The Giants First Round selection of OT/OG Justin Pugh has created a stir with fans and analysts who had had him rated as a second rounder. Not that Justin won't be a good player for them but from a value standpoint it would hard to claim that they took the best player available. TE Tyler Eifert, the highest rated player at his position, DT Sharrif Floyd, the highest rated player at his position on some boards; DE Bjoern Werner; LB Alec Ogletree, CB Desmond Trufant, CB Xavier Rhodes and others were still available at Pick 19. Pugh was thought to be a second rounder as he has less than desired length for an OT in that his arms are shorter than the prototype for the position and he has less than desired bulk or strength for OG. The lack of strength charge stems from the fact that he only had 22 reps on the Bench Press but it must be remembered that he did have shoulder surgery which may have affected his output. Rumors circulated afterwards that Dallas was interested in him but at Pick 31 which they obtained in the trade with the 49ers.
But the general thinking is that they reached for him at Pick 19 and the pick is also confounding in that Coach Tom Coughlin while being interviewed on NFL Network stated that "stopping the run was a priority." Now they did in fact draft a run stopping DT in the Second Round by the name of Jonathan Hankins, a 320 pounder from Ohio State. They also took DE Damontre Moore in the third round but he is a pass rushing specialist. They drafted a big Safety in Round 5 but Fifth Round choices are not usually counted on for immediate help. So it appears that their priority in stopping the run is geared to Jonathan Hankins and as it happens the Giants were lucky that Hankins was still there at Pick 49 as he was generally considered to be a 2nd rounder and if he had already been picked there was a fall-off in the rankings of 4-3 DT's after Hankins. After the draft Coach Coughlin lamented the fact that they didn't draft a Linebacker.
And another thing - the NFL draft site listed Justin Pugh as a T next to the Giants pick while other sites had him listed as a G so did the Giants have a particular spot in mind when they selected him and since he wasn't the best player on the board when they picked him this selection SEEMS to create more questions than it answers. So because of the mysterious nature of all of this I consulted with Inspector Clouseau and now I may have a clue. The latest Giants depth chart that the Inspector directed me to shows Justin Pugh starting at ROT with James Brewer as his backup and shows David Diehl now being the backup at LOT. James Brewer was the 4th round choice in 2011 whom I guess the Giants feel is not ready yet and they must have strongly felt that they had to replace Diehl.
Prior to the draft the Giants must have had their eye on D.J. Fluker for ROT but once the Eagles took Lane Johnson, the third rated OT at Pick 4 the Giants must have realized that they wouldn't get Fluker because they knew the Chargers picking at 11 had to take a tackle and they did in fact take Fluker at 11. So the Giants must have been desperate for a OT and therefore reached for Pugh which in turned prompted the Bears picking one behind the Giants at 20 to reach for OG/OT Kyle Long, also rated a 2nd rounder, but whom the Bears may break in as a Guard. The next OT to be drafted was Menelik Watson by Oakland at Pick 42 in the 2nd round, who while having a tremendous upside has only played football for a couple of years and is considered to be a developmental player. After Watson, New Orleans took Terron Armstead at Pick 75 in the third round, who also has tremendous upside. Since Armstead is bigger, stronger, faster and more athletic than Pugh and therefore should become a better player than Pugh, Inspector Clouseau again provides the answer and that is that the Giants figured that Pugh is more ready to play immediately than the others and hence the selection.
Another confusing aspect of this draft is that there was no apparent contingency plan in the event that Victor Cruz signed with another team and to this date he remains unsigned. If he does sign with another team the Giants will have a deep void. They will still have Hakeem Nicks and a promising Reuben Randle and they brought in speedster Louis Murphy, but Cruz is "the straw that stirs the drink." They didn't draft any WRs but did sign Marcus Davis as an Undrafted Free Agent but they can't expect immediate help there and Inspector Clouseau came up empty on that one other than to say that they must have the confidence that they can re-sign Cruz.
The drafting of Johnathan Hankins as the main player selected to "stop the run" is at a position where they already have seven Defensive Tackles in the fold, six of whom have a lot or at least some NFL experience. Does this mean that they don't have faith in the three DT's that they signed in Free Agency or that they have given up on Second Rounder Marvin Austin and 7th Rounder Markus Kuhn ? And the selection of DE Damontre Moore in the third round is at a position where they already have Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Matias Kiwanuka and 4 others that they liked enough to bring back this year but again the Inspector stepped up with this, that the Giants great years have been when they have had many defensive linemen to rotate in and out of the game to keep them fresh.
At Tight End the Giants have 6 players on their roster which means that they realize that there are no Pro Bowlers at the position which leads me into the alternative draft that the Giants could have had and all of this is with the benefit of hindsight and with the helpful insight of Inspector Clouseau.
1 (19) TYLER EIFERT - TE - Notre Dame - gives the Giants another dimension with or without Victor Cruz, but with Cruz the offense would be worth paying those ticket prices for. Eifert went at (21).
2 (49) SIO MOORE - OLB - UConn - kills 2 birds with one stone as he can play the run and rush the passer which would have obviated the need to take a pass rusher in the 3rd round, except that the Giants have this thing about D-linemen. Moore went at (66).
3 (81) BRENNAN WILLIAMS - ROT - North Carolina - missed most of year with shoulder injury but Giants wouldn't have liked as may need some development. Went (89). Or BARRETT JONES, drafted at 113 possibly dropped because of foot injury. In 2011 won Outland Trophy as nation's best OL as a LOT.
4 (116) JESSE WILLIAMS - DT - Alabama, who dropped because of a knee & is more known as a NT but just as big as Hankins and can play DT; or MONTORI HUGHES- DT - Tennessee-Martin; or A.J. KLEIN - MLB - Iowa State - also nursing a knee; but any one of these would be drafted as a run stopper. Williams went at (137), Hughes at (139) and Klein at (148).
5 (152) COOPER TAYLOR - DS - Richmond. Cooper went at (152) to the Giants. Or JOSH EVANS, from Florida who is a FS and went at (169).
6 (187) ANDRE ELLINGTON - RB - Clemson - for depth at RB. This was the pick that the Giants gave up to draft Ryan Nassib. Ellington went at (191).
7 (225) MARQUESS WILSON - WR - Washington State - Cruz insurance. Went (236). Or could have considered DA'RICK ROGERS - WR who went undrafted but signed with Buffalo as UFA.
7 (263) ROD SWEETING - CB - Georgia Tech who went undrafted but signed with New Orleans as UFA. Same for CBs DAXTON SWANSON and NIGEL MALONE both of whom signed with Indianapolis.
Ideally this would have been a draft to trade back a number of times and at the least pick up a number of 4th rounders where players such as: Alex Okafor, Dion Sims, Jelani Jenkins, Jonathan Franklin, Chris Harper, Barrett Jones, Brian Schwenke, Quinton Patton, Gerald Hodges, Khaseem Greene and J.C. Tretter were all available but the Giants are not big time traders.
The QB could have waited until next year which has a strong QB class but the Giants felt very strongly about Ryan Nassib so they traded up to get him at Pick 110 while the Eagles felt more strongly about Matt Barkley so they traded up to get him at 98 while the Raiders sat at Pick 112 to draft Tyler Wilson and the Steelers took Landry Jones at 115 and as any good inspector would assume, each of those teams liked the QB that they selected. So we have four QBs going in the fourth round at Picks 98, 110, 112 and 115; all it would seem with differing opinions on these QBs. Then there is Tampa Bay which liked Mike Glennon better than the other 4 as they took him in Round 3 at Pick 73.
Inspector Clouseau said that all of this is above his pay grade and that he doesn't care about that straw that stirs the drink as long as he can still have the drink.