After a disappointing season that left them with several glaring weaknesses and approximately $7 million over the cap, there was a lot of work to be done. But, for the past two-and-a-half months, the Giants organization has been hard at work, taking care of business and prepping for the draft.
In a fashion only they know and understand, every move they executed was all part of their grand plan. As has been their MO under GM Jerry Reese, the Giants organization operates in a cool, calculating, methodical and cerebral manner with all things leading to the draft, which starts this Thursday.
Expert opinions have run rampant as to who the Giants will take in the first round. You can look up 10 different football gurus, and each one has a different player and position plugged in for the number one choice. All of these are based on nothing but conjecture.
The best way to make any kind of educated guess as to not only what the Giants will do with their first pick, but how they will approach their entire draft, is to know how they go about their business. This includes their rules of engagement in two key areas: free agency and the draft. Free agency (handled with one set of rules) sets up the draft (handled with another set of rules).
This article is not about picking one particular player as the first round choice. This is about honing in on what the Giants are thinking and why, by following their own rules of engagement.
The Giants have pretty strict rules of engagement when it comes to their No. 1 round pick.
Rule No. 1: Take the best available player regardless of position.
Rule No. 2: If there are two or more players of equal value on the board, then go for need.
Rule No. 3: When in the above situation, use the pick on a need that is an impact position. These are, in no particular order: QB, RB, WR, OLT, DE or CB. Going back to the 2000 draft, there have been only two exceptions to this “impact player” rule: Jeremy Shockey (TE, 2002) and Kenny Phillips (S, 2008). This means since that draft, “impact players” were chosen 85 percent of the time.
Rule No. 4: When all else fails, revert back to Rule No. 1
The second-round pick is often regarded in a similar fashion as a first-round pick—take the best available player on the board, with eyes on their impact position list.
However, a glaring need can take precedence. It all really depends on how the first two rounds unfold. There is more flexibility after the first pick.
The Giants are more likely to take a non-impact position player after the second round.
By the end of last season, the list of existing weaknesses, as well as potential weaknesses (due to possible departures of starting players), that needed attention were pretty obvious.
These weaknesses were (in no particular order): offensive line, defensive tackle, pass-rusher, shutdown cornerback and tight end.
Via the free-agency route, some of these areas of need have already been addressed. And if you study the moves very carefully you will see how every signing helped set up the draft.
In short, they did not address high-impact players via the free-agent route, which is their No.1 rule of engagement when it comes to signing free agents.
The resigning of both Will Beatty (OLT) and Kevin Boothe (LG) avoided potential disaster. The left side of the line is solid once again.
David Diehl coming back at a discount solidified their depth and gives him a chance to rebound from a tough year due to injuries. The Giants love his versatility and positive attitude.
Although RT remains a hole, the Giants do not necessarily regard a RT as a high-impact position. So, it is more likely they will address this later in the draft.
The Giants were continually blown away at the point of attack last season—hence their run defense was atrocious.
Right after the season ended the Giants signed veteran DT Sean Rogers—mostly for depth.
Soon after, they inked DT Cullen Jenkins. This signing was not only out of necessity due to the departure of Chris Canty, it is regarded as an upgrade.
Then they added DT Mike Patterson, adding more depth, ultimately replacing Rocky Bernard.
This is a perfect example of the Giants addressing non-high-impact positions via free agency and not the draft.
It is safe to say this weakness has been addressed. However, they could very well nab a DT at some point in the draft to add youth.
The Giants organization firmly believes that you win Super Bowls by passing and stopping the other team from passing; specifically, keep our QB upright and knock the other team’s down. Getting to the passer has, for all intents and purposes, brought the Giants their last two Super Bowls.
Last year, the pass rush was inconsistent at best and too often completely nonexistent.
Osi is gone, Justin Tuck is coming off the toughest season of his career and JPP’s numbers were way down.
As of now, nothing has been done to address this need. This goes right to the NY Giants “impact player” stance when it comes to first-round picks. A pass-rushing DE is a prime option for a number one pick.
The Giants were run all over in far too many games last season. Their lack of a run-stopping-stud at linebacker was a glaring weakness.
The signing of Dan Connor was huge. This took a tremendous amount of pressure off this position and lowered it on the radar.
Again, this is not an impact position by Giants standards. So unless there is another LT out there, this will probably not be a first-rounder.
However, fully expect this weakness to be addressed in the later rounds of the draft.
Corey Webster’s awful year and Prince Amukamara’s slow development really sent this once deep position into a tail spin.
However, the Giants brought back Aaron Ross and are counting on Terrell Thomas finally coming back.
On the flip side, with Webster slipping, Ross a few years older and Thomas still a big question mark, CB is high on the possibility list for a first-rounder. It all comes down to how much faith they have in Thomas.
Brandon Myers—enough said. The addition of Myers takes the TE position right off the board as a high priority.
The expectation is he is will be even better than Martellus Bennett, whose departure created a pretty big hole. Eli is going to love Myers and his numbers will reflect that.
Yet another example of a non-high-impact position addressed via free agency.
It all comes down to one simple question. What current “needs” match the Giants “high impact” positions?
Answer this and you can very likely come up with at least the first- and second-round pick positions.
Under this theory, a pass rusher, whether it be in the form of a DE or a pass-rushing linebacker, would be the play. Being there are more DE’s highly rated, my guess is this is the position they take in the first round.
CB is a very close second, with a possible rare choice of ORT.
Fully expect the LB position to be addressed. The Giants are not happy with their depth.
Just remember the "rules of engagement."