New York Giants: Updated Draft Big Board After First Wave of Free Agency

Patricia Traina@Patricia_TrainaFeatured Columnist IVMarch 21, 2017

New York Giants: Updated Draft Big Board After First Wave of Free Agency

0 of 7

    Mark Tenally/Associated Press

    The 2017 NFL combine is in the books, and slowly but surely, the individual school pro days are also coming and going for NFL teams looking to gain any last bit of information necessary before assembling their draft boards.

    The New York Giants, who were mildly active in free agency, managed to fill a few needs with what limited cap space they had, while passing on a few other perceived needs due to the quality of players at those positions in the draft.

    This slideshow looks at a big board consisting of players at the various positions believed to be top needs for the Giants and tries to pick names who might meet the team's prototype.

    The rest of the slides identify each of the top positions of need, discussing why the position is a requirement and who among the players listed on the big board might be the best fit at that position.

The Big Board: Giants Edition

1 of 7

    Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

    The following is a list of 100 top prospects representing positions of need for the Giants. In assembling this list, I consulted NFL.com and NFL Draft Scout's player grades.

    I then removed some of the players whose skill sets are not necessarily a fit for what the Giants do, or whose measurable (height and weight) don't fit a team prototype. I also removed anyone I believe might have a question mark next to his name due to injury or off-field concerns. 

    In the following slides, I'll hone in on a realistic pick for the Giants as well as a fallback plan from this big board. But first, a few notes.

    I did not include quarterbacks on this big board because it looks as though the Giants are going to let Josh Johnson, who re-signed with the team last week, Keith Wenning, signed to a reserve/futures contract in January and Geno Smith, who signed with the club Monday, duke it out for the back-up roles behind starter Eli Manning.

    I didn't include safety on this list as I don't believe it to be a need despite the uncertainties concerning Nat Berhe (two concussions last year) and Mykkele Thompson (two straight seasons lost to leg injuries), not with Landon Collins and a duo of Darian Thompson and Andrew Adams on board. 

    Ditto receiver because Brandon Marshall figures to be the No. 3 receiver on the team. I think if the Giants draft a receiver, it will be someone drafted late in Day 3.

    I also didn't go too heavy on cornerback because I believe the Giants might be able to sign a veteran on the back end of free agency, as in after the draft when things reach that point in the NFL calendar where free agents signed don't count against the compensatory picks.

    Name

    Pos

    Height

    Weight

    School

    Garrett, Myles

    DE

    6'4"

    272

    Texas A&M

    Fournette, Leonard

    RB

    6'0"

    240

    LSU

    Thomas, Solomon

    DL

    6'3"

    273

    Stanford

    Allen, Jonathan

    DE

    6'3"

    286

    Alabama

    Howard, O.J.

    TE

    6'6"

    251

    Alabama

    Cook, Dalvin

    RB

    5'10"

    210

    Florida St.

    Charlton, Taco

    DE

    6'6"

    277

    Michigan

    Njoku, David

    TE

    6'4"

    246

    Miami

    Reddick, Haason

    DE

    6'1"

    237

    Temple

    McDowell, Malik

    DT

    6'6"

    295

    Michigan St.

    Foster, Reuben

    LB

    6'0"

    229

    Alabama

    Ramczyk, Ryan

    OT

    6'6"

    310

    Wisconsin

    Barnett, Derek

    DE

    6'3"

    259

    Tennessee

    Brantley, Caleb

    DT

    6'3"

    307

    Florida

    McKinley, Takkarist

    DE

    6'2"

    250

    UCLA

    Peppers, Jabrill

    LB

    5'11"

    213

    Michigan

    Everett, Gerald

    TE

    6'3"

    239

    South Alabama

    Kamara, Alvin

    RB

    5'10"

    214

    Tennessee

    Williams, Tim

    DE

    6'3"

    244

    Alabama

    Harris, Charles

    DE

    6'3"

    253

    Missouri

    White, Tre'Davious

    CB

    5'11"

    192

    LSU

    Engram, Evan

    TE

    6'3"

    234

    Mississippi

    McCaffrey, Christian

    RB

    5'11"

    202

    Stanford

    Cunningham, Zach

    LB

    6'3"

    234

    Vanderbilt

    Davis, Jarrad

    LB

    6'1"

    238

    Florida

    Conley, Gareon

    CB

    6'0"

    195

    Ohio St.

    Tabor, Teez

    CB

    6'0"

    199

    Florida

    Mama, Damien

    OG

    6'3"

    334

    USC

    Lamp, Forrest

    OG

    6'4"

    309

    Western Kentucky

    Johnson, Dorian

    OG

    6'5"

    300

    Pittsburgh

    Hodges, Bucky

    TE

    6'6"

    257

    Virginia Tech

    Anderson, Ryan

    OLB

    6'2"

    253

    Alabama

    Watt, T.J.

    LB

    6'4"

    252

    Wisconsin

    Jackson, Adoree'

    CB

    5'10"

    186

    USC

    Douglas, Rasul

    CB

    6'2"

    209

    West Virginia

    Tankersley, Cordrea

    CB

    6'1"

    199

    Clemson

    Dawkins, Dion

    OG

    6'4"

    314

    Temple

    Feeney, Dan

    OG

    6'4"

    305

    Indiana

    Moton, Taylor

    OG

    6'5"

    319

    Western Michigan

    Siragusa, Nico

    OG

    6'4"

    319

    San Diego St.

    Shaheen, Adam

    TE

    6'6"

    278

    Ashland

    Foreman, D'Onta

    RB

    6'0"

    233

    Texas

    Lawson, Carl

    DE

    6'2"

    261

    Auburn

    Wormley, Chris

    DE

    6'5"

    298

    Michigan

    Ogunjobi, Larry

    DT

    6'3"

    305

    North Carolina Charlotte

    Jones, Jarron

    DT

    6'6"

    316

    Notre Dame

    Jones, D.J.

    DT

    6'1"

    319

    Mississippi

    Anzalone, Alex

    LB

    6'3"

    241

    Florida

    Wilson, Quincy

    CB

    6'1"

    211

    Florida

    Witherspoon, Ahkello

    CB

    6'3"

    198

    Colorado

    Asiata, Isaac

    OG

    6'3"

    323

    Utah

    Sprinkle, Jeremy

    TE

    6'5"

    252

    Arkansas

    Perine, Samaje

    RB

    5'11"

    233

    Oklahoma

    McNichols, Jeremy

    RB

    5'9"

    214

    Boise St.

    Willis, Jordan

    DE

    6'4"

    255

    Kansas St.

    Walker, Demarcus

    DE

    6'4"

    280

    Florida St.

    Johnson, Jaleel

    DT

    6'3"

    316

    Iowa

    Tomlinson, Dalvin

    DT

    6'3"

    310

    Alabama

    Vanderdoes, Eddie

    DT

    6'3"

    305

    UCLA

    Adams, Montravius

    DT

    6'4"

    304

    Auburn

    Qualls, Elijah

    DT

    6'1"

    313

    Washington

    Bowser, Tyus

    LB

    6'3"

    247

    Houston

    Robinson, Cam

    OT

    6'6"

    322

    Alabama

    Bolles, Garett

    OT

    6'5"

    297

    Utah

    Garcia, Antonio

    OT

    6'6"

    302

    Troy

    Banner, Zach

    OT

    6'8"

    353

    USC

    Leggett, Jordan

    TE

    6'5"

    258

    Clemson

    Mack, Marlon

    RB

    5'11"

    213

    South Florida

    Hunt, Kareem

    RB

    5'10"

    216

    Toledo

    Kpassagnon, Tanoh

    DE

    6'7"

    289

    Villanova

    Hall, Daeshon

    DE

    6'5"

    266

    Texas A&M

    Basham, Tarell

    DE

    6'4"

    269

    Ohio

    Hendrickson, Trey

    DE

    6'4"

    266

    Florida Atlantic

    Nwachukwu, Noble

    DE

    6'1"

    268

    West Virginia

    Watkins, Carlos

    DT

    6'3"

    309

    Clemson

    Jones, Nazair

    DT

    6'5"

    304

    North Carolina

    Walker, Charles

    DT

    6'2"

    310

    Oklahoma

    McMillan, Raekwon

    LB

    6'2"

    240

    Ohio St.

    Walker Jr., Anthony

    LB

    6'1"

    238

    Northwestern

    Brown, Blair

    LB

    5'11"

    238

    Ohio

    Johnson, Roderick

    OT

    6'7"

    298

    Florida St.

    Holden, Will

    OT

    6'7"

    311

    Vanderbilt

    Bisnowaty, Adam

    OT

    6'6"

    304

    Pittsburgh

    Sharpe, David

    OT

    6'6"

    343

    Florida

    Kittle, George

    TE

    6'4"

    247

    Iowa

    Smith, Jonnu

    TE

    6'3"

    248

    Florida International

    Roberts, Michael

    TE

    6'4"

    270

    Toledo

    Gallman, Wayne

    RB

    6'0"

    215

    Clemson

    Cohen, Tarik

    RB

    5'6"

    179

    North Carolina A&T

    Williams, Joe

    RB

    5'11"

    210

    Utah

    Conner, James

    RB

    6'1"

    233

    Pittsburgh

    Dayes, Matt

    RB

    5'9"

    205

    N.C. State

    Moss, Avery

    DE

    6'3"

    264

    Youngstown St.

    Smoot, Dawuane

    DE

    6'3"

    264

    Illinois

    Price, Ejuan

    DE

    5'11"

    241

    Pittsburgh

    Wise, Deatrich

    DE

    6'5"

    274

    Arkansas

    Smart, Tanzel

    DT

    6'1"

    296

    Tulane

    Rochell, Isaac

    DT

    6'4"

    280

    Notre Dame

    Lee, Elijah

    LB

    6'3"

    228

    Kansas St.

Offensive Tackle: Garett Bolles, Utah

2 of 7

    Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

    The Giants finally addressed their offensive line in free agency, adding former Chargers offensive lineman D.J. Flukerthe 11th overall pick in the 2013 draftand re-signing veteran John Jerry, who can be a swing guard/tackle depending on what the Giants end up doing in the draft. 

    Fluker, who can also play offensive tackle, said during a SiriusXM NFL Radio interview that the Giants spoke to him about stepping in at right guard (h/t Inside Football).

    If that plan doesn't change, that likely means the Giants will be looking to add an offensive tackle to the mix to compete with incumbent Bobby Hart for the starting right tackle job.

    If the Giants are going to do that, they'll probably want to strike early in the draft. Utah's Garett Bolles would probably be their best option if they want someone who might be able to step in right away and hit the ground running in a competition with Hart.

    NFLDraftScout.com ranked Bolles as the second-highest ranked offensive tackle prospect, behind Wisconsin's Ryan Ramczyk.

    Ramczyk figures to be long gone by the time the Giants go on the clock at No. 23. If Bolles, who told reporters at the combine that the Giants expressed interest, is there, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Giants snap him up given the lack of depth in this year’s offensive tackle pool.

Tight End: Gerald Everett, South Alabama

3 of 7

    Dan Anderson/Associated Press

    Although the Giants added Rhett Ellisona tight end/fullback hybridto the offense, it would be a stunning upset if they didn't dip their toe into a tight end-rich draft class that could yield a starter in the first three rounds.

    The top two tight ends in this draft, O.J. Howard and David Njoku, probably will not be on the board at No. 23. Neither is likely to be on the board when the Giants' turn comes up in the second round either, where they hold the 55th overall pick in the draft.

    A guy who could be there is Gerald Everett, 6'3", 239 pounds, of South Alabama. Although he doesn't quite fit the Giants prototype for tight ends from a size perspective, he did have better 2016 receiving numbers (49 receptions for 722 yards) than both Howard (45 receptions for 593 yards) and Njoku (43 catches for 698 yards).

    Dane Brugler of NFL Draft Scout calls Everett a "true vertical threat, either down the seam or outside, with a second gear to finish" who "catches the ball well in stride without gearing down" and "has quick feet to sidestep defenders after the catch."

    Brugler also praised Everett's blocking ability, describing it as "aggressive."

    It's been a while since the Giants had a tight end who could roam the seam and do some damage. A guy like Everett, who would compete with holdover Will Tye for those snaps, could be the one who finally gives them that threat, even if he's not the tall, lanky gazelle they tend to like at the position.

Outside Linebacker: Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt

4 of 7

    Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

    Every year it seems the Giants throw a curveball during the draft—that one move few, if any, saw coming.

    One potential candidate for this year's draft curveball could see them taking an outside linebacker as high as No. 23 overall.

    That's where Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham (6'3", 234 pounds) could be had for a team looking to add at that position.

    The Giants, of course, haven't drafted a linebacker in the first round since 1984, when they took Carl Banks third overall out of Michigan State.  

    Banks, who after the 1992 season made stops in Washington and Cleveland before calling it a career, is a two-time Super Bowl champion and a four-time Pro Bowler.

    The Giants, who haven't had a Super Bowl champion/Pro Bowl linebacker wrapped up in one guy since Antonio Pierce patrolled the middle of the field for the 2007 championship team, could be looking to give their linebacker unit a nice boost for down the line when both projected outside starters Devon Kennard and Jonathan Casillas are both set to hit free agency in 2018.

    Last year, the Giants were believed to be coveting Leonard Floyd, who ultimately went to the Bears, and they might be looking at Cunningham to fill a similar role of a player who can line up with his hand in the dirt, play in coverage and rush from standing up. 

    Indeed, just as general manager Jerry Reese was, per the New York Daily News, present for Floyd's pro day last year, this year, ESPN reported that Reese was there to watch Vanderbilt's pro day, leading to speculation that the Giants' interest in Cunningham might just be great enough for them to consider drafting him in the first round.  

    Ranked as NFL Draft Scout's second-best outside linebacker prospect, Cunningham has 256 career tackles (36.0 for losses), seven forced fumbles and six sacks in three seasons, and is widely regarded as a natural playmaker.

    NFL.com's Lance Zierlein noted that Cunningham is a three-down linebacker whose "downhill approach is made for attacking 4-3 defenses."

    Cunningham, who projects to the weak side, could in fact give the Giants a solid option that they can potentially work into the mix this year even with Casillas still projected to be a starter. 

Running Back: Wayne Gallman, Clemson

5 of 7

    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    The Giants moved on from running back Rashad Jennings, making him a salary-cap casualty last month. However, they haven't done much to replace him, their only move thus far in free agency being the re-signing of running back Orleans Darkwa.

    In case it's not crystal clear, the Giants are likely honing in on a target or two in the draft class to add to a group that includes Darkwa, Paul Perkins and Shane Vereen.

    The best running back in the draft class, Leonard Fournette of LSU, appears to be a long shot to fall to the Giants at No. 23. The same could also probably be said of Florida State's Dalvin Cook.

    What about Stanford's Christian McCaffrey, 5'11", 202 pounds? NFL Draft Scout projects him as a first-round prospect, and quite honestly it would be surprising if the Giants draft a running back at No. 23, not with other more pressing needs at tight end, offensive line and linebacker.

    A more realistic scenario would see the Giants drafting a running back either late on Day 2 (third round) or early on Day 3 (fourth round).

    Moreover, the running back they do select will almost certainly be a power back to complement Perkins' running style.

    One such candidate who would fit the bill is Clemson's Wayne Gallman, 6'0", 215 pounds. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein's scouting report on Gallman's running style is sure to pique the interest of Giants fans who have suffered through numerous short-yardage conversion failures or who are tired of seeing the team's running backs being so easily brought down to the ground:

    Has quality burst through line of scrimmage to rip through arm tackles and attack the second level. … Keeps feet grinding through second level contact. Uses shoulders as legitimate weapons of force against would-be tacklers. Creates additional yards through functional wiggle. … Trusted option on fourth and short situations. Decisive in the red zone and brings some attitude with him.

    According to Pro Football Focus, Gallman's 3.0 yards after contact per attempt average in 2016 was better than any Giants running back's average last year. (For comparison, Perkins and Jennings, both of whom had at least 100 rushing attempts, averaged 2.24 and 2.01 yards after contact per attempt respectively.)

Defensive End: Tanoh Kpassagnon, Villanova

6 of 7

    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    The Giants wrapped up negotiations with defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, their franchise player, whom they will now have lining up opposite of Olivier Vernon through 2020.

    That doesn't mean that the Giants are done with the defensive end spot, though. As witnessed last year, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo leaned heavily on his dynamic duo.

    Per Pro Football Focus, Vernon played in 94.1 percent of the team's defensive snaps, a new career high.

    Until an injury cut short his season by four games, Pierre-Paul logged 90.9 percent of the defensive snaps, his second-highest career total (he logged 91.1 percent of the snaps in 2014).

    A big part of the reason why the Giants had to lean so heavily on those two defensive ends is that behind them, there was a drop-off. Kerry Wynn, Romeo Okwara and Owa Odighizuwa combined for just 267 snaps, with none of the three showing consistency in run defense and the pass rush.

    If the Giants truly want to win it all, they're going to need a third defensive end to complete the puzzle.

    While it's still possible that one or more of Wynn, Odighizuwa and/or Okwara might take that leap forward in 2017, it would not be surprising if the Giants add a defensive end to the mix, especially if they are unable to get an outside linebacker to beef things up in the second level.

    The problem is if they do want a top-notch defensive end out of this defensive line-rich draft class, they will probably have to move on one within the first two rounds.

    Derek Barnett, 6'3", 259 pounds, of Tennessee, is a prospect who fits the Giants' prototype, but he might not last beyond the first round.

    A sold backup option that could be there in the second round is Tanoh Kpassagnon, 6'7", 289 pounds, of Villanova, whom NFL Draft Scout compared to Pierre-Paul.

    NFL Draft Scout projects Kpassagnon as a third- to fourth-round prospect, while NFL.com's Lance Zierlein notes that Kpassagnon could use some more strength in his lower body to better hold his ground.

Defensive Tackle

7 of 7

    Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

    Regardless of what happens with defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, who remains unsigned as of March 20, the Giants might want to add another defensive tackle to the mix for down the line.

    Currently, the team has Robert Thomas and Jay Bromley for depth behind Hankins (if he re-signs) and Damon Harrison.

    While Bromley and Thomas are solid rotation guys, neither is signed long term—Thomas signed earlier this month as an exclusive rights free agent, which puts him under contract through 2017 and Bromley's rookie deal expires after this season.

    A potential 3-technique candidate is Tulane's Tanzel Smart, 6'1", 296 pounds. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein writes that Smart "lacks desired size and length, but his quickness and disruptive nature lead to consistent production week in and week out."

    NFL Draft Scout, meanwhile, projects Smart as a fourth-round draft prospect, but given Smart's performance at the Senior Bowl, in which he posted two tackles as a starting defensive tackle for the South, putting his quickness off the ball and good body positioning on display, he showed he could be disruptive.

    Over his four-year college career, Smart racked up 183 tackles (102 solo) with 39.5 tackles for a loss. He also recorded 9.5 sacks, two passes defensed, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

          

    Unless otherwise noted, all advanced analytics are from Pro Football Focus and all draft prospects' heights and weights, and analysis are from NFL.com's Combine section

    Patricia Traina covers the New York Giants for Inside Football, the Journal Inquirer and Sports Xchange. All quotes and information were obtained firsthand unless otherwise sourced.