I have faith in Jerry Reese, our resident draft Dumbledore. I believe that through the draft he can pluck productive players can step in and become big-time contributors either right away or by their second seasons.
He has proven to be one of the premiere drafters in the league, collecting big time talent since taking over for Ernie Accorsi in 2007: Hakeem Nicks (UNC, Rd. 1, 2009), William Beatty (Connecticut, Rd. 2, 2009), Kenny Phillips (Miami FL, Rd. 1, 2008), Terrell Thomas (USC, Rd. 2, 2008), Mario Manningham (Michigan, Rd. 3, 2008), Aaron Ross (Texas, Rd. 1, 2007), Kevin Boss (Western Oregon, Rd. 5, 2007), and Ahmad Bradshaw (Marshall, Rd. 7, 2007).
Most impressive perhaps has been the selection of the only successful USC receiver in recent memory, Steve Smith (USC, Rd. 2, 2007).
He has also pulled exciting young talent oozing with potential and waiting to contribute in: Clint Sintim (Virginia, Rd. 2, 2009), Travis Beckum (Wisconsin, Rd. 3, 2009), Ramses Barden (Cal-Poly, Rd. 3, 2009), Andre Brown (NC State, Rd. 4, 2009), Bruce Johnson (Miami FL, undrafted, 2009).
With the highest draft pick in recent memory for the Giants this year at No. 15, one can only hope Reese will go the Mangini/Belichick route and trade down to stockpile picks, maximizing the amount of young cheap talent he can infuse this already incredibly talented roster with, thereby allowing Reese to make it rain for a couple good free agents.
If he preys on other teams’ desperate needs and draft trends, it should not be incredibly difficult to trade down a couple times in the first and add a couple third round picks to play with.
Positional needs for the Giants include: cover corner, an OLB solid in dropping back into coverage, defensive tackle, strong safety, overall safety depth, offensive line, lethal kick returner, and backup quarterback. A tiny, speedy weapon a la Darren Sproles type player would be another great pickup, allowing Eli to someone to throw a screen to.
Guys with versatility to play in both the 3-4 and 4-3 would be ideal on the defensive side of the ball, as no one knows who the next coordinator will be, but it would be refreshing to see the Giants occasionally throw a 3-4 out there to screw with opposing lines (Donovan’s already pooping himself at the possibility).
So lets say the Giants do stockpile picks, who should they go after? Here are some of the players I’d like to see them target by round.
NT/DT Terrance Cody, Alabama
Standing 6’5”, 365 lbs., Terrancy Cody is a monster. With a high ceiling, incredible strength, a wide base, and massive frame, he could be an incredible block eater who would free up the rest of the Giants defensive line to devour quarterbacks. In the event that the Giants switch to or occasionally implement a 3-4, he’d be THE ideal nose tackle to anchor their defense.
Feel free to start drooling at the prospect of having him lining up next to Justin Tuck. If he isn’t the pick they might as well trade out of the first and try to add two more second round picks from a team like Tampa or New England, who have pressing needs that could be best addressed in the first round.
If Pepper Johnson gets the nod as the defensive maestro, which I think is the ideal selection, his experience working with the Pats superior DL would surely help to mold Cody into an impact monster in the middle. Even in the worst case, with the popularity of the 3-4 and lack of NT’s, some team would be willing to fork over picks in the future for TC.
Other: DT Brian Price UCLA
MLB Brandon Spikes, Florida
The heir apparent to Antonio Pierce, the 6’3”, 244 lb. middle linebacker from Florida is a highly productive player with a nose for the ball. Possessing prototypical size and strength, physicality and vision, he is just what the Giants need. He is durable, good in pursuit, disengages blockers well, and is explosive in the middle.
Spikes is an ideal fit for the middle of the Giants D, and would be a second round steal. Immediate impact player, although he might have to pulled on third and long downs early in his career for someone better in zone coverage.
He would help to bring back the fire and nasty streak the Giants were missing this season on the defensive side of the ball. How great would it be if LT worked with him?
OL Mike Iupati, Idaho
He’s big, he’s raw, and he’s mean. Iupati has upside to the point where he could project at tackle too, but as a guard he’d be a force. Seubert’s in rapid decline and if no immediate starter is signed from the free agent pool, Iupati would be a great value pick in round two, assuming he falls that far.
SS Darrell Stuckey, Kansas
Why didn’t the Giants didn’t go after Bernard Pollard or Brian Dawkins? Well, that’s a question most Giants fan are probably asking themselves. Stuckey looks like he’d be an impact player and solution at strong safety, aka, the black hole of the Giants defense. I’d love to see him do the safety slide to round three.
This is a position the Giants could address successfully in free agency, and they have several players looking like good fits from that pool.
Other: DT Jared Odrick Penn State
DE Corey Wootton, Northwestern
Big, Chris Canty-esque lineman who’d be able to line up at DE and DT for the Giants.
OT Kyle Calloway, Iowa
Solid lineman who could take over at RT.
DE/OLB Sergio Kindle, Texas
OLB Navorro Bowman, Penn State
Other: OT Ciron Black LSU
OT Sam Young, Notre Dame
CB/KR Crezdon Butler, Clemson
RB/KR Brandon James, Florida
RB/KR Dexter McClusker, Ole Miss
OG Vladimir Ducaisse, UMass