Thursday night, we saw many players rise and fall in the first round of the NFL Draft. This happens every year, yet it's always a surprise and always entertaining. Several teams' draft strategies were affected by the inopportune social media hack of Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil and the apparent dodging of medical red-flags like linebacker Myles Jack. Others simply took players others didn't expect to be announced so early.
The New York Giants hold the No. 40 and No. 71 picks in Friday's selection process, and after landing Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple with the tenth overall pick, they'll be looking to go in one of several directions to help an additional position with another potential starter.
Below, I have outlined (in no specific order) what I believe to be the ten best remaining players within the context of this team's remaining needs. Obviously, I'm not putting any corners in here. With only nine teams picking ahead of the Giants today, there should be at least one of these names still on the board when Big Blue are on the clock in the second round.
Free safety, offensive line, wide receiver, linebacker, defensive end
1. Cody Whitehair (G, Kansas State)
Arguably the best player left on the board. Whitehair is a left tackle that projects as a guard at the NFL level. For anyone out there put off by him being "just a guard", then have a think about the defensive tackles on the 2016 Giants schedule.
2. Michael Thomas (WR, Ohio State)
The top receiver on the board would be an excellent No. 2 to Odell Beckham Jr. I predicted him to get picked ahead of guys like Notre Dame's Will Fuller, so if the Giants get a shot at someone as talented as this, they'll likely pull the trigger. [Prospect profile]
3. Emmanuel Ogbah (DE, Oklahoma State)
From a pure pass-rushing perspective, Ogbah may be the top guy in this draft. His run-defense is dramatically less developed, but Ogbah is a player you can roll out as a rotational edge rusher and have serious success right away. [Prospect profile]
4. Shilique Calhoun (DE, Michigan State)
Maybe an even more extreme example of what I mentioned regarding Ogbah. He's going to buzz around the quarterback all day, but may get knocked back against the run by even average linemen. [Prospect profile]
5. Darian Thompson (FS, Boise State)
The Giants need someone at free safety. They cannot keep trotting out placeholders and expect for the pass-defense to hold up. With a trio of high-value corners up front, the time is now to get the back-end of the secondary together. Thompson is the most well-rounded of the remaining free-safeties. [Prospect profile]
6. Vadal Alexander (OT/G, LSU)
The second round is the sweet spot for high-upside guards. Alexander is one of many players who looks like a serviceable starter at tackle, and a potential star if bumped inside. An addition like this would make life much easier for the running game.
7. Jason Spriggs (OT, Indiana)
Raw player with a lot of strong traits, but lacks polish. Much like Ereck Flowers last year, it may take him a season to get to grips with NFL talent, though here, it's run blocking rather than pass protection that's an issue. [Prospect profile]
8. Vonn Bell (FS, Ohio State)
What better way to make your first round pick feel at home than to pair him with his former teammate in the secondary? Bell isn't a perfect fit for what the Giants need opposite Landon Collins, but his presence would still make an impact on a vastly improved secondary. [Prospect profile]
9. Deion Jones (OLB, LSU)
Ran a 4.38 at his Pro Day. The Giants have had good luck with players from LSU, and a rangy linebacker like Jones would work well dominating the center field with Devon Kennard. Can rush the passer, can cover. [Prospect profile]
10. Sterling Shepard (WR, Oklahoma)
I know Chris Pflum loves this guy, and it's easy to see why. Worked a lot from the slot, but would probably play outside for the Giants. Shepard is good enough for the Giants to make the plays work for him rather than force things the other way around. [Prospect profile]
The NFL Draft continues tonight at 7 p.m. (EST) on ESPN and NFL Network. Stay tuned to Big Blue View throughout the event for updates and coverage.