Having laid out the two forks in the road in Part One of my article (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/371896-new-york-giant-2010-nfl-draft-targets-part-i), the rest of the picks fall into place.
Really, the critical question that divides the Giants' potential approaches to this draft is: Can a starting-caliber inside LB, who can contribute and compete his rookie season, be acquired in one of the later rounds?
Perhaps someone like Brandon Spikes?
If the answer is no, then Plan A is taking Rolando McClain or Sean Weatherspoon in the first round.
If the answer is Yes, then the Giants can feel comfortable taking the best RB, DT, OL or DB available.
Furthermore, if the answer is yes, Plan B should be to bolster the secondary with Earl Thomas, who can play S and Nickel/Dime back.
Plan B would have been to take the best available OL, but I do not think any of the guys who will be available will be worthy of the 15th pick. Additionally, I think there are quality O-lineman in the later rounds.
The signing of safety Deon Grant makes the Earl Thomas pick less likely and changes the analysis a bit. However, the rationale of bolstering the secondary remains the same. Earl Thomas is still a top-15 talent in this year's draft, and for Jerry Reese value is king.
Just a reminder that I will refrain from giving a prospect profile on any of these targets since you all can go to anyone of the gazillion websites out there to get info on any of these players.
Please post a comment on any alternate paths the Giants may take in selecting from this pool of players, and let me know of any players I may have missed. Since I can't post a poll in a slide show, just leave a comment on which alternate draft plan you prefer, or neither.
DT— Lamarr Houston, Tyson Alualu
S— Morgan Burnett, Nate Allen, Reshad Jones
CB— Patrick Robinson, Chris Cook
LB— Navarro Bowman, Daryl Washington
RB— Montario Hardesty, Ben Tate
Specialist (PR/KR/WR/RB)— Mardy Gilyard, Dexter McCluster
OL— Vladimir Ducasse, Jared Veldheer
Having taken Rolando McClain or Sean Weatherspoon, the Giants turn to bolstering the secondary with their second pick.
If one looks at the list of potential targets for the Giants, there are many quality players and a few sexy names that many Giants' prognosticators have lusted over.
However, I think the best choice is a player who has been a bit under the radar: Chris Cook
He is a 6'2", 212-pound. CB out of Virgina, who posted the second-best time among CBs in the 40 and was a top performer in broad jump (one of the most important drills, because it is indicative of explosiveness.)
What makes Chris Cook a more intriguing prospect than some of the more favored picks among Giants' mock drafts (i.e. Morgan Burnett, Nate Allen, Patrick Robinson) is his versatility. He has CB skills but safety size. He is almost the inverse of Earl Thomas.
He would immediately be able to contribute on obvious passing downs as a nickel/dime back, and he can be groomed to be a safety if Kenny Philips doesn't come back 100 percent.
Picking a pure a safety like Morgan Burnett or Nate Allen seems a bit redundant with the signing of Deon Grant. That is why Chris Cook (or Earl Thomas) can be groomed to be a future safety, while having enough athleticism and cover skills to play against spread formations and talented pass catching TEs like Brent Celek and Jason Witten, who have killed the Giants in the past few season.
Chris Cook also comes from a program in Virgina that the Giants seem to trust. Often, the tie breaker in many of these draft selections are the relationships a team develops with the respective program. The Giants value players that come from programs with NFL coaching experience (see Nicks and Butch Davis at UNC, Steve Smith and Pete Carrol at USC, Beatty and Randy Edsall at UCONN, Sintim, possibly Cook, and Al Groh at Virgina...and hopefully, McClain and Nick Saban at Alabama!)
Having taken the best player available, Earl Thomas, to bolster the woeful secondary in the first round, the Giants must try to fill the gaping hole at MLB.
I think the Giants can accomplish this, but I believe they have to bring in at least two draft picks at LB to make sure they find the right guy.
Normally, this would not be advisable. However, the key to making this strategy work is to select a player that can also compete for the SAM or WILL position, contribute on special teams, and add depth, youth, and athleticism to the LB corp.
Enter Daryl Washington, the MLB from TCU, the best defense in the nation last year.
He is a very similar player to Sean Weatherspoon, but actually ran a better 40 at the Combine.
Like 'Spoon, he is very athletic, and can play all three LB positions. 'Spoon gets the edge because he was very productive against better competition.
However, Washington was also very productive, and was the leader of the nation's best defense, which can't be emphasized enough.
As I mentioned in the introduction, Plan B is predicated on the notion that the Giants can fill their MLB needs in the later rounds.
If the Giants take Rolo or 'Spoon, then they are committed to that player as the answer at MLB, and can concentrate on other areas of need.
However, the Giants may be better off going after a combination of LBs such as Daryl Washington, Pat Angerer, Jamar Chaney, Donald Butler, Brandon Spikes, and Sean Lee.
If you think a combination of Washington and Lee would be better than just McClain or Weatherspoon, then Plan B is for you.
OL— Matt Tennant, John Jerry
RB— Toby Gerhart, Joe McKnight
Specialist (WR/KR/PR)— Jacoby Ford
ILB— Pat Angerer, Jamar Chaney
S— Chad Jones
Having addressed the need at LB and the secondary, the Giants seek to add youth and depth to the offensive line.
John Jerry of Ole Miss, the younger brother of last year's first round draft pick at DT Peria Jerry, is the massive "road grader" lineman that can immediately contribute to the Giants' aging offensive line. Plus, Eli gets a fellow Runnin' Rebel to protect him.
You gotta love a guy who played in the NFL's minor league, the SEC, and allowed an undersized RB, Dexter McCluster, to be very productive and relatively untouched on many big plays.
Jerry played OT at Ole Miss, but probably projects better as a guard in the NFL. In any case, Jerry is the mauler that can compliment Beatty's athleticism and finesse at LT.
He can also play RT if Kareem McKenzie is hampered by injury like last year.
Jerry most likely can move to guard, allowing Diehl to play RT, where he will be more evenly matched against the less athletic run-stopping defensive ends.
This would allow the Giants to have Seubert and McKenzie as backup G and T respectively, which would be quite an upgrade to the current depth chart.
Jerry probably won't get on the field right away because he's still very raw, but he will contribute in jumbo packages and greatly improve the short-yardage running performance.
A highly touted interior lineman out of BC?
I don't think Tom Coughlin (or Chris Snee) could resist this pick.
Seriously, O'Hara is getting a little long in the tooth. Anyone who attended Giants' training camp last year remembers the nightmare Adam Koets was at backup center, snapping the ball into the ground. God forbid age finally catches up with O'Hara.
Tennant would solve that problem and add depth to the interior line. He is arguably the best center in the draft, only behind Maurkice Pouncey.
LB— Sean Lee, Brandon Spikes
RB— Deji Karim
S— Larry Asante, Darrel Stuckey
DT— Arthur Jones
OT— Sam Young
Here's Jerry Reese's small-school-wonder pick, and the potential home run threat many in Giants' nation want in C.J. Spiller.
We know Jerald Ingram, the Giants' RB coach, has found success scouting small-school, unheralded RBs with Ahmad Bradshaw out of Marshall and Brandon Jacobs from Southern Illinois. Well, he may strike gold again with another Southern Illinois Saluki, Deji Karim.
The 5'11", 210-lb. sleeper back came in third place for the Walter Payton Award and posted 2,080 yards (6.6 YPG) and 26 TDs in just two years.
At his pro day he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds, which would have tied him for second among tailbacks at the Scouting Combine.
His vertical leap of 43 inches would have been first among all tailbacks, his broad jump of 10'3" would have placed third, and his 20-yard shuttle time of 4.05 seconds would have topped all tailbacks. His 6.67-second mark in the three-cone drill also would have been first, and his 19 reps in the 225-pound bench press would have been sixth among all tailbacks.
Thanks to "Blue Gates" for the excellent research on Deji Karim.
OK, here's the wishful thinking that really makes Plan B work: Sean Lee slipping into the fourth round.
I have seen him mocked as high as the second round and as low as the fourth round.
See that giant brace around his knee? That is why he may fall to the fourth round. He missed all of his junior year because of a devastating knee injury.
However, he is a consensus top MLB prospect with toughness and intelligence. Before his injury, Lee was thought of as the best MLB prospect to come out of Penn State, and they don't call it Linebacker U for nothing.
His injury concerns are alleviated by the fact that Daryl Washington was taken in the second round in Plan B.
If Sean Lee pans out at MLB, Washington can play at WILL and add depth.
Even if Lee is unavailable this late, Brandon Spikes, with his horrendous Combine and pro-day performances, can definitely fall this far.
Before these performances, Spikes was thought of as the best MLB before Rolando McClain declared for the draft.
Concerns about Spikes' athleticism are offset by the fact that Daryl Washington is the athletic pick in Plan B.
Spikes shows too much football ability on tape, playing in the SEC, to pass up. Again, if Spikes pans out, the Giants have a young leader at MLB for years and can play Daryl Washington at WILL or Nickel MLB, to make up for Spikes' athletic limitations.
RB— LeGarrette Blount
Specialist (KR/PR)— Trindon Holliday
DE/OLB— George Selvie
OT— Selvish Capers
By now, you all must be saying: What about the D-line? Plan A or B doesn't address the woeful play of the D-line last year, especially at DT.
However, its my opinion that we invested too much money and attention last season in the form of Canty and Bernard to give up on that investment so soon.
Furthermore, with Cofield and Alford, both young veterans at DT, returning from injury, I don't think the Giants will invest big money on the D-line with a first-day pick.
For better or worse, they will see what pans out with what they have on the roster, as they did with the LB corp last season.
However, George Selvie, the "other" pass rush DE from USF, is too much value to pass up on this late, and will bring in much needed versatility to the D line, possibly even at SAM too!
If you are from the camp of taking Derrick Morgan or Jason Pierre-Paul in the first round, then this pick is a no-brainer and would allow us to pass on the top DEs in this class.
In my opinion, he is better, more productive, and more polished than Pierre-Paul, who is everyone's darling.
I go to Rutgers and have seen many a USF game. Selvie, for some reason, helped put that program on the map and then fell off the radar because of Pierre-Paul.
Selvie can provide depth at DL and SAM, and in the fifth round you are looking for that kind of versatility.
A DT would be more logical, but to add a guy like Selvie into the rotation would allow Tuck and Kiwi, both tall big rangy players, to move inside on pass rush situations.
Once again, the name of the game in the later rounds is value.
In the third round of Plan B, we took care of Interior OL depth with Matt Tennant. Here the Giants go for the best available OT, who happens to be the incredibly athletic Selvish Capers.
Capers is a converted TE, much like the second pick in the draft last year, Jason Smith. He was a top performer in the 40, vertical and broad jump, and the shuttle run.
Notably missing from that list is the bench press, and therein lies the problem.
He is very much like Beatty was last year. However, paired with Tennant, who is more of a run blocker, he can move into the RT spot and allow Diehl and Snee to be the guards, who excel at run blocking.
With Tennant, Beatty, and Capers the Giants have their next generation of offensive lineman.
Round 1— Rolando McClain or Sean Weatherspoon, if McClain is unavailable.
Round 2— Chris Cook, CB Virginia
Round 3— John Jerry, OL Ole Miss
Round 4— Deji Karim, RB Southern Illinois
Round 5- George Selvie, DE USF
Round 1- Earl Thomas (now with the Deon Grant signing, add Kyle Wilson, Devin McCourty to the mix)
Round 2- Daryl Washington, LB TCU
Round 3- Matt Tennant, C Boston College
Round 4- Sean Lee or Brandon Spikes, whoever is available.
Round 5- Selvish Capers, OT West Virginia
Who to take in the final two rounds? Whichever aforementioned targets start to slip, causing others to fall into the sixth and seventh rounds. Perhaps, Myron Rolle (Plan A) or Trindon Holliday (Plan B).
Please post a comment, as to which draft plan you prefer, an alternate one based on the targets listed, or neither. Thanks for reading this epic article!