The New York Giants have wrapped up the 2013 NFL draft and while I graded the rest of the NFC East earlier I thought I'd give my in depth reactions to what the Giants did in the draft. I'll grade each pick in three areas -- philosophy of the pick--how much does the pick make sense, value of the pick--how highly did I value the player -- and overall. Ed did his take already , but I thought maybe you'd guys want to read mine.
1st round - Justin Pugh, OL, Syracuse
My initial reaction to Justin Pugh was lukewarm at best, but I've had a few days to digest the pick and while I still do not think it was the best option, I realize my problem with the pick has much less to do with Pugh himself, but rather what the Giants had to leave on the board in order to select him with the 19th overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
Philosophy of the pick B+/A-
Prior to the draft Ed repeatedly mentioned that what stood out to him about free agency was the fact that the Giants didn't do anything outside of the organization to the offensive line -- perhaps the Giants felt that even if six other offensive linemen went off the board before their pick -- and four tackles, that there was enough intrigue and value at 19 that they would be able to still add to the position a player they like.
The Giants have not spent a first round pick on an offensive linemen in a long time and have achieved great success through smoke and mirrors, but the offensive line has too much age and that needs to be rectified soon as the Giants are on the back 9 of Eli Manning's career. Over the last three drafts the Giants have now spent five picks on offensive linemen -- James Brewer, Brandon Mosley, Matt McCants, Justin Pugh, and Eric Herman. Only one of those was a Day 1 or Day 2 pick.
The reason the pick makes a lot of sense is because it fills what I considered to be the biggest need for the team -- right tackle. More importantly it comes with very little risk. The way to win football games in the NFL is to have play-makers at the premium positions and then solid talent around them. Let Hakeem Nicks, David Wilson, Victor Cruz win games on offense, but limit the liabilities around them -- that's what Pugh does. The other thing is that first round offensive linemen rarely bust -- it is one of the safest picks to make in the first round -- especially players like Pugh who is tough-minded and a very good technician. That doesn't mean the player will thrive at the level he was selected -- Robert Gallery at fourth overall, or Andre Smith at sixth overall -- but they generally contribute along the line effectively, which both of those players did.
Value of the pick C/C-
Pugh brings versatility to the offensive line and could develop into a starter at every position -- that is very rare for an offensive linemen to have the physical ability and understanding of the game to be able to succeed at all five positions. The Giants will have to decide whether Pugh's best position is right tackle, left tackle, or center. I think one of those three positions is where he ends up long term.
Pugh also played very well in college. This past season Pugh gave up only a half-sack sack and zero hurries and was a force in the running game. Pugh has short arms 32-inch and that scares a lot of people, though other players have had short arms and been good NFL players like Joe Thomas whose arms were also less than 33 inches long. Pugh does have large hands, though, which will help.
Pugh needs to get stronger and improve his base, but because he plays with so refinement he is able to play stronger than he actually is at the college level, I'm not sure that'll be true in the NFL. With all that being said I still had Pugh as a late-second or early third-round player and the Giants took him in the middle of the first round which is by any definition a reach. Now the fact that the Giants got two players I had ranked in the top 20 in the second and third rounds doesn't mean it was a good value pick at the time, to me. It just means they got a little bit lucky.
Offensive line was a position of need and while I don't like the value the NFL didn't have an issue with the value. Pugh was projected as a late-first to mid-second round pick by the NFL it seems. The fact that Kyle Long and Travis Frederick were also drafted after Pugh lets you know he might not have been available if the Giants traded back even three spots. I like the pick more in hindsight because the offensive linemen available after Round 1 were not that good. A grade of C+ to B- is just a really solid pick, nothing flashy. Not great, not bad. I think Pugh starts in the NFL for 10 years and is a valuable player, but he doesn't change an offense or franchise.
Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Philosophy of the pick: A-
The Giants added defensive linemen Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson in free agency, but there were still serious questions about their ability to stop the run. Hankins is a large man and between him and Linval Joseph the Giants are looking at 650+ pounds of beef (Hankins is listed at 320 but he's often bigger). This should dramatically help the run defense, which was a huge area of need for the Giants. Hankins creates a lot of competition at the defensive tackle position and unless the Giants plan on carrying a large number of defensive linemen could spell trouble for Marvin Austin, Markus Kuhn, and/or Adewale Ojomo, among others.
Value of the pick-A
I had Hankins as the highest-rated player remaining on my board heading into Day 2, so from an objective perspective he was the best possible value pick starting with the first pick in Round 2 all the way through the Giants pick. Hankins should contribute immediately as a two-down run stuffer, goal-line player, and potentially more. Could he win the starting job over Jenkins, Shaun Rogers or Patterson? It's possible.
The Giants' biggest need is and still was linebacker, but stopping the run is a priority for the Giants this year. If they can't figure out how to do that with Patterson, Linval Joseph, and now Hankins it will be a very long year for the defense and perhaps another potential playoff miss. Stopping the run should also allow more opportunities for the Giants pass rushers.
Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Philosophy of the pick A
The Giants' pass rush was not great last year and Osi Umenyiora left via free agency. Justin Tuck could also be on the last year he'll ever play with the Giants if he doesn't play much better than he has the last two seasons. The Giants had to add a pass rusher at some point to create more competition. The Giants usually carry four or five defensive ends and this year they'll have competition with JPP, Tuck, Kiwi, Adrian Tracy, Ojomo, Justin Trattou, and Matt Broha.
Value of the pick A+
Heading into Day 2 Hankins was the best player available on my board, but Moore was my third-best player available. Letting the Giants get him in the middle of the third round could be something teams regret.
The two big issues Moore had during the pre-draft process after being mocked top five all year were that A) he ran slow at the combine, and B) he's immature.
But there is a lot of upside with the pick. Moore is one of, if not the youngest, player in the draft. He's not even 21 yet.
Below are the workout numbers of Moore Jason Pierre-Paul and Damontre Moore (minus the 40 yard dash), Which one is which?
|Drill||Player A||Player B|
|20 yard shuttle||4.67||4.33|
Player A is JPP, Player B is Moore. If you didn't know you'd think Moore was not just more athletic than JPP, but MUCH more athletic than JPP. JPP is faster in a straight line and also weighed 10 more pounds at the combine than Moore weighed, but the point is Moore IS an explosive player. His three-cone and vertical are better than those of Ezekiel Ansah. His 20-yard shuttle is even faster than Barkevious Mingo.
For good measure Moore's arm length and hands 34 3/4-inch arm length and 101/4-inch hands are eerily similar to JPP (34 3/4 and 10 3/8).
Then take into account Moore's production in college -- 12.5 sacks and 21 tackles for loss in the SEC and you can see why he was still rated in my top 20 despite the slow 40-yard dash. This guy knows how to play football. If he can mature mentally this might be the steal of the draft. This was my favorite pick in not only the Giants draft, but the entire draft.
The ultimate need meets value pick. Moore should come in and be a pass rush specialist in 2013 and hopefully develop into a perennial Pro Bowl caliber player like Justin Tuck was for a bit, and Pierre-Paul is now. Moore is built like Umenyiora was throughout his career, but Moore still has 2-3 years of his body growing and could end up being thicker and stouter with those long arms. I'm very excited about this pick and time will tell whether I'm justified.
I'll have at least two more post-draft posts coming before we turn the page. I'll give my thoughts on rounds 4-7 and then another one, I'll keep under wraps for the moment.