Draft day is here and the New York Giants will be on the clock in mere hours. You'll likely hear a lot of rumors today about possible picks and potential trades, but a lot of it will be smoke and mirrors.
Instead of playing that game, let's pretend we're in New York's war room and offer some thoughts on what exactly the G-Men should be thinking as the first round approaches.
We wouldn't have our last two Lombardi Trophies without an elite pass rush
Eli Manning's heroics were part of the formula, too, but the major difference between 2011 and 2012 was that the pass rush was no longer the same as we tried to defend our championship. Now, Osi Umenyiora's gone, so we're in desperate need of a complementary pass-rushing weapon for Jason Pierre-Paul.
That's why while we need help at linebacker and in the secondary, finding a starting-caliber defensive end has to be a priority. Dion Jordan, Ziggy Ansah and Barkevious Mingo might be out of our reach, but we'd be foolish not to take Tank Carradine or Bjoern Werner if either were to fall to us in the No. 19 spot.
That doesn't mean we should reach for a pass-rusher if none are near the top of our draft board when we're on the clock, but it does mean we should push strongly for a trade back if that's how things develop.
Forget about the linebackers
Manti Te'o is an enticing prospect, but he's also flawed, and he won't likely impact the game like either of those aforementioned defensive ends. In fact, if the choice is between Te'o and the draft's fourth-best offensive tackle (D.J. Fluker), we'd go Fluker. We'd also take Kenny Vaccaro, Johnathan Cyprien, Xavier Rhodes, Desmond Trufant, Sheldon Richardson and maybe even Justin Pugh before we'd take Te'o.
The fans look at the linebacking corps with Chase Blackburn and Michael Boley gone and Mathias Kiwanuka moving up and think we're in dire straights, but we believe in Keith Rivers, Jacquian Williams and Dan Connor. We'll get them support, but that cannot be our priority early in this draft.
The more second-round picks we can gain, the better off we are
We realize we're not alone here, but we'd love to get out of the first round, especially if neither Werner nor Carradine are available in the No. 19 spot. This isn't a team that needs studs, and the first round is weak this year anyway.
What we do need is depth. Offensive line depth, secondary depth, defensive line depth and linebacker depth. In this draft, there are plenty of guys ready to come in and contribute and maybe even compete for starting jobs in Rounds 2 and 3. If we can trade in our first-round pick for two extra picks in those rounds, we'll be pretty happy.