2011 NFL Draft Preview: Who The New York Giants Should Target
The New York Giants ended the 2010 season at 10-6. While this was a winning season, it wasn't good enough to qualify the Giants for a playoff spot.
To turn the corner, the Giants need to upgrade many facets of their team. The Giants have considerable needs at linebacker, offensive line, running back, tight end, fullback and special teams (returning).
The Giants age on the offensive line finally showed as Shaun O'Hara, Rich Seubert, Madison Hedgecock (I consider the FB as part of the line), David Diehl, Shawn Andrews, William Beatty and Adam Koets. Along with these injuries, TE Kevin Boss was average at best, and at most times disappointing. And possibly the worst members of the Giants were the special teams members, particularly the returners and...Matt Dodge. I still believe Jeff Feagles will come back from retirement and lead us to victory once again...
In this mock draft I will go over the first four possible picks for the Giants and speculate the next three rounds the best I can. For the rest of the round I will guess what will happen in the crapshoot rounds.
Round 1: 19th Pick
Nate Soldier (OT Colorado) will probably be off the board when the Giants step up to the draft as he is the best OL in the draft. He has a great build at 6'8" and 315 pounds and amazing potential. Soldier's strong points are his large size, positioning and his ability as a run blocker. What he needs to do is gain 10 more pounds to become a starting LT. Soldier would be an immediate upgrade over Kareem McKenzie but will take some time to develop into a LT.
Akeem Ayers (OLB UCLA) is pictured to go from the 10th to 20th pick in the first round. Ayers has great speed for his size and could either play in the 4-3 or 3-4. The biggest concern is his block-shedding ability. He can, however, cover receivers and has great awareness. Ayers would be an immediate upgrade at OLB.
Tyron Smith (OT USC) has great agility and has been receiving great reviews from scouts due to his skills. His biggest problem is that he is undersized at 6'6" 285 pounds. Smith needs to gain about 20-30 more pounds to really succeed in the NFL. He could take over McKenzie's role as a RT considering his ineffective play last year.
Mike Pouncey (G/C)
Ryan Kerrigan (LB/DE)
Round 2: 52nd Pick
The Giants need an upgrade at TE and have to look at the possiblity of drafting a RB or DT with Barry Cofield, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Kevin Boss all becoming free agents. While it would be almost impossible that Bradshaw doesn't re-sign with the G-Men, Jacobs might not be returning next year.
Kyle Rudolph's (TE Notre Dame) stock would be much higher in the draft if he hadn't fallen prey to injury. Rudolph has great size at 6'5" and soft hands and would be a great 3rd-down receiver. Rudolph would be an enormous upgrade over Boss who dropped multiple passes and has been far too ineffective in the last couple of years.
Ryan Williams (RB Virginia Tech) is a smaller back at at 5'10" but his 211 pounds justifies an NFL body. Bradshaw cannot be a bulk carrier with his small body and another RB would ease the tension while also giving the Giants another first-round talent in round 2.
Stephen Paea (DT Oregon State) The Giants are seeing Barry Cofield departing to free agency. Paea is listed at 6'1," 311 pounds. He has excellent strength and is quick enough off the line to become a good pass rusher in the NFL. While the Giants defensive line is not a major concern, the Giants have always shown a need to upgrade whenever possible.
Marucs Cannon G
Mikel Leshoure RB
Round 3: 83rd Pick
Jake Kirkpatrick (C TCU) O'Hara has been injured repeatedly over the last couple of seasons. The Giants need a considerable upgrade at the C position and Kirkpatrick would be the best choice at this point in the draft.
Clint Boling (G Georgia) Once again a need for the Giants is an offensive lineman. Seubert is turning 32 this season and could miss part of 2011 with last season's knee injury.
Casey Matthews (LB Oregon) is nowhere near the level of his brother. That said, he is still a great LB in the making. Matthews, at 6'1" 240 pounds, is projected to be able to play at all three linebacker positions, but his low speed will lead him to MLB. Jonathan Goff has been playing decently at MLB and Matthews will probably not be drafted by the Giants unless they consider him a considerable upgrade.
Jordan Toddman RB (UCONN)
Luke Stocker TE (Tennessee)
Round 4: 116th Pick
Owen Marecic (FB Stanford) Hedgecock has been hurt this season, just like every blocking member on the team. Hedgecock has also seen his offensive contributions diminish to nothing over the past couple years, leading me to believe that an upgrade could contribute right away.
Tim Barnes (C Missouri) is the best C on the board at this point in the draft and the Giants would almost be obligated to draft him if they didn't grab Kirkpatrick in the third round.
Lee Ziemba (OT/G Auburn) is a very big offensive lineman who could transition toward a RT at his 6'6" and 317-pound frame. He impressed recently at the Senior Bowl and might find himself being drafted in Round 3, which would be a steal for the Giants here.
Tandon Doss WR (Indiana)
Tyler Sash SS (Iowa)
The Crapshoot (Rounds 5-7)
Chase Henry (P Florida) Matt Dodge....
Dwayne Harris (WR/KR East Carolina) had three returns for touchdowns. Would not be a factor as a WR however. He is projected as a 4-5 pick and might be too high a reach for the Giants.
Ronald Johnson (WR/KR USC) is a great punt returner with blazing speed. He is projected with a 4.34 40-yard-dash time.
Phillip Liva (PR/KR Louisiana Tech) is a return specialist who averaged 27 yards on kick returns and 13.4 yards on punt returns.
Scott Tolzien (QB Wisconsin) His weak arm strength will land him late in the draft. He does, though, make good decisions and should be a good backup in the future.
Henry Hynoski (FB Pittsburgh) Decent blocker and pass catcher.
Stanley Havili (FB USC) A great offensive weapon who averaged 6.6 YPC with 138 rushing yards.
George Bryan (TE N.C. State) Good size and a solid receiver. Needs to work on blocking at the next level.
Kenny Tate (SS Maryland) At 6'4" 220 pounds he might be too big but has decent speed and can be a game changer.
Aaron Tevis (OLB Boise State) Big body who had a good sophomore campaign. Has room to improve at the next level.