BYU's Ezekial Ansah (right) could be a potential first round pick.
New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese has mastered the NFL draft. Every year, he brings in underrated or overlooked prospects, and his coaching staff develops them into championship-caliber playmakers.
Reese has become notorious for his “best player available” approach to the draft, which means he selects the most talented player left on the board regardless of whatever the team’s current needs may be.
This approach tends to work out for Reese and the Giants. However, it is extremely difficult to predict, especially in the later rounds, as it depends on what the other 31 teams do with their picks.
This draft class should be defense-heavy—click through the slideshow to see my predictions for all seven rounds of the New York Giants’ 2013 NFL draft.
Like JPP, Ansah has unnatural athleticism.
The Giants have not spent an early-round draft pick on a pass rusher since they took Jason Pierre-Paul 15th overall in the 2010 draft. Knowing the way Reese operates, the Giants are long overdue.
Brigham Young defensive end/linebacker Ezekial Ansah fits the Giants’ mold for game-changing pass rushers. He is a massive prospect (6-6, 270 lbs.) with tremendous raw power and athleticism. According to NFLDraftScout.com, Ansah’s average 40-yard dash time is 4.74 seconds.
Ansah has only come on as of late for the Cougars. He recorded just 10 tackles in his sophomore and junior seasons combined, but the Ghana native blew up during his senior campaign. In his final season at BYU, Ansah recorded 57 tackles (30 solo, 13 for a loss), 4.5 sacks, six QB hits and eight passes defended.
Selecting a UNC DT in the second round would be reminiscent of the Giants' 2010 draft.
Two drafts ago, the Giants riskily selected defensive tackle Marvin Austin out of North Carolina in the second round. In his two seasons as an NFL pro, Austin has yet to make an impact, which may cause Reese to double-dip into the Tar Heels' talent pool at defensive tackle.
North Carolina defensive tackle Sylvester Williams would be a good fit along the Giants’ defensive front. His size (6-3, 305 lbs.) and positive work ethic could prove to be beneficial for New York’s defense, which has been called out for playing “soft” in the past.
Williams’ 42 tackles (21 solo) and six sacks this past season will make him an enticing prospect in the 2013 draft. So in order for the Giants to have a chance at selecting him, some other teams will have to pass on the defensive tackle that had at one time called it quits.
If Williams falls to the Giants, do they take another second-round shot on a defensive tackle out of UNC?
Texas' Carrington Byndum would provide depth at CB.
Along with defensive line, Reese also places high value in the cornerback position, which is why I predict the Giants will select a corner with their third pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
New York selected cornerback Jayron Hosley with the third-round pick in the 2012 draft, but corner is a unit that seems to be perennially stricken with injuries. Selecting one early in 2013 would not be unheard of.
Texas cornerback Carrington Byndom should be on the Giants' radar. Byndom is a lean corner (6-0, 180 lbs.), which may limit his physicality at the NFL level, but his height, speed and fluidity will help him stick with even the most talented wide receivers.
Byndom recorded 46 tackles (36 solo), three interceptions and a sack in 2012.
Oklahoma's Gabe Ikard is a versatile interior lineman.
Many New Yorkers would love to see their hometown squad finally reel in a stud offensive lineman. The Giants, however, have only spent one early-round pick on an O-lineman during Reese’s tenure as GM: tackle Will Beatty in 2009 (second round).
Not much will change in 2013, as the Giants will surely wait until the mid- to late-rounds before they start to bolster the offensive front. If the team waits until the fourth round to select a lineman, one player the scouts should have an eye on is guard Gabe Ikard from Oklahoma.
Ikard is much smaller (6-3, 288 lbs.) than the Giants’ current starters at left and right guard—Kevin Boothe (6-5, 320 lbs.) and Chris Snee (6-3, 305 lbs.)—but the Sooner has blocked well in 2012.
Ikard can also step in at center in a pinch, making him all the more attractive to a coaching staff that champions versatility.
Georgia's Sanders Commings is a rather large CB
Reese and the Giants value the cornerback position so much that they will not get their fill with just a third-round pick. New York will return to the cornerback market late in the 2013 NFL draft—possibly in the fifth round.
Georgia cornerback Sanders Commings will be a solid late-round option if that’s the route the Giants choose to go. He is a large corner (6-1, 216 lbs.) who has consistently produced for the Bulldogs defense since 2010. In the professional ranks, Commings should be most effective inside the red zone.
Commings recorded 43 tackles (35 solo) and three interceptions in 2012.
Chris Borland is a tough inside linebacker.
Those same fans who want to see the Giants draft a stud offensive lineman have probably also been praying for the team to nab a difference-making linebacker for years. Since Reese took over as GM in 2007, the Giants have drafted six different linebackers in rounds 4-7 and only one (Clint Sintim) in rounds 1-3.
Of the six “true” linebackers on the Giants’ current roster—Mathias Kiwanuka is not included, as his natural position is defensive end—only Jacquain Williams was drafted by New York (sixth round, 2011). Reese is due for a big linebacker draftee, and Wisconsin’s Chris Borland can be that player.
Borland does not shy away from contact, and he is a playmaker against the run. He has collected 12 tackles on two separate occasions this season (vs. UTEP, Illinois) and 13 tackles once (vs. Nebraska). Borland totaled 98 tackles (52 solo), 4.5 sacks and six passes defended in 2012.
Stony Brook's Marcus Coker played for Iowa in 2011.
Reese has a history of taking chances on hidden running backs in the last round of the draft. Both Ahmad Bradshaw (2007) and Da’Rel Scott (2011) were seventh-round draft picks.
If the Giants decide to go with a running back in the seventh round in 2013, Stony Brook’s Marcus Coker would be an interesting option. Coker should draw comparisons to former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, who scored 60 touchdowns as a member of Big Blue (fourth most in franchise history).
In college, Jacobs transferred from Division I Auburn to Division I-AA Southern Illinois. Similarly, Coker started out at Iowa but finished his collegiate career at the FCS level, playing for the Seawolves.
Although Coker (6-0, 230 lbs.) is not as large as Jacobs, the former Big Ten standout could still be a potential power back to complement 2012 first-round pick David Wilson’s speed, assuming that Wilson becomes the feature back in future Giants offenses.
According to WalterFootball.com, Coker has questionable character, but Jacobs had success running with a volatile attitude.
The similarities could be enough to convince Reese and the Giants to spend another seventh-round pick on a running back.