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An Early Look at the 2011 NFL Draft: New York Giants First Round Candidates

January 11th, 2011 at 9:58 PM
By Hazem Kiswani

The New York Giants 2010 season ended early despite a 10-6 record, and the team's front office is likely well into draft preparation now that the team is locked into the 19th spot of the first round. While the team will no doubt explore all options surrounding the pick whether it be a trade or cutting the list of potential targets for the always vital first round selection, there are several positions that are unlikely to be addressed by the team in the first round – such as quarterback and wide receiver.

While a lot can change after the combine and personal workouts, we will take a look at four potential candidates for that Giants mid-first round selection in April.

New York Giants Keith Bulluck (53) looks to recover a fumble by Washington Redskins Anthony Armstrong (13) in the second quarter at New Meadowlands Stadium in week 13 of the NFL in East Rutherford, New Jersey on December 5, 2010. The Giants defeated the Redskins 31-7. UPI /John Angelillo

The Giants need an impact linebacker – exactly what Keith Bulluck wasn't.

OLB Akeem Ayers – UCLA

A complete, versatile, and instinctive player at the linebacker position, Ayers has the early look of a prime candidate for the New York Giants on the first night of the April draft. Keith Bulluck is not a long-term solution for the Giants, and Clint Sintim has shown the Giants very little to warrant a starting job going forward.

Ayers is an absolute playmaker, with quick feet, good range, and a nose for the football. A fluid athlete with an impressive size-speed combination, Ayers is an asset in coverage. The type of athlete needed at the linebacker position in today's NFL.

OLB Bruce Carter – North Carolina

An ACL injury and an inconsistent senior campaign has put quite a hit on Carter's stock going into the draft process, but there is still a lot of buzz around Carter as a potential first-round prospect, and for good reason. An explosive linebacker with a very strong combination of instincts and athleticism, Carter shows good vision and an ability to consistently shed blockers and get to the ball-carrier.

If Carter is unable to participate in the NFL combine and pro-day workouts (which looks like a real possibility at this point), he could slip well into the second round in April. That said, if he can prove that he's healthy enough to be close to full-strength by the NFL preseason, Carter may find himself in play in the second half of the first round.

OT Nate Solder – Colorado

At 6'9", 315 lbs. and blessed with unbelievable athleticism – it's easy to see why Solder's stock is soaring as we near the NFL combine. Solder shows the quick feet and agility necessary to handle the NFL's increasingly athletic defensive ends, as well as the mobility to get out and erase defenders as a run blocker.

Solder has exceptional work habits and shows the skill set and intangibles to be a pro-bowl NFL tackle.

DT Stephen Paea – Oregon State

With a ridiculous combination of strength and quickness, Stephen Paea has all the physical tools to be a disruptive force in the middle in a 4-3 scheme. The Giants' Barry Cofield is coming off a strong 2010 campaign, and Chris Canty rebounded nicely from a disappointing 2009 season with the Giants, but Paea's excellent lower body strength and his aggressive approach allow him to really be an explosive force against the run, as he's consistently forced opposing offensive lines to double and triple team him.

Adding Paea's skill set and physical ability to an already strong Giants defensive line group could make the unit an absolute nightmare for opposing offenses, and the Giants put a high value on defensive lineman year in and year out in the off-season, continuing to look to build the strongest front four in the NFL.

Tags: 2011 NFL Draft, Akeem Ayers, New York, New York Giants, NFL

81 Responses to “An Early Look at the 2011 NFL Draft: New York Giants First Round Candidates”

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  1.  demo3356 says:

    A Draft Piece from Haz! Nice Work Bro! I like Ayers..

  2.  demo3356 says:

    What about Ingram or Kyle Rudolph? Thoughts?

  3.  ri giantsfan says:

    Great article!

    Question, the LB, I believe his name is travis lewis…is he not mentioned bc hes staying in school? I know I saw his name thrown around alot before…

  4. Right now some have the Arkansas tight end ranked above Rudolph and if he has a good combine will likely be the first one taken (DJ Williams)

    Id encourage Reese to go BPA more than ever this year mainly because free agency may come after the draft. Need can be addressed then (of course im not saying ignore needs but im basically saying im okay with getting a non- lb or non OL prospect in the 1st round)

  5. stuart harfenistSTU H says:

    Haz: Not another D Lineman, It is the position that they are deep at. They need LBers. O line help not another DT. They can’t waste the 1st round pick on that position when the current crop of LBers stink.

    • Cofield is a free agent and Bernard… who knows?

      That leaves you with just Joseph and Canty.

      Not as deep as you would think.

      • Matthew Kiernankujo says:

        Same could be said about DE. Should we lose Kiwi, what are we left with? Osi, Tuck, JPP and…what?! I’m not saying that we should draft one at #19, but bringing in a body wouldn’t be too far out of the realm of possibility.

  6. Brandon Castelbuonocast58 says:

    does anyone know or think that jimmy smith is too high for pick 19, or think he falls to our 2nd rd pick

  7. Matthew Kiernankujo says:

    2 LBs, a DT and an OL? I hope this is just the first in a series of piece from the only person whose opinion carries more weight with me in terms of draft stuff than Samard!

    •  12dan.S. says:

      I agree. I’m hoping to see more pieces from Haz around draft time. IMO Samard and Haz are better than Kiper and McShay lol

      • Steve Smithshmitty013 says:

        Kiper’s not as bad as most people make him out to be, but McShay is a dope. Mayock is definitely my favorite.

        •  12dan.S. says:

          I don’t have anything against Kiper or McShay when it comes to their opinion, I just can’t stand when they argue like 12 year old girls. If they disagree on a prospect they look like they’re about to cry and go tell the other’s parents… I would much rather come on here and read what these guys have to say about the prospects that fit the Giants needs…

  8.  12dan.S. says:

    Ayers is my early favorite…. He seems like the right pick right now, kinda like Nicks and Phillips did in their drafts.

  9. Matthew Kiernankujo says:

    I’m coming around in regards to the potential drafting of a TE at #19. But I just can’t shake the feeling that it would be a pick that would be wasted given Gilbride’s clear undervaluing of that position in this scheme. I would much rather pursue a FA or spend a lower pick so as o minimize the potential letdown.

    But I also get geeked up whenever I think of a guy like Rudolph on this team!

  10. Brandon Castelbuonocast58 says:

    i like ayers or rudolph at 19 dont know about anyone else yet

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