Round 1 (No. 9) -- Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami
It is pointless to debate whether or not the Giants would have selected Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff had he still been available here. The Giants still did what I believed all along to be the right thing -- selecting the best offensive lineman they felt was available to solidify that group, hopefully helping both improve the running game and keep the stationary Eli Manning upright and healthy.
Was Flowers the right pick rather than Andrus Peat of Stanford, a player some saw as more polished? Time will tell. The Giants went for raw potential and power with Flowers rather than finesse and pro-readiness of Peat. Flowers (6-foot-6, 329) has the size, power, measurables and youth at barely 21 that the Giants covet. He is also a mauling run-blocker, which head coach Tom Coughlin will appreciate.
"I love run blocking," said Flowers. "Opening the holes, watching the [running back] get through and running the ball wins games. [I enjoy] everything about it."
GM Jerry Reese admitted that "offensive line has been an issue" for the past couple of years, and he hopes to have solidified that with this pick. In the past three years, Reese has spent two first-round picks (Flowers and Justin Pugh), a second-round pick (Weston Richburg) and signed Geoff Schwartz to a four-year, $16.8 million free-agent contract.
Overall, the Giants addressed a need here with a player who has the upside to become a franchise left tackle.
Round 2 (No. 33) -- Landon Collins, S, Alabama
Everybody on the planet who follows the NFL knew the Giants needed help at safety. If you studied the draft prospects, you knew there wasn't a safety considered a value at No. 9. At 33, though? Collins was a great get for the Giants at that spot. They made an aggressive move for a smart, aggressive player, surrendering their fourth-round pick and an extra seventh-round pick. Both Reese and Coughlin said they thought the price was "fair."
Collins admitted being "hurt" by not being a first-round pick, and being bothered by the perception that he is limited to being a box safety.
"I played in the box at Alabama, but I was a safety. It was not an in the box safety. I played free, strong and played our money position, which was our fifth [defensive back] on the field. [I] was not just an in the box safety," Collins said. "I'm going to show them I'm an all-around safety. That's all I can say."
Here is Giants' Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc Ross discussing Collins:
"Landon is the consummate football player. This guy is smart. He is tough. He is physical. He carries himself like a pro since the day he got to Alabama. One of the best interviews at the Combine that we have had. This guy is going to bring an attitude and maturity, not only to our defensive backfield, but to the whole defense. This guy will be a leader for us. He was that for Alabama and we think he can do the same thing for us."
Best guess is that Collins and Nat Berhe emerge as the starters at safety for the Giants, although neither might be an ideal center field type. Still, you have to feel better about the safety situation with Collins in the fold.
Round 3 (No. 74) -- Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA
Is 'Owa' Justin Tuck II? He has the same type of build, he has the ability to slide from end to tackle on passing downs, he has a reputation as a solid run-stopper and a developing pass rusher. He also is considered an "effort" player more than a guy who dominates with pure physical gifts. All of those descriptions apply to Tuck, the Giants former defensive captain. There is also the symbolism of Tuck having the 74th selection of the 2005 Draft for the Giants. Now, if Odighizuwa can just become somewhat close to the player Tuck was for the Giants.
"Our defensive coaches say there's a lot of things to like about him. They really like him. I wouldn't call him a flier. Justin Tuck was a third-round pick and he ended up being a pretty good player for us," Reese said. "We're hoping that he can be in that same mold to come in and like Justin started out playing a lot on special teams and develop into a really good player. We think this guy can do the same thing."
'Rap' referred to this pick as "a massive steal" in his analysis. Our Big Board has Odighizuwa ranked No. 32, and no one would have batted an eye had he been selected in the second round. He is fantastic value at the 74th overall pick, and helps the Giants maintain a deep stable of defensive ends.
Round 5 (No. 144) -- Mykkele Thompson, FS, Texas
The idea that the Giants would double up and take an additional safety -- especially a free safety -- in the draft following the big move for Collins is hardly a stunner. The fact that they chose to make Thompson that second safety, especially at this point in the draft, was a stunner. And a complete head-scratcher.
Thompson admitted he was simply hoping to hook on somewhere as an undrafted free agent, and that the Giants were the only team to show interest in him prior to the draft. Players like defensive tackles Michael Bennett and Tyeler Davison, and tight end Nick Boyle were still on the board. More highly-regarded free safeties Cedric Thompson, Derron Smith and Anthony Harris (who went undrafted) were also still available. The Giants, though, went out on a very thin limb and selected Thompson.
Ross said the Giants told Thompson they were going to draft him, which the player apparently did not believe. He also said the fact that no other teams were interested did not bother him.
"We trust our scouts. We trust our coaches. We trust our process and what the media writes or what other teams do [in regards to], if they like him or don't like him, has very little to no bearing on what we do," Ross said. "Playing-wise, he is a competitor, he is really smart and they played him in a bunch of different positions. He was in the slot, free and strong [safety spots]. He can handle that in game. He can run. The kid can run. He is not your classic corner, not your classic safety, but we think he can provide versatility. More of a free safety for us."
Maybe the Giants will be right about Thompson. Since they were the only team interested, though, it seems like they could have waited until Round 7 to select him -- or even brought him in as an undrafted free agent.
Grade: 'Wet Willie'
Round 6 (No. 186) -- Geremy Davis, WR, UConn
As many times as Reese spoke throughout the offseason about being prepared in the event Victor Cruz did not make it back from knee surgery you had to believe that at some point a wide receiver would be drafted. The 6-foot-2, 216-pound Davis is hardly a Cruz-type. He's more of what the Giants hoped Ramses Barden would be. A big, physical receiver who could develop into a possession guy and a red-zone threat. Looking at the current roster, you might call Davis Corey Washington with special teams ability.
Davis had a terrific junior season, but only a so-so senior year.
"This guy is a big guy who is strong, competitive and more of a possession type receiver, even though he ran really fast at his pro day. He is more of a possession type. He catches the ball. A big guy like that is going to make it as your fourth receiver and special teams player if you want to say the [David] Tyree role. Preston Parker did it for us last year," Ross said. "You need those utility backup guys to help you win. Be ready. Be prepared. If you get in the game, make a catch and play on all the core special teams. Every team needs has to have those kinds of guys to win and that is what we think this guy can do."
Tom Coughlin has said for years that backup players need to be able to help on special teams. Barden and Washington struggled to do so. The Giants' depth chart at wide receiver is a crowded one. Maybe Davis makes it, maybe he ends up starting out on the practice squad.
The Giants think he has the upside to become a Jason Avant-type receiver. Avant has 331 receptions in a nine-year career, eight of those with the Philadelphia Eagles
Grade: "Kwillie' ... as an explanation, Davis might be a fine pick -- it simply seems like the Giants already have players like this.
Round 7 (No. 226) -- Bobby Hart, OG, Florida State
Nothing wrong with taking a developmental offensive lineman in the seventh round. Especially one who is only 20 years old and should still be an ascending player. Hart was primarily a tackle at Florida State, but will move to guard. He has the size and strength for that at 6-foot-5, 329 pounds.
"I see guys like that with his skill set. We see them every Sunday playing in the National Football League," Reese said.
"He is a big, competitive kid. He is smart. He is very young. He started as a freshman at Florida State, and he is still only 20-21 years old. He has played a lot of football for a young player at a high level," Ross said. "He is not a nifty mover. He is a big, massive, mauling guard type of profile as opposed to a tackle with movement. He has excellent length and strength for an inside player."