The New York Giants closed out a solid draft on Saturday evening, despite a weak player pool. Big Blue and GM Jerry Reese filled some crucial needs and got great value for many of their picks. On Thursday, the team used their first round pick (19th overall) to select Syracuse offensive lineman Justin Pugh. Reese and the front office selected Pugh because he is “versatile” and it is their hope that he can play multiple positions along the line including both tackle and guard positions. Though Pugh is a tackle by trade, he could see time at any of the line positions due to injuries or other unforeseen circumstances. For a running game that was dead last a season ago, the overhaul has been completed as the team drafted two offensive linemen and let Ahmad Bradshaw go early on in free agency.
Day Two brought about even more building in the trenches by Big Blue, this time on the defensive side of the ball. With the loss of Osi Umenyiora to the Falcons and the ineffectiveness of the Giants’ pass rush at times last season, Jerry Reese saw fit to add defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (Ohio State) in the second round and defensive end Damontre Moore (Texas A&M) in the third round. Hankins should be a solid run-stopper in the middle and will at least provide stout competition for those already in the running for the position. Moore represents a particularly interesting case as many thought he could be a late first round pick based on his pure skill. Given his bad performance at the NFL Combine and his injury marred pro day, many expected a drop to the second round would be appropriate. However, he dropped all the way to the Giants with the 81st pick of the third round, which should prove to be valuable if he lives up to his potential. Despite his characterization as raw, should be able to be coached up by the Giants’ staff to become a solid defensive end.
The Giants rounded out their draft on Saturday by trading up in the first round to select Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib. Jerry Reese swapped 4th round selections with Arizona and gave the Giants’ sixth round pick to the Cardinals. Nassib could represent an interesting value pick for the Giants, as many experts feel he dropped too far in this draft and was the most fundamentally sound quarterback available. The Syracuse product should develop behind Eli Manning and David Carr and could become Manning’s primary backup in short order. Even if Nassib doesn’t play for the Giants in his career, he could prove to be valuable trade bait at some point down the line. The fifth round saw the selection of a safety, that being Cooper Taylor out of Richmond. Taylor should provide depth behind Antrel Rolle and may even compete for a spot in the starting lineup soon enough.
The team had two seventh round picks, which were spent on offensive guard Eric Herman from Ohio and running back Michael Cox from UMass. Overall this was a solid draft for the Giants. They fulfilled needs along the offensive and defensive lines, which had been all but ignored in free agency. This should give the team a solid young nucleus in the trenches this season and into the future.
OVERALL GRADE: B+