Time to talk turkey. Let's move on from the Jason Pierre-Paul debate and focus on what we hope our New York Giants will accomplish tonight in rounds 2 and 3 of the NFL Draft.
Keep in mind that great players can be found tonight, especially in the second round. Tiki Barber, Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, Steve Smith and Terrell Thomas quickly come to mind as second-round selections. So, tonight is critically important.
Let's break it down by likely positions of interest. Though, as we should know by now, what we think is not necessarily what the Giants think. We have to start somewhere, though.
Sean Lee of Penn State, Brandon Spikes of Florida and Donald Butler of Washington are probably the three top-ranked middle linebackers remaining. We should also know by now that we need to pay attention to guys the Giants work out -- and they brought Lee in for a workout. Jamar Chaney (Miss. State) and Pat Angerer (Iowa) are probably more likely to be third-day type players.
Following on the workout theory, watch our for Navorro Bowman, also of Penn State. Daryl Washington of TCU is another possibility, especially since some think he can play inside despite being a bit small.
We have discussed this over and over. I believe they are taking a running back somewhere in the draft, and tonight could be the night. Possibilities here are endless -- Toby Gerhart (Stanford), Ben Tate (Auburn), Montario Hardesty (Tennessee), Dexter McCluster (Ole Miss), would probably be the leading names to pay attention to. I'm loving the idea of Hardesty myself.
UCLA's Brian Price, who many had originally pegged to the Giants at 15, could be there at 46 and would be tough to pass -- even with the middle linebacker need. Great defensive tackles make your middle linebacker better, no matter who he is. Other possibilities could be LaMarr Houston (Texas), Arthur Jones (Syracuse), Mike Neal (Purdue), Cam Thomas (North Carolina), Geno Atkins (Georgia).
It would stun me if the Giants go all the way through this draft and don't grab one or two players to at least upgrade the depth of this unit. Jared Veldheer (OT, Hillsdale) , Vladimir Ducasse (G/T, UMass), maybe Rodger Saffold (OT, Indiana) if he falls, Jon Asamoah (G, Illinois), Bruce Campbell (OT, Maryland) are names to watch.
There was a somewhat surprising run on this position late in the first round. A couple of guys to watch could be Chris Cook (Virginia), Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (Indiana, Pa.) and Amari Spievey (Iowa). You can never, ever have enough cover guys.
Even after signing Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant, I think we all know adding one more young safety is possible. Names I might look for tonight include Nate Allen (South Florida), Morgan Burnett (Georgia Tech), Chad Jones (LSU) and Major Wright (Florida). I refuse to mention the guy from USC in hopes that Jerry Reese will also forget about him. If player who won't be named becomes a Giant I shudder to think at the reaction around here.
Another position where many think the Giants might, at some point, go for an upgrade. I don't see it, but I will throw a couple of names out there to keep an eye on tonight. Rob Gronkowski (Arizona) and Anthony McCoy (USC). McCoy is intriguing because he has a reputation as a solid blocker, which the Giants could use.
All of that aside, I am making zero predictions for tonight. Just going to settle in with a glass of wine and watch the proceedings. Do yourselves a favor, gang. Don't get your heart set on one guy and think the night is a disaster if that isn't what happens. Please.
There will be Open Threads for each round.