DE Ezekiel Ansah could be J. Reese's first-round pick in 2013.
Jerry Reese has selected well in the first round of the draft since taking over as the New York Giants general manager in 2007. He’ll have a chance to bring in another playmaker on Thursday, April 25.
Of Reese’s six first-round selections, five have arguably become the team’s top player at their respective position. Reese has found both electrifying offensive players in wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and running back David Wilson, as well as standout defensive studs in safety Kenny Phillips, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and cornerback Prince Amukamara.
This slideshow will rank five players that should be at the top of Reese’s draft board in 2013.
Re-signing tight end Martellus Bennett would immediately decrease the likelihood of this selection, but the Giants’ hesitance to make the move could indicate an opening for Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert.
Eifert tore up the college ranks with his receiving ability, finishing his career at Notre Dame with 140 catches for 1,840 yards and 11 touchdowns. NFLDraftScout.com ranks him as the top tight end in the 2013 draft, and many expect him to continue his pass-catching dominance at the professional level.
Lately, the Giants have gotten the most out of their under-the-radar tight ends, such as Kevin Boss, Jake Ballard and Bear Pascoe. But if the team’s marriage with Bennett does not last, reeling in a pedigreed tight end like Eifert would not be a bad move to make.
On the outside chance the Giants select a linebacker in the first round—the team hasn’t done so since 1984 when it took Carl Banks out of Michigan State—Georgia’s Alec Ogletree would be an excellent candidate. Ogletree could help revive a unit that struggled mightily in 2012.
Ogletree, who converted to linebacker from safety, does have questionable off-field character, as he was suspended for the first four games of the 2012 season for failing a drug test (per ESPN.com). However, his outstanding athleticism and vicious, attacking style of play still make him an enticing prospect.
New York has not chosen a linebacker in the first round since it switched back to a 4-3 base defense, but Ogletree presents unique potential for a core of linebackers that was painfully subpar last season.
Or the Giants could bolster the offensive side of the ball by targeting Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson. If that ends up being the case, Johnson will be the first offensive lineman chosen in the first round by the Giants since Luke Petitgout was in 1999.
Johnson would be well worth the pick. He is a 300-pounder who is “NFL-ready,” according to Dave Richard of CBSSports.com. Johnson possesses superior athleticism to complement his behemoth size; the tackle ran a 4.67 40-yard dash, according to his agent, Sam Renaut.
The Giants would benefit from an O-lineman with the capability to make an immediate impact. Left tackle Will Beatty was the only starter on the Giants offensive line who was under the age of 29 in 2012.
If Brigham Young’s Ezekiel “Zeke” Ansah is available at pick No. 19 on draft day, Reese and the Giants will have a tough time ignoring their well-known affinity for uber-athletic defensive ends. Ansah would make a perfect bookend for the nearly unstoppable Pierre-Paul.
Ansah did not stand out until his senior year at BYU, but his raw ability and untapped potential have NFL scouts salivating. After an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl, the 6'5" defensive end can be sure to hear his name called in the first round.
But will it be the Giants selecting him? Scouts Inc. ranks Ansah as the 22nd-best player in this year’s draft, but Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com has New York selecting him at 19 in his latest first-round mock draft.
Selecting Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson would be a no-brainer if he winds up available at No. 19. The 2013 draft is rich with interior defensive line talent, and Reese would be smart to cash in on some in the first round.
Richardson become the Missouri Tigers’ first-ever All-SEC player when he was selected to the second-team back in December (per NFLDraftScout.com).
He is a force in the middle and recorded 75 tackles during the 2012 season, 10.5 of which were for a loss of yards. He is a natural playmaker who can rush the passer just as well as he plays the run.
Scouts Inc. ranks Richardson as the 10th-best player in the 2013 draft, and many outlets are already penciling him in as the Dallas Cowboys' first-round selection, which is 18th overall. If he slips at all, expect Reese and the Giants to happily scoop him up.