With the Senior Bowl in the rear view mirror, NFL draft attention moves to the combine. The New York Giants have several immediate needs on offense and a couple on defense. Given the fact that NFL free agency occurs prior to the draft, some needs may be addressed at that point. Right now this draft appears to be limited in NFL-ready talent. Then again, the G-Men have favored “projection” talent anyway under Jerry Reese. Here are three more potential candidates for the 23rd selection:
Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) looks to the bench against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Gerald Everett (TE) – South Alabama
Rumor has it that Everett has climbed to the top of the Giants projection chart. Sorry, that’s hard for me to believe.
Sep 3, 2016; Starkville, MS, USA; South Alabama Jaguars tight end Gerald Everett (12) runs the ball during the first quarter of the game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
The G-Men don’t spend draft picks on tight ends in the Jerry Reese era. And they certainly look at the position for a block-first skill set. The problem here is that Everett possesses a receiving tight end skill set.
Quick frankly after studying most of the reports emanating from the Senior Bowl, I have not come across one where the player in question didn’t turn heads. That’s not to detract from Everett in particular. But it seems that everyone got a participation trophy.
CBS Sports has Everett pegged as the fifth best tight end in this draft. How does Everett leap frog at least three different players on his way to being a first-round pick?
Recently, the G-Men have targeted players in the first-round from Power 5 conferences. These players, with the exception of Jason Pierre-Paul, have generally been from good to great football teams as well. You can argue Justin Pugh, but it’s not like he came from Wyoming or Tulane.
Nov 19, 2016; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Indiana Hoosiers quarterback Richard Lagow (21) is tackled by Michigan Wolverines defensive end Taco Charlton (33) in the second half at Michigan Stadium. Michigan won 20-10. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
When the team has gone of the reservation as far as traditional football powerhouses, the result has not been good. Looking at you George Adams (Kentucky) and Thomas Lewis (Indiana). So at least in the first-round, Reese has not been as likely to gamble on a player that deviates from this norm.
I think we saw that last draft, when the Giants opted for Eli Apple over William Jackson at cornerback. For me Taco Charlton fits the mold for a Giants draft pick. Obviously ignoring his great name, Charlton fills a need at defensive end. I don’t think Big Blue will re-sign Jason Pierre-Paul, so drafting a replacement becomes important.
Here’s what NFL.com has to say about him: “Brings freaky athletic traits to table and is still growing into his body.”
Charlton will be one draft pick where the combine becomes critically important. “Despite talent and traits, production and overall play has been uneven at Michigan. Earned full-time starting nod in just his final season. Needs more weight-room work,” were cited as weaknesses.
Consensus builds at the running back position. The top three projections are Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook and McCaffrey. Some folks like Cook better than Fournette. Others like Fournette over Cook. But those guys will be the first two running backs selected in April.
Then comes McCaffrey, who is a versatile talent. He comes from a good program at Stanford, and his father, Ed, once played for the G-Men
Is running back a necessity for the Giants? I think the answer to that question comes after free agency.
Nov 19, 2016; Berkeley, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal running back Christian McCaffrey (5) carries the ball against the California Golden Bears during the third quarter at Memorial Stadium. The Stanford Cardinal defeated the California Golden Bears 45-31. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
If holes along the offensive line and the pass rush issues are resolved, then it makes sense. If Jason Pierre-Paul walks, and no replacement is signed, then no.
The CBS Big Board rates McCaffrey as the 22nd ranked talent. They say, “Despite Stanford’s struggles, McCaffrey was every bit as dynamic as in past seasons — quietly again leading the Pac-12 in rushing (145.7) and all-purpose yards (211.5). With his easy agility, instant acceleration and soft hands, he reminds of another former Pac-12 star, Reggie Bush . Like Bush, McCaffrey lacks the bulk to be a true bell-cow back at the next level but his ability as a returner and as a potential slot receiver add to his value.”
Given that description, two things will have to happen. The G-Men will need to release Shane Vereen, and they have to address the offensive line in free agency. New York needs more weapons on its dormant offense. In that respect, McCaffrey becomes an interesting option.