I received some great questions from you guys, and Matt quickly got answers back to me. So, here is a draft Q&A with Matt Miller.
Question: What are the chances that the G-Men are confident enough with the many young and already productive players that they already have that they package one or more of their picks this year for a higher pick or set of picks this year or in a future year?
by Mr Met
Matt's Answer: While I do think the Giants are very happy with the depth on their team, they are facing more needs than previous Super Bowl winners. The Giants would like to upgrade their talent at defensive tackle and even wide receiver this year. A smart general manager, like Jerry Reese, sees that all eight picks from the 2007 class helped the Giants achieve their Super Bowl victory. That mindset will most likely push them to try to gain more picks, instead of packaging their current selections to move up.
Question: What positions are the Giants looking to shore up with their first day picks, or will they just be taking the "best player available?"
Second: who are some sleeper prospects that might fall to the Giants in the later rounds (ala Ahmad Bradshaw last year)?
Matt's Answer: The Giants were targeting defensive tackles and receivers at the Senior Bowl. The future of the running back position could be a spot that needs addressing as well, with so many questions surrounding the long-term potential of Ahmad Bradshaw. At the end of the first round, the Giants will most likely look at Frank Okam (Texas) or Pat Sims (Auburn) as a starting defensive tackle. This will allow them to use Justin Tuck more as a traditional pass rusher should Michael Strahan retire. The second round will be full of depth at wide receiver and even defensive back, two areas that we feel the Giants may look at add depth and a potential starter at.
It's hard to predict the production of a Bradshaw, especially in the later rounds. One player who we really like is Anthony Aldridge of Houston. He is a talented multi-purpose running back, receiver and return man. Lining up in the slot, he could be a dangerous player in the Wes Welker mode.
Another talented player who many are not talking about is Zackary Bowman (CB-Nebraska). He's been injured during his time in Lincoln, but Bowman is a tall, agile athlete and has raw talent similar to Antonio Cromartie of the Chargers.
Question: On one hand, the Giants have many pass-rushers and achieved great success thereby, and don't seem to need more. On the other hand, this was the case over the past couple of years, but they continued to draft pass-rushers.
Will they continue the trend this year, or will they feel content with their pass-rush and not draft any?
Matt's Answer: Our feeling is that the Giants must address the defensive tackle position early in this draft. Barry Cofield and Jay Alford have a lot of potential, but neither is a dominant tackle who can routinely draw attention away from the talent on the edge. Imagine a pass rush that would cause a guard to block the defensive tackle, leaving the outsides to be blocked only by a tackle and tight end.
Question: Safety -- What are the chances for the Giants to draft a good one in an early round?
by george cronin
Matt's Answer: George, I think this is very likely. The safety position was a concern at points this season, and the impending free agency of Gibril Wilson is also a situation worth watching. Safety isn't a huge need as of today, but that could all change Feb. 29th when free agency begins.
Question: Left Tackle -- David Diehl did a great job in his first season at left tackle. However, I can't help thinking that he's more of a stop-gap than a long term solution there.
I'd love to see the Giants get a prototype LT who will anchor the line for the next decade; a real mauler who routinely pancakes DEs and pass-rushing OLBs. Now, I know that the real stud LTs typically go much higher in the first round than the Giants will be picking this year. But do you see anyone that NY may be able to select as a sleeper or a project who may one day be the kind of long-term mainstay at LT that I'm talking about?
by jj pisarcik
Matt's Answer: The Giants could look at a number of players in the middle of the draft for this position. Franklin Dunbar is a very athletic junior who left Middle Tennessee State early. He has long arms, a quick back step and really only needs a year or two of good NFL coaching to meet his potential. We also like Tony Hills, Jr. from Texas. He was a stud TE prospect out of high school, but a leg injury moved him to tackle after rehab. He has a lot of agility and quickness, but lacks strength at this point. A year in an NFL weight room could really help him.
Question: General draft question -- What position has the most depth in the draft? Will the Giants be able to use it to pick up value in the later rounds of the draft?
Matt's Answer: I really like the depth at both receiver and cornerback. The Giants showed us last year that they will pull the trigger on the best available player. You can never have too many good receivers or corners in today's NFL. I'd look for both positions to be added to.
Question: Are there any really high-impact/playmaker safeties in this draft? An Ed Reed/Troy Polamalu/Bob Sanders type?
Or are there any OLBs that could be converted into such a player?
Matt's Answer: There are not any OLBs that I would recommend moving to safety, unless you are looking for an in-the-box type. As for playmakers, Marcus Griffin (Texas) was an All American and should be around in the middle rounds. Kenny Phillips (Miami, FL) is a playmaking, ballhawk, but he is likely to be drafted before New York selects at 32.
Question: Do you think smaller schools and non-D1 divisions are closing the gap from a talent standpoint to the more well-known schools in D1? If this is the case, where can a team like the Giants, who have historically found those schools (Morehead State, western Oregon) to be good talent producers, find value (Name Names!) if competition for these players becomes more competitive?
Matt's Answer: We have started to see a balance in terms of talent, thanks in large part to the new scholarship restrictions placed by the NCAA. It's hard in the Internet age to truly uncover lost players. There are not many Michael Strahans anymore that come from relative obscurity to NFL Hall of Famer. A few players worth looking at are:
• CB Darren Banks, West Liberty State
• WR Ramses Barden, Cal Poly
• RB Corey Lewis, Northern Iowa
• WR Jeremy Gilchrist, Hampton
• CB Ladarius Webb, Nicholls State
Thanks to Matt for taking the time to do this, especially while covering the NFL Scouting Combine. Perhaps after free agency shakes out and we get a little closer to the draft we will do this again.