May 072014
 
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Zack Martin, Notre Dame Fighting Irish (February 22, 2014)

Zack Martin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2014 NFL Draft Preview: What Will Happen vs What Should Happen

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

Now that my positional previews and top 10 grades are out, I’d like to put something together that combines the overall draft approach with what I think will happen. As I have done in recent years, I will make picks for NYG in real time and compare them with analysis following the draft.

Two things I’m really not in to are mock drafts and a ranking order of team needs. I think the overhype of draft media has blown up what the draft process really is. There are far too many “experts” out there spewing out pointless lists of needs and likely destinations for players and it has really clouded the process for fans. What NYG needs here is very plain and very simple; they need better football players on offense and defense. There are spots available for better players all over the place. We need to accept that as a fact and make the decisions from there. This process isn’t as complicated as some fans make it out to be. Simply grade out a lot of players, check your current roster for space available, and find value with every draft pick you make. You need to avoid the situations where you limit yourself to a certain position of players because Mel Kiper considers it to be the top need for a team. Value will be there every time your team is on the clock and it’s foolish to overlook that.

With that off my chest, here is what I think NYG will do, and should do these next few days.

ROUND 1

This is a deeper-than-usual draft and I’m sure a lot of teams will be looking to move down. Staying put is by far the most likely thing we are going to see on Thursday night. I can’t stress enough that this selection needs to be the top player available on the grade board, regardless of position (unless of course we are talking about a QB). I can make a legit case for OT, LB, DT, DE, S, WR, G and even CB. When looking at the current NYG depth chart, there is a spot for a guy at all those positions. So with that in mind, this decision shouldn’t be a difficult one. I place a lot of value in players in the trenches on both sides and I think there is going to be a match when NYG is on the clock. It’s almost impossible and pointless to try and project the top 11 selections, but we can get a general idea here.

What I think NYG will do:

Zack Martin – OT/Notre Dame

They will have a similar outlook/grade on him as they had on Pugh and his skill set is NFL ready for a few spots. With the instability at guard and tackle, Martin could be the smartest selection this team can make. Will he be an All-Pro? I don’t think so. But that isn’t the point of the draft. Just find good players that can get their job done at a high level. The versatility is a plus here. He could start from day one at a few spots and help revamp this offense.

What I think NYG should do:

Aaron Donald – DT/Pittsburgh

I’ve been on team-Donald for a few months now and I won’t change between now and the first round. Donald is a difference maker and will make plays, no question. The lack of weight doesn’t bother me and his short frame with long arms will make him a terror for linemen to deal with. We are talking about one of the best athletes the DT position has ever seen here. Donald will help the players around him because he can’t be handled by one lineman. How long has it been since we’ve seen that here? The impact Geno Atkins has had on the league has strengthened this notion. If he is available, he should be the pick without hesitation.

ROUND 2

Because NYG can go in so many different directions with their first pick, this will be a little more difficult to project, which is fine. Because of where they pick and this being such a strong class, there is a good chance they will have the opportunity to bring in another top 32 talent on their grading board. As I said earlier, they are not in a spot where they can afford to be picky with positions. Find the good football players and bring them in to compete for spots on the roster and/or provide the much needed depth. This WR class has, rightfully so, received a lot of attention. It is the deepest we’ve seen in a long time and I think there is going to be a big time talent available that you wouldn’t see in years past. In addition, I can see the top RB on their board still being there when NYG is on the clock. The demand for them isn’t high this year and we could see the top guys fall an extra 15-20 spots. The value will be there for NYG.

What I think NYG will do:

Cody Latimer – WR/Indiana

I’ve been talking up Latimer for months now, back to the day where the draft media had him as a 3rd/4th rounder. His performance on tape was outstanding in 2013 despite having a low level of talent to play with at Indiana. NYG is going to look to add a WR with size and speed in somewhere in this draft. They really need a guy that can play the outside and bring a physical presence to the passing game. I think they will have a high grade on Latimer because he brings exactly that to the table with a high upside. His movement ability at 210+ pounds is impressive and we aren’t talking about a raw talent. Latimer has a legit set of WR skills to work with that could make an early impact.

What I think NYG should do:

Joel Bitonio – OT/Nevada

I would take Latimer in a heartbeat in round 2. I have him graded as a top 32 overall guy. But to keep the variety for this piece, I went with someone else. Bitonio is a first round caliber player on my board that can play a few different spots along the line. If there is one attribute I’ve wanted added to this team over the past few years, it is toughness. I always want physical, aggressive, mean guys that want to beat people up on my team. Bitonio brings that approach to the trenches every time he steps on the field. I think he projects best at guard but he could be a factor at tackle if need be. I think Pugh could give NYG more stability at LT and while it’s not my most ideal approach, he would be better than Beatty. That opens things up for Bitonio at RT or at one of the guard spots because I think Schwartz could fare well outside if the team needed. This would really upgrade the NYG line by a lot.

ROUND 3

The start of round three is where I start to get really in to this thing. Rounds 3-5 are where drafts are won and lost. If NYG goes OL/WR with their first two picks, the options are still wide open but they may need to take a harder look at the defensive side of the ball. By no means do they restrict themselves to a few groups of positions, but there needs to be additions made to a defense that has been so up an down over the past few years. In an ideal world, there would be some defensive line talent there but when looking at this class, I don’t see the depth there. It could be slim pickings at this point and they can’t afford to reach for position-based prospects just yet.

What I think NYG will do:

CJ Fiedorowicz – TE/Iowa

NYG hasn’t exactly left the approach of traditional tight ends and I don’t expect them to as long as Coughlin is here. Their TE situation was awful last year and there isn’t anything on this roster that leads one to believe that it will be a formidable group in 2014. FIedorowicz may not be the athletic-based receiver that can take the top off a defense, but he is a reliable pass catcher and a very good run blocker. The Giants OL woes increase the value of a guy like Fiedorowicz. His impact can be felt right away in both the run and passing games, respectively. This is a low risk pick that may not have the enormous upside, but will provide some stability to a position without it as they currently sit.

What I think NYG should do:

Montavious Bryant – WR/Clemson

I think Bryant has as good shot as any WR in this class to be the top guy out of the group in a few years. He has big time ability downfield and there is more wiggle to him underneath with the ball in his hands than given credit. NYG needs a “danger-factor” in this passing game. A guy that can get off the point of attack and knife through the secondary in to the deep route tree. They have some other pieces already in place that will make it a bit easier for a talent like Bryant, and I think he could make an early impact. His potential was a little hidden at Clemson because of the scheme and what was already there. I think this is a serious talent worth going after at this point.

ROUND 4

Day three will be a fun one to watch. This is the area of the draft where you can start going after positions a little bit more because chances are there will be value everywhere. This is where the grading process across the league is really different. At this point of what I think NYG will do, they have gone OL, WR, and DE. There are enough spots of need where the high grade can stand out.

What I think NYG will do:

Anthony Johnson – DT/LSU

Even though I’m not personally high on Johnson, I think NYG is going to like him enough to bring him in day four. He is a tools-rich player that shows flashes of dominance throughout his three years at LSU. NYG will like the blend of size, power, and speed. In his defense, he was put in to different roles along that LSU defensive front, some of which simply didn’t fit his game. He can be the attacking presence inside that this defense really needs. Paired up with Hankins down the road, this could be a nice balance of staying power and upfield penetration that all 4-3 front are looking for. Johnson has upside that remains untapped.

What I think NYG should do:

Travis Swanson – C/Arkansas

From what I can gather, Swanson is going to be available at the beginning of day three. He is my top graded center and this is position that NYG really needs to try and upgrade. The middle of that line has been tossed around for the past few years and it needs to stop. Swanson would be a nice initial presence to have in there. He has a big body with powerful, but light legs which allows him make an impact every down. He’s been the top center in the SEC for a few years now (Barrett Jones included) and I think he can be yet another rookie that makes the early impact.

ROUND 5

There are good players taken in the fifth round every year. Again, this is where the scouts can really make their mark because even though the talent starts to thin out, there are impact guys available. You’ll start to see more small school prospects being taken at this point and Reese has made it a point to scour those markets for NFL-caliber players with the upside. If they are missing out on offensive skill players by this pick, you can be assured they’ll go after one here. Don’t overlook the DB positions either, there are always some available here that nobody expected.

What I think NYG will do:

Bryan Stork – C/Florida State

In what I think NYG will do, this is their second offensive line pick. I think they will look to acquire two players along that line this weekend. Stork is a good athlete in space but showed some impressive power presence against his bigger, tougher opponents. He could definitely come in right away and compete for a center job that appears to be up for grabs. Stork is an NYG type player when it comes to his blue collar approach and consistent level of play. Likely deemed for backup duty, Stork could be the security blanket should Walton not bounce back.

What I think NYG should do:

Jordan Zumwalt – LB/UCLA

Overlooked prospect that would fit the NYG scheme perfectly, Zumwalt was one of the most underrated defenders in the country last year. Physically I love what he brings to the table. There is a good amount of speed and quickness to him in space, but he plays a power game between the tackles. Zumwalt is an old school tough guy that will try to beat guys up. He showed good diagnosing ability and he can cover up the seam while chasing tight ends and backs in pass defense. I think he is going to be a starter down the road.

ROUND 6

The final picks of the draft may not get as much attention from fans as the early selections, but you need to consider it just as important. There are going to be plenty of guys here that will make an impact in the coming years. These can be an experimental picks on an athletes with impressive tools, or it can be a guy that lacks the tool set but was a productive player in college. I just want these pick to be guys that you know will come in with a chip on their shoulders trying to make this team and open up some eyes. I don’t want character concerns here.

Ahmad Dixon – S/Baylor

NYG will be looking to add an athletic safety at some point and even though I’m not high on him, Dixon has ability that could put him in to a contributing role right away. He is really aggressive and physical, showing the consistent ability to close gaps and finish off a ball carrier. He struggled to make good, quick decisions though. He doesn’t read the action around him and was often caught out of position. I think it takes time for him to learn the mental side of the game but I think Reese will see some Will Hill in him when it comes to the ability to fly around and create opportunities for the defense as a whole.

What I think NYG should do:

Marcel Jensen – TE/Fresno State

I’ve spoken about Jensen a few times here. I think he has more upside of any TE in this class outside of Niklas because of the size/speed/power presence combination. He stood out in every Fresno State game I watched. He doesn’t dominate at the point of attack the way someone as big as him should, but the approach is there. He isn’t a soft player, I just think the scheme did not give him the opportunity to develop his blocking ability as much. The NYG TE situation is as bad as its been in awhile and I don’t think the solution is on the current roster. I think this would be a good opportunity for Jensen to come in to and show what he’s got over the next 2-3 seasons.

ROUND 6 (2)

The final pick of the draft may not get as much attention from fans as the early selections, but you need to consider it just as important. There are going to be plenty of guys here that will make an impact in the coming years. This can be an experimental pick on an athlete with impressive tools, or it can be a guy that lacks the tool set but was a productive player in college. I just want this pick to be a guy that you know will come in with a chip on his shoulder trying to make this team and open up some eyes. I don’t want character concerns here.

What I think NYG will do:

Carlos Fields, Jr – LB/Winston-Salem State

Division II player that was a two time conference player of the year. Fields is a violent player that I think the NYG coaching staff thinks they need. There has been a lack of physical, tough play for awhile and I truly think that’s been one of the major downfalls here. Fields has the frame and natural presence to play the strong side down the road. But he can really move as well and may end up being a guy to fill the weak side if need be. Initially he could be a force on special teams which we all know is necessary at this point.

What I think NYG should do:

Travis Carrie – CB/Ohio

Personally, Carrie is my favorite sleeper from a small school in this entire draft class. I’ve seen him play enough to know he can move well enough to play CB at the next level. He can play in any scheme that wants a physical corner, which is where I see most schemes heading if not already there. Carrie is a top-notch intangible type prospect that does all the little things right. He will be a dependable young player that will take the necessary steps to evolve in to an NFL-quality player. I think the talent is a hidden gem here and I would love to see what he can do for NYG.

In short, here are the pre-draft comparisons

What I think WILL happen

1 – Zack Martin – OT/Notre Dame

2 – Cody Latimer – WR/Indiana

3 – CJ Fiedorowicz – TE/Iowa

4 – Anthony Johnson – DT/LSU

5 – Bryan Stork – C/Florida State

6 – Ahmad Dixon – S/Baylor

6 – Carlos Fields, Jr – LB/Winston-Salem State

What I think SHOULD happen

1 – Aaron Donald – DT/Pittsburgh

2 – Joel Bitonio – OT/Nevada

3 – Montavious Bryant – WR/Clemson

4 – Travis Swanson – C/Arkansas

5 – Jordan Zumwalt – LB/UCLA

6 – Marcel Jensen – TE/Fresno State

6 – Travis Carrie – CB/Ohio

There you have it guys….thanks again for contributing to the discussions and I look forward to recapping the mayhem in the coming weeks!

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