Tom Coughlin always demands toughness, disciplined play and 100 percent effort, even from the rookies.
Tom Coughlin, Jerry Reese and the New York Giants are in a great position for this year's draft—they pick last. That means they are the the Super Bowl champs. There's tremendous pressure and difficulty that come with trying to repeat, but they have seven picks to build upon an already excellent team in the 2012 NFL draft.
Predicting the draft is almost like predicting the lotto—you know the possible picks, but getting the order right for a certain set is almost a complete guessing game.
Draft day is always hectic—certain players fall, certain teams reach, trades happen. After so many months of consideration, player evaluations, combines and pro days, general managers can begin to suffer from a condition known as "paralysis by analysis."
But with the New York Giants, there are certain constants. Jerry Reese always wants to take the best player available on the board. And Tom Coughlin always demands discipline, work ethic and smart play from his charges, even the rookies.
Matt Dodge either watched last year's Super Bowl from his couch or at a bar. Or maybe he couldn't bring himself to watch at all. The lesson: play smart, work hard and listen to your coaches. Or you can go home.
The Giants have seven picks in the 2012 draft (including a compensatory fourth-rounder), after their fifth-round pick (No. 167) was traded to the Cincinnati Bengals for LB Keith Rivers.
The following mock draft lists not just players who fill areas of need for the Giants, but also players who would make good Giants. What follows is a list of draftees who could become New Yorkers when the 2012 NFL draft commences on Thursday. And if they are selected, they will have hit the lotto.
Martin's stock has taken a hit since he withdrew from the combine workouts with an illness, and then disappointed at Stanford's pro day, but this just means the tackle should be available for New York at No. 32.
He's got brains to burn and only went to Stanford after turning down Harvard (both parents are alums). Martin can also be a replacement for the impending departure of Kareem McKenzie.
Some scouts aren't sold on his athleticism for pass-blocking either, but I think a guy called Andrew Luck did pretty well with Martin protecting his blind side. Martin was named a second-team freshman All-American by CollegeFootballNews.com. As a sophomore in 2010, he was named a first team All-American by Scout.com.
Martin anchored an offensive line at Stanford that boasted a stout running game, allowed very few sacks, ran a sophisticated pro-style offense and blocked for this year's No. 1 pick in the draft for the Colts, Andrew Luck.
Martin was first-team All Pac-10 in 2010 and first-team All Pac-12 in 2011 and would fit nicely into a Giants line that saw their backs rank 32nd in rushing last year.
Coby Fleener is the popular choice in most mock drafts, but he doesn't seem to fit with Jerry Reese's strategy. The Giants have a lot of bodies at TE that they like, and Manning has shown the ability to develop underrated TEs into studs (i.e., Kevin Boss, Jake Ballard). Using a first-round pick on a TE could be a waste at worst and a reach at best.
The Giants should give Martellus Bennett a shot to start, and they have a whole cast of understudies who would be ready if given the opportunity (Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum are coming back from ACL injuries suffered in their Super Bowl win, and there's also practice-squad-darling Christian Hopkins).
I don't see the Giants drafting a RB in the first round, either, as Trent Richardson seems to be the only bona-fide first-rounder. The next best running back (David Wilson or Doug Martin) figures to be taken sometime during the second round.
Look for Jerry Reese to draft the best player available on the board at No. 32, while also looking to fill a position of need. Someone will slip down as other, more desperate teams reach on their draft boards.
The Giants got a steal with Amukamara last year, and Martin should fall into their laps at No. 32 this year. If Martin happens to go elsewhere, the Giants would be happy to take another offensive tackle, like Mike Adams from Ohio State (6'7", 323 pounds). Or, of course, the best player available.
Harrison Smith is out of Notre Dame, and that alone will be enough reason for the Giants to draft him (they love the program, and hey, Justin Tuck has worked out pretty well).
He will fall to No. 63 because of his in-between size, being a little too big and slow for a man-coverage safety, and a little too small for a linebacker. This makes him a perfect fit for Perry Fewell's three-safety defense.
Smith is a hard-hitting strong safety who can fill gaps and stuff the run. He was a defensive captain and played both linebacker and safety for the Fighting Irish, so that versatility can help the Giants at multiple positions on the field.
Contrary to the claim made on the video description, Smith struggles as a free safety in downfield coverage but plays very well in the box.
Smith is an experienced player with 47 starts and the only player in school history with over 200 tackles, 15 for a loss and 15 passes broken up. His football IQ, work ethic and experience will make him attractive for the Giants.
Smith will give them some insurance if Kenny Phillips' knee gives him any more problems. The Giants also have need at this position, as Deon Grant does not seem likely to return.
If Harrison Smith is gone at No. 63 (and he very well could be, with some projecting him in the first round, others in the late second), FS George Iloka out of Boise State would look good in Giants' Blue, to match the blue turf he shined on. It's a shallow draft for safeties, so teams in need have to target one a bit early.
Quick is a big receiver that can go up and grab it. While he lacks burst off the line (that is to say, Quick isn't that quick), he has tremendous speed once he gets going (Quick is fast).
He also shows the ability to break tackles and make yards after the catch. Quick has long arms, strong hands and the ability to be a big target over the middle or downfield.
With Mario Manningham leaving for San Francisco, defenses can now focus on Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz the way Bill Belichick did on the last Giants' drive in the Super Bowl ("Make 'em go to Manningham." And how, Bill!).
The Giants will need depth at receiver in case Ramses Barden continues to underwhelm and Hixon's knee finally disintegrates. They are expecting a lot from Jerrel Jernigan this year, but he is undersized at just 5'8" and perhaps too small to contribute significantly in the NFL.
Brian Quick will remind many of Barden due to his size, but perhaps he is a better comparison to Plaxico Burress or Braylon Edwards, without the behavior issues.
Bequette is a four-year starter for Arkansas and comes from a football family with history for the Razorbacks. He has nice length on the D-line, and while he won't wow anyone with his athleticism, he "fights through the whistle and gets the most out of his ability."
Bequette missed three games with a hamstring injury in 2011. He also had a shoulder injury and did not participate in the bench press at his pro day, which has caused his draft stock to dip slightly.
But Bequette has an Energizer Bunny quality, with a motor that doesn't stop. He also has experience lining up at OLB. If he can hone his technique, he could be something special, and the Giants have some great teachers when it comes to the D-line.
With Dave Tollefson headed to Oakland, the Giants will be looking for another hard-working pass-rusher on the line, so Kiwanuka can spend more time at OLB. They will still need to keep Osi Umenyiora happy, however, as their frightening rotation will be spread a little thin if it's just Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck for all 16 games.
With their compensatory pick (last year, the Giants lost Kevin Boss, Barry Cofield and Steve Smith, signed David Baas and Steve Weatherford), the Giants will opt for more depth in their linebacking corps. In a deep draft for linebackers, the Giants could very well find Texas' leading tackler available at the end of Round 4.
Emmanuel is the younger brother of Arizona Cardinals linebacker Sam Acho, who was taken in the fourth round of last year's draft. About this year's combine, Emmanuel said of his brother Sam, "He gave me the answers to the test before I had to take it. I was not surprised by anything."
He injured his quadriceps at the combine and also had knee surgery while with the Longhorns. So this could hurt his draft stock a bit—just enough for him to fall to Round 4 to the Giants. Acho had 110 tackles last season, so you know he can play linebacker.
The Giants have a lot of linebackers on the roster but just as many question marks. Kiwanuka and the newly acquired Keith Rivers will start at OLB, while Michael Boley moves back to the middle with Chase Blackburn as his backup.
Injury-prone Jonathan Goff still has not received an offer from the Giants, and with their limited cap space, an offer is not likely to come soon. Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily News tweets that the Dolphins, Browns and Redskins are interested.
Jacquian Williams returns after a solid rookie season and was featured in big spots in last year's playoffs. Spencer Paysinger, Clint Sintim, Mark Herzlich and Greg Jones are all competing for roster spots.
But no one among this group has distinguished himself. Considering Rivers' injury history, Boley's age, Blackburn being out of football to start 2011 and the possible need to play Kiwanuka on the D-line this year or next, taking another shot at a linebacker in the draft seems like a good idea.
If Acho is gone, the Giants should have the option of taking a similar OLB, like Terrell Manning (6'2", 237 pounds) out of NC State.
Donnie Fletcher is a tall cornerback who's also a Golden Eagle. That should work for Tom Coughlin. Fletcher impressed at the BC pro day, where Luke Kuechly was the big draw. Fletcher's draft stock takes a hit merely because he's from Boston College and not a player on the offensive or defensive lines.
Fletcher appeared in the Senior Bowl and also ran a nice 40-yard dash time. His 2011 season was not as sparkling as his 2010 numbers, but he remains a solid option that could help solidify the Giants' depth at corner.
With Aaron Ross departing for Jacksonville, the Giants will line up with Corey Webster and Terrell Thomas at starting corner, with Prince Amukamara and new Giant Antwaun Molden backing them up. Michael Coe and Brandon Bing are also on the roster.
With Thomas coming off an ACL injury, and Amukamara and Bing only coming into their second year, another cornerback would give them depth and breadth in developing their secondary.
If Fletcher is gone, they could look to another tall cornerback, 6'1" Chris Greenwood out of Albion.
Prior to 2011, Michael Smith had just 70 carries in two seasons, backing up fellow Aggie and 2012 draft entrant Robert Turbin. This past season, while still serving as a spell back for Turbin, Smith rushed for 870 yards and nine touchdowns on 114 carries. He came up big in the Idaho Potato Bowl this year, with two touchdowns and 157 yards on just 12 attempts.
His small size and lack of playing time means he may fall out of the draft entirely, leaving him available for the Giants at No. 239. Smith ran a 4.36 in his pro day 40, according to NFLDraftScout.com. He also caught 16 passes last year and returned kicks at Utah State. Think of him like Darren Sproles, only slightly bigger.
With Andre "I Got a Ring" Brown suspended for the first four games of 2012, the Giants have D.J. Ware and Da'rel Scott in place to fill Brandon Jacob's tiptoeing shoes.
Jacob's size will be hard to replace, and the draft is awkward for running backs. Trent Richardson will go early in the first round, and the next handful of talents figure to go in the middle of the second round.
Jerry Reese hit a home run with Ahmad Bradshaw in the seventh round in 2007. Michael Smith gives them another runner behind Bradshaw, and fills a need at kick returner as well.