What the Experts Are Saying About the New York Giants' 2013 Draft

Tamer ChammaContributor IIApril 29, 2013

What the Experts Are Saying About the New York Giants' 2013 Draft

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    Leading up to the NFL draft, the general consensus among experts was that the New York Giants needed to address their linebacking corps. Many of these experts had the Giants taking a linebacker as early as the first round in their mock drafts, like this one from late March by Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com.

    So, of course, the Giants proceed not to draft a linebacker at all. They also didn't select a cornerback, another need position, with any of their seven picks.

    So much for listening to the experts.

    Well, to be fair, the experts were probably right. The Giants will likely regret not drafting at least one linebacker and one cornerback.

    There is no looking back now, though, as Big Blue will have to live with the fact that, for instance, they decided to draft a quarterback in the fourth round instead of addressing more pressing needs.

    Here is what four experts think of that decision and other picks the Giants made during the three-day event.

    All NFL Scouting Combine results courtesy of NFL.com.

     

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN

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    Along with Chris Berman, Mel Kiper Jr. is one of the best-known personalities associated with the NFL draft. He has been an analyst for ESPN's annual draft coverage since 1984. As the network has grown, his involvement has branched out into consistent TV and radio appearances as well as several annual online mock drafts.

    Kiper was pretty lukewarm on the Giants' draft overall, especially since they overlooked the aforementioned need at linebacker (full analysis here, requires ESPN Insider access):

    I had linebacker as a big need for them. ... No surprise they didn't take one, but I'm pretty surprised they didn't take one at all. Justin Pugh is a pretty good player, and will start at guard. From there, the Giants fell in love with value over need in Rounds 2 and 3. In Round 2 they got Johnathan Hankins, at one time a likely Round 1 pick. Hankins runs hot and cold, but is a pretty good depth addition on the D-line. Then they got Damontre Moore, who had one of the biggest falls of the evaluation process we've seen in a few years. He had a great year, but tested out very poorly. They needed a defensive end and Moore could end up a steal. Where I question this draft is I'm pretty surprised they didn't get a corner or a linebacker. I really like Cooper Taylor, and you get a nice backup commodity in Ryan Nassib, I just hope they hold up at linebacker and on the edges.

    Kiper does a good job driving home how surprising it was that Big Blue didn’t use any of their picks on a linebacker. Honestly, it deserves to start and finish his analysis because, along with the stunning Nassib pick, it really defines their draft.

    They currently have question marks with their entire current stable of linebackers–ranging from injury concerns (Jacquian Williams and Keith Rivers) to whether others are starting-caliber (Dan Connor, Spencer Paysinger and Mark Herzlich). The fact they didn’t address this unit at all is almost incomprehensible.

    As for his comments on the Moore selection, they are generally on point with one major exception–he didn’t test “very poorly.”

    Moore’s time of 4.95 seconds in the 40-yard dash was below-average among defensive linemen at the scouting combine, and he did finish last among the same group in the bench press with only 12 reps. On the flip side, he performed well in the vertical jump and broad jump, placing fourth and sixth, respectively, among defensive linemen. He also redeemed himself in the bench press at the Texas A&M pro day in early March, upping his total to a respectable 19 reps.

    Saying Moore was inconsistent in testing would have been a better way to partially explain his drop from the first to the third round.  

Rob Rang, CBS Sports

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    Rob Rang gives all of us hope that we can one day be an NFL draft expert. He rose out of anonymity in 2000 after his strong online reviews of the draft gained notoriety. He currently covers the draft for CBS Sports, via The SportsXchange and NFLDraftScout.com.

    Rang is also a full-time history teacher when he's not evaluating the best college players in the nation and predicting what team they will end up on at the next level.

    He is more bullish on the Giants' draft than Kiper, even in regard to their controversial fourth-round selection of a quarterback:

    The Giants have depth concerns throughout the offensive line and might see Pugh as a moveable chess piece. Nassib's fall could prove to be the Giants' gain. While Eli Manning's job is certainly safe, Nassib possesses the ideal toughness and professionalism to serve as a backup quarterback. ... Of the Giants' other selections, I love the upside that they gambled on throughout the second and third days. The Giants love to re-stock their defensive line, and they certainly have two athletes in 6-3, 320-pound defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins and hybrid defensive end Damontre Moore who could do it. Each has the tools to be a standout but struggled at times with dedication. Head coach Tom Coughlin is old school, so this could be an interesting combination.

    Rang’s thoughts on how New York will utilize Pugh are dead-on. The former Orangeman will likely get a shot to start at right tackle over David Diehl in his rookie season and probably will also be the first to fill in as a starter at either guard position, if Chris Snee or Kevin Boothe succumb to injury. Long term, though, Pugh looks destined to be a guard, as his short 32" arms will make it tough for him to handle edge-rushers at the tackle position.

    It’s hard to see the rationale with the Nassib pick even if Rang makes a valiant effort to provide some. Even if Pugh’s former and current teammate is the perfect fit to sit in Manning’s shadow, it makes no sense to draft a backup quarterback in the fourth round.

    This is especially true when your starter has never missed an NFL game and has at least three seasons left as a Pro Bowl-caliber player. Also, despite all the fuss over David Carr’s lack of usage the last couple of years, he is still an adequate quarterback capable of winning a few games if Manning were to go down. While Carr did struggle in his time as the Houston Texans starting quarterback from 2002-06, he does have 79 starts and 2,267 NFL pass attempts to his credit.

Mike Mayock, NFL.com

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    Mike Mayock knows what it takes to play in the NFL because he actually did. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1981, and after a short stint in the CFL, he played with the Giants in 1982 and 1983.

    Mayock has stayed around football since his playing days concluded. He has covered both college and the NFL as a broadcaster for nearly 20 years. Since 2005, he’s been a part of the NFL media team (NFL.com, NFL Network and NFL Mobile).

    Like Rang, Mayock is a fan of the Pugh pick because of the versatility he brings to the offensive line: "I told you it wasn't sexy, but I love the pick. He can play left tackle. He can play right tackle. He can play left guard. He can play right guard."

    It’s hard not to think he is being overly optimistic as to how Pugh can help the Giants. Even Pugh himself probably knows that he would be overmatched as a left tackle in the NFL.

    Mayock’s enthusiasm, though, is understandable, since he predicted that the Giants would select Pugh in the first round just a few days before the draft.

    Mayock’s strong vibes continue when discussing the Giants' decision to draft Johnathan Hankins in the second round: "That's a solid pick. More movement kind of guys. What you're getting is a two-down run stopper."

    The Giants are probably envisioning that Hankins will alternate with Cullen Jenkins, since the latter is a good pass-rusher but not adept at stopping the run.

    Hankins does have all the makings to be an elite run defender. He has a short, powerful build and is skilled at slipping blocks just in time to stop running backs at or behind the line of scrimmage. He has had some issues with effort, as Rang alluded to in his analysis, but if Coughlin and Perry Fewell can get his ear, he will end up providing mid-first-round value.

    Mayock’s analysis of the Moore pick fluctuates from it being a guaranteed steal to a potential disappointment, all in the span of a few words: "I love the Giants were able to get this kind of value. He's way better than the 81st player. The downside is there's a reason why he slipped."

    He is probably alluding to his “poor” combine as the reason he slipped. While his subpar workouts are mostly a media-induced fallacy, the reality is Moore had a tremendous junior season. He notched 12.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss in 2012, which was good enough for second-team All-America honors.

    The guy knows how to consistently get into opposing backfields. There is no reason to think he won’t continue to do so in the NFL.

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports

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    Pete Prisco and Tom Coughlin are both oddly hitched. The latter was the first head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the former was the first beat writer covering the team at the Florida Times-Union

    Prisco left the newspaper world for online a few months into the new millennium, joining CBSSports.com in November 2000 as a senior writer covering the NFL.  

    His analysis of the Giants' draft is the first among the experts to include criticism of the Giants' first-round pick:

    Second-round defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins was dominant at times in college and fills a major need. ... [G]etting quarterback Ryan Nassib in the fourth round to develop makes sense. ... The pick of Pugh in the first round was a bit high, I thought. One pick that could make this draft is third-round defensive end Damontre Moore. He was once thought of as a potential first-round pick. The Giants do know defensive ends.

    Big Blue definitely did reach for Pugh. He probably would have gone somewhere in the middle of the second round if the Giants didn’t grab him at 19. He may have even made it back to them at 49.

    Instead of drafting Pugh, who is more a luxury than a need, they could have taken linebacker Alec Ogletree or cornerback Xavier Rhodes. New York could have even gone best player on the board and selected defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd. The former Florida Gator was widely considered a lock to get drafted in the top 10 as late as last week.

    It is also interesting that Prisco is another fan of the Giants' decision to draft Moore. All four experts like that pick for New York, which could be a good thing or the first step toward jinxing him into being a bust.

    All the love for Nassib is simply baffling. If he were an undrafted free agent or even a seventh-round pick, the theory of getting a quarterback to develop behind Manning would hold more weight. To use a fourth-round pick and lose a sixth-round pick trading up to secure Nassib, is indefensible, regardless of what the experts think.

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