New York has needs on offense and defense. One of the top debates being made by their fan base, is drafting an offensive tackle to help give Eli Manning more protection, and to open bigger holes for the ground game to thrive next season. Jake Matthews and Greg Robinson will not drop this far in the draft, but one name worthy of discussion is Taylor Lewan out of Michigan. There’s a chance that all of the “big three” offensive tackles will be off the board before the Giants pick arrives, so they may have to trade up to secure an offensive tackle.
Another area being discussed is their starting defensive line. The team could use upgrades at defensive end, and some have suggested adding additional bulk inside to replace departed defensive tackle Lindval Joseph. New York has Johnathan Hankins and Cullen Jenkins set to start at the position next season. Aaron Donald’s name has been popular in most debates, but they could find themselves with Anthony Barr falling to them at the twelfth pick. Would the team find a value in drafting Barr and potentially converting him to playing defensive end? Can the team afford to avoid make upgrades for aging veterans Jenkins and Kiwanuka with their first round selection?
New York may also consider making upgrades to their secondary. They added veteran corner back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, so they have a good set of starting corners, but they could use future upgrades at both safety positions. Will Hill can hold his own, but Antrel Rolle turns 32 this December, and despite his excellent performances on the field, at that age he may only have two more good years in him. A prospect like safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix deserves a look for the twelfth overall pick. He would be an upgrade over Hill, and could step in for Rolle when he retires.
Finally, if the Giants top needs are at offensive tackle and along their defensive line, the possibility does exist that the Giants could trade up for Lewan, Matthews, or Robinson, if they fear none with fall to them at the twelfth pick. If they covet a defensive end over a defensive tackle, names such as Dee Ford can be had later in the first round, which gives the Giants the opportunity to trade down while picking up extra picks in this deep draft. One of those extra picks could be used to bring in another back for the running game.
Taylor Lewan’s legal issues will begin to fade in comparison to his on field abilities and upside at this point in the draft, should he drop out of the top ten, as some debates have suggested might occur. On the field Lewan is a bull. He has explosive strength and agility off the snap. He has excellent footwork and quick hands, which will give him a big advantage in most settings. He pops and sets better than any other tackle in the draft, and aside from his ability to cover Eli Manning’s blind side, he knows how to plow the road for the run game to find daylight. He has a tremendous upside at the next level, but remaining out of trouble off the field will always be a back of the mind type of concern for the Giants.
Anthony Barr is another name being mentioned due to his overall athletic ability making him a candidate to potentially be converted into a defensive end at the next level. He’s not a defensive end per se, but he does have the size and frame to effectively step into such a role, should the Giants find value in making this move. Pierre-Paul had a huge season in 2011 with 16.5 picks, but he hasn’t been able to recreate the success he displayed that season. Kiwanuka turns 32 this Thursday and his game has lost a step. At that age, it’s time to start considering the future at the position.
Aaron Donald has led to an interesting debate in his own right. He is fast (4.68 40) and agile enough that the Giants could consider drafting him and moving him over to defensive end. Or, they could keep him at defensive tackle and use Hankins strictly in situational roles. Cullen Jenkins is on his last wheels at 33, so once again the Giants would be looking at the future, and Donald would be an excellent addition at this point in the draft. Aside from speed and agility, Donald is very disruptive off the snap. He will also make a huge impact in run support. He knows how shut down a running lane and he delivers neck snapping hits.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has the speed and agility the Giants like in a defensive back. He has solid pass coverage skills, which would be an upgrade over current free safety Will Hill. Aside from providing solid coverage, Clinton-Dix loves provides solid run support. He makes smart reads off the snap and quickly identifies a route or a running lane. He makes quick adjustments on the fly, and he’s a competitive leader on the field. Antrel Rolle is up there in age, and when he retires the Giants will want to have a young talent that can step in and provide the same output on defense.
New York could always consider a trade with this pick. If they don’t like Lewan, but do covet an offensive tackle, they will have to trade up into the top ten to select Jake Matthews or Greg Robinson. In this deep of a draft, and with the needs the Giants must fill, giving up picks may not make sense compared to trading down and adding addition picks. Names such as Dee Ford, C.J. Mosley, Ryan Shazier, Odell Beckham, Marqise Lee, Xavier Su’a-Filo, David Yankey, and Carlos Hyde have been presented by some of the fan base. Most of, if not all of these prospects will be available later in the first round, and the Giants could utilize their additional acquired picks to add more depth for the future.
New York Giants fans, who would you like to see your team draft with the twelfth overall pick and why? I like Barr, Donald, or Lewan, but any pick that can help further increase the Giants’ level of play next season is welcome!
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