The New York Giants are only just starting to get a feel for the rookies they selected in the 2012 NFL draft, but it can never be too soon to talk about the draft and league’s potential stars of the future. One week into the season, it’s hard to gauge just what the Giants may seek to address in next year’s draft—some would argue that a lot of things need to be addressed—but that shouldn’t keep us from trying.
There are some things that continue to stand out from the Giants that could have used a bit more attention in the offseason. As a result, those positions which may be somewhat lacking in the talent department have immediately come to the forefront.
As with the needs of NFL teams this early, college football’s top prospects will certainly change over the course of the season. With that in mind, here is a very early look at some prospects who should garner attention from the defending Super Bowl champions.
Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
The middle linebacker position continues to be a great source of uncertainty and weakness for the Giants. Chase Blackburn is not an NFL-quality starting linebacker for an entire 16-game season and it is unknown what Mark Herzlich will develop into at this time.
Te’o is a fierce linebacker prospect capable of playing all three linebacker positions in the 4-3 scheme. His versatility alone would make him a favorable prospect for the Giants, but his strength and athleticism are bonus traits that should make him the draft’s top inside linebacker prospect. Fortunately, the low value on inside backers at this time in the NFL could knock him down the draft board and right into the Giants’ hands.
Barrett Jones, OG, Alabama
The Giants chose not to address their offensive line early in the 2012 NFL draft, but the team’s struggles early make it evident they will have no choice but to do something in 2013.
Barrett Jones is an ideal fit along the Giants’ offensive front. He has great size—Jones stands tall at 6’5” and weighs 311 pounds—and boasts much of the same NFL-ready talent recent Crimson Tide draft entries have featured. Jones is another player that should fall to the late-first round, around the point where the Giants should be selecting in April’s draft.
David Amerson, CB, North Carolina
David Amerson is a freak of nature, blessed with outstanding size—he’s 6’3″—and athleticism. He has been impressive thus far for the Tar Heel at cornerback and could take another big leap up team’s draft boards with a quality 2013 season.
The Giants have shown you can never have too much depth in the secondary, and a guy of Amerson’s size would be a fantastic addition to one of the team’s weakest units on the roster. Terrell Thomas’ NFL future is unknown and Prince Amukamara’s prospects are questionable—he’s had enough trouble seeing the field in two seasons with Big Blue.
The Giants shouldn’t quit on the players they have already, but Amerson’s size and ability as a cover man would make him a favorable matchup against big receivers like Calvin Johnson, Vincent Jackson and A.J. Green.
Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Keeping with the trend of bolstering the cornerback position in New York, Milliner is another guy the Giants must keep an eye on.
Milliner has blinding speed that enables him to close in on the ball with stealth accuracy. He is a physical cover man who loves to use his hands to his advantage, but has struggled against some of college football’s bigger receivers. Despite that, Milliner is a rare breed these days, able to make solid tackles and serve as quality run support on the edge.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
You know that guy Coby Fleener a lot of you were hoping the Giants would draft in last year’s draft? This guy is a lot like him.
Blessed with prototypical tight end size—unlike Fleener—and an outstanding, athletic skill set—like Fleener—Eifert is another player with the potential to become one of the NFL’s elite pass-catching tight ends. Eifert has solid hands and isn’t afraid to go across the middle to make the dangerous catch.
His blocking could use some an improvement, but most tight ends are in need of an improvement these days. Assuming Martellus Bennett returns in 2013, this would be even less of a concern, creating a lethal duo down the middle of the field to combine with the group of Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz causing havoc on the outside.