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New York Giants draft grades, Rounds 4-7

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

I discussed at length my thoughts on New York Giants draft picks Justin Pugh, John Hankins, and Damontre Moore earlier this week. Today we look at what the Giants did on Day 3 of the 2013 NFL Draft.

I've said this ad nauseum, but on Day 3 what you're looking for is value and guys who can do certain things well. Only a very small percentage of players taken on day 3 become long-term solutions -- and when they do they are more likely to be guys like Zak DeOssie who become the long snapper you rely on for years. Everyone points out the running back position, but even that position the majority of the better running backs are first- and second-round picks. With that being said I don't really "grade" any pick past the third round because my expectations are very tempered, but I'll highlight some things I like and don't like about the players.

4th round - Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse

This was an interesting pick. This pick made more waves in the national meida than any of the other picks the Giants made, and much of that had to do with the perception that Nassib was going to be selected eighth overall by the Buffalo Bills in the first round. There is also the fact that a couple of media guys like Russ Lande of the National Football Post and Greg Cosell of NFL Films had Nassib as their number one rated quarterback (and Lande the No. 1 overall player).

As a fan you see this pick and you say, they moved up to get a quarterback? That's stupid. And as a fan you're right. We're invested in the team emotionally (and financially to a point), but we're not providing for our families based on how well the Giants play. As a fan you're thinking if Eli Manning gets hurt for an extended period of time the season's lost anyway and we might as well get a high draft pick.

But as a coach and general manager, and as scouts you're thought has to be that if the team takes a nose dive in any of these years I could lose my job -- just ask Bill Polian. Polian is one of the most decorated general managers in the league -- a guy who didn't have a losing season in a decade with the Colts. He lost Peyton Manning, had terrible backup quarterback play and is now working with ESPN. Having a backup quarterback can save seasons -- and jobs. It's important.

The other two benefits of having a young backup quarterback on the roster are a) It's cost efficient. Having Nassib will save the Giants half a million dollars or more moving forward over David Carr. Half a million doesn't seem like much, but with how often the Giants will be up against the cap due Manning's huge salary it makes a difference. B) The potential for future compensation is obviously intriguing. If Nassib never plays, he'll save the team 1.5 to 2 million dollars or more during his rookie contract, and if he develops the way they expect he could eventually take over the starting job or brign back a second-round pick in a trade. I think it's a sound theory when you have a long-term franchise building goal in mind. It makes sense. Still as a fan, BOOOOO!!!!! He doesn't play linebacker or cornerback.

Now Nassib as as player. Nassib has some great strengths First, he's intelligent. An anonymous scout/player personnel guy said (not to me) something along the lines that "Nassib is the smartest player we've interviewed in a long/long time."

Nassib is also tough -- he hasn't missed any time and shows up at practice. He's a hard worker who has good anticipation -- he can throw some guys open. He is a leader and was productive on a bad team. There's a lot to like. Now he's a limited athlete, who is also shorter than ideal, and has average to slightly above average accuracy for a prospect. He should be a very high level backup player who could be a starter in a few years.

What I like about Nassib to the Giants specifically is that he's used to throwing in poor weather conditions and that he was passed up by his own college coach -- a coach who he basically got a NFL job for -- as well as 31 other teams three times (or more for some). Nassib should have a major chip on his shoulder and I like that. Hopefully he's tough enough to handle being a backup for the foreseeable future. And I'm unconcerned about giving up a sixth round pick -- they rarely pan out, anyway.

5th round - Cooper Taylor, LB/S, Richmond

I can't say that I've watched a lot of Richmond football games. But you can read an excellent breakdown by Ed on him. What I'll say about Taylor is that he offers a lot more potential than a player like Tyler Sash and will likely push Sash off the roster because he is considered to be someone who will be a great addition to the special teams and also has more speed, size, and range than Sash. Taylor is intriguing because he has such good height that he could add weight and potentially develop into a linebacker -- the Giants tried this recently with an undrafted guy out of Florida State Kenny Ingram, who didnt pan out, but is now playing linebacker for the CFL.

With Taylor the Giants add another sub-package player, and with luck he'll develop into a Harrison Smith type safety with his size. I like the pick and it offers a lot of intrigue. The pick actually makes me feel a little bit better that the Giants didn't draft a linebacker because he can play some of those roles.

Rolle, Brown, Hill, Mundy, Taylor, Sash. There is some competition here and between Taylor/Mundy/Sash they should have a nice player on the roster.

7th round - Eric Herman, G, Ohio

Herman is another guy that I didn't get to watch play a lot and was actually hard to find information on, but I did hear his name enough before the draft to figure he'd be drafted. I asked around to a few guys I know who study only small school players and the thing that kept coming up was MEAN. Herman plays like he hates his opponent. The other thing Herman also has is a lot of size. He's 6-foot-4, 320 pounds and has huge hands (10 7/8-inch hands) -- he put up 36 bench press at the combine -- the most of any offensive linemen and the fourth-most overall.


With 131 more knockdowns as a senior, the two-time All-MAC performer saw the Bobcats average 203.31 yards per game rushing and 444.47 total yards, despite playing late in the schedule with an elbow contusion.

I don't know if Herman will be a starter in the NFL or really what the Giants have in mind for him, but I like that they have now created competition along the offensive line moving into the future. Over the last three drafts the Giants have spent a number of picks on offensive line -- James Brewer, Brandon Mosley, Matt McCants, Pugh, and now Herman.

Will Beatty is entrenched as the starter at left tackle, but between the five other guys the Giants hope to find at least two or three more starters. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Giants attack the line early in the draft again next year and maybe in free agency. The Giants finally have a lot of quality young depth along the offensive line and hopefully at least a few future NFL starters--which was perhaps their biggest need moving forward.

7th round - Michael Cox, RB, UMass

I did not know the Giants would draft UMass running back Michael Cox, but what I did think I knew was that the Giants would draft a guy with a high speed score (a combination of weight/speed) over a 100. MCox ran a 4.58 40-yard dash at a weight of 222 pounds, which is close to Christine Michael of Texas A&M. Cox's other Pro Day numbers included 24 bench press reps and a 41-inch vertical jump.

A transfer from Michigan, Cox only averaged 3.59 yards per carry at UMass, which doesn't sound good at all, but he only has about 200 total rushes during his entire college career, which is a wonderful thing.

He doesn't have as much raw talent as Da'rel Scott, but something about Scott is keeping him off the field and Cox provides competition for him.

Final Thought

All in all the Giants had an interesting and unexpected Day 3. They completely ignored the cornerback and linebacker position in favor of a quarterback, safety/linebacker hybrid, a big offensive lineman and a running back. It creates competition at positions where the depth is questionable at, but leaves a big hole at linebacker specifically -- a position that needs to be addressed during the remainder of the off-season.