"April showers bring May flowers," and for sports fans, they bring the most exciting action of the year as well.
With the conclusion of March Madness, the dawning of baseball season and the home stretch of the NBA campaign, the NFL draft seems to get lost in the shuffle. Yet on April 26th, commissioner Roger Goodell will take the podium at Radio City Music Hall, and all 32 teams will vie for missing pieces and hyped talents.
But by April 28th, the draft's third and final day, perhaps there will be a bit of a burnout. After all, even the most keen fans struggle to recognize draftees towards the tail end.
Ironically, it is these late rounds that often make the most profound impact on teams. Just ask the G-Men, who snagged star running back Ahmad Bradshaw in the seventh round of 2007's draft.
Take a look at 10 late-round targets that could vastly exceed expectations in New York.
There's no need to rehash the tribulations that faced the Ohio State football team over the past year and a half.
The Buckeyes faded from excellence and fell to the middle of the Big Ten standings in 2011, and running back Dan Herron followed suit. In 2010, the Warren, Ohio, native produced a whopping 16 touchdowns; last season, he hit paydirt just three times.
Yet Herron possesses huge upside, and with Bleacher Report's Matt Miller projecting him to go in the fifth round, the Giants could find themselves an explosive back for a low cost.
Big Blue will adamantly pursue a replacement for Brandon Jacobs, but if marquee talents like Lamar Miller are taken before Jerry Reese and company are on the clock, expect New York to find their Ahmad Bradshaw compliment on the third day of the draft.
At just 174 pounds, Florida's Chris Rainey may seem undersized. But the speedy Gator emerged as a serious dual threat in 2011, averaging five yards per carry and over 12 per reception.
Perhaps Rainey isn't the bulky 'back that should fill in Jacobs' (huge) shoes, but if he's available in the later rounds, expect the Giants to show interest: the team's lacked a bona-fide receiving back since the departure of Tiki Barber.
While the Giants' offense was truly dynamic last year, it did lack a mid-route element from the tight end position.
And with the health of both Travis Beckum and Jake Ballard in question, the G-Men will be all in on a TE come draft day.
With ex-Cowboy Martellus Bennett already inked, New York would find an excellent supplement in Brian Linthicum.
The senior Spartan has the size (6'5", 245 lbs) and the explosiveness (he notched a 50-yard reception against Georgia in the Outback Bowl) to fit right into Eli Manning's system.
The Giants had noticeable struggles along the offensive line last year, and if they have any shot at defending their Super Bowl championship, they'll need an infusion of talent at tackle.
Should the G-Men choose to wait until the later rounds for a pro-ready lineman, expect them to take a look at Matt Reynolds.
Weighing in at 302 pounds and recording 25 bench press reps at the NFL combine, he would be an excellent addition to the team and may contend for playing time with newly-signed tackle Sean Locklear.
The imminent leave of Kareem MacKenzie will force the Giants to examine the tackle issue, and Reynolds' physicality makes him a great fit.
While NFLDraftScout.com projects a fifth-to-sixth round selection for the Bronco, Nate Potter could wind up a Day 1 talent.
Potter was unanimously selected to the All-Mountain West First Team and has spent time at both tackle and guard. Perhaps under-looked because he did not play in a major conference, Potter highlights an immensely deep draft class for linemen.
At 6'6" and over 300 pounds, he certainly has the frame to contend for a spot in the Giants' starting lineup sometime soon and may help bolster the team's league-low 3.5 yards per carry in 2011.
The Giants could certainly use some backup with David Baas under center again in 2012.
Baas, the team's $27.5-million-dollar man, struggled to stay healthy last year, and a big body like Saulsberry would provide some much-needed depth.
Saulsberry was an honorable All-SEC mention last year and has received praise for his versatility. In his college career, he's played every position on the offensive line with the exception of left tackle.
Perry Fewell's linebacking core was suspect last year, and the team registered in the lower-half of the league in total run defense.
A dearth of injuries certainly didn't help matters, and with the return of Jonathan Goff and the signing of Keith Rivers, Big Blue should return to its trademark run-stopping form in 2012.
Still, the Giants will undoubtedly target a few 'backers in this month's draft, and Iowa Hawkeye Tyler Nielsen would fit right in to Fewell's defense.
An All-Big Ten Honorable Mention, Nielsen tallied eight tackles against Oklahoma in the Insight Bowl and could certainly be a "low risk, high reward" selection come Day 3 of drafting.
USC enjoyed a resurgent 2011, and Galippo helped lead a stingy Trojans' defense with 47 tackles and four pass deflections.
With the shortage of linebacking talent that Coughlin and crew faced last year (after all, Chase Blackburn was signed from his couch midseason), expect Jerry Reese to load up on LBs on Draft day.
Galippo has ideal size (6'2", 250 lbs) and solid pass-rushing speed (he recorded 1.5 sacks against Minnesota). Reese has a knack for finding late-round gems, and the Corona, CA, native could be the next one.
After a standout finish to the season, Brooks' draft stock is rapidly rising, with NFLDraftScouts.com now projecting a third-round selection.
Should the fifth-year cornerback fall, however, the Giants will pounce.
Big Blue has an ostensible surplus of corners to aid their porous secondary, but Brooks would be welcomed to MetLife Stadium with open arms.
The former Tiger exemplifies explosiveness at the corner spot, tallying 3.5 sacks and turning in two defensive touchdowns.
An agile prospect with "pick-six" potential, he could make an immediate impact for New York.
Following Jerry Reese's endless pursuit of defensive depth, Eddie Whitley would be a great addition to the league's 29th-ranked secondary. The 2011 All-ACC Second Teamer had 83 tackles last season and spent time at both safety positions.
SidelineScouting.com notes his aggressiveness in the box and his ability to keep pace with most receivers, let alone the tight ends that the Giants were so ineffective against last year.
With just one missed start over the past two seasons, Whitely has the flexibility and consistency to work in New York's hit-or-miss pass coverage.