2014 Draft: Names To Watch (an absurdly early look)

Happy 3rd day of summer BBV! We are officially in the dog days of the offseason... The doldrums if you will. There's really nothing to talk about right now... Sure we could keep going back and forth about "Will Cruz Sign!?" or fret about what the offense will do if our Fullback takes longer than expected to return, or which Giants Defense is going to show up... But the reality is: We don't know, and none of that is even academic yet.

Its just Cassandra Wailing vs Offseason Optimism, and quite frankly, that gets old after a minute or two, and annoying not too long after that.

So instead, I want to revisit (or perhaps make an early visit) to my favorite offseason distractions: The NFL Draft!

Now, its almost impossible to look at a roster in the offseason, particularly before training camp, and make a really accurate guess as to what their "Needs" (such as the word figure into the Giants draft strategy) will be the following May.

That being said, here's where I see potential holes in the Giants roster:

Wide Receiver - This one is obvious. Yes, they drafted Reuben Randle in 2012, but its not outside of the realm of possibility that both Nicks and Cruz could leave following the 2013 season. Even with one of them, Jerry Reese has a well established history of keeping Eli's armory well stocked with weapons. He has taken at least 1 receiver 5 times in the last 7 drafts. With the potential for the WR corps to be depleted, it seems likely that one will be high on JR's shopping list.

Likely Prospects:

Brandon Coleman - Rutgers: This kid has quickly become my current draft-crush. I'll freely admit that I'm not the best around here at scouting WR's I prefer the more physical aspects of the game. However, I have found a lot to love in Coleman's game. First is his size. 6'6", 230. He has surprising build-up speed and is a very smooth route runner. He also matches a massive catching radius with soft hands and very nice body-control for a guy his size. He plays inside and out, and looks as easy going across the middle as he does down the sideline.

I'm not really into player comparisons, but I can't help but see a young Plaxico Burress when I watch Coleman play

Brandon Coleman vs Arkansas

Brandon Coleman vs Arkansas 2012 (via JPDraftJedi)

Brandon Coleman vs Syracuse

Brandon Coleman vs Syracuse 2012 (via JmpasqDraftjedi)

Allen Robinson - Penn State: Robinson is a WR in the Nicks/Randle mold: 6'3", 205-210 (depending on who you ask). He's also very young (currently 19) which is something JR loves. He racked up the stats last year with 77 receptions, 1,013 yards, and 11 TD's for a school devastated by controversy. As of now, I'm thinking he could be in play for the 2nd round.

Jordan Matthews - Vanderbilt: Similar in build to Robinson at 6'3" 205. Matthews has always had a flair for the big play, and saw his production explode when he started catching passes from Jordan Rogers. Also, he is Jerry Rice's cousin, so take that for what you will.

Jaxon Shipley - Texas: Younger brother to Jordan Shipley. Jaxon is a more average-sized receiver at 6'0" (might measure in as less than that at the combine) and 190-200lbs. His speed isn't fantastic, but he has solid hands and is very quick. He should primarily be a slot guy at the next level, but could do some duty on the outside.

Defensive Back - Depending on how things work out, my next biggest (or most likely) hole looks to be at DB. It could be at Free Safety, it could be at Corner Back, it could be at both. A lot depends on how Terrell Thomas comes back, and what position he plays if he is able to come back. As of now, the Giants depth and future at both positions is concerning. Can Stevie Brown mature into a true Safety and patrol a 1/4 to 1/2 the field and lock down big plays while making some of his own? What is going to happen with Cooper Taylor? As well, Webster, Ross, and T2 are all question marks for various reasons (not the least of which being free agency).

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu - CB - Oregon: Well, his name is a mouth full, which bodes well for his chances of being a Giants selection. He isn't as big as the Giants usually like their corners to be, at 6'0" 190, but he is very smooth, has great coverage skills, fantastic hustle, and is willing in run support. Not the best tackler, and a penchant for penalties will knock him down the board a bit.

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu vs USC,Arizona,Oregon State 2012 (via JmpasqDraftjedi)

Antone Exum - CB - Virginia Tech: Exum is built in the Xavier Rhodes, Patrick Peterson, Prince Amukamara mold. He's a big, powerful corner at 6'1", 220, but has the speed to keep up with WR's down the field and the feet & hips to stay in their hip pocket in coverage. His arms look to be long, and he has nice instincts for breaking up the pass, if not for playing the ball in the air.

Exum could be a perfect storm for a Jerry Reese Steal(tm). He suffered a torn ACL while playing basketball at the end of January, so his draft stock might likely depend on his post-season workout, and it will have to be an amazing one to get him into the 1st round and shake the "Injury" red flag.

Antone Exum vs Florida State (2012) (via Aaron Aloysius)

Ed Reynolds - FS - Stanford: Reynolds is the playmaker at FS that the Giants have been sorely lacking. He easily has the range to play deep center field while also having the kind of instincts and ball skills that OC's and QB's simply NEED to account for. 6 interceptions in 2012, 3 returned for TD's, and 301 yards in INT returns. He also plays the run well, and is a sound tackler.

Ed Reynolds (FS Stanford) vs Oregon State 2012 (via Justis Mosqueda)

Tre Boston - FS - UNC: Bit of a sleeper that I like. Boston has some nice range, and is a big hitter coming down in the run game. He's a hard hitter in run support with nice range and decent ball skills. Also, given the Giants penchant for drafting out of the ACC, its a safe bet that he'll be on JR's radar.

Tre Boston vs Virginia 2012 (via JmpasqDraftjedi)

Linebacker - Wait, what? I've got Linebacker as 3rd on my list!? Well, yeah. I actually like the ceiling of the current group of linebackers. Aaron Curry and Keith Rivers were top-10 picks for a reason. Yes, they've busted with the teams that drafted them, but the ceiling is still there. They both need to stay healthy, and Curry needs to stay motivated. Likewise, Mark Herzlich was lauded as the best linebacker in the country (pre-cancer) for a reason. His football IQ is top notch, but we don't know yet what he can bring to the field athletically. Finally, Jaquain Williams is a stud. I'm not even concerned about his injury 'history'. To me, 1 lingering ligament injury (and likely the only reason it lingered was due to him trying to play through it) does not a history make. Finally, the Giants might yet land Desmond Bishop, which would go a long way to solidifying the LB corp.

However, those things could all go the other way, so LB does bear consideration in 2014:

Shayne Skov - ILB - Stanford: Skov might be my favorite LB in this draft. He has excellent size at 6'4" 245, and football IQ to burn. He's made a habit of frustrating the potent offenses of USC and Oregon. He's primarily talked about as a 34 ILB (which is what he's played in college), however I think he has enough range to play a more traditional (not Tampa-2) MLB in a 43. The biggest question with Skov, with respect to the draft, will be his Combine workout. If he proves to be more of a Football Player than Athlete, he could/should slip to the second round, a la Kevin Minter.

Shayne Skov vs Oregon (2012) (via Adrian Ahufinger)

Ryan Shazier - OLB - Ohio State: Shazier is a tough player to figure. He's a vicious LB, with speed and quickness to burn... But he's also a little one at 6'2", 225. He might find a home as a S/LB hybrid or at best a WLB in the 43. Luckily, the Giants could put either one of those positions to good use. Shazier has a nasty first step and is a nice blitzer, as well as a good coverage LB. He could be another weapon against mobile QB's or shifty RB's/WR's.

*Note: Keep an eye on #52... That's our newest fattie up front, John Hankins.

Ryan Shazier vs Michigan (2012) (via Adrian Ahufinger)

Jadeveon Clowney - You know what, this kid is so special I'm just going to give him his own category. While I think things could work out so that DE will be a draft priority, Clowney doesn't figure into that. I've been on record for a while that I don't care where the Giants are drafting, I am absolutely 100% okay, nay, THRILLED with a Julio Jones-style trade up for Clowney. He's a JPP-level talent, but with 3 years in the SEC to polish his innate gifts. Hell, he might even be MORE athletic than JPP. And quite frankly, whatever other holes the roster might have 10 months from now, I'm willing to bear them for a DE rotation of Jason Pierre-Paul, Damontre Moore, and Jadeveon Clowney. That is literally an ALL TIME SPECIAL trio, and if that pick is announced, there would be about 62 QB's peeing themselves (every starting and backup QB in the NFL not named Eli Manning or Ryan Nassib).

Yeah, its an hour long, but:

Jadeveon Clowney vs 9 Teams 2011/2012 (via JPDraftJedi)

Well, that's it for this afternoon. I hope my fellow draftnics and BBV'ers will chime in and get a nice discussion going, and maybe make the next month pass just a little bit easier.

FanPosts are written by community members. This is simply a way for community members to express opinions too long to be contained in a comment.

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