Following an extremely disappointing 2012 campaign, the New York Giants must put together a solid draft to contend for a playoff spot this season.
While a slew of players have been and will continue to be linked to the G-Men as the first round of the 2013 NFL draft approaches on April 25, the pick for New York should be defensive end Bjoern Werner out of Florida State University.
The 6'3", 266-pound German native gets off the ball quick on the line and excels at getting his hands up to block passing lanes and reaching the quarterback. He recorded 13 sacks last season for the Seminoles, which helped him earn ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors.
For months now, I've been projecting Werner to the Giants in my mock drafts and apparently, so have other NFL experts, as Rob Rang, Dane Brugler and Pat Kirwan of CBS Sports as well as Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio all project Werner to Big Blue.
I mean it makes sense, doesn't it?
After Osi Umenyiora bounced out of New York in favor of a two-year, $8.5 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons (per Fox Sports' Jay Glazer), the Giants have a serious need to fill at defensive end and it's not going to be filled with just Adrian Tracy and Adewale Ojomo, besides Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck, of course.
What's more, when looking for a player to compare the 22-year-old defensive end to, NFL.com chose none other than Umenyiora, whom Werner could replace if the Giants are wise enough to take him with the 19th pick.
I reached out to Miller on Twitter to get his take on what makes Werner a first-rounder and a smart pick for the Giants:
Matt Miller @nfldraftscout
@Pete_Schauer Great fit. Strong rusher with good jump to bat down passes. Classic 43 DE.2013-4-4 16:54:37
If you ask me, Miller certainly has it right, as New York needs a pass rusher who can complement the skills of Tuck and Pierre-Paul, who are also excellent at putting pressure on the QB and getting their hands up in the passing lane.
For a defense that's usually one of the most active and physical in the NFL, the Giants had just 33 sacks (22nd in the league) and owned the 31st-worst defense.
In a division with mobile quarterbacks like Robert Griffin III, Tony Romo and whomever the Philadelphia Eagles choose to run Chip Kelly's spread offense, the G-Men need speed and solid instincts off the edge to contain opposing offenses, which is what Werner can do for Big Blue.
Pairing a young talent like Werner with a veteran like Tuck and a monster like JPP would not only do wonders for New York's defense but would help further Werner's knowledge and understanding of playing the defensive end position in the NFL.
The Giants have needs to fill at cornerback, linebacker and along the offensive line, but we all know that Jerry Reese likes to draft the best available player when the Giants' pick comes up, and if Werner is sitting there at No. 19, he'll be the best available for the G-Men in the 2013 NFL draft.
Wanna talk Giants football? Follow me on Twitter: Follow @Pete_Schauer