to a full time full back and if they do they will need to add another Tight End somewhere. Gantt is a good player to take a flier on in the later rounds. Listed at 6-5 260 pounds. Again I’m not against the Giants drafting Kyle Rudoph in the first round, I just don’t think they will.
P Derek Epperson, Baylor.
7th rounders rarely make the team (of course there are exceptions like Ahmad Bradshaw or T.J. WhosYourMomma) and this is not a bad time to take a kicker or Punter if the Giants decide Lawrence Tynes or Matt Dodge are not going to last into the future.
Just because one rookie punter doesn’t work out doesn’t mean another punter won’t. Perhaps the Giants take a flier on another punter if they get rid of Dodge and his erratic punting before the season ends. Or perhaps they just draft a player who falls a few rounds like an Even Royster from Penn State, or a Linebacker like Casey Matthews out of Oregon, if he falls this far. Casey is not as athletic as his brother and makes less plays then he did at college, but he’s got a great pedigree and his brother wasn’t productive until his final year of college either and is now dominating in the N.F.L. so maybe he goes early than I think he would if his last name wasn’t Matthews.
Recap: Unaccounted for areas of need.
I’m of the philosophy that you take care of NEEDS in free Agency and then just draft people you think can play in the N.F.L. The draft is such a roll of the dice you have to take players you think can play. On top of that most rookies don’t really contribute greatly (especially under Coughlin) so drafting for need makes no sense to me. If it takes three years to produce…how do you know what the team’s needs will be in three years? Just take the prospects you think can play.
Right Now I’m completely in favor of drafting a cornerback in the first round if he falls to the Giants, obviously Prince Akumura or Patrick Peterson would be a given (they won’t last that long), but I also really like Brandon Harris’ (out of Miami) game. If he happens to be available when the Giants pick.
The Cornerback depth absolutely scares me and if the Giants don’t address that in the off-season they could very well look for that in the draft. And being in favor of Best Player Available approach it is possible that Harris could be the best player available, the cornerback talent at the top end of this draft is very, very good.
People have been clamoring for offensive line help, but Shawn Andrews emergence and Will Beatty still being a viable option along with Mitch Petrus, the play of Adam Koets, and Chris Snee still a good player, makes me think the Giants won’t go overboard in drafting offensive linemen this year. And might not address it in the first two rounds.
They DESPERATELY need a return game. I’m not sure if it’s blocking, coaching, or a need for an electric returnman, but that is a position I didn’t attend to in this draft because I’m of the belief it has more to do with the Special Teams coaching then anything else. And event hough Hixon is a free agent, (depending on C.B.A.) and coming off an injury. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the Giants retain Hixon for next season with the expectation that he will serve as the Special Teams Ace and return man (Smith, Manningham, Barden, Nicks, Hixon, Cruz—Calhoun gone?).
Thoughts and comments?