New York Giants: 5 Creative Moves Jerry Reese Could Make on Draft Day
Like with all NFL teams, who the New York Giants will select in the draft is scrutinized for months leading up to the big event. By the time the first round arrives, which this year occurs on the evening of May 8, Big Blue fans feel like they have a good idea of what the team will do. Inevitably, however, the general manager, who for the last seven years has been Jerry Reese, does something unexpected—either in the first round or at another point during the three-day event.
The next five slides will hopefully prepare us for any curveballs by Reese and Co.
We’ll be taking a look at moves the Giants could make that are either bold or go against the popular opinion of what their strategy will be in the draft. The slides are ordered based on the likeliness of the move actually happening. Therefore, the first move has the least chance of occurring while the final one has the most.
Now let’s see what wacky ideas the Giants GM may be concocting.
Trade Up to the 3rd Pick to Draft Jadeveon Clowney
Bolting up nine spots to take one of the best defensive end prospects in NFL history would be the boldest draft move by the Giants since they traded Philip Rivers to the San Diego Chargers for Eli Manning a decade ago.
This is precisely why this is the most unlikely move on this list.
Based on the NFL Draft Value Chart, courtesy of WalterFootball.com, New York would need to trade their 12th pick, 43rd pick (second round) and next year’s first round draft choice in order to provide fair value to the Jacksonville Jaguars for the third pick. Since this is a hefty haul, the Giants should only make this move if and when Jadeveon Clowney slips past the Houston Texans and St. Louis Rams.
If he does, the Jaguars may be willing to listen to a trade proposal from Big Blue. Jacksonville GM David Caldwell made it clear in late January, per Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com, that he would be open to moving out of the third spot.
While Big Blue would be limiting their opportunity to get impact players in this draft and next year’s by trading three picks in the first two rounds, it would be worth it to get Clowney in the fold.
With the loss of Justin Tuck in free agency, defensive end is suddenly a need position for New York. The former Gamecock would potentially give the Giants one of the best pass rushing duos in the league—assuming Jason Pierre-Paul remains healthy and regains most of his 2011 form.
How good could Clowney be? For a glimpse, check out former NFL GM Charlie Casserly’s thoughts on the 21-year-old, courtesy of Bryan Fischer at NFL.com.
The best talent in the draft is Jadeveon Clowney. Guy makes rare plays against the run, rare plays against the pass. Maybe the most talented defensive end I've ever scouted. There's a lot of questions to answer, but he's a rare talent at his position.
Casserly’s last comment does ring true. Clowney has a tendency to take plays off and he isn’t exactly known for his work ethic. For the latter, just ask his college coach, Steve Spurrier.
However, even just 80 to 90 percent of Clowney may end up being better than most, if not all, of the defensive ends in the NFL.
Draft CB Justin Gilbert with 12th Pick
Wait, the Giants are going to acquire another cornerback?
Since the start of the offseason, New York re-signed Trumaine McBride and signed Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Walter Thurmond, and, most recently, Zack Bowman. Along with incumbent Prince Amukamara, that’s five starting-caliber cornerbacks on the same roster.
Jayron Hosley is also still in the mix, though his chances of making the 53-man roster took a big hit with the Bowman signing.
With all of this depth at cornerback, why then would the Giants possibly consider Justin Gilbert with their first pick? The answer lies in taking a look into the future.
While New York isn’t struggling for quality at this position this upcoming season, 2015 may be a different story. As of now, only Rodgers-Cromartie, McBride and Hosley are under contract. The rest of the bunch are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents next season.
Securing the top-rated cornerback in the draft, per CBSSports.com, in Gilbert would give the Giants excellent insurance in case Amukamara flees for big money on the free-agent market.
As for this year, Big Blue has the flexibility to cut Hosley or McBride, since both carry very little dead money on their deals. New York could even jettison both if they are inclined to only keep five cornerbacks on the roster.
It is likely that the Giants avoid this route given the other needs they must address. However, nobody thought they would sign four cornerbacks in the month of March, so anything is possible at this point.
Don't Draft Any Wide Receivers
Most New York Giants mock drafts, like this one from Bleacher Report’s Patricia Traina, has the Giants taking at least one wide receiver-usually somewhere in the first three rounds.
Would it be so outlandish, though, if the Giants didn’t draft a wideout?
Compared to other positions on the team, New York’s wide receiver crew isn’t bad.
It contains Victor Cruz, arguably one of the best slot receivers in the game. Rueben Randle, while famously involved with a handful of Manning’s 27 interceptions last season, has shown the ability in his young career to be a quality X receiver. In two NFL seasons, the 22-year-old has nine touchdowns in only 112 targets and owns a healthy 15.2 yards per reception average.
There is also Jerrel Jernigan, who was a non-factor for most of his first three years with the team before busting out over the final three games of 2013 to the tune of 294 total yards and three touchdowns.
When you add in old friend Mario Manningham, back on the team after a two-year absence, that’s a total of four quality receivers all under the age of 28 on the roster.
This situation is certainly better than tight end, where the Giants don’t have a quality starter. It also tops the defensive line, which lacks depth due to the departures of Tuck and Linval Joseph. Even the offensive line, despite four new players on board via free agency, still has questions concerning age (Chris Snee), injury (new center J.D. Walton and Snee again), and a potential suspension.
Don’t be shocked if the Giants ignore the wide receiver position in the draft to address these other areas of need.
Trade Back to the End of the 1st Round to Draft Jace Amaro
North Carolina’s Eric Ebron is the popular choice for New York if they decide to address the tight end position in the first round. CBSSports.com’s Rob Rang, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com and ESPN’s Mel Kiper (Insider access needed) all have the Giants taking Ebron with the 12th pick in their latest mock drafts.
What if the Giants drafted Jace Amaro out of Texas Tech instead, and picked up a few additional picks in the process?
Amaro is widely considered the second best tight end besides Ebron, but according to CBSSports.com, he is projected to be an early second round pick at this point.
To secure the 21-year-old, Big Blue could trade back into the end of the first round and likely pick up a late second and a late third round selection, per the aforementioned Draft Value Chart.
An intriguing trade partner is the San Francisco 49ers. They currently hold the 30th pick as well as two second and two third round picks. They may be willing to give up a second and third round pick, along with their first selection, to move up into the top half of the first round—since they own the additional picks.
Amaro is a modestly less-talented version of Ebron. He is not quite as fast or athletic, but has the skill set to be a top-10 tight end in the NFL.
For two extra selections in the first 100 picks, it may be worth taking this step down in ability from Ebron.
Draft Defensive Players in the First Two Rounds
Whether the Giants will address the offense with their first two picks is a question that’s been posed in the plethora of pre-draft build up. It wouldn’t be that surprising, though, if the Giants decided to bolster the other side of the ball instead at 12 and 43.
New York’s two biggest offensive needs are center, where the unofficial current starter is Walton—a player that hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since early in the 2012 season—and tight end.
Big Blue could address the former by taking Florida State’s Bryan Stork in the fourth or fifth round. Despite currently being tabbed a mid-round pick, Stork has the talent, especially as a run blocker, to develop into a quality starter in the NFL.
As for tight end, instead of Ebron or Amaro, the Giants could grab C.J. Fiedorowicz from Iowa in the third or fourth round. The former Hawkeye is more of a traditional tight end, but at 6’6” he would provide Manning with a big, reliable target in the middle of the field. Fiedorowicz is also a solid in-line blocker, a weakness currently for both Ebron and Amaro.
If the Giants did get defensive to kick off the draft, an interesting combo would be defensive end Aaron Donald of Pittsburgh in the first round and North Carolina defensive tackle Kareem Martin in the second.
Both players can rush the passer and Martin is a solid run-stopper on the edge, a trait Tuck possessed in his nine seasons in New York.