Every year, around NFL draft time, football fans start to hear the buzz about the prospects their team could be targeting with their first round selection. Some years – the likely selection becomes clear a week, even two before draft day. Other years, the team is linked to a baker's dozen potential picks.
For the New York Giants this April, it's the latter. Today, Giants 101 starts the process of pitting these prospects against each other, putting into motion the grand debate as to who New York will select with the 19th pick.
OG Mike Pouncey, Florida — 6'5, 303 lbs.
Pouncey is a player that has been gaining steam as the draft approaches, but the chances of him being available at that 19th selection slot are pretty solid for the Giants. Not quite as initially impressive a prospect as his brother Maurkice, Pouncey is certainly a first-round talent with his biggest assets being his versatility as an interior lineman, as well as his instincts and commitment to his craft. The physical skills are there as well, as Pouncey shows good strength, footwork, and lateral agility. Quick off the snap and aggressive, Pouncey shows a good motor on the field.
New York has some uncertainty along the interior line, with Rich Seubert's injury concerns a question mark, and Shaun O'Hara coming off an injury-plagued season as well. Pouncey's versatility and commitment to the game could be very attractive to the Giants coaching staff, and he could man down an interior line spot alongside Chris Snee for years to come.
DT Corey Liuget, Illinois — 6'2, 298 lbs.
The first words you hear associated with Corey Liuget are the first words you hear associated with the New York Giants defense – pass rush. Liuget is a guy who gives interior offensive linemen nightmares in one on one situations with his speed, quickness, and explosiveness off the snap. Liuget plays with a strong base, and is certainly no slouch against the run.
Liuget's explosive, active, violent approach to the game is one that will fit in very well in this Giants defensive front seven. Barry Cofield is far from a lock to re-sign with Big Blue, and this is a prospect that certainly fits the mold of what the Giants look for along their defensive front line.
If it came down to these two prospects for the Giants on draft day, my vote would certainly be cast for Corey Liuget of Illinois.
Playing alongside Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, Liuget could quickly find himself in position to be an impact player for the Giants defense with several one on one opportunities along the interior. This is a prospect with a very high ceiling and the potential to be a true dominant force from the defensive tackle position in a 4-3 scheme. His closing speed isn't elite – and the sack numbers may not be overly impressive, but make no mistake – this is a guy who can consistently collapse the pocket and put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Liuget has a great attitude and approach to the game, and certainly looks the part of a defensive coach's dream prospect.Tags: 2011 NFL Draft, Corey Liuget, Football, Mike Pouncey, New York, New York Giants, NFL