The 2015 NFL Draft is drawing near and there is much intrigue as to what the New York Giants will do with their early picks. There are plenty of holes that need to be filled, but it can be difficult to pinpoint which of those voids the Giants may wish to address early on.
The Giants will have plenty of options, especially with the ninth overall selection in the first round. Will they target improving a need? Or take the best player available?
Here’s a look at how I think things may shake out in the first three rounds for the G-Men:
Round 1, Pick No. 9: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
What’s better than having Odell Beckham Jr.? Pairing him up with equally potent playmaker Amari Cooper. The reality is: no one knows what the future holds for Victor Cruz. Cruz would be the surefire No. 2 in the slot.
In Ben McAdoo’s offense, it’s important to have talented wide receivers to throw to with many four receiver sets employed. The Giants could not have too many, so adding Cooper to mix it with Beckham, Cruz and Rueben Randle would be a wise move if Cooper happens to still be on the board.
Obviously, there will be other options here, such as pass rusher Shane Ray or offensive linemen such as Brandon Scherff or Andrus Peat. But if Cooper’s available and appears to be a good fit, the Giants need to snatch him up and worry about their weaknesses in the later rounds.
Round 2, Pick No. 40: Eli Harold, DE, Virginia
The Giants need a pass rush and they need talent on their roster capable of generating a pass rush. Eli Harold may not provide an instant boost, but he’ll be solid depth behind Jason Pierre-Paul, Robert Ayers and Damontre Moore as he develops.
Harold is an explosive athlete with great intangibles. His last two seasons for the Cavaliers he 31.5 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks.
It wouldn’t hurt for Harold to add some mass at the next level, however. At just 247 pounds, he’s a bit undersized and at a disadvantage to overpower opposing blockers despite having a lot of success off the edge in college.
Round 3, Pick No. 74: Ali Marpet, OG, Hobart
I wrote about him a bit more extensively here, but the Giants need offensive line help and while he may not be ready to go immediately, Ali Marpet could be something special. The small-school product has turned a lot of heads since tearing it up at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, could he be on the Giants’ radar? He’s already said he hopes so. Marpet is an explosive, aggressive athlete who would provide the Giants’ with some much-needed attitude on the interior line. The offensive line took a big step forward in 2014. Adding a young, prospective talent in Marpet could be the final piece to return the Big Blue offensive line to its former glory during the first 10 years under head coach Tom Coughlin.