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New York Giants 2012 NFL Draft Big Board: the Fantastic Four

April 24th, 2012 at 5:29 PM
By Kyle Langan

New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese did not mince words when he described this year's draft class. He stated that there were between 15 and 20 first-round prospects, but that after that there was a significant drop off in talent. And while the Giants select 32nd overall, but that doesn't mean they won't grab one of the aforementioned 15 to 20 players.

Reese has stated a number of times that he likes to take "the best player available" and even went as far as to say that he drafts "as if he has no team."

While I am not sure Reese is being totally honest there, the general concept still applies. Picking dead last in the first round does not give a team much of a choice: go with the best player. Based on a number of factors including projected availability, here is whom I think Reese may be targeting in the first round come Thursday.

1. Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

Mercilus is a vastly under-rated player in this year's draft. So often players with "potential" rocket up draft boards and the hype around them grows. Despite bursting onto the scene in 2011, Mercilus seems to be flying pretty well under the radar to this point. His consistent ability to show up in games week in and week out really separated his 2011 season from a lot of other prospects. He only had two games where he did not record a sack and he truly turned the corner as a prospect.

Reese and the Giants scouting department don't need four years of consistent tape to grade players highly. If they believe the talent is there and that their coaches can work with it, they select a guy.

Perhaps a pass-rusher starved team like Kansas City or Jacksonville unexpectedly swoops in early and grabs him but if he slips I believe he could be New York's top target.

2. Luke Keuchly, Linebacker, Boston College

The NFL invited Luke Keuchly to the Draft this year, but he declined.. I happen to think that he will slip on draft day. I have seen him mocked to Seattle and Philadelphia but no not believe either will pick him. Seattle has cut their payroll at linebacker by 90% since Pete Carroll arrived and just resigned two of their linebackers. Philadelphia filled a need with Demeco Ryans and will likely be looking elsewhere on draft day itself. 

Yes, it would be out of the ordinary for the Giants to go linebacker this early, but selecting a player who has flexibility in a 4-3 scheme who could pair with Keith Rivers and Michael Boley would give the team its best linebacking corps in arguably a decade while also letting Mathias Kiwanuka work on the defensive line. 

Jacquian Williams has a bright future but even with one full season under his belt is still more raw than Keuchly is. Williams will certainly compete for a starting role in 2012, but right now he thrives in nickel packages. 

3. Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

It is hard to understand why as the draft inches closer there is less talk about this guy. He was productive all four years at Baylor and displayed almost every key attribute needed to be a successful wide receiver at the next level during his time at Baylor. He has strong hands, works the vertical routes exceptionally well, and comes in and out of his breaks fast. 

Not quite as explosive speed wise as the man many have compared him to as a pro, Carolina's Steve Smith, but he does have the football savvy to make up for it.

4. Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech

Talent, talent, talent. That's the buzz word when it comes to Hill. He comes from a program that runs the triple option, so passing games are hampered quite a bit. Still though, talented receivers love Georgia Tech because the opportunities that they do get yield them big yardage. Most notably Calvin Johnson and more recently Demaryius Thomas have both come out of GT and seen great success in the NFL.

That will cause one to look back and put the tape of Georgia Tech receivers on again. 

I think Hill fits what the Giants want in their flankers and could very easily help out in that department which would help keep Victor Cruz where he thrives: in the slot.

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Tags: Calvin Johnson, Football, Kendall Wright, Luke Keuchly, Mathias Kiwanuka, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Whitney Mercilus

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22 Responses to “New York Giants 2012 NFL Draft Big Board: the Fantastic Four”

  1. Mayock agrees… Mercilus the top target for Giants

    http://www.whosay.com/RichEisen/photos/162930

  2.  Willy Wonka says:

    I got really excited I thought you were going to hypothesize on who makes up his 15-20 players.

    I totally agree with those 4 you mentioned and would not be disappointed if we landed any of them.

    Personally, my mock has landed at
    1. Whitney Mercilus
    2. Dwayne Allen
    3. Lamichael James
    4a. Zebrie samders
    4b. terrell manning

    •  wlubake says:

      Zebrie Sanders in the 4th would be the steal of the draft. He’s a 2nd round talent.

      •  wlubake says:

        I already sent this in by email, so Kujo, feel free to ignore it, but here’s my 4 round mock:

        1. Nick Perry, DE, USC
        2. Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
        3. Brandon Taylor, S, LSU
        4a. Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa
        4b. Vick Ballard, RB, Mississippi St

  3.  Krow says:

    Nice article … and I like Mercilus as well … but I can’t see him being around at #32. We’ve raised the value of edge rushers with our latest championship. Thanks to us players like him are all the rage. But he’d be an excellent selection.

  4.  Tom Rowe says:

    Luke Kuechly got invited to the draft but declined, he wants to be with close friends and family.

  5.  GetDownWithJPP says:

    Vontaze in the 7th!

  6.  GetDownWithJPP says:

    Heard a rumor today that Chandler jones won’t get out of the top 10. wow – probably not true but even the existence of that rumor makes me lose hope he’ll be there at 32

    wlubake- like the mock, mine was basically identical in terms of position/round matchup, even a few of the same players like chandler jones in the 3rd.

  7.  GetDownWithJPP says:

    typo, have chandler jones on the brain too much these days- meant b taylor

  8.  GOAT56 says:

    1 32 32 New York Giants
    *Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
    2 32 63 New York Giants
    *Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
    3 32 94 New York Giants
    *Bernard Pierce, RB, Temple
    4 32 127 New York Giants
    Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa
    4 36 131 New York Giants (Compensatory Selection)
    Akiem Hicks, DT, Regina

    •  GOAT56 says:

      While I like the players listed in this article I had all four selected before our pick. I think the Jets, Chicago & Tenn will determine if a top pass rusher falls to us. With Houston being a possible surprise team.

      I had SD included but after further research I saw that barnes had 11 sacks and they signed Johnson from bmore. Of course they have Phillips so their need isn’t a first round one.

      I have the jets selecting Mercilus because it seems he fits better in a 3-4 than Perry or Chandler.

      I have chicago taking the LT Martin before a pass rusher. I think it’s a slightly bigger need but it could easily go the other way.

      I have tenn taking a CB kirkpatrick for similar reasons as chicago but it could go either way. I think GB and NE will each take an OLB but one will take McClellin. So we end up with Chandler over Fleener, the RBs & Jefferies.

  9.  fanfor55years says:

    What makes all of you assume Jerry Reese is the only GM who has any smarts? A lot of teams will go BPA this time because they will be copying the Giants, Steelers, Packers and Pats.

    The only exception I see as likely is that Jenkins might fall hard, but I suspect he won’t get to #32. Reese would have to move up to get most of the players mentioned.

    •  Eric S says:

      I think people are right to assume that we have one of the smarter GM’s. You yourself have sung his praises as being an upper echelon GM. I haven’t seen anybody state that all the other GM’s are inept simply because Reese is so good. Every team says they’ll go BPA, some of them freak out and panic and blow it, others may in fact go BPA but perhaps their eye for talent isn’t as good as ours and their BPA wouldn’t be the same as ours would be in that position. Look at Philly, they panicked and jumped in front of us to get Brandon Graham because he was their BPA and they freaked out thinking he would naturally be our pick when it turned out our guys were high as a kite on JPP’s potential. Seattle picked next and went with safety Earl Thomas. Seattle finished 9th in defense this year but tied for 19th in sacks which is why they were linked to Mario Williams at the start of free agency. I’m sure Seattle fans would take JPP over Earl Thomas. When our turn came, Derrick Morgan was thought to be the best most NFL ready DE on the board. We giddily selected JPP and watched Tenn choose Morgan one pick later. Morgan hasn’t panned out so far.

      If teams were going to copy the Giants et al in terms of draft strategy than they would have done so already. It’s a copycat league but teams copy what they see on the field not how we operate off it. So teams will want to load up on pass rushers early thinking they’ll get the next JPP while we’ll sit back and watch many teams reach to do so and allow high quality talent at other positions to just fall in our laps.

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