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New York Giants Ultimate 2014 Draft Primer

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistMay 7, 2014

New York Giants Ultimate 2014 Draft Primer

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Barring a trade, the first pick the New York Giants make in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night will be their highest selection since they added Eli Manning via a trade with San Diego about exactly 10 years prior. 

    Considering that, with the aging Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin, the Giants are at somewhat of a franchise crossroads, it's safe to say that said pick could be a game-changer for a team that has missed the playoffs in four of the last five years. 

    Here's a complete draft primer for the G-Men entering Round 1. 

List of 2014 Draft Picks

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    The G-Men sent their 2014 seventh-round pick to Carolina in exchange for current starting middle linebacker Jon Beason.
    The G-Men sent their 2014 seventh-round pick to Carolina in exchange for current starting middle linebacker Jon Beason.USA TODAY Sports

    The Giants possess seven picks in this year's draft. They dealt their seventh-round selection to Carolina in exchange for linebacker Jon Beason last season, but were awarded a compensatory pick in Round 5. 

    • Round 1, pick 12
    • Round 2, pick 43
    • Round 3, pick 74
    • Round 4, pick 113
    • Round 5, pick 152
    • Round 5, pick 174
    • Round 6, pick 187

Position-by-Position Big Board

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    Here's a look at several players who would make sense as Giants draft picks at key positions: 

    Quarterback

    1. Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois
    2. A.J. McCarron, Alabama
    3. Aaron Murray, Georgia

    The Giants do need to consider whether there's a possible Eli Manning successor in this class. However, it's not a top-heavy quarterback group, and they have a lot of needs elsewhere. Their best approach right now is to pick a project in the middle rounds. We'll see which of these three second-tier signal-callers drops into, say, Round 4. 

    Wide receiver

    1. Marqise Lee, USC
    2. Cody Latimer, Indiana
    3. Allen Robinson, Penn State
    4. Donte Moncrief, Mississippi 
    5. Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State
    6. Martavis Bryant, Clemson
    7. Kevin Norwood, Alabama
    8. Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin

    This is such a deep draft for wide receivers, so we're ruling out obvious first-round candidates while sticking with true outside threats who could beat out Rueben Randle.

    Lee has star potential but isn't likely to be there in Round 2. Still, there's a possibility of a slide or a trade. The rest of the eight players listed should go off the board before the end of Round 4, and all have the ability to turn into starting-caliber receivers on the outside. We left out guys who we felt had ceilings as playmakers or who might be forced to remain in the slot. 

    Tight end

    1. Eric Ebron, North Carolina
    2. Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
    3. Troy Niklas, Notre Dame
    4. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa
    5. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington

    This is sort of a consensus. Ebron is the obvious top gun, and then Amaro, Seferian-Jenkins, Fiedorowicz and Niklas are in that second tier. At least one of those guys should be available when the Giants pick in Round 3. The point is, they aren't screwed if they don't grab Ebron in the No. 12 spot.

    Amaro was a stud on paper last year and is a mini Ebron, but Niklas is right there because he might be the more complete, NFL-ready tight end. My only concern with Seferian-Jenkins would be that you could be drafting another Adrien Robinson. 

    Offensive tackle

    1. Morgan Moses, Virginia
    2. Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama
    3. Ja'Wuan James, Tennessee 
    4. Antonio Richardson, Tennessee 
    5. Cameron Fleming, Stanford

    I think you prioritize tackles before guards and centers, but the advantage you get from James is he might turn into a superb guard. That's why we'd put him right there with Kouandjio. That would be a tough third-round decision.

    Moses is the only guy I'd take in Round 2, unless a projected first-rounder drops. Richardson has left tackle potential and is a strong pass-blocker, so he'd also be a nice third- or fourth-round pick. 

    Guard

    1. Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State
    2. Cyril Richardson, Baylor
    3. Trai Turner, LSU
    4. David Yankey, Stanford
    5. Charles Leno, Boise State

    This starts with the same three players we gave the Cowboys at this position on their draft board. Both are desperate for NFL-ready guards who can pass protect in order to keep their respective quarterbacks healthy and productive.

    Jackson, Richardson and Turner meet that criteria. They'll have to be picked by Round 4, but Yankey and Leno might be available a little later. Both could be starters as rookies, and Leno could even have a shot outside at right tackle. 

    Center

    1. Travis Swanson, Arkansas
    2. Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma
    3. Bryan Stork, Florida State

    We focused on mid-round picks here who are considered to be strong in pass protection. All three are well-rounded, experienced centers from good programs. If they can get Swanson or Ikard in Round 5, that would be a huge win. Stork would be a nice prize in Round 6. 

    Defensive end

    1. Anthony Barr, UCLA
    2. Dee Ford, Auburn
    3. Kony Ealy, Missouri
    4. Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State
    5. Scott Crichton, Oregon State
    6. Marcus Smith, Louisville 
    7. Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas
    8. Trent Murphy, Stanford
    9. Will Clarke, West Virginia

    Because we think the Giants need an infusion of talent at both end and tackle, and both in the starting lineup and in the "bullpen," we're keeping this broad. Everyone above would have a chance to compete with Damontre Moore. The bottom four could be around as late as Round 4. 

    Defensive tackle

    1. Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
    2. Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
    3. Dominique Easley, Florida
    4. Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame
    5. DaQuan Jones, Penn State
    6. Will Sutton, Arizona State
    7. Ego Ferguson, LSU
    8. Deandre Coleman, Cal

    Donald is the obvious top choice in Round 1. Beyond that, nobody else deserves to be chosen that early. That said, Jernigan, Easley, Tuitt and Jones would be superb second-round picks.

    They'll appreciate that Jones can rush the passer quite effectively, too. Ferguson isn't as strong there, while there are some concerns about Sutton's work ethic. They're third-rounders.

    Coleman is a mid-round candidate who we really like for his versatility and ability to get pressure on the quarterback. 

    Linebacker

    1. Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
    2. Telvin Smith, Florida State
    3. Chris Borland, Wisconsin
    4. Kyle Van Noy, BYU
    5. Shayne Skov, Stanford
    6. Jordan Tripp, Montana
    7. Yawin Smallwood, UConn
    8. Christian Jones, Florida State
    9. Preston Brown, Louisville
    10. Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College

    There are so many quality 4-3-style linebackers projected to be picked between Round 2 and Round 5 that we had trouble limiting this list to 10 guys.

    Shazier isn't likely to drop to them in Round 2, but he and C.J. Mosley would have to be considered if that happened. Beyond that, I'd use a third- or fourth-rounder on any of the next eight players, all of whom have starting potential inside or outside. Pierre-Louis is a late-round wild card in case. 

Round 1, Pick 12

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    Eric Ebron could finally bring some steadiness to the tight end position.
    Eric Ebron could finally bring some steadiness to the tight end position.Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    Team needs: Defensive line, tight end

    I know Mike Evans would be intriguing if he were on the board here, but wide receiver isn't as dire a need as tight end, especially since it would be silly to give up on Rueben Randle this early. The way we see it, if Eric Ebron is available to become your next tight end here, you go for it unless Aaron Donald or Anthony Barr have fallen.

    From our perspective, it comes down to those three guys. I know a lot of folks think it'll be Zack Martin or Taylor Lewan, but that would also be strange considering that they spent a top-20 pick on an offensive tackle of similar ilk one year ago. They're also paying Will Beatty a hell of a lot of money.

    And while linebacker is a weak spot, 4-3 teams shouldn't over-draft players at that position. That's a big reason the G-Men haven't drafted a linebacker in Round 1 since 1984.

    This is an incredibly deep draft, especially for linebackers and wide receivers. The focus early should be on boosting that pass rush and replacing Justin Tuck and Linval Joseph. If Donald and Barr are gone, that can shift to drafting your new starting tight end. Worry about receivers and linebackers later.

Round 2, Pick 43

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    Dee Ford could immediately help the Giants defense.
    Dee Ford could immediately help the Giants defense.Hal Yeager/Associated Press

    Team needs: Defensive line, tight end, offensive line, wide receiver

    This is where things become a little more "best player available"-oriented, but the focus should still be on either a defensive lineman or a tight end, depending on what route you went in Round 1. If D-linemen like Dee Ford, Kony Ealy and Timmy Jernigan haven't slid this far, and if you can't land tight end Jace Amaro, then we start thinking about offensive linemen and receivers. 

    Marqise Lee, Cody Latimer, Allen Robinson, Donte Moncrief, Kelvin Benjamin and Martavis Bryant would all be nice gets here at the receiver spot. Morgan Moses, Cyrus Kouandjio and Ja'Wuan James would be nice offensive tackle picks. 

    Ultimately, this is a great spot to pick in Round 2, because in a draft like this you're likely to land a first-round-caliber player. Whether the Giants start off with Ebron and get Ford or Ealy or start off with Donald or Barr and land Amaro here, they're off to a hell of a start. But they'd also look pretty good with a second-round receiver or offensive tackle. 

Round 3, Pick 74

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    A wide receiver like Kelvin Benjamin would be a superb addition in Round 3.
    A wide receiver like Kelvin Benjamin would be a superb addition in Round 3.Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Team needs: Defensive line, tight end, wide receiver

    Defensive line and tight end only count here if you've ignored either one during the first two rounds. That's a strong possibility, but if it happens it'll likely mean they've chosen a wide receiver. So the Giants would be smart to take the best player available at whichever position hasn't been addressed, with linebacker and offensive line being the wild cards now that we're approaching the mid-rounds. 

    Offensive line is a possibility here, but at this point, unless I can get a steal like Gabe Jackson or Cyril Richardson at guard or Morgan Moses or Cyrus Kouandjio at tackle, I'm waiting until the middle rounds to make that pick.   

    There'll likely be plenty of Ego Ferguson-like defensive linemen here, but if I haven't picked a tight end yet, this is where I'm grabbing Troy Niklas, C.J. Fiedorowicz or Austin Seferian-Jenkins. 

Round 4, Pick 113

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    Could the Giants draft a quarterback in Round 4 for the second straight year?
    Could the Giants draft a quarterback in Round 4 for the second straight year?Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Team needs: Offensive line, linebacker, wide receiver, quarterback

    Things really begin to open up here. Linebackers like Chris Borland, Kyle Van Noy, Shayne Skov, Jordan Tripp, Yawin Smallwood, Christian Jones and Preston Brown could still be available and have the ability to contribute as rookies. But if you haven't taken an offensive lineman or wide receiver yet, now is the time to do it. Even in a deep draft, you'd be pushing your luck by ignoring those positions again here.

    It could be a guard like Trai Turner, a center like Travis Swanson or a tackle like Antonio Richardson. You'll lose players like that beyond this round. Same with potential outside receivers like Kevin Norwood and Jared Abbrederis. 

    Finally, there's that lingering quarterback possibility. Now that we're in the middle rounds, there'll be an opportunity to pull the trigger on a potential steal among this deep, middle-heavy quarterback class. 

    Jimmy Garoppolo, A.J. McCarron and Aaron Murray are the three guys we'd be keeping an eye on.

Round 5, Pick 152

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Team needs: Offensive line, defensive line, linebacker

    The Giants have three of the next 36 picks before wrapping up their draft. We're assuming they've addressed the defensive line at least once, along with tight end and wide receiver. It's possible they've added a linebacker, too, but quarterback or an extra defensive line pick could have interfered with that. 

    If linebacker hasn't been addressed yet, the Giants must do so either here, later in Round 5 or with their sixth-round pick. It doesn't necessarily matter when. Same rule applies to the offensive line and the rest of the trenches. This is where you beef up. 

Round 5, Pick 174

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    Colin Hackley/Associated Press

    Team needs: Offensive line, defensive line, linebacker

    Specifically, I'd be thinking about Bryan Stork, the center from Florida State. If guards like David Yankey or Charles Leno have fallen, it's a no-brainer there. Same with front-seven defenders like Jackson Jeffcoat, Deandre Coleman and Yawin Smallwood. 

    Again, we're talking about a very deep draft at these positions. Some players will have slid trough the cracks, which is why the Giants are lucky to have three picks between 152 and 187. Usually you add depth here, but they have a chance to add future starters. 

Round 6, Pick 187

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Team needs: Offensive line, defensive line

    You'd be crazy to ignore linebacker this long, so the Giants will likely finish this draft off in the trenches. Maybe it's Bryan Stork here as a possible starting center, or maybe it's Miami's Seantrel Henderson, who has the ability to push Justin Pugh or Will Beatty.

    And while elite pass-rushing prospects will likely be gone now, you could have a chance to add a top-notch run-stuffer to replace Linval Joseph. Deandre Coleman and Zach Kerr come to mind. 

Latest Draft Buzz

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    Despite our contention that the Giants should stay away from offensive linemen in Round 1, Zack Martin is emerging as a favorite.
    Despite our contention that the Giants should stay away from offensive linemen in Round 1, Zack Martin is emerging as a favorite.USA TODAY Sports

    G-Men won't take Eric Ebron in the No. 12 spot?

    There's no doubt the Giants need a tight end, and Ebron is considered to be the only first-round talent at that position this year, but NJ.com's Jordan Raanan doesn't think they'll consider the North Carolina product that early. 

    "Everything I've heard in recent months and weeks," wrote Raanan last week, "indicates the Giants aren't especially high on him, and that they won't draft him at No. 12."

     

    Zack Martin the favorite?

    In that same report, Raanan notes that, from what he's been able to glean, the Giants want Martin more than Taylor Lewan, which puts him at the top of their draft board. 

    "Word on the street is that the Giants prefer Martin to Lewan," wrote Raanan. "The Notre Dame product comes with less baggage and, despite common perception, is more physical in the run game."

     

    Are they already giving up on Ryan Nassib?

    The 2013 fourth-round pick hasn't taken a regular-season snap, but the Giants won't rule out the possibility of a trade involving Nassib, according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News

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