Here are some of the potential targets for the Giants in rounds 1-4.
Safeties Reggie Nelson, Brandon Merriweather, Michael Griffin: OK. Nelson is probably gone. If we catch a break and Nelson is there, you pick him and we move on. Nelson is a top-10 talent. Immediate difference maker for any team. Merriweather is right there with Nelson. Both guys will dominate at safety and offer corner help. A lot of value there. Merriweather has off-field stuff that may push him down especially with the new commissioner playing hard ball on off field problems.
Defenisve tackle Alan Branch: This John Henderson-type is now projected in that #20 range. If he’s healthy, he has to get a lot of consideration. All depends on what they want at defensive tackle right now – a massive space eater like Branch or do they want a more disruptive penetrator? My guess is he doesn’t get past the Bengals at #18.
Linebackers Lawrence Timmons and Jon Beason: I believe the Giants will have their choice of any outside linebacker in the draft. I also believe their choice will be to pass on any first-round outside linebacker.
Offensive guard Ben Grubbs: This could be the surprise pick. Big question is “Are the Giants comfortable with David Diehl/Guy Whimper at left tackle?” If they are, we can forget tackles Joe Staley or Levi Brown. And if they are, what does it say about the move to bring in Leonard Davis? In my opinion, Davis would have been a guard for the Giants, not a left tackle. We lost to Dallas on Leonard (where he will play guard). Does that leave a hole at guard for the Giants? The #1 guard on the board will be there at #20. It would allow us to build a very strong run blocking interior for Brandon Jacobs. Building the team around Jacobs makes sense to me. A superior run-blocking interior will makes it easier on Eli Manning and it will improve the red zone TD percentage. Don’t be surprised if Grubbs is our man in the first round.
Tight end Greg Olsen: I would love this pick so we can go two TE-sets with Jacobs. Olsen is one of the few match-up advantages you can find in this draft. He’s the only one at tight end. Olsen/Shockey in two TE-sets. We can move them around and split them in the slot. It would be a match-up nightmare and give Eli another short/intermediate area option. Olsen also has elite speed for the position to keep the safeties honest. His blocking isn’t great? Who cares? He has size. You can teach him to block better. Dick Vermeil says teaching a tight end to block is one of the easiest things to do in the NFL.
Defensive tackle Justin Harrell: Very tough run plugger. I’m OK with this pick but only with a trade down.
Defensive tackle Amobi Okoye: I think he drops. Teams will back away from making a big commitment to a kid who is not ready for full-time duty in the NFL. He’s going to struggle versus the run.
Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe: He’ll be there. Big and strong wide receiver. Anquan Boldin-type. He can do a lot of things Amani Toomer does. He’ll work the middle. He’ll catch the slants. He’ll block. With all of the wide receiver depth in the mid-rounds I would pass on Bowe in the first round. I love him as a player. But I think we can find starter talent at wide receiver later in the draft.
Wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett: He’ll be there but he should be off the round-one board at this point. Nobody will take him in round 1.
My pick: If Nelson is there he’s the easy pick. If not, I go with Branch at #20. If Branch is gone, we take Merriweather at #20 or swing a small trade down for Merriweather or Griffin.
Cornerbacks Jonathan Wade, Josh Wilson, Eric Wright, Marcus McCauley: Wade and Wilson are a little short. Lack of height may push them into round 3. Probably a reach for these players at #51. Wright could be a homerun round 2 pick. Excellent size/speed with Wright. Limited experience with only about 12 college starts. Plenty of off-the-field baggage could eliminate Wright for the Giants. McCauley has elite measurables but his senior year was terrible. I’d rather not pick a guy who was benched just a few months back. I think they’ll pass on all of these second-round cornerbacks.
Safeties Tanard Jackson and Eric Weddle: If they don’t go safety in round one, here are two guys who should have a huge NYG bulls’ eye on their chests. Both are talented enough to be premier coverage safeties and help at cornerback. Draftdaddy.com believes Weddle has cornerback-starter skills in the NFL. I think he’s better at safety. Both would be outstanding round-2 draft picks.
Wide receivers Craig Davis, Dewayne Jarrett, and Jason Hill: Jarrett is a round-2 prospect at this point. #51 may be a little low for him but I think it’s going to be really close. There is a lot of WR-talent in this draft. He could slide to the Giants at 51. Hill is a solid possession WR with surprising timed speed. Davis has excellent hands and speed.
Running back Brian Leonard: A lot to like here. Versatility, speed, and hands make him a match-up problem. Giants could use one. Leonard is a no-risk round-2 pick.
Linebackers Stewart Bradley and Justin Durant: Bradley will be a rookie starter somewhere. Durant has speed and can play any inside or out.
Tight end Zach Miller: He’ll be there at #51. Had round-1 production but, like Jarrett, did not time like a first rounder. Good player. Already a strong blocker. Can’t stretch the seam in the NFL but he has #1 TE ability. He certainly is a step down from Olsen, but he is a guy who would allow us to go 2-TE and step in if Shockey is injured again.
My pick: Giants consider linebacker help. Eventually they make a move for Jarrett. Possibly a slight trade up to get him. Dwayne Jarrett is the man in round 2. If Jarrett is out of the picture, the Giants pick Brian Leonard.
Offensive guards Manuel Ramirez, Josh Beekman, Andy Alleman: If they feel the need for a guard, here are a few round 3 targets. Ramirez seems like a perfect fit for this team.
Defensive tackles Brandon Mebane, Paul Soliai: Mebane is a quick penetrator. Soliai an enormous 2-gapper.
Linebackers Rufus Alexander, Justin Durant, Quincy Black: Alexander dropped because of subpar workout and size. But he fits a need at outside linebacker. Durant and Black are two of the top athletes at linebacker in the draft.
Wide receivers James Jones, Paul Williams, Laurent Robinson: All three have #1 wide receiver skills.
Running back Lorenzo Booker: Explosive change-of-pace and receiving threat out of backfield.
Cornerback Usama Young: One of the top athletes at the position and a 4-year starter.
Tight end Ben Patrick: Still developing. #1 tight end tools.
My pick: A lot of guard talent could be there. I’d be very happy with a mauler like Ramirez. Black at linebacker is certainly in the mix. Just too tough to pass on defensive tackle Mebane from CAL. Giants go for the disruptive defensive tackle. Mebane is the pick.
Safeties Marvin White, Brannen Condren, Melvin Bullitt: Three explosive hitters at safety.
Cornerbacks Kenny Scott, Courtney Brown, John Bowie: Three more elite athletes at cornerback with 4.3 speed.
Running back Kolby Smith: I believe the guy has NFL starter tools.
Linebackers Rory Johnson, Kyle Shotwell, Stephen Nicholas: Outside linebacker depth is needed. All three fit the bill.
My pick: If Giants pass on a safety early, Marvin White is the guy. I believe the Giants know they must upgrade over Will Demps and they do it with a true difference maker early. So I expect a safety in rounds 1-3. With a new starting safety already on the roster, the Giants pick linebacker Rory Johnson in round 4.
Rd 1: S Reggie Nelson
Rd 2: WR Dwayne Jarrett
Rd 3: DT Brandon Mebane
Rd 4: OLB Rory Johnson