Forget NFL Draft grades. Around here, there is only one way to properly recap the New York Giants 2013 NFL Draft. You guys should know what that is. We have to review the picks with our traditional 'Kudos & Wet Willies.' Let's look at the Giants' draft pick-by-pick.
Round 1 (19th) -- Justin Pugh, OL, Syracuse
Initially, this seemed like a curious selection. Pugh was not connected to the Giants by draft analysts until very late in the process, and he wound up being the seventh offensive lineman selected in the first 19 picks of the draft. The choice sent our Jesse Bartolis into a tizzy on Thursday night, with him saying he was "disappointed in this pick," and several other not-so-nice things about the Giants' new offensive lineman.
I had to think about this one for a while and, ultimately, have decided that I like the pick. Pugh may never be a perennial All-Pro, but few players are. What Pugh should be, according to most draft analysts, is a very good player for a very long time -- and there is very little to complain about with that.
Yes, the Giants left some defensive players who would have been good fits for them on the board. Their aging offensive line should benefit from the infusion of youthful talent, however.
Pugh offers the Giants something else that they covet -- versatility. He can play all five offensive line positions, giving the Giants flexibility to maneuver in seasons to come. Oh, and one other thing Giants' fans should like. He could be the guy who finally pushes David Diehl out of the starting lineup.
Round 2 (49th) -- Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
The Giants showed their commitment to rebuilding the interior of their defense and improving vs. the run in drafting the massive 325-pound Hankins, who some have compared to Shaun Rogers.
Here again the Giants bypassed other players who seemed like they fit more obvious areas of need -- such as Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown. Hankins, however, was excellent value at No. 49 and should help the Giants overcome what was one of their most glaring defensive weaknesses the past two seasons.
Round 3 (81st) -- Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Moore is a very young (20 years old), very talented player who was at one time considered a possible top 10 selection in the draft. He fell due to some poor workouts and some questions about maturity. But ask yourself -- how many of us were completely mature at 20? Moore might have some growing up to do, but the Giants' veteran locker room and quality coaching staff should provide him a good place to do that.
The talent is there -- any scouting report you read will tell you that.
"He's got a tremendous upside. He plays three years, he's a junior, so he can come in here with (defensive line coach) Robert Nunn, who does a tremendous job with our defensive line. He'll learn a lot right way," GM Jerry Reese said. "He's one of those kids that can play on your special teams. He's got a pretty unique skill set.
"The thing I like, he plays hard. Guys that play hard, you can coach them to do the rest because this guy plays hard. He plays with a nasty streak and we think he's got a tremendous upside."
If he reaches the potential the Giants think he has he could be their next dominant pass rusher.
Round 4 (110th) -- Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
There has been a decent amount of gnashing of teeth from a minority of folks (check our poll results) who can't understand why the Giants would swap two draft picks for a player who, as Reese said Saturday, "you actually hope this quarterback never plays."
Fact is, the Giants have been extremely fortunate over the years that Manning has been incredibly durable. The common belief has always been that if Manning were injured the Giants were toast. Perhaps Nassib can develop into a player who could help the Giants win games without their most important player. The Giants have wanted to develop that player for years, and to me a shot with Nassib is worth it. Remember, the Washington Redskins don't make the playoffs a year ago without the contributions of backup quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Round 5 (152nd) -- Cooper Taylor, S, Richmond
Taylor is HUGE for a safety -- 6-foot-4, 228 pounds. Beyond that, I only know what Tony Pauline of TFY Draft Insider wrote in his scouting report about Taylor.
The Giants like the three-safety look, and Taylor seems like a player with the size and skill set to fill the "in the box" role in place of a linebacker. I also like the fact that Pauline references that Taylor should be a good special teams player, which is where he would likely have a chance to make an impact as a rookie.
I can't adequately grade this off one scouting report. I do, however, like the fact that the Giants tried to add defensive depth and bolster the special teams here.
Round 7 -- Eric Herman, OG, Ohio (225th); Michael Cox, RB, UMass (253rd)
Herman is an offensive guard noted for an incredible number of pancake blocks while at Ohio. He reportedly had 128 as a senior. The pick follows the Giants' long-held George Young philosophy of looking for useful offensive linemen late in the draft. It remains to be seen, of course, if Herman can become come. Run-blocking is reportedly his strength.
Cox is a 6-foot-3, 214-pound running back. He could provide competition for Da'Rel Scott and Ryan Torain.
Again, I can't adequately grade these two picks other than to say adding depth on the offensive line and at running back was a good idea.
The Giants didn't do a whole lot in this draft that can be considered flashy, although you can put the Nassib move in that category. They also did some atypical things, like selecting an offensive lineman in the first round for the first time since 1999 (Luke Petitgout). Overall, though, a solid draft filled with good value that should help the Giants rebuild in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
Overall Grade: 'Kudos'