The New York Giants didn't have a bad draft last year, but it certainly could have been better.
While David Wilson and Rueben Randle contributed for the Giants on offense and special teams, the rest of last year's draft class was disappointing.
Jayron Hosley, who was selected in the third round, did not look like a starting caliber cornerback during an uneven rookie season. The only other player after Hosley to get substantial playing time was defensive tackle Markus Kuhn, who was selected in the seventh round.
Even his season ended on a sour note when he tore his ACL against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 10.
With a lot of holes to fill due to 27 of their own players hitting free agency, the Giants need to find at least three to four players in this draft that can make a significant impact right away.
This is especially true on defense where all three levels have holes and weaknesses that must be addressed.
When an NFL team considers who to take with their mid-to-late first-round pick, they usually have to draft either by need or best player available. It is looking like the Giants won’t have to make this tough decision since Ogletree is likely to be available for them to select at 19.
There is a reason he will be there though.
Ogletree officially has the “character issue” label after being arrested for a DUI in early February. This comes on the heels of several off-field issues at UGA, including failing a drug test at the beginning of last season.
NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock believes these incidents will significantly affect Ogletree’s stock:
Let's preface it by saying if he was clean off the field I'd be banging the table for a top 10 pick … I think most of the teams are going to look at him and say, 'OK, multiple drug issues and now a DUI, we have to account for it somehow.' Some teams may say, 'he's off our board.' ... Most teams will say, 'Top 10, too much risk there. Too much risk, not enough reward. If we can get him second half of the first round or first half of the second round.' Every team will be different with that. They're going to assign a value based on the risk.
The Giants will need to decide if Ogletree is worth the risk. I believe he is based on his talent and how well he fits what the Giants need, which is a linebacker with speed who has the flexibility to play both inside and outside. While his combine results weren't jaw-dropping, they did nothing to hurt his on-field reputation.
Also, by all accounts, Ogletree is good in the locker room and a hard worker. He also was a strong student at Georgia. His recent mistakes are likely a case of immaturity that will pass as he gets older.
A few years from now, several teams will probably be disappointed that they didn’t draft Ogletree. The Giants should make sure they aren’t one of those teams.
This may seem like a reach since Amerson is currently projected to go in the third round by CBS Sports. The former N.C. State standout, however, should see his stock rise in the coming weeks after a strong combine.
Amerson finished no worse then 13th among defensive backs in the four workouts he participated in on Tuesday. Of note was a seventh place finish in the broad jump and a stellar 4.44 in the 40-yard dash, which was good for 12th place.
The latter is especially important since speed was supposed to be a weakness for the physically imposing cornerback (Amerson stands 6’2” and weighs 194 pounds).
Amerson’s ballhawking style (he had 18 interceptions combined in his sophomore and junior seasons) fits well with a Giants defense that is at it’s best when it is creating turnovers off of a strong pass rush. New York also plays a lot of zone coverage and Amerson is better in zone than in man-to-man.
This is a good news for the Giants, who can focus on more need positions in the first two rounds but still satisfy their appetite for another impact defensive end.
Simon’s upside is limited but he appears to be a player that can contribute right away.
He is a polished player who has a great motor and a nose for making big plays (16 sacks and 30.5 tackles for a loss in his last two seasons at Ohio State). He also should be a positive presence in the Giants locker room since he served as a two-year captain and vocal leader for the Buckeyes.
On the downside, Simon does not have adequate height for a defensive end at 6’1”. His average athleticism is also a concern.
Still, with the Giants' first two picks containing risk, especially in the case of Ogletree, Simon is something of a sure thing—which is hard to get 80 picks into the draft.
The Giants' first selection on the offensive side of the ball is an investment in the future.
Right guard Chris Snee is the best offensive lineman on Big Blue and should still be solid player in 2013. He admitted recently though that retirement may not be too far away.
This makes Bailey a good selection since he is talented but still needs to refine his game. The former Razorback is a big, strong lineman, especially for a guard, but also possesses nice athleticism and quickness. This was evident at the combine, where he posted a very impressive 4.95 time in the 40-yard dash. This was good for fourth best among offensive lineman.
Bailey does struggle with his footwork at times, especially out in space. He’ll have time to work on this weakness, though, with Pat Flaherty, one of the best offensive line coaches in the NFL.
The one curveball that could make Bailey a risky pick here, and possibly push the Giants to select a guard earlier in the draft, is if their other starting guard, William Boothe, flees in free agency.
The best way to describe Barnes is that he is a massive human being. The defensive tackle stands at 6'6" and a whopping 369 pounds.
His issue is obviously his athleticism, though it is better than you would think. At the combine, Barnes posted a 5.30 time in the forty, which was actually faster than five other defensive lineman. In fact, he only finished last in two of five speed and agility workouts (besides the forty, these include the vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle).
These results may not sound very impressive, but you need to keep in mind that he is at least 40 pounds heavier than almost all of his competition.
Barnes' size suggests that he can help the Giants run defense by taking up space on the interior. His height should also be effective in deflecting passes at the line of scrimmage and clogging up passing lanes.
He needs to lose about 20 pounds to gain some much-needed quickness and he is also a bit raw, having only started one season at Georgia Tech. He has the right attitude to reach his potential, as you can see in the video associated with this slide and in the excerpt below, courtesy of NFL Draft Zone:
Strengths would be that I’m coachable, that I know the game. I can take coaching from different types of people. Things I need to work on would just be consistency with everything. Staying low, using my hands, just work on things. You can never work on too much.
Barnes is a project, but a worthy one for the Giants to take on in the fifth round—especially with how they were manhandled in the running game at times last season.
The Giants' current stable of cornerbacks contains a bunch of question marks.
Is Hosley starting caliber? Was 2012 the beginning of the end for Corey Webster? Can Prince Amukamara stay healthy and show consistency when he is on the field?
Big Blue will have an opportunity to address this position in free agency, but they would also be wise to select multiple cornerbacks in the draft as well.
With Amerson already in the fold, McGee makes for a nice late-round pick. He was highly touted coming out of high school but struggled to gain consistency at the U.
The new year though has seen McGee gain unexpected momentum. In January, he had a good week of practice leading up to the East-West Shrine game, though, for undisclosed reasons, he didn’t actually participate in the game.
He also represented himself exceptionally well at the combine. He was especially strong in the three-cone drill, where he posted a 6.71, good for fourth best among defensive backs, and a 4.40 in the forty, which placed him sixth.
He is currently considered a fifth- or sixth-round pick by CBS Sports, so there is a chance that he’ll be gone when New York’s turn comes up in this round.
This is a need pick that could pay dividends right away for Big Blue.
Brown is a seasoned three-year starter at right tackle for BYU. He proved to be durable in his collegiate career, starting 39 consecutive games from his sophomore year through his senior season.
His performance at the combine did nothing to move him out of the draft. He was adequate in all of the workouts and more so in the three-cone drill, where he placed fifth among offensive linemen.
He is better in pass protection than run-blocking, which fits well with the Giants' air-oriented offense.
He probably won’t develop into a starting-caliber right tackle, but he certainly looks like a player that can stick on a 53-man roster and contribute. That is all you can ask for out of a seventh-round selection.