New York Giants: First Round Draft Preview

Photo: Aaron M. Sprecher - AP

Photo: Aaron M. Sprecher – AP

The New York Giants concluded the 2015 National Football League campaign with a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in week 17 to cap off a 7-9 season. In addition, the Tom Coughlin era ended for the Big Blue after the loss. Coughlin was, arguably, the greatest coach in Giants history, and now is succeeded by his offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.

The Giants’ break up with Coughlin was certainly a weird one. Typically, when a team has not made the playoffs in four seasons, the coach and the general manager get the pink slip. The Giants reported that Coughlin left on his own terms, but it has since come out that that may not totally be the case. Anyway, Coughlin is out and McAdoo is in, and this is definitely the biggest draft in Jerry Reese’s tenure as Giants general manager.

Patriots Giants FootballReese has certainly not been the best drafter since becoming the team’s general manager. He has found a few diamonds in the rough since becoming the assuming his role with the Giants in 2007. He found Jason Pierre-Paul and Odell Beckham Jr., who both happen to be freak athletes in the first round. Outside of that, he has not had much success.

This season he made a huge splash in free agency, basically because he had too. Reese went out and signed cornerback Janoris Jenkins, defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison, outside rusher Olivier Vernon from Miami, and he re-signed Pierre-Paul. The Giants defense now looks much more formidable after being the worst in the entire NFL last season.

Let us take a look at the Giants’ needs going into the 2016 campaign.

The team’s number one need this season is to add a middle linebacker. The Giants have not drafted a linebacker in the first round of the NFL Draft since Carl Banks in 1984, and they really have not had a solid one since Antonio Pierce was quarterbacking the defense.

Another need the Giants have is on the offensive line.

Eli Manning’s days are numbered. Eli was the first overall pick in 2004, but now he is 35 years old. Manning has also never missed a start since becoming the Giants starter.

The Giants need to get, at least, one more offensive lineman around Weston Richburg, Justin Pugh, and last year’s first round pick, Ereck Flowers. It is certainly a direction that they can go with the tenth overall pick.

There has also been some chatter that the Giants are very interested in an offensive tackle, as per Gary Myers from Rotoworld Football. If that is true, expect the Giants to either take Jack Conklin or Ronnie Stanley, depending on who is still available when the Giants get on the clock.

Elliott

Photo: Bradley Leeb – AP

A few other things that the Giants may potentially do at one is go with a running back or a wide receiver.

The best running back available in this draft is Ezekiel Elliott out of Ohio State. As intriguing as an offense sounds with Elliott and Beckham Jr. sounds, the Giants other needs crush the need of running back. Also, in this salary cap age, you don not want to overpay a running back because there are other pressing needs.

Even with Beckham Jr. on the roster, the Giants could take a wide receiver across from him with the tenth pick. New York needs a guy that can complement Odell and be that number two guy that Ruben Randle never could be. Laquon Treadwell from Ole Miss is who the Giants can potentially go after, but again, the Giants have much more pressing needs. At least this class of wide receivers pretty deep, so maybe the Giants can take Will Fuller from Notre Dame in the second round, or even Pharaoh Cooper from Georgia.

Here are some of the prospects the Giants could consider taking a more in-depth look at:

Ronnie Stanley – Offensive Tackle – Notre Dame

Ronnie StanleyIf the Giants could get Stanley at 10, it would be a big steal.

Stanley is one of the best offensive lineman that will be coming off the board on Thursday night. Stanley could have left Notre Dame after last season, but decided to stay to hone-in on his skills in his senior year.

Stanley is a big guy, standing at 6′ 6″ and 312-pounds. He also has great reach, and the experts rave about his foot speed. Stanley is a tremendous technical lineman, who needs his fundamentals to be a good NFL player.

This could be what the Giants need to strengthen their offensive line, and start to get back to the offensive line of the Super Bowl years. If Stanley is available at the tenth pick, the Giants should not have to think twice about taking him.

Jack Conklin – Offensive Tackle – Michigan State

Conklin is another 6′ 6″, 300-plus-pound offensive lineman that the Giants could really use to protect Eli Manning. When either of the aforementioned guys are inserted into the line, there could be a lot of moving parts. At the end of the day, that really is not an issue for the Big Blue.

Conklin shows tons of speed and toughness, but will not be an NFL-ready left tackle right away. While he would be a nice addition for the Giants, it seems unlikely that they would go with Conklin this high. Maybe if the team trades down, he would be a better option.

Myles Jack – Outside Linebacker – UCLA

Myles Jack

Photo: Danny Moloshok – AP

Myles Jack is a very intriguing linebacker from UCLA, and it would be a steal if he were to fall to 10. There is a potential that him and Owamagbe Odighizuwa can rekindle what they had on defense at UCLA.

Where some scouts get scared with Jack is that he has a knee injury. Supposedly, he has totally recovered from the injury, but the Giants will have to take a hard look into it.

One scout even said, “He’s the best player in the draft. He’s a slam dunk, probably the safest player in the draft.” Some people have even compared Jack to San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman, and adding a linebacker of that caliber could be a huge help to a recovering Giants defense.

Scouts also say that Jack is going to be honed into one position, unlike he was at UCLA, and can really thrive if that happens.

Keep it locked to Better Live Than Dead Sports for all the latest on the NFL Draft as the weekend continues!

Written by Chris Kowalchuk

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