New York Giants: NFL Combine Provides New Targets for 2014 NFL Draft
New York Giants' New Targets for 2014 NFL Draft
Going into the 2014 NFL season, the New York Giants have a lot of question marks. The offensive line is in a rebuilding period after being decimated by injuries last season, and it's unclear how healthy David Baas or Chris Snee will be when they return. David Diehl retired after he played injured for most of 2014. With an encouraging season from rookie Justin Pugh, the Giants have a foundation to build on when looking at the offensive line, but there are other holes that need to be filled as well.
The Giants were unable to rush the passer effectively until late in the season when Justin Tuck came on strong. Tuck put up 8.5 sacks in the last five games of the season, but it's unclear whether the Giants will re-sign him or not. With Jason Pierre-Paul's recent injury history, it's unclear where the pass rush will come from next season.
New York is a mess in the middle of the field, as well as the secondary. They'd be smart to re-sign linebacker Jon Beason, but that's yet to happen. They don't have much else at the linebacker position. In the secondary, Prince Amukamara looked good at times but never established himself as a shut down corner. Terrell Thomas finally stayed fairly healthy last season, but he is a free agent and may not sign back with the Giants. If Stevie Brown can come back healthy, he will be solid along with Will Hill at the safety position.
The Giants need help in the passing game as well as the running game. After neck surgery, David Wilson's career is in question and it was a running back-by-committee for most of 2013. It looks as though Hakeem Nicks will sign with another team, and that leaves a void at the wide receiver position. Tight end Brandon Myers had a down season and isn't expected to return to New York this season, as he is a free agent.
With positions in need of filling on both sides of the ball, the Giants have a busy offseason ahead of them and it all starts with the 2014 NFL Draft. New York knows what they need, but with the completion of the NFL Combine, the Giants are sure to have their eyes on specific guys who impressed at the Combine.
5. OLB Anthony Barr
The Giants hold the 12th pick in the draft and if Anthony Barr is on the board, they need to select him. Barr is a 6-foot-5, 255 pound outside linebacker from UCLA who gives them strength and speed in pass rush. He will be lethal on the opposite side of Jason-Pierre Paul. Barr is a hybrid pass rusher who can fit well in a 3-4 defense and a 4-3 defense. He ran 4.66 40 at the Combine and proved why he is worth of a top-15 pick. With a strong presence like Barr rushing the quarterback, the Giants are one step closer to returning to 2007 playoff form.
4. CB Keith McGill
With the success of the Seattle Seahawks, many NFL teams are choosing to put big, physical safeties at corner back. It's time for the Giants to do the same. They haven't had a shut-down corner since Jason Sehorn, but this defensive back class is one of the deepest in recent memory. CB Keith McGill from Utah is 6-foot-3, 211 pounds and he is the playmaking corner the Giants have longed for. Unofficially, he ran a 4.47 and a 4.44 in his two Combine 40-yard dashes. McGill looked great in drills and his upside is remarkable. With a draft stock rising faster than any other player, the Giants better target McGill early in the draft.
3. TE Troy Niklas
There's no question that Eli Manning needs help at the tight end position. He needs that security blanket and he struggled last year without a consistently good pass-catching tight end. Troy Niklas from Notre Dame is a 6-foot-6, 270 pound tight end who can block as well as he can catch. The Giants like hard-working players with good football IQ and that's exactly the mold you'd fit Niklas into. Niklas chose not to run the 40-yard dash, which was disappointing, but if you watch some film, you'll see that he runs precise routes and is quick on his breaks. Niklas is a great all-around tight end and the Giants are sure to target him in the second or third round.
2. OG Gabe Jackson
Gabe Jackson is a 6-foot-3, 336-pound offensive guard from Mississippi State. Jackson didn't run well at the Combine -- a 5.51 40 -- but he was a top eight offensive lineman when it came to the broad jump and bench press. Jackson isn't very athletic, but at 336 pounds, you can't expect him to be. He's a strong prospect with tremendous upside and is quick off the snap. The Giants are in need of a big lineman like Jackson as they were pushed around in 2013.
1. RB Charles Sims
New York is in desperate need of a running back. Charles Sims from West Virginia is a big back who does it all and the Giants should be able to grab him in the mid-rounds of the draft. After taking a chance on Wilson, I think the Giants will look for a larger back like Sims. He's 6-foot, 214 pounds and ran an impressive 4.48 40. Sims is an experienced runner who was explosive up the middle and as a receiver. He is the type of back Eli Manning needs to bring back the screen game.
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