2011 NFL Draft: 4 Players The New York Giants Must Target
The Giants had a very streaky year. One week they would look like Super Bowl contenders who possessed a top running game, shut-down secondary, and a dominating defensive line. The next week, they could look like a disaster of a team full of penalties and turnovers. The Giants love to build through the draft, whether being in the early rounds like they have done with Hakeem Nicks, or the late rounds like with Ahmad Bradshaw. Here are 4 players the Giants must target in order to become legitimate playoff contenders.
4. Mark Ingram
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Who He Is: Ingram is a 5'10'', 215 pound running back out of The University Of Alabama. He has a thick build and has solid speed for his size. He is the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner.
What He Brings: Ingram brings an incredible amount of passion and natural leadership to the game. He is a proven winner at the college level after leading Alabama to a BCS National Championship in 2010. He plays with the team on his back and never quits until the play his dead, always finishing and running hard until the end. He has a tremendous vision and can find holes that other backs can't. He also has the ability to be a game-changer in the passing game, with solid hands and the ability to run screen routes and check downs. Ingram can make defenders miss in the open field, bump the run outside, and pound it through the middle.
Why He Fits: With Ahmad Bradshaw becoming a free agent, the Giants must find a way to replace his production; I believe Ingram could be the answer. Even with Brandon Jacobs still in the backfield, 2 running backs per team has become more and more customary over the past few years, and a backfield of Jacobs and Ingram would scare defenses for years to come. He is a tough and determined player, well suited to the long NFL season.
3. Mike Pouncey
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Who He Is: Mike Pouncey is a 6'5'', 309 pound interior offensive lineman out of the University Of Florida. He was the starting center this past year, but is equally adept at the guard position, a position he previously played at Florida.
What He Brings: Pouncey is a very versatile and durable player who brings a tremendous amount of natural leadership to the offensive line. He brings a very aggressive style of play, not stopping until the whistle is blown. He has outstanding overall instincts, gets a great jump of the line, and has tremendous overall awareness. He can go to the second level and block linebackers, and possesses solid lateral agility. For his size, Pouncey has quick feet and has the ability to recover.
Why He Fits: Pouncey would inject a much-needed player who brings youth and toughness to an aging offensive line plagued this past year by injury. He played at Florida, so is used to the highest level of competition. And because he played in a big media market in Gainesville, the move to New York would be a good fit. His tough and competitive attitude would work well with Head Coach Tom Coughlin's personality and style.
2. Nate Solder
Solder (in black) blocks Texas Longhorn Brian Orakpo.
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Who He Is: Solder, is a 6'8'', 300 pounds offensive tackle, and an absolute mammoth of a man. A red shirted senior out of University of Colorado.
What He Brings: He possesses an outstanding combination of size and speed at the tackle position. Additionally, Solder has a great work ethic and attitude, something Tom Coughlin will value. He has exceptional awareness with a high football IQ and is a very tough and durable player with an above-average ability to be a pass protector and run blocker.
Why He Fits: His toughness and work ethic fit into the Giant's mold very well. The offensive line, while still producing solid production, is aging quickly and becoming very injury-plagued. Adding Solder to that offensive line would add some much needed youth, size and quickness to the line. He has the potential to develop into Eli Manning's blindside protection for the next decade.
1. Akeem Ayers
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Who He Is: Akeem Ayers is a 6'4'', 249 pound outside linebacker out of UCLA.
What He Brings: Ayers has tremendous size and speed for his position, has excellent durability and is a solid off-the-field kid. He shows great play making instincts with his ability to read the quarterback's eyes in coverage or get an early jump on the ball to rush the passer. Ayers is a very tough kid who can go sideline-to-sideline when given the opportunity and plays all the way through the whistle.
Why He Fits: The linebacker crew was the weakest part of the Giants defense this past year, and they are now in need of a play making linebacker who can: 1. cover the pass, 2. stop the run, 3. rush the passer. Ayers can get to the passer with ease and shed blockers to get to the run. Getting a play making linebacker like Ayers could really help this defense rebuild back to what it was in 2008 when they won the Super Bowl.