In a draft in which many believed they would focus on rebuilding their offense, the New York Giants used their final three picks in the 2014 NFL Draft to select three versatile defensive players. The Giants were an improved defensive team last season, but the players they brought in on Saturday will add depth to multiple position groups and strengthen their roster.
With the 152nd overall pick, the Giants drafted Nat Berhe out of San Diego State. Berhe played strong safety during his time with the Aztecs, but also has the ability to play the free safety and nickel cornerback positions. Berhe’s strong instincts help make up for his lack of elite speed and enable help him make plays all over the field.
New York used their second fifth-round pick to draft Devon Kennard out of USC. Kennard lined up at several different spots for the Trojans, including defensive end, outside linebacker and inside linebacker. He has the look of an NFL linebacker, but failed to become an impact player at USC. Kennard lacks the burst of an elite pass rusher, so the Giants will likely try him at the SAM linebacker position.
The Giants used their final pick of the 2014 NFL Draft on Notre Dame cornerback Bennett Jackson. At 6-foot and 195 pounds, Jackson has good size for an NFL cornerback. He also has strong ball skills after beginning his college career as a wide receiver. Jackson is not an elite secondary prospect, but he should be able to develop into a player who can matchup against wide or slot receivers.
In addition to being versatile defensive players, Berhe, Kennard and Jackson each have the ability to contribute on special teams. With the additions of Trindon Holliday and Quintin Demps in the return game and the selections of Berhe, Kennard and Jackson through the draft, New York’s special teams should be much improved.
Another trait shared by these three newcomers is that they were each team captains at their respective schools. In total, the Giants selected five players in the 2014 NFL Draft who were captains. The team appears interested in not only drafting quality players, but quality people.