New York Giants

New York Giants Day 1 Draft Primer

Patricia TrainaContributor IMay 8, 2014

New York Giants Day 1 Draft Primer

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Ready or not—and I know you’re more than ready at this point—the NFL draft is finally here.

    It promises to be an intriguing three days filled with surprises and disappointments.

    What can we expect? Well, based on how the offseason has gone, New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese has been anything but predictable in his quest to remake a 7-9 roster into a more competitive unit.

    As for the draft itself, my gut feeling is that after putting such a heavy emphasis on the defensive side of the ball, the Giants are going to stack the draft depth in favor of the offense.

    I also wouldn’t be stunned if there were a trade, nor would I be surprised if the Giants take a player who initially might not appear to be a fit for the team, but whose value proves to be too hard to pass up.

    The wild card in the mix is new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, who thus far has only spoken to reporters back in late February and who provided very few clues as to the type of players he hoped to acquire for his new offense. 

    Instead, he’s been busy working on developing his new offensive playbook, which the team has begun installing. Hell make tweaks as the front office brings in new players, and hell likely have a significant say regarding the outcome of several good competitions that are shaping up for the summer.  

    As we count down the hours to the Giants going on the clock, heres everything you need to know about the decisions theyll have to make at No. 12—what theyve done so far and how that could potentially impact what theyre going to do.

Key Offseason Additions and Departures

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    Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie headlines the list of key free-agent acquisitions for the Giants.
    Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie headlines the list of key free-agent acquisitions for the Giants.Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    Thanks to the last-minute rise in the 2014 NFL salary cap to $133 million, the Giants were able to go on a spending spree that saw them primarily target their defense.

    The Giants added three players at cornerback, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Walter Thurmond and Zack Bowman, plus they re-signed Trumaine McBride.

    The emphasis on the back end of the defense wasnt by accident, not after seeing how the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks prospered thanks to having a strong defensive secondary.

    On the offensive side of the ball, the Giants added four new offensive linemen, Geoff Schwartz, J.D. Walton, John Jerry and Charles Brown. However, it remains to be seen if the quantity of that group translates into qualityassuming all four make the final 53-man roster.

    Despite what’s been their most active free-agent signing period since 2004, general manager Jerry Reese, in his predraft press conference, insisted that the decisions the team makes in the draft are not necessarily tied into what it did in free agency.

    We’ll find out if that proves to be true. In the meantime, here’s a look at some of the Giants’ key departures and additions (including their own free agents who were re-signed).

     

    Key Departures

    DE Justin Tuck

    Defensive end Justin Tuck told reporters at the end of last season that he hoped to retire as a Giant. However, after signing with the Raiders, he told the New York Daily News that he wasnt going to accept an offer from the Giants he deemed as disrespectful to make that happen.

    His leaves a significant void on the defensive line because he could play both tackle and end at a fairly competitive level.

     

    TE Brandon Myers

    Tight end Brandon Myers proved to be a bad fit for the Giants’ system run under former offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride.

    Not only was his blocking ineffective, but he only caught 47 out of 73 targets thrown his way for a paltry 522 yards. After signing with Tampa Bay, the Giants are currently without a proven starting tight end.  

     

    S Ryan Mundy

    Ryan Mundy couldnt have been too happy to be demoted from the starting lineup last year in favor of Will Hill.

    Potentially facing another one-year veteran minimum offer to re-sign with the Giants, Mundy landed a sweeter deal from the Bears that will pay him $3 million over two years and give him a chance to compete for a starting job.  

    Shame, too, as with reports of Hills looming suspension due to an alleged failed drug test and Stevie Browns return from ACL surgery not a given, the Giants might have been able to use Mundy.

     

    DT Linval Joseph

    Linval Joseph posted 59 total tackles in 2013, matching his total from 2012. He also had one less sack than he did in 2012 and one less forced fumble, but still landed a nice payday from the Vikings.

    Although Johnathan Hankins is projected to take his place in the starting lineup, the depth at defensive tackle took a significant hit with Josephs departure.  

     

    WR Hakeem Nicks

    Hakeem Nicks hoped to cash in on a big payday based on his production in 2011, which saw him record a career high in receiving yards (1,192).  

    However, he wasn’t going to get it from the Giants, not after a report by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network revealed that Nicks not only battled through several injuries yet again in 2013, but was also fined multiple times by the team for being late to meetings and missing treatments.  

     

    OL Kevin Boothe

    Kevin Boothe likely would have received another one-year deal from the Giants had he been willing to settle for that. 

    He apparently wasn’t and instead rejoined the Raiders, who initially drafted him in the sixth round in 2006 on a two-year deal, leaving the Giants without a swingman at guard, tackle and center.   

     

    Key Additions

    CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

    Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie finished as the fifth-best overall cornerback among those who took at least 60 percent of their team’s snaps in 2013. 

    He’s already been informed by head coach Tom Coughlin and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell that this coming season, he’ll be assigned to cover the opponents’ No. 1 receivers

     

    OL Geoff Schwartz

    Geoff Schwartz, who was Pro Football Focus’ (subscription required) eighth-best guard in 2013, is penciled in to start at left guard for the Giants this season.  

     

    RB Rashad Jennings

    Rashad Jennings quietly put together a solid season in Oakland last year, finishing in the top 20 of NFL running backs who took at least 50 percent of their teams snaps in average yards per carry, average yards per contact and touchdowns.

    Hell have a chance to be the bell cow for the Giants running game, which last year averaged 3.5 yards per carry, good for 29th in the NFL.

     

    CB Walter Thurmond III

    Cornerback Walter Thurmond III brings that Seattle swagger to the East Coast, where he’ll replace Terrell Thomas as the Giants nickel cornerback. 

    Last year, Thurmond’s 69.5 NFL Rating was the seventh-best among slot cornerbacks who took at least 50 percent of the snaps.

     

    LB Jon Beason 

    Middle linebacker Jon Beason briefly flirted with other teams, but in the end, he managed to work out a three-year deal to return to a Giants defense that he helped bring a sense of stability to following his acquisition from the Carolina Panthers last year.

    Beason, in his first significant action since 2010 due to injuries, posted 93 tackles and one interception in 11 starts. He also helped the Giants defense finish 18th in the league in points allowed (239.9) and eighth in average yards per game allowed (332.2).

Positional Needs

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    Julio Cortez

    When asked if the team’s activity in free agency—per Inside Football, the Giants have so far signed 16 new players in 2014— had any influence on how the team planned to draft, general manager Jerry Reese told reporters:

    The draft is what it is; it stands alone. We try to take the best players we can in the draft and really, in free agency you try to fill some holes, but in the draft you just try to pick the best players.

    Still, it would be rather foolish if the Giants were to take five receivers in a row if it just so happened that those were the five best players” when the Giants’ turn came to make a pick, not with so many other needs on the roster. 

    So where are those opportunities where the Giants might be able to marry need and value? Heres my list of what I think are the five most glaring.

     

    Tight End

    If the season were to start Thursday, the Giants still don’t have a proven starting tight end, a big problem for an offense.

    The question, though, is what kind of tight end they might be looking for to fit new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s system?

    “Everybody needs a playmaking tight end,” Reese said when asked  about the position. 

    And what about the Giants’ two youngsters—Adrien Robinson, whom Reese once famously described as the “JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) of tight ends” given Robinson’s physical traits, and Larry Donnell, an undrafted free agent who, like Robinson, is entering his third season?

     

    Defensive Tackle

    A year ago, the Giants made a run on defensive tackles, both in free agency and in the draft. However, the current roster, which will be missing Linval Joseph (Vikings) and Shaun Rogers (unsigned), leaves the Giants with four defensive tackles who have NFL experience.

    Of those four, two (Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson) are 30 years old or older. And one of the younger guys (Markus Kuhn), has played in just 183 defensive snaps since being drafted by the Giants in the seventh round of the 2012 draft, this due to an ACL injury suffered in his rookie season that ate into his second season.

    Depth made a big (no pun intended) difference for the Giants last year at this position, which is why Id be stunned if its not addressed at some point in this draft.  

     

    Defensive End

    The  departure of longtime defensive end and team co-captain Justin Tuck was perhaps the biggest surprise of the free-agency activity. It also creates a ripple effect on the depth.

    Jason Pierre-Paul, who elected not to have surgery on his injured shoulder, said he feels great and is on track toward picking up where he left off following his breakout 2011 season. Will he be able to withstand that first hit? And if he has a big season, will he price himself out of the Giants range after this year?

    Damontre Moore, who last year flashed as a pass-rusher, did elect to have offseason shoulder surgery, per The Star-Ledger, to address a problem that first began in the preseason. How much will his rehab cut into his much-needed training to become a three-down player after receiving just 34 snaps against the run in his rookie season?

    Mathias Kiwanuka, in his first full season back at his native defensive end since 2010, struggled with the one-on-one battles. As a result, he was the 25th-ranked 4-3 defensive end, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), out of those who took 60 percent of their team’s defensive snaps. 

    Lastly, free-agent acquisition Robert Ayers, who projects to be Tuck’s replacement in the starting lineup, believes hes versatile enough to do all of the things that Tuck used to do for the Giants—play on the end, play on the outside and stand up. However, Ayers still finished seven spots lower than Tuck’s seventh place finish in PFFs year-end rankings of 4-3 defensive ends. 

    I think the Giants will try to get a low-round defensive end/defensive tackle candidate to help shore up the depth along the line.

     

    Offensive Line

    You just knew that general manager Jerry Reese was going to be asked about the offensive line in his predraft press conference.

    “We feel like we’ve upgraded some spots and got a little bit younger in some spots, too,” he said.

    But have they done enough?

    Projected starting center J.D. Walton, at 27 years old, is younger than former starter David Baas (32 years old). However, Walton, who started 36 straight games for the Denver Broncos before landing on injured reserve after Week 4 of the 2012 season with an ankle injury, hasn’t been heard from since. 

    Geoff Schwartz, 27 years old, is projected to replace 30-year-old Kevin Boothe at left guard. Lastly, a pair of 27-year-olds, John Jerry and Charles Brown, are vying to replace the retired David Diehl (33 years old), whose versatility allowed the coaches to plug him in at either guard or tackle.

    On paper, it looks promising, but when you look at the young depth currently on the roster, it’s not necessarily the most settling of pictures.

    James Brewer had a golden opportunity to seize a starting job, but his inconsistent play likely means hell have to fight for a roster spot.

    Eric Herman, one of two seventh-round picks last year, didn’t get a chance to join the 53-man roster until the very last week of the season, when the salary-cap-strapped Giants were out of options.

    Even the projected backup center, 30-year-old Dallas Reynolds, who started 14 games for the Eagles in 2012, might not be the long-term answer at that position.

    With left tackle Will Beatty (broken leg) uncertain to be ready for the start of camp and right guard Chris Snee also a question mark to make it through an entire 16-game schedule, two offensive linemen could very well be on the agenda for the Giants in this draft.  

     

    Running Back

    Although the Giants remain optimistic about having David Wilson to complement Rashad Jennings, even Reese admitted that Wilson is “really kind of a bonus for us if we can get him back.”

    With that said, it would be a shock if the Giants don’t address running back in this draft, even with Peyton Hillis and Michael Cox under contract, because of the pounding running backs typically take. 

    While a rookie running back probably won’t see much action right away—not even Wilson was a Day 1 starter as rookie despite being a first-round pick—it would be wise to have another option.

Top Targets

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    Zack Martin, G/T, Notre Dame

    For reasons I’ll outline in the next slide, Zack Martin is the safest of the picks and the most logical for the Giants if hes there at No. 12—which probably means he won’t be the pick if he’s there at No. 12.

     

    Taylor Lewan, T, Michigan 

    Taylor Lewan has all the tools to be an annual Pro Bowler. However, his off-field legal issues, which involved three misdemeanor charges relating to an alleged assault on two Ohio State fans last December, and his occasional lapses in discipline on the field, as noted in an ESPN report, are of concern.  

    Per Conor Orr of The Start-Ledger, the Giants met with Lewan last month, presumably to get a better sense of what direction the young man plans to head in once he gets to the NFL. If they were satisfied with Lewan’s answers and he’s there at No. 12, I could see him being their pick.

    However, in almost every mock draft I’ve looked at, Lewan doesn’t make it past No. 8. So if the Giants really want him, they’re probably going to have to move up several spots to get him.  

     

    Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh 

    Aaron Donald has been one of the steadiest risers in the majority of the draft boards Ive reviewed, landing as a top-ranked defensive tackle on both NFLDraftScout.com’s and NFL.com’s lists.

    I don’t think he falls down to the Giants at No. 12; even if he does, there are more pressing needs on the offensive side of the ball to address.

     

    Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

    NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah believes that Odell Beckham Jr. out of LSU could very well be one of the surprises in this year’s draft, noting: 

    What he can do in the passing game—go up and get the football, run after the catch, can stretch the field vertically, and then the added bonus, hes an outstanding returner. So to me, hes a wild-card player. I think people might be shocked on the outside, but a lot of love for him inside the league.

    There might be a lot of love for the former Tiger, but it would be surprising if the Giants go with a receiver at No. 12 (unless Texas A&Ms Mike Evans is there). 

     

    Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M 

    When you talk about freakishly good athletes, look no further than receiver Mike Evans (6’5”, 231 lbs), whom NFLDraftScout.com ranks as the second-best receiver in this draft behind Sammy Watkins of Clemson. 

    Evans, whom Giants receiver Victor Cruz specifically mentioned by name as being his choice for the Giants as an outside threat during an interview with the NFL Network, is unlikely to fall to the Giants at No. 12.

    If they want him, they’d have to put together a package to move up in the first round, something that general manager Jerry Reese might not be willing to do with more work to be done on other areas of the team.

     

    Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

    Eric Ebron is a big, athletic tight end who could end up providing the firepower the Giants really haven’t had at the position since they had Jeremy Shockey.

    While not much of a blocker, the Giants did add Kellen Davis to presumably fill that role. They’re also hoping that one or both of Larry Donnell and Adrien Robinson can emerge from the shadows to round out what could be as versatile of a tight end group as they’ve had in years. 

    There’s a good chance that Ebron could fall to No. 12; however, the Giants will need to consider if they’re comfortable with what they have on their offensive line.

What Are the Experts Saying?

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    What’s the latest buzz among the draft experts? I’ll bring you that in just a moment, but I find it interesting that the more mock drafts I look at, the less I find a majority consensus of what the Giants might do.

    Here’s a sampling of what some of the top experts had to say recently regarding the Giants’ first-round pick:

     

    Rob Rang, CBS Sports: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

    The Giants are looking for better protection and big play targets for Eli Manning and could see Ebron as capable of helping in both areas. With new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo expected to feature the position in his attack, Ebrons athleticism could make him an instant hit.

    While I’m not sure what kind of tight end new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo wants for his offense, the bottom line is that you can get all the fancy receivers and tight ends in the world and it won’t really mean much if quarterback Eli Manning can’t fire off the ball down the field.

    All that aside, as I noted in an earlier analysis, the Giants have historically targeted their receivers more in the passing game than their tight end.

    With Ebron having a shaky pro day, according to various eyewitness reports gathered by B/R Featured Columnist Mike Chiari, the Giants might want to wait until later in the draft to pick up a more versatile tight end prospect.

     

    Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.comZack Martin, OT, Notre Dame

    The Giants drafted a versatile tackle/guard last year in the first round (Justin Pugh). Could they do it again this season? If that player is Martin, then yes, the top offensive lineman on the board here. 

    I’ve mentioned this a lot in my coverage leading up to the draft, but I’ll say it again. If there is a theme for the Giants’ draft that appears to be emerging (besides the age-old classic “best player available”), it is “versatility.”

    As Frank Cooney of The Sports Xchange (via CBSSports.com) notes in his April 29, 2014, entry, Zack Martin, a college left tackle who projects to guard at the NFL level, is dripping with versatility.

    Martin, described as “about as safe a player as there is in this draft” by NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock, is currently the top-ranked guard per NFLDraftScout.com.

    If the Giants were to land Martin, whom Mayock believes will go within the first 15 picks, he would become the third offensive lineman under the age of 30 whose plug-and-play versatility will be a huge boost toward improving an offensive line that last year more closely resembled a sieve. 

     

    Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN (subscription required): Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

    I think Donalds rise up many boards makes him a pretty good get at this point. The drop-off from Donald to the next defensive tackle in his mold is enough where I think he gets a little boost, and he also helps out at a pretty significant need spot for the Giants. I know many Giants fans want to see an offensive weapon here, but the depth chart along the defensive line could certainly use some youth and explosiveness. I think Ebron could fitas could a receiverbut if Donald isnt taken here, he could be taken at any of the next four spots on the board.

    There’s no question that the Giants could use some depth at defensive tackle. The problem with pegging Donald in the first round is twofold.

    One, I doubt he comes right in and is a Day 1 starter for the Giants. Instead, I think he would be a situational pass-rusher.

    Second, although he is the top-ranked defensive tackle on NFLDraftScout.com’s board, Rob Rang notes that Donald’s 6’1”, 285-pound size can sometimes result in his burst being contained and his short arms “limiting his effectiveness” against bigger opponents.

     

    Chris Burke, Sports Illustrated: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

    Some interesting options on the board for the Giants here, including Eric Ebron and every cornerback. Instead, the fans make it Lewan, rather convincingly. Hard to argue with the logic, either—the Giants O-line was in shambles through much of 2013 and Lewan is not far (if at all) behind Robinson/Matthews as a potentially elite plug-and-play starter.

    The selection of Lewan makes sense because, as I noted with Martin, I think the Giants need to make their offensive line a priority early in this draft.

    As I noted on the previous slide, I’m not sure if Lewan will fall to the Giants at No. 12. Second, there is the matter of his three misdemeanor charges stemming from an alleged altercation on Dec. 1, which, if he is convicted, could result in jail time, per Kyle Feldscher of MLive.com.

     

    Todd McShay, ESPN (subscription required): Odell Beckham, Jr., LSU

    Wide receiver isnt the top need for the Giants (tight end and offensive tackle are more pressing), but given Hakeem Nicksdeparture and Victor Cruzs injury woes last season, it wouldnt hurt to add a playmaker at wide out to pair with Rueben Randle. Beckham can heat it up in a hurry, has very good top-end speed and is a big-time playmaker with the ball in his hands.

    I’m not sure I understand McShay’s reasoning with this pick.

    First, Victor Cruz has been durable since his second season. He also told reporters a few weeks ago that he is fully healed from his knee surgery, the only significant injury he had last year, so there is no need to worry about whether hes going to be 100 percent in 2014 as a result of the knee injury he suffered last year. 

    Second, Hakeem Nicks hasn’t been much of a factor since 2011. Granted, he had some injury issues, but I don’t think the Giants are necessarily going to miss anything from a player who has yet to make it through a 16-game season and who, despite supposedly being healthy at the start of last year, didnt look anywhere near the player he was in 2011.  

    Third, Rueben Randle is going to have every chance to step into the starting role vacated by Nicks. If Randle, who has the talent to get it done, can show consistency in all he does, he could very well have a breakout season.

    While I do think the Giants need another receiver—I’m not sure what they’re going to get from Mario Manningham, who’s dealt with an injured knee each of the last two seasons, or Jerrel Jernigan, whose 5’8” listed size doesn’t exactly scream “outside receiver”—I think they might be able to wait until later in the draft to address the position.  

Latest Rumors, Reports and Analysis

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    Will a quarterback-needy team be willing to trade for Giants backup quarterback Ryan Nassib?
    Will a quarterback-needy team be willing to trade for Giants backup quarterback Ryan Nassib?Don Wright/Associated Press

    Is Quarterback Ryan Nassib on the Trading Block?

    When the Giants announced that they had signed free-agent quarterback Josh Freeman, my initial reaction was to wonder if quarterback Ryan Nassib was on the trading block.

    Shortly after Freeman, the Giants signed quarterback Rusty Smith and then announced that backup Curtis Painter would be sidelined for four weeks after having knee surgery, which seemed to squash any idea that Nassib might be on the trading block.

    Or did it?

    For what its worth, Jordan Raanan of NJ.com, who, like me, was at general manager Jerry Reese’s press conference previewing the draft (held after the news of Smith signing and Painter needing to miss four weeks), came away with the same impression:

    Reese had every opportunity in the world to end any speculation that last year’s fourth-round pick Ryan Nassib may be traded. Instead he said the Giants will ‘keep all of our options open,’ with the young quarterback. That’s usually code word for they will try to trade him.

    However, Reese, who tries not to tip his hand, told reporters in the previous question that:

    We like Nassib. He hasn’t really had a chance to do a lot for us so we’re going to take a real good look at him in the spring but we think he’s still a good player. He hasn’t had a chance to really play yet, so he’s going to get a lot of work this spring and obviously he’ll get a lot of work in the preseason, along with Curtis Painter, there’s competition, and Josh Freeman.  

    So let’s try to piece together the puzzle.

    • Starter Eli Manning, who has been recovering from ankle surgery and whom Reese said is “going to be out of spring ball,” has, according to Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News, has already started running three weeks ahead of the schedule the Giants initially announced.

    • Painter had his surgery on April 25, according to the Giants, and will miss four weeks. If he stays on schedule in his return, that would mean he’d be able to return by May 28, when the Giants are scheduled to start their OTAs.

    • The Giants have never, at least under head coach Tom Coughlin, brought five quarterbacks into training camp. Even though this year they’ll be starting early because they have an extra preseason game to play as a result of the Hall of Fame game, there aren’t enough snaps to go around for five quarterbacks.

    • Kim Jones of the NFL Network reported that the Giants “hope is to keep 2 QBs on 2014 roster. 

    If a team is willing to offer the Giants something of substance for Nassib—a long shot, mind you, but not completely out of the question—even if Painter and Manning arent ready for the OTAs, the Giants can still add an undrafted free agent if necessary to get them through until training camp. 

    For those of you who dont think the Giants can get anything for Nassib because he hasnt shown anything, Id point out that a team trading for young talent who hasnt put anything on film at the NFL level does happen—see Washingtons trade for an unproven (at the NFL level) Robert Griffin III as an example. 

    There are also trades made involving players who don’t perform well, as some might argue was the case with Nassib last preseason. This winter, the Texans managed to score an extra sixth-round pick when they traded quarterback Matt Schaub, Pro Football Focus’ 24th-rated quarterback, to the Raiders.

    No, Nassib hasn’t shown anything at the pro level during a regular-season game. But to use that as a reason to preclude him from bringing in any value is shortsighted because at this point, Nassib is no more of a hit or a miss than the quarterbacks currently in the draft class.

    So if a team out there looks at Nassib’s film from his days at Syracuse and thinks he might be worth trading a pick to the Giants to get him, is the idea really that crazy?

7-Round New York Giants Mock Draft

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    Here’s a summary of the full seven-round Giants mock draft I posted earlier in the week.

    There have been no new developments since that draft was posted to make me change my mind about the prospects the Giants might be targeting; however, stay tuned, as I’ll be updating things based on how the board falls once the draft starts.

     

    Round 1, Pick No. 12: OL Zack Martin

    General manager Jerry Reese doesn’t usually tip his hand, but one thing I definitely came away with after listening to his predraft press conference is that Giants are not done addressing the offensive line.

    Since the Giants like their linemen to be versatile, a prospect such as Zack Martin out of Notre Dame would give the Giants three young players under the age of 30 who can play guard or tackle.

     

    Round No. 2, Pick No. 43: G/T Joel Bitonio

    Nevadas Joel Bitonio (6’4”, 302 lbs), is a college left tackle who projects inside to guard. 

    A plug-and-play type who appears to offer versatility along the interior, Bitonio would give the Giants yet another versatile offensive lineman under the age of 30 who could potentially be part of the unit’s foundation for years to come.

     

    Round No. 3, Pick No. 74: TE Troy Niklas

    While the Giants continue to hope for Larry Donnell and/or Adrien Robinson to develop at tight end, a candidate who offers a lot in the way of versatility at this position is Notre Dame’s Troy Niklas (6’7”, 270 lbs), NFLDraftScout.com’s fourth-highest-rated tight end.

    Again, if versatility is a theme on offense—and that certainly appears to be the case—it’s only logical that the Giants try to add as many players to that side of the ball who can do multiple things. Niklas is one such player, a guy who can play H-back, can be an in-line blocker, can be a third tackle in pass protection, who can line up wide and who can be a receiver.

     

    Round No. 4, Pick No. 113: RB Charles Sims

    Continuing with the versatility theme in this draft, West Virginia’s Charles Sims (6’0”, 214 lbs) could very well offer offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo the versatility he seems to want in his players.

    Sims might not be fully there yet as a between-the-tackles running back or as a pass-blocker, but he does offer value as an outside runner and, especially, as a receiver out of the back field.  

     

    Round No. 5, Pick No. 152: WR Brandon Coleman

    Right now, the Giants only have one proven receiver who can stretch the field, that being Victor Cruz.

    Certainly, Rueben Randle could be another one, but he’s been inconsistent and will need to have a strong showing this summer to prove that he belongs in the starting lineup.

    Rutgers’ Brandon Coleman (6’6”, 225 lbs) offers the size and physical style of play necessary to stretch the field and be a solid red-zone threat. He’s coming off an injury-filled 2013 campaign, but if he’s healthy, he could potentially be a solid possession receiver.

     

    Round No. 5, Pick No. 174 (Compensatory): DT Anthony Johnson

    The Giants currently have four defensive tackles on their roster with NFL experience, and two of those four are 30 or older.

    A potential boom-or-bust player at the defensive tackle position is LSU’s Anthony Johnson (6’3”, 308 lbs), who, if he can refine his pass-rushing technique and improve his pad level, could potentially become a part of a defensive interior rotation. 

     

    Round No. 6, Pick No. 187: DE Cassius Marsh

    A solid value pick whose versatility—yes, there’s that word again—might be appealing is UCLA defensive end Cassius Marsh (6’4”, 252 lbs).

    Marsh can play both defensive tackle and defensive end, and does so with a nasty disposition. His versatility could offer defensive coordinator Perry Fewell a lot of new options should he want to again experiment with some different multiple-front looks, as he did for a bit last summer.  

     

    Round No. 7, Pick No. 255: No Pick

    The Giants traded this pick to Carolina for middle linebacker Jon Beason last fall.

     

    Unless otherwise noted, all contract details are via Over the Cap, and all stats and rankings are per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). All quotes and other information obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

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