With the 12th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the New York Giants have the team’s highest selection since 2004, the year the team drafted Philip Rivers in a sign-and-trade for franchise quarterback Eli Manning. With two Super Bowl MVP’s to his name, Manning directly shows the kind of lasting impact a blue-chip first-round draft pick can have on his team. In 2014, four quarterbacks are expected to go in the top 10, leaving the Giants in great position to end up picking a player of elite talent.
While the possibility of securing a Mike Evans, Eric Ebron or even Anthony Barr sounds enticing, I believe the Giants should trade down in the draft to acquire additional picks. At pick 20 or even 30, the Giants should still be able to get an immediate starter with Pro Bowl potential.
The team needs help on the defensive line, and the first defensive tackle to get picked will probably hear his name called somewhere between 15-20. If the Giants trade down into this range, Pittsburgh product Aaron Donald is an intriguing option, and would fill a void created by the departure of Linval Joseph.
After Jadeveon Clowney, the drop off at defensive end is substantial. The second and third best defensive ends, Kony Ealy and Dee Ford, might go through Day 1 of the draft without getting selected.
Even after all of general manager Jerry Reese’s work this offseason, the Giants still need a strong draft to ensure that New York fields a competitive team in 2014. If the Giants can trade down to obtain an additional Day 1 or Day 2 selection, they only increase their odds of making the playoffs in 2014.
If 2007 and 2011 proved only one thing, it’s that when the Giants make the playoffs, anything can happen.