Everyone loves mock drafts, but the truth is they are kind of silly. Every draft day there are millions of unforeseen scenarios and trades that alter everything. It is nearly impossible to anticipate who will be available at a given time. That being said, Giants 101 recently did some very heavy research into how the New York Giants approach the NFL Draft and will now use that as a projective tool for 2012.
Here is a recap of some of the many takeaways the research offered us.
1. Over 71% of the time, the New York Giants draft for pass offense and defense. Cornerback, wide receiver, and defensive end make up the lions share of their top picks (outside of the quarterback).
2. Running back and tight end are among the least valued positions on the Giant draft board over the first four rounds.
Despite needs in the backfield and at tight end, the Giants aren't likely to address those issues until later on in the draft. They are more likely to continue to build upon premium positions such as wide receiver and pass rusher early in the draft. Since it is almost impossible to guess whom will be available at the 32 spot, we here at Giants 101 were able to narrow the field based on draft philosophy.
Here is some background on aforementioned players:
Both Perry and Curry fit nicely into the pass rush rotation from day one while projecting as a possible replacement for Mathias Kiwanuka at the SAM linebacker spot in a few seasons. Maybe even Osi Umenyiora as well. If one or both of them depart in the next 2-3 seasons, it will be absolutely necessary for the Giants to add another elite pass rusher. There are quite a few available right now, it would shock no one to see the Giants go after one early here.
Zach Brown and Luke Keuchly both would go somewhat against the grain in terms of what the Giants typically look for early in drafts. The team rarely jumps at linebackers. I tend to think that the 30-36 range is the prime range for 4-3 middle linebackers in the draft now. They are extremely undervalued now and I think the Giants would be quick to snatch up the best player available in the defensive front seven.
Kendall Wright and maybe Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill could slip if there is a run on another position. The Giants love offensive weapons and Eli Manning is a quarterback in his prime, it makes sense to continue to give him said weapons.
Take absolutely nothing from Jerry Reese's endorsement of the teams linebackers and wide receivers. He endorsed Mario Manningham and Steve Smith in the spring of 2009 right before he drafted Hakeem Nicks. The rules of the NFL enhance the value of pass rushers and wide receivers. The Giants were acute enough to notice this a half decade ago and it paid off in the form of two Super Bowls.
This second round is excruciatingly difficult to get a gauge on and I can absolutely picture the Giants trading out of here. The Giants should be able to nab any one of these guys in the early 3rd round.
With the added need for a running back, I would not be surprised if New York looked to get a bunch of picks in he 3rd and looked for some offensive play-makers where the value is best. Toon, Quick, Givens, and McNutt are the most intriguing options at wide receiver here with their skill- sets, and I'm not convinced wide receiver is not a very nigh priority for the Giants.
3. Omar Bolden, CB, Arizona State; Bernard Pierce, RB, Temple; Audie Cole, MLB, North Carolina State; Jonathan Massaquoi, DE, Troy; Trumaine Johnson, CB/S, Montana; Antonio Allen, SS, South Carolina
While it has been said that this draft is not particularly deep or talented, I am having a tough time buying that. Perhaps it is just the way the NFL as a whole approaches the draft now. Teams jump on players for measurables and pre-draft hype and quarterbacks are valued at an absurd rate.
There are so many productive players projected to be available in the middle rounds and Jerry Reese likes production. The Giants go after players and develop them within a system. If they believe that a guy can work in a system, he gets drafted simple as that.
The deeper I dig into this process the harder it makes it to pin point what New York will do early on. They can get a strong pass rushing prospect like Massaquoi here in the 3rd or even a solid linebacker for some depth. All that said, I think we see a running back a bit earlier than expected for the Giants, a guy who projects as an NFL starter down the line. The Giants may stick with Bradshaw now, they may like Da'Rel Scott, and they may even pick up a stop gap, but frankly I am not betting on a single one of those right now.
Giants 101 went four rounds deep to see how the Giants valued players in the draft during Jerry Reese's tenure, though it will be difficult to go four deep with this process.
In the first three rounds, expect new York to continue to bolster pass offense and pass defense. A wide receiver, a corer/safety, and a pass rusher almost surely factor into New York's plans. From the pass rusher perspective, keep a close eye on the ones who are athletic enough to take some time at SAM.
Sticking with the "best player available" strategy, if a stud middle linebacker or running back presents themselves to the Giants, I don't expect them to pass.
Research conducted by Dan Benton
Draft Value chart based on weighted values of all Giants draft selections in rounds 1-4 since 2004.
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