Predictably, the New York Giants enjoyed yet another strong draft class, seemingly a common occurrence dating back to the Ernie Accorsi days. Once again, the Giants focused on value over need, something few teams in the NFL understand outside of the league’s elite.
In the first round where many thought they would take Alec Ogletree (linebacker, Georgia), the G-Men instead opted for Justin Pugh (6-foot 4, 307 pounds), an incredibly versatile guard/tackle from Syracuse. I like the pick.
Pugh reminds me an awful of David Diehl, a guy who’s played very well at both guard and tackle for the Giants for many years. Many thought this wasn’t a good value pick, and that’s a legitimate argument as the the Giants probably could’ve traded up into the early second round and still gotten the versatile lineman. But when you’re in love with a guy and he’s there, take him.
Some are concerned he doesn’t have long enough arms to play on the outside, but general manager Jerry Reese has indicated that’s not a concern. Why this is a good pick is that the Giants have depth issues at both guard and tackle, and Pugh could fill in or start at either. I’d expect him to initially compete with James Brewer for the starting right tackle spot. Again, I like the pick, but I would have loved it if it came a few picks later.
In the second round the Giants took defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, another sound pick. Many had predicted leading up to the draft he could be taken in the mid to late first round, but he eventually slipped down to 49th overall pick. The Ohio State product (6-foot 3, 320 pounds) has skills galore, and can both stop the run and collapse the pocket- when he’s not winded. His weight will absolutely have to be kept in check because he’s a shell of himself when he’s gassed, which is often.
It’s going to be a very interesting camp battle for snaps at defensive tackle between Linval Joseph, Cullen Jenkins, Hankins, Shaun Rogers, Mike Patterson and Marvin Austin.
In the third round, the Giants found arguably their best value, and it could turn out to be the steal of the draft. Damontre Moore, a 6-foot 4, 250 pound defensive end from Texas A&M, was originally thought to be a top-10 pick, but then plummeted when he tested out horrendously. Aside from poor testing and some possible maturity concerns, he’s a tried and true pass rusher.
The tape doesn’t lie. Going against elite competition everyday in practice (against Luke Joeckel, #2 pick in this year’s draft, and Jake Matthews, who will be a top 5 pick next year), and every weekend against the rest of the SEC, he’s been dominant. 26.5 sacks in three years speaks for itself, and considering the leaders the Giants have at defensive end to help him mature, I love this pick. It might be my favorite pick of the draft, at least in terms of value.
In the fourth round, the Giants snagged another Syracuse product in quarterback Ryan Nassib. This is another tremendous value pick. Most had assumed he would slip no further than to the Buffalo Bills in the second round (new Bills coach Doug Marrone was his head coach at ‘Cuse), and he somehow slipped all the way to the fourth.
No, he’ll never supplant Eli Manning under center, but he could be a valuable backup, especially considering David Carr is riding a one-year deal right now. At best, he shows something in preseason games, develops a bit under Manning, builds some trade equity, and follows the route of Kevin Kolb, Matt Flynn and Matt Cassel. At worst, he’ll be a cheap backup. Win-win.
The last three picks, Cooper Taylor (safety/linebacker, Richmond), Eric Herman (guard, Ohio) and Michael Cox (running back, UMass) won’t be locks to make the roster. Taylor has the highest ceiling because of his freakish blend of size and speed (6-foot 5, 230 pounds, running a sub-4.6 40), and he reminds some of Seattle Seahawks‘ safety Kam Chancellor. He could also move to linebacker where the Giants have needs.
The Giants didn’t fill all their needs, mainly at cornerback and linebacker, but there’s still a lot of quality veteran free agents left on the market. The Giants did get a lot of value, however, something they always hit on.
Chalk it up, another solid draft for the Giants.