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Is D.J. Fluker an Option for the Giants in the First Round?

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One of the most interesting Giants-centric storyline that has developed during this draft season is whether or not the Giants will address the offensive line position, which they did not do in free agency. Among those names connected with the Giants or speculative picks for the Giants on the offensive line have been North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper, Alabama guard Chance Warmack (and they had an official visit with Warmack) and tackle Lane Johnson ( this was late in the college football season, but he has had a great pre-draft process and is not likely to be available when the Giants pick), but through it all there's one name that refuses to go away.

Alabama offensive linemen D.J. Fluker. The connection continues to come from Tony Pauline who has twice before reported/remarked on the Giants interest in Fluker at his site before this tweet implying that the Giants are intersted even though they are pretending not to be, and it's a connection that I'm buying despite all of the arguments against the Giants ever considering him with the 19th overall pick.

People will argue two main points against Fluker to the Giants. The first is that the Giants don't value offensive line in the the first round, let alone right tackle (which has some merit). The second is that the Giants adhered to a strict best player available policy and that Fluker won't be the top rated player (which also has some merit), but digging deeper it makes sense to me. D.J. Fluker was the pick I mocked to the Giants in my first mock draft for Big Blue View.

To me the biggest need after free agency is right tackle where the Giants have done nothing to improve the position. David Diehl took a major pay-cut and is now paid like a swing man tackle and not a guy that is counted on to start at the position. There are also questions about whether or not the Giants believe James Brewer can step in and be a solid starter, last year's fourth round pick Brandon Mosley spent the year on IR, and for all of the defenses faults last year, the Giants will win championships based on how well the offense plays more so than the defense.

Fluker also makes sense from the Giants draft philosophy. The Giants tend to gravitate towards players who come from productive BCS programs in the first round and Fluker has a remarkable trait--he has to have some of the longest arms in the NFL (36 3/4 arm length). He's also a very powerful individual (sports science), on top of that he's well regarded by NFL front office men and scouts for his passion for football.

I like his demeanor." Three-year starter. Vocal leader, constantly challenges teammates. "His (expletive) is bigger than a coffee table," another scout said. "He's got huge legs. He doesn't have much fat on him at all and he's got some nastiness to him. He's a high-energy player. He's jumping around when people score. You love to see that out of a big man."

Fluker also is good value, despite the dissenters. There are by most accounts fourteen to seventeen players who would grade out as first round picks in any draft class (last year's class was closer to 23-25), which means at 19 the Giants could be just on the outside of grabbing one. Fluker falls into that second tier so a selection of Fluker at 19 would not be a reach because he is solid value there and would not likely be available in the second round when the giants pick. Fluker might never be a dominating all Pro right tackle because of his lack of foot speed, but at the very least he should be a good 10 year starter at Right tackle or either guard spot as opposed to Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper who lack the size and length to play outside at tackle, which means that even though those two players usually grade out higher Fluker might be the more desirable prospect.

With all that I said, I'm still not sure the Giants will pick Fluker. I think there is a good chance that the Giants get a shot at one of the 15 top players in the draft and could very well take on of those players, and the Giants have been reluctant to use high picks on offensive linemen, but just keep Fluker on the radar. I wouldn't be surprised if he is the Giants first round pick in the draft, and all and all I think he'd be a solid one.