The New York GIants hold the nineteenth overall pick in this year’s draft, and it should give them an opportunity to find a solid, young prospect to try and cement their personnel on either side of the ball.
On the defense their biggest needs seem to be in their back seven. That group was beat quite a bit in games last season. The explosive young receivers that they will likely face in Philadelphia and Dallas, and now Washington (with their potential to select Julio Jones) means that getting better in the secondary is going to have to be a priority. They also need some help at linebacker.
On the offensive side of the ball, they’ve spent a few draft picks on solidifying their receiver corps in recent years, but probably need to start looking to get back to basics by addressing their running game.
With that said, age and injuries up front on the offensive line will probably be the weaker area for the Giants, and they’ll wind up taking Florida’s Mike Pouncey to bolster their depth. Keep reading to find out why and see other options the Giants are potentially looking at with this pick.
If Alabama’s Mark Ingram falls to the Giants here at this point, there is going to have to be strong consideration to take him. Brandon Jacobs has been disgruntled about his role and future in New York, and his dip in production the past two years can’t sit well with the Giants brass. Ingram isn’t as big or powerful as Jacobs, but would similarly bring a physical running style to their lineup to team with Ahmad Bradshaw.
Up front on the offensive line, the Giants may look to take one of the top offensive tackles off the board. Since USC’s Tyron Smith is the only one that has so far been selected in this mock, they could have their pick. They need to get younger up front. Left guard Rich Seubert and center Shaun O’Hara are coming off injuries, and taking someone like Florida’s Mike Pouncey would be very tempting with this selection to solidify their depth. Offensive tackle coudl also be addressed with the team seemingly likely to pass on paying Shawn Andrews bonus, and trying to groom Will Beatty to succeed David Diehl at left tackle. That opens up an opportunity for the team to add a right tackle to groom behind Kareem McKenzie, who is entering the final year of his contract. Wisconsin’s Gabe Carimi is probably the most natural prospect to play the right side, but BC’s Anthony Castonzo and Colorado’s Nate Solder might grade higher on their boards because they can potentially man the left. Of that group, I suspect the Giants would prefer Castonzo because of their past success with Boston College linemen (Chris Snee), and the fact that Castonzo at least played right tackle as a freshman, so the transition won’t be as big for him as it will be for the other two have spent their time exclusively on the left side in college.
However, despite their offensive needs, I suspect the Giants to side with defense. They have spent the majority of their focus in recent off-seasons on that side of the ball, going out and paying good money for players like Michael Boley, Chris Canty, Rocky Bernard, and Antrel Rolle to mixed results. The team just hasn’t developed great young talent on that side of the ball.
The team still doesn’t have a strong candidate to be the long-term replacement for Antonio Pierce at middle linebacker, but Jonathan Goff had his moments last year, and unless the team falls in love with Martez Wilson, then it’s unlikely they will go in that direction even if he’s available.
Cornerback is a problem area, and with the NFC East likely to be populated with explosive young receivers in Philadelphia, Dallas, and now Washington, getting stronger at cornerback makes a ton of sense. Speed will be the focus. The Giants could have their pick of taking the third corner off the board. JImmy Smith probably is the best candidate, but the team might be worried about his character issues and go for a bit more of a safer bet in Brandon Harris.
Up front, the Giants never pass on good players, but it’s not a major need since they used their top two picks a year ago on Jason Pierre-Paul and Linval Joseph. A player like Illinois defensive tackle Corey LIuget or Temple’s Muhammad Wilkerson would be tempting, but unnecessary. The same could be said of any of the pass rushers if still on the board like Georgia’s Justin Houston.
In the end, the Giants decision making will likely come down to shoring up an aging offensive line or lapses in the secondary. And I think because of the age of their starters, the Giants will go the safer route and take the offensive lineman. And since Pouncey can slide in fairly quickly at either guard or center, he probably is the best bet.