Each offseason, fans of every team across the NFL like to project who their respective team(s) will draft come the end of April. Whatever they believe about their teams draft philosophy, absolutely no one knows what players will be available when it comes time for their team to pick.
In 2011, even if every avid follower of the New York Giants was convinced that the teams draft philosophy was to "draft the best player available," almost none could have projected that said player would be Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara.
Sure, players slip each year, and Giants General Manager Jerry Reese loves value. This begs the question: what players will slip in the draft this year? Or better yet, what position will slip?
In studying some recent NFL Draft history, I have some idea as to what position might present the best value for the Giants at the 32 slot. Dating back to 2008, 18 of the 32 NFL teams have selected an offensive tackle in the first round. Not in the draft. In the first round alone.
This does not include guards and centers. Nearly 60% of the league has spent their top selection on an offensive tackle in the last three years alone. The level of value that these guys have has risen exponentially. I don't expect that to change one bit; tackles are very valuable players in todays pass happy NFL.
That said, no trend lasts forever. There is reason to believe that a number of the teams projected to go the offensive line route in the first round will look elsewhere. The Giants have not gone offensive line in the first round since they took Luke Petitgout out of Notre Dame in 1999.
Jonathan Martin out of Stanford and Mike Adams out of Ohio State both could be available for the Giants to grab late in the first-round should they choose to end their drought of early selections on offensive linemen.
Adams is a massive 6'7', 323 lbs. The Giants absolutely love to take guys with ridiculous physical tools and allow the coaching staff to mold them. His build could be perfectly suited to play right tackle out somewhere down the line, if not immediately. At minimum, someone his size would have a role as the Giants 3rd tight end whom they love to employ in short yardage situations. Adams had some marquee matchups in college, particularly with Wisconsin's J.J. Watt and Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan.
His size gave him the advantage he needed against the more physical Watt, while he struggled against a more polished player like Kerrigan. Bear in mind, Watt very easily could (should) have been the defensive rookie of the year in 2011 and Kerrigan absolutely would have been had he gotten to face Kareem McKenzie every week.
As for Jonathan Martin, he is not pegged as either an elite run or pass blocker but gets the job done well on both ends. Someone had to protect Andrew Luck's blind side all these years at Stanford. The last two seasons Stanford was among the best pass protecting offensive lines in the nation.
The Giants were the worst rushing team in the NFL and they were among the worst in pass protection. Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese will see this as the biggest opportunity to improve the team in 2012. I don't see the 2012 season rolling around without some type of personnel change at either running back of offensive line.
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