I don't know about you, but I am so ready for the NFL draft.
I’ve written countless mocks and “what if?” scenarios.
I’ve looked at prospect highlight films to the point where I have images of some impressive college football plays starting to seep into my idle thoughts.
And I've twice now run my cell minutes down to zero, forcing me to dip into my precious rollover minutes as I try to keep up with the pre-draft conference calls and visits as I continue to search for clues as to how the New York Giants might be planning to approach this year's draft.
While I personally don’t make it a practice to rush the days away to get to any event—nope, not even my wedding got that kind of treatment—I am looking forward to seeing how the 2014 draft unfolds for the Giants.
I can tell from your fantastic questions for this mailbag installment that you’re just as anxious as I am to see how the rest of the roster reshaping effort plays out.
So let's get right to to your questions.
Great question, Kenny. I don’t think the Giants ideally addressed receiver. I know Mario Manningham is a veteran receiver, but his injury history coming into this year is concerning, as even if he's 100 percent, it still needs to be seen if he's lost any speed/quickness.
I think they’ll look to add a receiver via the draft, but I’d really like to see them pick up another veteran who can emerge as a leader in that receiver meeting room.
They also didn’t really address tight end, though to be honest, I'm not that surprised, as the free-agent tight end class, which you can see here on Pro Football Focus, wasn’t all that impressive.
I also would have liked for them to add another defensive lineman and a backup center, though I suppose they’re planning to use the draft to finish addressing as many of their needs as they can.
Overall, I do like what they've done in free agency. There's a lot of competition shaping up and training camp is going to be fun to watch this year.
Jake, it’s too soon to offer any updates on Eli Manning, who just had his surgery last week.
Remember, the media hasn't had much in the way of access since the season ended. Also, the players have been in and out of the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, from what I understand.
The good news is that the team begins Phase 1 of its voluntary offseason program on Monday, April 21. The media is tentatively scheduled to have access the day after that, so we'll have a chance to talk to some guys. (Make sure you’re following me on Twitter for updates!)
As far as what we might learn regarding Manning's status, I'd say not much other than a reiteration of the original plan, which is for Manning to start running six weeks after the surgery.
Chuck, I think that depends on whether Finley received medical clearance to return to football.
There comes a point in time when a team that is waiting on a player recovering from a significant surgical procedure such as neck or back surgery just has to move on if that player hasn't received medical clearance to return to action.
With the draft not too far away, my guess is the Giants are planning on drafting young talent at the tight end position, unless of course they think that someone from the quartet of Adrien Robinson, Larry Donnell, Daniel Fells and Kellen Davis is the answer.
First thing’s first. Will Beatty is not really a right tackle, so I don’t see them moving him over to the right side on a full-time basis.
I also have a strong hunch that Beatty is going to start training camp on the PUP list.
I’m also not so sure Taylor Lewan and Jake Matthews fall to the Giants at No. 12, though if one or both make it down to, say, No. 9, I wouldn't be stunned if the Giants try trading up.
I do believe that at some point in his career, Justin Pugh will be moved inside to guard, where I think he can be even more effective. I'm not sure if that will happen this year.
The bottom line is that the offensive line is still a work in progress. There are a lot of moving parts and unknown variables as of this writing, but hopefully as we get to the OTAs, we start to get some answers.
Excellent question, Michael!
I think as of right now, Peyton Hillis is the No. 2 back. However, I would not be surprised if the Giants draft a running back as soon as Day 2 with the goal of ultimately moving him into that No. 2 spot.
As for Michael Cox, I think the jury is still out on him. I keep going back to last year and how, despite having quickness and speed, he never got on the field unless all of the running backs in front of him were unable to play.
Why didn't he get on the field again after getting a handful of mid-year snaps? And how will he do in learning a new playbook and in showing new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo that he can pass block?
Too many questions and not enough answers. You can count David Wilson among the questions as well, since if he starts the summer on the PUP list—like I have a strong feeling he will—how much of the lost practice time is going to set him back?
Interesting question, Glenn. Jordan Raanan of NJ.com did a breakdown of how the Giants have drafted under general manager Jerry Reese.
Not surprisingly, in the first three rounds Reese has drafted six receivers and four defensive tackles.
Those numbers just so happen to be first and second, respectively, in terms of the positions most frequently picked in the first three rounds of the Giants' draft. (Defensive tackle is actually tied with cornerbacks for most picks chosen in the first three rounds under Reese.)
Thus, you can probably argue that by casting a wider net at those specific positions, their chances of having success increase.
Numbers aside, I think you have to also give some credit to the coaches, the system and to the players themselves, who show they want to develop and be great.
Thanks for the question, Tim. The Giants have always claimed to take the “best player available” approach to the draft, with an eye toward getting optimal value. If that value happens to match a position of need, then even better.
I think it goes without saying that the depth at each position in the draft class can influence plans to a certain degree, as can the buzz about what the other teams are doing.
For instance, last year the Giants felt the need to trade up to get Ryan Nassib because they supposedly feared that someone else was going to select him.
With that all said, I would be completely shocked if the Giants don’t take at least one offensive lineman in the first three rounds this year.
I’m still sticking with my projection that they take a tackle in the first round, with Notre Dame’s Zack Martin being the safe pick (I could see them maybe trading down for him).
Could they move up for Lewan or Greg Robinson? Sure, but I think one or both of those two would have to fall down to No. 9 for a jump up to make any sense for them.
We shall see!