Panning for NFL Draft Gold: 2nd Round Targets for the New York Giants
The possibility of the New York Giants pulling the trigger on some big name players with their first selection has already been discussed here and elsewhere, but we know that Jerry Reese is regarded as one of the best GM's in the NFL for his picks in the later rounds.
However, second-round picks in particular have been hit or miss for Reese and Co.
In 2007, he snagged USC WR Steve Smith, who would go on to be one of Eli Manning's favorite third down targets and a major reason that the Lombardi trophy came back to the Big Apple.
The following year, Reese shored up an aging defensive unit and took another Southern Cal star, Terrell Thomas. In his two seasons starting all 16 games, Thomas pulled in 10 interceptions and put over 150 tackles in the bank. Injuries have derailed his young career the last two years, but coaches are hopeful that he will find a place in the backfield in 2013, maybe at safety.
In 2009, Reese took Virginia Tech linebacker Clint Sintim in Round 2. Sintim only started one game on defense. After tearing his ACL and failing his physical last spring, the Giants opted to cut their losses. Thankfully, 15 picks later, with the 60th selection in the draft, Reese took a young tackle from Connecticut, named William Beatty. Beatty of course made the most of his opportunity and recently signed a big extension with Big Blue.
In 2010 and 2011, the Giants took two defensive linemen with their second-round picks, Linval Joseph and Marvin Austin respectively. Joseph has worked out well, starting 31 of the last 32 games, bringing in six sacks. Austin was the victim of a pectoral injury his rookie year and was placed on injured reserve before the season even started. In 2012, Austin saw the field for a little over 100 snaps and wasn't exactly a stud, but the jury is still out on this selection.
Who is Reese's best second round selection?
Finally in 2012, Reese opted to select Rueben Randle, a wide out from LSU who slipped to the Giants, which were drafting with the final pick in the round. Of course, Randle has only been wearing Giants blue for a year now, but I love his future in New York. If the brain trust is able to keep Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks for the long-term, then it would be shocking to see anyone other than Randle playing the "X" position, across the field from Nicks.
This brings us to 2013 and the 49th pick of the NFL Draft, which will be Reese's second selection.
Here are five players who could be shaking Roger Goodell's hand before holding up that royal blue jersey.
Kevin Minter, ILB, Louisiana State University
Minter was one of the brightest stars on the LSU defense last season and could bolster a weak Giants linebacker core. Even with Keith Rivers returning to the team, the G-Men could still afford to get younger in the second level of their defense, and Minter would bring just that.
Scouts love his intangibles and think he could become a quiet leader at the next level. Tape of Minter is generally favorable, and he seems to have a knack for the ball. His lateral movements would be welcomed, and if he continues his "wrap-em up" style of tackling, then I think he could be a cog in the Giants machine shortly after his career begins.
Khaseem Greene, OLB, Rutgers
Greene is a former safety who would immediately help the Giants in coverage, similar to a Jacquian Williams-type of player. Greene easily has the top-end speed to contain tight ends in zone coverage and does a great job of limiting yards after catch. His safety background would be welcomed, especially since the Giants generate 90 percent of their pressure with the front four.
Greene did a stellar job beefing up for the linebacker job, and his combination of tackling, coverage, and the ability to also blitz when asked is a combination that would be welcomed in the second round.
Jamar Taylor, DB, Boise St.
Taylor's cover skills alone make him a formidable selection. He cracked off an impressive 4.39 40-yard dash at the combine, and though many scouts cite his short arms, he has more than enough top-end speed to make up for it.
Taylor's films reveals that he doesn't shy away from contact and will get his uniform dirty to help stop the run, one of the areas that Prince Amukamara lacked at times last season. Taylor made his way onto Gil Brandt's draft steals list, and with the Giants secondary being a bit of a question mark, Taylor could make an impact right away.
"Taylor had a very good combine, posting a 4.39 40, a 6.82 cone and a 4.06 short shuttle. Though his arms aren't very long, he does have jumping ability. With his speed and athleticism, he'll be capable of starting at cornerback as a rookie."
- Gil Brandt
Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
While there is a very good chance that Ertz could be taken in the first round, there is also a few scenarios where could fall into the Giants lap. Although it is well documented that the Giants don't value the tight end position like other clubs, I'm sure they'd be thrilled if Ertz was available in Round 2.
Ertz shredded competition in the Pac-12, reeling in 69 catches for 896 yards and six touchdowns. Manning has experience a revolving door of tight ends since settling in with New York. Since his rookie year in 2004, there have been four different Giants to be Manning's go-to TE (Jeremy Shockey, Kevin Boss, Jake Ballard and Martellus Bennett), and I'm sure he wouldn't mind adding a franchise player to open up the outside for Nicks and Randle.
Imagine the production we might see from Cruz if Ertz was causing problems in the middle of the field?
Larry Warford, G, Kentucky
It's very possible that the Giants could find themselves looking for an offensive guard to help in the future. Even though it has been reported that David Diehl is working to restructure his deal with the Giants, he's still 32 years old, and last I checked not getting any younger.
The Giants have been great at shoring up the offensive line and always outperforming expectations, thanks in part to Manning's excellent knack for getting rid of the ball.
Warford's durability is a plus, having never missed a game in his college career. He also carries no character concerns or off-field baggage, something the Giants hold in high regard. Warford is a big boy at 332 pounds, but he plays much quicker than that. If he can work on his footwork and not get to ahead of himself, then he might be a promising young guard.
Who would you like to see the Giants draft in Round 2? Sound off in the comments below! Be sure to follow me on Twitter, @TMoney108
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