2011 NFL Draft: 10 Players the New York Giants Should Target in the Late Rounds
We've all heard who are the early round prospects and the players that are expected to go in the first and second rounds, but do you know of any potential sleepers that won't be selected until day three?
Just so we're on the same page, I'm considering the "late rounds" to be the third day of the draft, which is rounds four through seven.
I've narrowed this list down to 10 people but know that there are plenty more potential sleepers, I just made the list according to needs.
The Giants have done well finding future starters in the late rounds of the draft under General Manager Jerry Reese—like Kevin Boss, Ahmad Bradshaw, Jonathan Goff and Adam Koets. Reese and the director of college scouting Marc Ross are amazing at evaluating talent.
The list will have five prospects that might be available in the fourth round and five that might be available in rounds six and seven—remember the Giants have no fifth-round pick.
The Giants have recently been given some extra work to do with two more selections in the sixth round, so you can bet your bottom dollar they are looking hard into the late-round prospects.
Ross Homan LB, Ohio State
Ross Homan is someone that I had previously mocked to the New York Giants in my first mock draft for them in early January. I just love his motor and leadership ability.
The senior linebacker was one of the best players on a dominant Ohio State defense. He battled a foot injury in 2010 and played through it for most of the year, but in 2009 he was dominant with 108 tackles and five interceptions.
The Giants need a strong side linebacker and Homan would be a nice fit.
Noel Devine RB/KR, West Virginia
I wouldn't be surprised to see the Giants go after Devine, no matter what they plan on doing with their current running backs. Even if they keep both Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, Devine is someone that can change a game on one play, something the Giants currently lack in the return game especially.
Devine ran an incredible 4.26 40-yard dash at his pro day and despite his small stature, he will be a good and potentially great role player at the next level. Neither of the current Giants running backs are spectacular out of the backfield—Devine flourished in that role at West Virginia.
Devine finished his four-year career with 4,317 yards and 29 touchdowns. He averaged 5.92 yards per carry.
Although he did not return kicks that much during his career because he was the starting running back most of the time, he did return 22 kicks for 511 yards as a true freshman.
The Giants desperately need help in the return game.
Jordan Cameron TE, USC
Cameron has been shooting up the draft boards after an eye-opening combine and a further dominant pro day. He is the most athletic tight end in the draft and could be the next former basketball player to make a name for himself with his athletic ability.
Although he didn't get much playing time on the football field at USC—just one season and 16 receptions—his potential is through the roof.
He's very raw and with the right coaching can become one of the elite tight ends in the NFL.
Mario Fannin RB, Auburn
Hmm...a big, bruising running back with deceptive speed who was pushed down the depth charts at Auburn. Sound familiar?
Brandon Jacobs went through the same issues at Auburn behind Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown, but he actually transferred and graduated from Southern Illinois.
Fannin was not used in the running game very much this season, but turned some heads at the combine with a 4.37 40-yard dash while weighing in at 231 lbs. He was also very good in several of the other drills and could potentially be a great third down running back for the Giants in the short term.
Although he didn't carry the ball very much in his four-year career, he did average 5.8 yards per carry and had 11 rushing touchdowns. Where he killed it was out of the backfield, grabbing 97 receptions and 985 yards, or 10.15 yards per catch.
He may not be ready to take over a game in the NFL just yet, but he could at some point in the future.
Lance Kendricks TE, Wisconsin
Kendricks worked wonders on his stock at his pro day. His numbers are actually a bit better than Cameron's in that he ran a 4.50 and had a 38" vertical leap, compared to 4.55 and 37.5 from Cameron.
Kendricks feels like the safer bet from a production standpoint, as he played very well the past two seasons. He had 43 receptions for 663 yards and five touchdowns in 2010, including a seven-catch, 131-yard day in a win against Arizona State.
Ronald Johnson WR/KR, USC
While Johnson was actually a pretty good receiver at USC—138 receptions, 1,750 yards in four years—his kick and punt returning are what the Giants would be interested in.
If Steve Smith is out, the Giants will be looking further in to their depth chart for guys that can fill in, but Johnson wouldn't beat out the likes of Victor Cruz or Ramses Barden.
The Giants return game was flat out terrible and they need an improvement. They tried to get better when they got Minnesota to include Darius Reynaud in the Sage Rosenfels trade, but Reynaud was not the same as he was in 2009.
If they don't get a guy like Devine or DeMarco Murray early on, they can find someone in the late rounds to fill that need.
Zane Taylor C, Utah
It's no secret the Giants need to draft an interior lineman in this year's draft, and should they choose to ignore it until the last two rounds, I would actually be somewhat upset.
That said, Zane Taylor looked great at Utah's pro day. He also bench pressed 225 lbs. 41 times, showcasing his elite strength.
Shaun Chapas FB, Georgia
Madison Hedgecock has not been the same player we all came to know and love. He used to be one of the more underrated fullbacks in the NFL and now he's a shadow of his former self.
He battled injuries in all of 2010, but even when healthy he looked different in 2009. He didn't hit the holes with the same reckless abandon.
Chapas is no threat to carry the rock, which doesn't matter since the Giants almost never hand off to the fullback, but he's a great blocker and plays with a mean streak.
Brian Rolle OLB, Ohio State
Although Rolle doesn't have great size that indicates he will transition to a linebacker at the next level, the Giants were thin in terms of special teams players last season and were forced to use some starters on the kickoff team.
Rolle can come in and be an immediate producer on special teams with his nonstop motor and great instincts. If he ever plays on defense, it would most likely be at strong safety rather than linebacker.
Anthony Sherman FB, Connecticut
Anthony Sherman is another guy who doesn't light it up in the running game, but can bring everything the Giants want out of the fullback position. He had the highest mark in the bench press at the combine and is another guy who plays with a mean streak, always looking to punish linebackers.
I've mocked Sherman to the Giants in the seventh round the past two mocks now and I feel like they desperately need what he brings to the table.