2014 NFL Draft: Ranking The New York Giants’ Top 5 Needs
Ranking The New York Giants' Top 5 Needs Going Into 2014 NFL Draft
Representing the nation's premier media-capital has its premiums and its pitfalls. The New York Giants' failed 2013 campaign has been scrutinized in the press ad nauseam, dissected and evaluated by pundits critical of last year's performance.
But 2014 signals the turning of a new leaf, and outside of the actual NFL season, these spring months are the most exciting time of the year for football fans. All of the uncertainty surrounding free agency and the 2014 NFL Draft raises a multitude of questions, but also brings hope for the following season.
With the 12th pick in a draft loaded with NFL talent, the Giants have a reason to be excited about the future. The team hasn't had this high of a draft pick in a decade, and they can go a number of different ways with their first-round selection.
Unfortunately for New York, a single pick won't correct all of the team's problems. The Giants have numerous holes at different positions that need immediate addressing. If they want to compete with the likes of the NFL elite next year, the Giants will have to find value throughout the draft. Securing quality NFL starting players at positions of need in days two and three is just as important as drafting a future Pro Bowler in day one.
I've ranked the Giants' five biggest positional needs for the 2014 NFL Draft in ascending order. I've tried to account for the current free agent rumors that surround the Giants in my assessment and factor them into my positional rankings.
5. Offensive Guard
Where the Giants currently stand, offensive guard is probably the least stable position. However, Pro-Bowl guard Chris Snee, maligned by injuries in 2013, has agreed to return on an inexpensive one-year deal.
The Giants are also rumored to be aggressively pursuing a number of young and talented guards once the free-agency signing period begins. The team also will try to re-sign Kevin Boothe for a deal close to the veteran's minimum. These rumored reinforcements will shore up a position of weakness before the draft and allow the Giants to address the interior offensive line in later rounds.
4. Tight End
The failed Brandon Myers experiment highlighted the team need for a tight need in 2014. New offensive coordinator Bob McAdoo utilizes the position in his West Coast system and the current team options, Larry Donnell, Adrien Robinson and Bear Pascoe, are all unproven. The Giants will need to find a pass-catching tight end this offseason, but can probably find great value in rounds three to four of the draft.
3. Offensive Tackle
The inconsistent play and late-season injury to left tackle Will Beatty raise legitimate concerns for the New York Giants organization about Beatty's future effectiveness. At this point, Beatty is scheduled to be healthy by the start of 2014, but if he fails to meet this deadline or performs subpar, quarterback Eli Manning will have another long season. The Giants badly need to reinforce Manning's blindside and if the right player falls to them at 12, they might use their first-round pick selecting a tackle for the second consecutive year.
The progression of defensive back Prince Amukamara in 2013 gives the Giants an already solid and still developing cornerstone for the future. Unfortunately, the rest of the depth chart at the position is cloaked in uncertainty. To solve this pressing issue, the Giants likely will use one of their first two picks on a cornerback with immediate starting potential, someone who they can plug in right away opposite Amukamara. The thought of a long-term Amukamara/Justin Gilbert combination is exciting to envision.
1. Wide Receiver
The imminent departure of Hakeem Nicks leaves the Giants very thin at wide receiver. Reuben Randle might develop into Nicks' natural replacement, but after a solid rookie campaign, Randle's development stagnated his sophomore year.
The Giants need to surround Manning with premium talent, and at the 12th pick, they will have a wide range of pass-catching options to choose from. At 6-foot-5, wide receiver Mike Evans might be the Giants' best pick. Evans is a fast, physical and dominating receiver who can stretch the field and will use his size to improve the Giants' red zone efficiency.