On the morning of the first day of the draft, I get a bit reflective. Each draft represents new hope of impact players, first-year contributors, long-term solutions, and hidden gems. But each draft also reminds us of busts, injuries that end careers, developmental prospects who just don’t develop, head-scratching picks, and thoughts about what could have been.
The Giants 2010 off-season is critical to this organization’s success for the next five years, minimum. Eli Manning is a franchise quarterback with dangerous, developing wide receivers; the offensive line is built with solid veterans but needs a further infusion of youth (the Giants could use a hammer on the interior and a back-up plan at tackle), three running backs are coming back from injury (though something tells me that giving an angry Brandon Jacobs that hammer on the interior we talked about and the Giants can live with Bradshaw, Brown, and Ware).
On defense, there are questions surrounding the entire line. The three-headed pass rushing monster of Tuck, Umeniyora, and Kiwinuka was disappointing and needs to reutrn to form. Jerry Reese’s decision to trade or not trade Osi looms large (if you trade Osi, you lose your best pass rusher in his prime with an affordable contract even if you think he does not produce much higher than last year (7.5 sacks a few forced fumbles), than you have to get back a pretty good haul (I am thinking a high to mid 2nd round pick, a 4th round pick, and a 5th round pick). Either way, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Giants add a defensive end in the first four rounds).
At defensive tackle, the Giants have high expectations for Canty who was a non-factor in an injury filled first year; Alford is returning from a torn acl, though at least Barry Cofield will be a year removed from knee microfracture surgery, but another body is badly needed (not going to mention Rocky Bernard because I just can’t see him making it all the way to week one). I am high on several mid-round defensive tackles (Mike Neal from Purdue and Nate Collins from Virginia) and it would also make me happy to see Brian Price or Cam Thomas in Round 2 or 3. The Giants middle-linebacker issues are well-documented (but maybe McClain to the Giants is not a given, there are several intriguing prospects like Sean Lee, Jamar Chaney, Daryl Washington, and Donald Butler who should be there in Rounds 2 -4). In the secondary, we’ll get a true idea of what Jerry Reese really thinks about the return of Kenny Philips to complete health and another cornerback is needed after Ross missed most of last year, Dockery was released, and the Giants shouldn’t role the dice on only Bruce Johnson on the bench.
Biggest impact on day one of the draft (hint, no one is talking about this)? Time limits: This year, the normal 15 minutes on the clock is now 10 minutes, in Round 2, 10 minutes is 7 minutes, and rounds 3-7 goes from 7 minutes to five minutes. Expect a frenzy of trades, round one is going to be interesting.
Draft Day Predictions Round One
-Dez Bryant to the Broncos: Makes sense if the Broncos view Bryant as immature but hard-working and coachable (the need is there with the departure of Brandon Marshall)
-Jimmy Clausen does not get out of the top 15 (Seattle, Buffalo, Denver, San Francisco come to mind)
-Cleveland is a prime candidate to trade up from pick 7
-Eight offensive lineman will go in the first round: Russell Okung, Trent Williams, Bryan Baluga, Charles Brown, Mike Iupati, Maurkice Pouncey, Anthony Davis, and Roger Saffold)
-Taylor Mays will fall to Round 2
Giant Draft Prediction Round One
Round One pick 15: If Jimmy Clausen is not off the board, the Giants trade down to a team targeting the Notre Dame quarterback and select Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon or Maurkice Pouncey, the versatile offensive lineman from Florida. If the Giants stay put, Earl Thomas, C.J. Spiller, Dan Williams, or Rolando McClain will be the pick.