The New York Giants will have to make significant moves in the 2011 NFL Draft in order to fill their needs. From pick No. 19 in the first round, all the way through the draft, Jerry Reese and the rest of the New York Giants' front office will be looking to find replacements for aging players and upgrade positions that have become weaknesses.
The New York Giants had a tough finish to their season. Although their record was good enough to make the NFC playoffs, they had embarrassing losses to the Philadelphia Eagles and other teams towards the end of the season.
The Giants traded away their fifth-round pick to Minnesota in a trade for Darius Reynaud and Sage Rosenfels last season.
Former Florida interior lineman Mike Pouncey would be a perfect fit for the Giants at No. 19. The Giants struggled with depth throughout last season at guard and center.
Rich Seubert and Shaun O'Hara are getting older, and Chris Snee needs help blocking in the middle of the Giants line. Pouncey played guard for the majority of his career, but transitioned to center his senior season.
This versatility could be the deciding factor in the Giants pick. Having a lineman able to slide up and down the line as injuries occur is a luxury winning NFL teams often have.
Muhammad Wilkerson features the same versatility on the defensive line Pouncey does on the offensive line. Wilkerson transitioned from defensive end to defensive tackle after his sophomore season. Even so, he projects as more of an interior lineman in the pros.
It is no secret that the Giants have a uniquely deep defensive line. But it is also no secret Jerry Reese loves drafting defensive lineman highly.
Reese also loves value—regardless of position. This year's draft class has unique depth along the defensive line, and it is possible Wilkerson, considered by some to be a first-round quality talent, will fall to into the Giants' lap mid-second round.
Ahmad Bradshaw is not under contract for 2011, and no negotiations for next season will occur until a new collective bargaining agreement is in place.
The trend in the NFL is toward having two starting-quality running backs. The Giants have Brandon Jacobs, but they need another. Whether it was Ron Dayne and Tiki Barber, Derrick Ward and Brandon Jacobs or Jacobs and Bradshaw, the Giants have been following this trade for the better part of this century.
Jordan Todman could fill in for Bradshaw as a contrast in style from Jacobs. While Jacobs is an enormous, bruising back, Todman is merely 5'9", and put up impressive numbers in the 40-yard dash and on the bench press at the NFL Combine.
He might not be there when the Giants pick, but if he is, the Giants would do well to draft the local running back.
The Giants need to upgrade their linebackers. Many pundits think the Giants will use an early pick on someone like Akeem Ayers.
Linebacker has been a need throughout much of Jerry Reese's tenure. He has often been reluctant to use a high pick on linebackers. Round four seems about the time he would start looking.
Quan Sturdivant is a player who had more success early in his college career. He has good speed sideline to sideline and recorded 122 tackles his sophomore season. Some scouts are concerned with his size (6'2", 230 lbs), but the Giants' biggest concern at linebacker is to simply cover the field.
Jordan Cameron is one of the most talented tight ends in the NFL Draft. At the NFL Combine, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.59.
Cameron is a big body at 6'5" and 245 pounds. Cameron switched to tight end from wide receiver in 2010 and is a project as far as his blocking is concerned.
His speed and leaping ability make him an intriguing late-round gamble for a Giants team trying to find a more explosive tight end option than Kevin Boss.
Matt Dodge inspired many Giants fans' to cringe, curse and even cry throughout the season. It is no secret that Dodge is on the hot seat—and has been since he began his career as a Giant.
The Giants will have another punter in camp next season—or there will be a riot in New York. Donahue is considered the best punter in the draft, and because punters are rarely drafted high, he might still be there when the Giants make their final pick.
Punting in New York is a high pressure gig, as Dodge proved last year. The fans have a short leash—even if the coach doesn't. It might not be the best position for a rookie, but if there are few other options, don't be surprised to see the Giants take a punter late in the draft.