NFL Draft 2011: New York Giants Draft Talented Players, but Not Ones They Need

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NFL Draft 2011: New York Giants Draft Talented Players, but Not Ones They Need
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The New York Giants entered the NFL draft Thursday needing to address two major areas of concern: linebacker and offensive line. The troubling part is they left the draft Saturday night still needing those two positions.

The Giants found themselves staring at three offensive lineman in the first round, and while it was a little too late for guard Mike Pouncey, the talent was still plentiful.

Players such as Anthony Castonzo, Danny Watkins and Gabe Carimi were all ready to help bolster the aging and injury depleted offensive line, but New York decided to go with best overall talent in cornerback Prince Amukamara rather than need. 

There's no problem with that approach in the first round, however if you make a move like that, you better be ready to strike big in Round 2. Giants General Manager Jerry Reese felt differently to say the least.

Again, New York went seemingly best overall available with the pick of defensive tackle Marvin Austin, and while he may be a talented kid, the character issues he had while at UNC made me question what the Giants were doing.

The Giants and head coach Tom Coughlin have been no nonsense policy enforcers, and to bring in someone that was a first-round talent but slipped for character flaws to the middle of the second round, calls to question the Giants thought process here.

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With defensive tackles Rocky Bernard, Chris Canty, Joesph Linval and the strong possibility of a Barry Cofield return all filling the depth chart, did the Giants really need to add to an already deep defensive line in the second round?

Before Round 2 began, I was hoping the Giants would make a strong move to trade up to snag linebacker Akeem Ayers of UCLA. Ayers was predicted by many to go mid-first round, but slipped into the second day somehow, causing delusions of grandeur, at least in my mind.

His speed and power made him an asset to play strong side linebacker, something the Giants desperately need, but instead he went to the Tennessee Titans, and the Giants got left with holding Austin's future DUI bill.

The third round blew up any hope of legitimately filling a need on the team with the selection of return man, slot guy and wildcat hopeful Jerrel Jernigan. Jernigan is the type of player the Giants are not used to having on the football field, and while he does bring versatility, New York already has a plethora of wide receivers.

With Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham and Steve Smith already set and Ramses Barden, Victor Cruz and Duke Calhoun, all trying to make the next step, where does Jernigan fit in?

Strictly kick and punt returns? A wildcat throw in?

The Prince of New York

The word baffled doesn't justify the head scratching I did after the Giants continued to ignore the needs of the team. Offensive lineman Clint Boling of Georgia came off the board in Round 4, which was a steal for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Boling has the experience of playing both guard and tackle and could have grown into a big time player for the G-Men, but no dice. With their selection of offensive lineman James Brewer in the fourth round, coupled with Clint Boling, the Giants would have completely addressed their need for offensive lineman, without having to rely on free agency to fill the voids.

The sixth round of the draft finally got to addressing some teams needs like linebackers Jacquian Williams and  Greg Jones and safety Tyler Sash. It's too bad they waited so long to reach for diamonds in the rough when they had plenty of coal to work with earlier in the draft.

The Giants overall grade for the draft falls somewhere in between fail and what the heck just happened. The whole draft depends on what the Giants hope each player can bring, rather than what they can actually bring.

Round 6 seems to be the best round for Big Blue, even though they nabbed Prince in the first round. The talented corner plays a little too aggressive for a defensive back the NFL, and he failed to record a single interception his senior year.

With free agency yet to begin, fans must be hoping the Giants don't fumble away opportunities to fill the holes at offensive line and linebacker like they did in the draft.

Only time will tell if the Giants struck gold or struck out this year, but hey, in Reese we trust right?

 

Kyle McMorrow, a Correspondent for Bleacher Report, is a freelance writer and news production assistant for 1010 WINS Radio in New York City. He has also worked for the Big Ten Network and ABC-TV in New York City.  McMorrow has interviewed numerous prominent athletes, such as Larry Fitzgerald, Eli Manning and LaDainian Tomlinson.Twitter: @Kyle_McMorrow

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