The Giants undoubtedly are looking at the top pass rushers at the combine which is coming up so maybe we'll get a chance to see who our pick is. The most important part of the combine, ironically is the easiest part. Weigh ins. The Giants have a prototypical body build when they look for their pass rushers. It's not end all be all but it's a good first step in beginning to see if they are worth a high pick. If we see a pattern then maybe we'll get a nice clue. Let's check out the Giants' DE success in the early rounds.
JPP and Kiwi were first rounders, Osi was a second and Tuck was a 3rd. But even though they came from different draft positions Tuck, JPP and Kiwi are pretty much the exact height and weight. Strahan is only a little bit heavier. But all stand at 6'5''. Osi's the big exception but he was drafted in 2003, way earlier than the rest save Strahan and he has one of the best first steps you will ever see. So unless we find someone like that it is unlikely we'll get someone as "small" as Osi. Our prototype DE looks like he's around 6'5''+ and around 265+.
But let's see how our prototypical build stacks up against the best 4-3 DE's in the game during these past few years.
Julius Peppers is a freak as much as JPP is so finding another one of him would be nearly impossible but for the most part these DE's all hover around at least 265 lbs. The height jumps a bit but most of the best pass rushers are a couple inches away from each other. Now you might say "duh, they're all DE's so they must have the same build." Now that's partly true you're going to see that in this upcoming draft it isn't always the case.
The first two rounds of the 2013 NFL draft are said to be stacked with pass rushers and defensive ends. Let's look at the highest ranked defensive ends.
4-3 DE Rankings by MTD's Dan Kadar:
1. Damontre Moore 6'4'' 250 lbs
2. Bjoern Werner 6'4'' 255 lbs
3. Sam Montgomery 6'5'' 260 lbs
4. Ezekiel Ansah 6'6'' 270 lbs
5. Alex Okafor 6'4'' 260 lbs
Note: This numbers may change when the combine hits. So when it comes keep an eye out for these numbers.
These guys are probably all going in the first round. The top two ranked DE's don't have the weight for the Giant's DEs nor are they big as the best DE's in the game. Of course it doesn't mean they're already busts but it's something to consider that the best DE's you'll see are 10-15 lbs heavier. In fact the only DE from this first five that fits the Giant height and weight "requirement' is Ansah. Ideally he's our pick. Montgomery and Okafor really aren't far off either but I much prefer Montgomery.
The next set are likely to go in the 2-3 rounds.
1. Cornelius Carradine 6'5'' 265 lbs
2. Datone Jones, 6'4'' 275 lbs
3. Margus Hunt 6'7'' 295 lbs
All of this guys are pretty much fit the mold except for Hunt who's a lot bigger. But they Giants never shy from big, just small. However each have some downsides like Carradine who suffered a huge injury and Hunt has various technique issues.
So should we continue drafting according to this build? Is height or especially weight so important? Maybe not height but there's some evidence indicating the smaller DE's are riskier. In the past 6 years, there have been 5 different defensive ends under 260 lbs that have reached at least 10 sacks in one season. And of those 5, Osi and Chris Clemons are the only DEs in their careers to get at least 10 sacks three times.
Now for the rest of the top DEs in the league, the weight is all consistent with the Giant's best DE's. While any DE can have a great season with 10+ sacks, a prototypical build helps for longevity and even then it isn't guaranteed. 3/4ths of NASCAR have had lost seasons due to injury. Osi lost 2008. Kiwi lost 2010. Tuck's crappy play in 2011 and 2012 combines to what basically is a lost season due to injury. JPP is still pretty fresh though but knock on wood nothing has happened to him. And those guys have the best build. If we look at guys smaller than them then those guys are probably injured every other year.
Of course there are other factors in a DE build such as wingspan or speed but those numbers are hard to find for the older defensive ends. But if history is telling us something the best picks should hover 260+ lbs. The two intriguing first rounders you should know are of course Ansah but also Sam Montgomery. Gun to my head if I had to guess our first rounder it would be one of them if history repeats. But when the combine rolls around, it'll be nice to watch the positional drills or the broad jumps but when it comes to defensive ends the first and most important step is to check in on their weigh ins.