Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld’s NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld’s college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they’re breaking down every team’s biggest needs and offering potential draft-day solutions.
For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.
No. 1 Team Need: Safety
It wouldn’t be a stretch to call the Giants’ safety depth chart the worst in the league. Perhaps they’ll re-sign Stevie Brown, though he was benched last year for Quintin Demps, who is also a free agent. SS Antrel Rolle bolted for Chicago. Left behind are people named Cooper Taylor and Nat Berhe, two former fifth-round picks who have combined to play 37 NFL snaps. Although his approach has differed based on his personnel, new DC Steve Spagnuolo generally uses one of his safeties in center field, and the other as an in-the-box defender. The Giants need multiple additions at safety.
No. 2 Team Need: Offensive line
The Giants’ offense looks explosive on paper, but they have a big hole up front. In an ideal world, GM Jerry Reese would find a long-term answer at left guard in the draft. The Giants could also target a right tackle, and kick incumbent RT Justin Pugh inside after he took a step back as a sophomore. Either way, this team can’t afford to keep trotting out John Jerry as a starter. While OC Ben McAdoo likes to use no-huddle hurry-up packages and spread the field in “11” personnel, coach Tom Coughlin also values the ability to pound the ball down an opponent’s throat when needed.
No. 3 Team Need: Defensive end
I debated between linebacker and defensive end when trying to pinpoint New York’s third-biggest need. I went with D-End because franchise player Jason Pierre-Paul is in another contract year, and projected LE Robert Ayers is recovering from a severely torn pectoral. Damontre Moore and George Selvie aren’t realistic candidates to log heavy snaps. Spagnuolo’s defense relies on generating pressure in the front four, and Spags likes defensive linemen capable of rushing the passer from various positions.
Norris’ Mock Draft
Round 1 (9): EDGE Randy Gregory, Nebraska – As Evan mentioned, JPP is on a one year deal. If it is not immediately, edge rushing will be a need. Gregory is not really a type to help from multiple alignments, but he has the level of ability to win in both phases of pass rushing: around and through his opponent. For how often his weight is discussed, Gregory flashed strength as a pass rusher.
Round 2 (40): S Quinten Rollins, Miami of Ohio – Yes, safety. Specifically free. Despite playing only one season of collegiate football, Rollins was a natural in terms of timing and ball skills. He is so fluid for the position. Rollins tested like a below average athlete at defensive back, but I think he plays with quickness on the field due to his vision, recognition and angles.
Round 3 (74): S James Sample, Louisville – Evan gets his wish with back to back safeties. Gerod Holliman received a lot of attention in Louisville’s defensive backfield due to interceptions. Sample is the better player, albeit a different position. Sample is best as a split safety or closer to the line of scrimmage. He would be a nice complement to Rollins.
Round 4 (108): OL Sean Hickey, Syracuse – Hickey projects to guard, although he does have experience at tackle. He has enough talent to contribute early if called upon.
Round 5 (144): OL Robert Myers, Tenn State – Mays is a bit of a projection compared to Hickey. He is less fluid and lacks balance in areas, but a coach and scouting department might want to work with his “upside.” That dreaded word with varying meanings.
Round 6 (185): DL Bobby Richardson, Indiana – I always have a number of third day favorites. Richardson is another. It is difficult to pinpoint where these prospects will be drafted, because 5-7th round grades are only slightly different on scales. Richardson might have been the best player on a fairly weak defense.
Round 7 (226): LB/EDGE Deiontrez Mount, Louisville – More favorites. I like Mount more than the two Louisville players who were ahead of him on the depth chart. Mount is a very good athlete who uses his length to create space and separate. Teams could view him as a versatile strong side linebacker who moves down into a pass rushing role.
Round 7 (245): RB Gus Johnson, Stephen F. Austin – The Giants have selected a seventh-round running back in two of the last four drafts. Johnson is a physical runner with size. The running back Combine forty times are being re-written at pro days.
Giants Current First-Team Offense
QB: Eli Manning
RB: Rashad Jennings
WR: Odell Beckham
WR: Victor Cruz
WR: Rueben Randle
TE: Larry Donnell
LT: Will Beatty
LG: John Jerry
RG: Geoff Schwartz
RT: Justin Pugh
Giants Current First-Team Defense
LE: Robert Ayers
DT: Cullen Jenkins
MLB: Jon Beason
WLB: J.T. Thomas
SLB: Jonathan Casillas
CB: Prince Amukamara
FS: Nat Berhe
SS: Cooper Taylor
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