2012 NFL Mock Draft: New York Giants and Priority Undrafted Free Agents
The New York Giants have a reputation of finding talent during the draft and have also found some unselected gems. The Giants have put together a championship roster together largely because of the draft.
Here is a look into what the Giants may do in the draft this April. Not only will this article focus on the selections they have in the draft and what they may do, but I will also take a look into some potentially undrafted athletes that could be difference-makers for the squad in the future.
Pick 32, Round 1: Orson Charles (Georgia)
Orson Charles is an extremely athletic tight end and provides immediate help with the Giants injury situation at the position. Two Giants tight ends, Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum, were injured in the Super Bowl and may miss a significant part of the upcoming season.
The selection of Charles gives the Giants the ability to stretch the field in the passing game from the tight end position. While Charles doesn't have ideal blocking skills, neither did Vernon Davis early on in his career. I don't know if Charles is going to one day be Vernon Davis, but the size and raw ability is there to be a very good NFL player.
Charles put up very good numbers in the bench press (35 reps at 225) during the combine. His bench press numbers show that the strength is there for Charles to develop into a decent to good blocker. Charles may be suited in the slot early on in his career as he would create matchup issues for the opponent.
Pick 64, Round 2: Isaiah Pead (Cincinnati)
The University of Cincinnati product has the ability to get six points every time the ball is in his hands. Pead is a lightning bolt that adds value in the return game and can catch the ball out of the backfield.
Pead was also named the MVP of the 2012 Senior Bowl which has helped boost his stock this offseason. Pead is not an elite back when it comes to pass protection, but he is an excellent change of pace back that accounted for more than 3,000 rushing yards while playing for the Bearcats and was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year this past season. He spent some time in the slot while at UC.
With Brandon Jacobs future up in the air, I expect the Giants to go after a big play threat to replace Jacobs. While Jacobs is a huge back (6'4", 265 pounds), Pead is just about 200 pounds and will need to bulk up his lower half in order to take the punishment associated with being an NFL back.
Pick 95, Round 3: Jayron Hosley (VA Tech)
Aaron Ross is terrible at best. Ross lacks coverage skills and was routinely beat in critical situations this year and has been for a good part of his NFL days. While Ross has world-class speed, he doesn't have NFL skills. The Giants experienced secondary injuries and need to get a shutdown corner.
The Virginia Tech prospect offers great ball skills as he led the nation in interceptions in 2010 as a sophomore with nine. While Hosley does not have great size, he will be able to matchup with NFL receivers. Hosley is an immediate upgrade as a nickel back and will one day hold down one side of the field for the G-Men.
Pick 127, Round 4: David Molk (Michigan)
Not only did he win the Rimington Award as the nation's top center, he also showed off his abnormal strength. Molk raised more than a few eyebrows after he posted 41 reps in the bench press at the NFL Combine. Forty-one reps is eight short of the all-time record held by Stephen Paea, who completed the feat at the NFL Combine last year.
Molk adds depth to an offensive line that is showing signs of age. He is a former Michigan Wolverine and the Big 10 is known for being a lineman factory. Though Molk is slightly undersized, he has the chance to be a mainstay on the offensive line in the future. Molk brings toughness and versatility with him.
While he is a natural center, he might also be able to fill in at guard if necessary. Molk also brings a ton of experience as he started 41 games for the Wolverines during his time in Ann Arbor.
Pick 159, Round 5: Markus Zusevics (Iowa)
Another Big 10 lineman finds his way to The Big Apple. Zusevics has great size at 6'5" and 300 pounds, this should allow him to find a home as either a tackle or guard in the NFL. He was a tackle at Iowa and is often forgotten about because of Riley Reiff, whom will likely be a first-round selection.
Zusevics comes from an Iowa program that prides itself on being able to run the ball, and in the NFL, being able to run the ball is critical. He is athletic and his strength is run-blocking. While he may be a little small to play right tackle in the NFL, there is a definite spot for him in the league.
He can get a little stiff in his pass protection, and that is why I feel a transition to guard suits him best in the NFL. He has shown the ability to pull which is an added bonus.
Pick 191, Round 6: Kellen Moore (Boise State)
Yes, he has a weak arm.
Yes, he is undersized.
But no other quarterback has won as many games as he has one the Division I level. He will never be an elite quarterback, but he is intelligent and wins. Moore played his best in those 'David and Goliath' games.
Moore took his underdog Broncos into hostile environments and somehow found ways to win, as he never lost to a BCS AQ opponent. Moore is also a two-time All-American and was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2010.
Moore struggled at times during the Senior Bowl, but given time to learn the offensive scheme in New York and the chance to learn from Eli Manning and David Carr, Moore will develop into a solid backup QB.
Pick 223, Round 7: Jake Bequette (Arkansas)
Bequette is one of the more experienced players in this year's draft class. He red-shirted in 2007 and has been a starter or integral of the Arkansas defense ever since. Bequette is 6'5" and 270 pounds and has pretty good athleticism. His biggest selling point is that he is rumored to run the 40-yard dash in the 4.6 range.
The Giants love their defensive linemen that are fast and cause headaches for the other teams offensive line. Bequette has strong fundamentals and that should help him transition to the NFL, but he does struggle to overpower offensive linemen at times.
Bequette could be a nice addition to the pass-rush that already exists for the Giants. If you mix strong fundamentals with learning from Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck, then you could be flirting with a seventh-round steal.
Priority Undrafted Free Agent: Keith Nichol (Michigan State)
Nichol has seen time as a quarterback and as a wide receiver during his college career. Nichol started off at Oklahoma, but transferred because of a guy named Sam Bradford. Nichol then went into a quarterback battle in East Lansing with Kirk Cousins.
Nichol did get some time at quarterback and played all right. Nichol then switched to the wide receiver position before the 2010 Alamo Bowl. Nichol developed into a solid receiver for the Spartans, making great plays against Wisconsin this past season.
Nichol hauled in a touchdown on the final play of the game during the regular season thriller, and in the Big 10 Championship Game, he again made a brilliant play by flipping the ball as he was going down to B.J. Cunningham, who scored on the play.
Awareness plays like that get you noticed, and if you make big plays in college, you get a chance in the NFL. Nichol will add depth at the wide receiver position and on special teams.
Priority Undrafted Free Agent: Kyle Fiedorowicz (North Central College)
Fiedorowicz comes from a Division III school in Naperville, Illinois. Fiedorowicz has great size at 6'7" and 270 pounds, runs the 40 in the high 4.6s and is a former basketball player. Yes, it is all starting to make sense now.
In this day and age when tight ends have extensive basketball backgrounds—think Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham and Tony Gonzalez—he could be a find. He was recruited by bigger school coming out of Johnsburg High School in Johnsburg, Illinois.
He has great upside and is a decent to pretty good athlete. He knows how to use his body and loves to go up and get the ball. He comes from an athletic family as his sister, Paige, played basketball for Marquette and his brother, C.J., is a tight end at Iowa.
Having gone to North Central College, I have heard all the rumors about pro teams looking at him. The Jets, Patriots and Seahawks have all expressed interest in Fiedorowicz. He possesses all the skills to be a Jimmy Graham clone.
Priority Undrafted Free Agent: Desmond Marrow (Toledo)
Marrow has overcome serious injuries twice in his career and that will scare teams away from him. Marrow can play corner or safety and is 6'2", about 210 pounds and runs the 40 in the high 4.4s, low 4.5s range. He is a playmaker as he had 78 tackles, 14 pass breakups and three interceptions for the Rockets this season, while obtaining First-Team All-MAC honors.
Marrow can play off or bump-and-run as a corner and has a great burst when closing in on the ball carrier. Marrow is the type of player you take a shot on because the physical tools and raw ability are there and he has an unlimited talent ceiling.
It will take some time to clean up his technique, but it is an investment that the Giants should make. When I see him play, I see a player very similar to Sam Shields but bigger.