Disclaimer: This is going to be a long article and while I would love it if you guys read it, my thoughts on who we should draft will be at the end.
We have a pretty solid bead on what the Giants look for out of prospects at the various positions, and what qualities they demand on a round-by-round basis. The question is which prospects fit what the Giants want to DO on the field. Let's start with the offense.
In 2007 and 2008, the Giants featured an absolutely dominant run-blocking offensive line, a couple of excellent run blocking tight ends, an array of running backs with a wide variety of skills and a few good-but-not-great wide receivers with SIZE. Most importantly, we had a quarterback that was still developing as a passer. It made sense that we were a power running team, leveraged our strengths and to an extent, hid our weaknesses.
It's 2012. Our offensive line was piss-poor in the run game, and only slightly better in the passing game (and a lot of that is on Eli Manning). We have (had?) a couple of serviceable tight ends. We have two dominant wide receivers under contract, both of whom can make plays in the deep, intermediate and short parts of the field. Most importantly, our 2-time Superbowl MVP quarterback has become excellent under pressure, and astoundingly accurate. As an economist would say, big plays are our comparative advantage. This isn't the Eagles though; we don't rely on just talent to find the big play. As long as Tom Coughlin is the coach, we'll use the run to draw those safeties in and get our outside threats the single coverage that they just eat up.
What does that mean? What kind of players are we looking for?
RB: The Giants don't want a guy whose presence indicates to the defense what the play is going to be. Any running back we draft better be a solid runner AND an asset in the passing game, both as a receiver and a blocker. Unless the value is there, I don't see us dropping a first-round pick on a RB. You get a first-round running back to be the focal point of your offense and we don't need/want that.
WR: HAS to be able to make that big, field stretching play. I disagree that we need a third down outlet. Cruz and Nicks are excellent on third down. Cruz is everything that SS12 was and so much more.
TE: A lot of people on this website love to say that the Giants shouldn't draft a tight end high because they'd fall into the black hole of the Gilbride offense. I agree and disagree with that statement. Unless the next Rob Gronkowski falls into our laps, tight end will not be a focal point of our offense. We do need tight ends though, and whoever we pick should be able to run block AND receive. Basically, we're looking for a guy that is versatile, but is going to be a red zone threat for us. What does that mean? Size, reliable hands and short area quickness are more important than straight line speed.
OL: We need to run the ball well, but these guys can't be one dimensional. We need dominant run blockers with the ability to pass block. The Giants have had success with guys who have been less than dominant pass blockers and they can continue to do so going forward.
So who are some guys that I like (2 players per position)?
RB: Chris Polk (2nd Round); Isaiah Pead (3nd Round)
WR: Mohammed Sanu (2nd Round); A.J. Jenkins (3rd-5th Round)
TE: Dwayne Allen (1st Round); Coby Fleener (2nd Round)
OL: Kelechi Osemele (1st round) Cordy Glenn (1st Round)
Final Note: This is my ideal draft. Not what will happen, but what I WANT to happen.
1. Kelechi Osemele, OG/OT, Iowa State
2. Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford University
3. Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
4. (via Trade) A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois
4. Nigel Bradham, LB, Florida State
7. Might need to be traded to get that 4, but BPA otherwise.