Setting the New York Giants' Draft Board: Post-Free Agency Edition

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistApril 3, 2014

Pittsburgh defensive lineman Aaron Donald runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy

With free agency all but over, we've had a chance to revise the draft board we set for the New York Giants ahead of the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. With the draft exactly five weeks away, here's who we think Jerry Reese and Co. should be favoring with that No. 12 overall pick.

Suggested post-free agency draft board
1. Aaron DonaldDTPittsburgh
2. Kony EalyDEMissouri
3. Anthony BarrOLBUCLA
4. Dee FordDEAuburn
5. Louis NixDTNotre Dame
6. C.J. MosleyLBAlabama
7. Timmy JerniganDTFlorida State
8. Taylor LewanOTMichigan
9. Eric EbronTENorth Carolina
10. Stephon TuittDENotre Dame
Brad Gagnon/Bleacher Report

- The Giants spent so much time, money and energy on the offensive line and the secondary in free agency that it’s clear the defensive line has to be the focus of this draft. That doesn’t have to apply to Round 1, but I don’t believe a strict “best player available” approach is healthy either. The key now should be to find strong ends and tackles who can bring heat, and this is a strong draft for players like that.

- Donald has to lead that list. He may or may not be available 12th overall, but the guy could be an immediate upgrade over Linval Joseph as a rookie. Keep in mind that we’re assuming Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack are off the board.

- Ealy, Barr and Ford are all first-round talents who can rush the quarterback from the edge. Ealy might be the best prospect of the three, especially as a 4-3 defensive end. Barr’s getting a lot of love but might not be an ideal fit. All of them can be coached up to become superb complements to Jason Pierre-Paul.

- Nix and Jernigan are the top two defensive tackles after Donald. Both deserve a look, but they’d be consolation prizes. I’d almost consider trading back if it came to that.

- I don’t believe 4-3 teams should look for linebackers that early in the draft, but Mosley is a special talent and the Giants have been ignoring that position far too long. Same rule sort of applies to Ebron, and the G-Men really need a tight end.

- Lewan is the third wild card in there. If the Giants have lost faith in Will Beatty and plan to move Justin Pugh around, offensive tackle becomes a need. And Lewan is one hell of a talent. I don’t think it’s ideal to draft an offensive lineman in Round 1 two straight years, and Lewan has character concerns, but this would be an intriguing pick if things don’t shake out their way with defensive linemen.

- Tuitt is an underrated talent to keep an eye on, especially if they can trade back into the bottom half of the first round.