Sans top pick,Draft still carries Giant importance

With the Giants' lack of draft picks, it makes this year's draft somewhat anticlimactic for fans, but very important for the team.

No team has the luxury of missing on their first day picks, but for the Giants the success factor is even more pronounced this year since they only have four picks – a 2nd, 3rd, 4th and a 6th – thanks to the Eli Manning and Jason Whittle trades. To make matters worse, they were not awarded any compensatory picks either.

Trades could help them move up on draft day, but we seriously hope they do not give away next year's top pick for the sake of having more picks this year. Don't forget, there will be another round of veteran cuts in June. We look forward to that to be another source of adding talent to reinforce need positions.

There is also the factor of the "lame duck" GM who has already demonstrated he is very interested in what his legacy will be once he rides off into the sunset. We hope he is able to restrain himself from making "legacy" picks and trades and focuses on the short-term future of the team.

Before we project some draft possibilities, let's take a quick needs assessment of each of the position groups.

Wide Receiver – Even with the addition of Plaxico Burress, there are still many questions that need to be answered. Granted, the answers may be in place, but we will have to see. Questions about the current health and continued health of Jamaar Taylor and Tim Carter are still unanswered. Will Amani Toomer rebound? Will Plaxico Burress continue his maturation process or will he "take the money and run"? Will they miss Ike Hilliard? If everything is positive, then WR is not a high priority, but that is a huge IF. Need: Moderate

Offensive Line – They have made some improvement, but it is still a work in progress. Kareem McKenzie was a great signing. He will anchor the right side. Petitgout is still a concern at left tackle. He simply must play better this season. David Diehl is a possibility at left guard, but he has unanswered questions as well. Chris Snee will continue to improve and Shaun O'Hara is good enough. The OL depth looks much better then it has in many years. Need: Moderate

Tight End – We assume Marcellus Rivers will not be re-signed. This group will be fine with Jeremy Shockey and Visanthe Shiancoe. They need Chris Luzar to supply blocking from that position. If he fails they should be able to pick up a blocking TE off the waiver wire. Need: Low

Quarterback – Obviously, this spot does not require attention. Jim Miller is an ideal backup; he's a talented QB who has been troubled by injuries. Jesse Palmer returns to add depth. Need: Low.

Running Backs – This is not the year to spend an early pick on a RB. If Tiki Barber stays healthy, Mike Cloud and Derrick Ward will do. Jim Finn returns to handle the FB post. They may spend a late pick or watch the late cuts for added depth at RB. Need: Moderate

Defensive Line – DE is a huge need as there is virtually no depth behind Strahan and Osi Umenyiora. DT talent looks good. They need William Joseph to get his game in gear. They should find a good DT rotation from Joseph, Damane Duckett, Davern Williams, Kendrick Clancy and Kenderick Allen. Need: High at DE.

Linebacker – The addition of Antonio Pierce was huge. They are set here with good depth in Nick Greisen and Kevin Lewis. Need: Low.

Defensive back – Safety is a big concern. Another safety to go with Gibril Wilson is needed. Curry Burns made strides, but they need more. At press-time, the future of Shaun Williams was still in question. Another CB to add competition would be good as well. Need: High at safety.

Special teams – This may be the most talented special teams they have had in many years. Even the return game looks good with Willie Ponder. Need: Low.

We judge their prime needs to be a defensive end and a safety. We would try to get one of each in rounds two and three. In round two we would look at Justin Tuck from Notre Dame at DE. He's a very athletic and very good pass rusher. He would be a nice addition to go with Strahan and Umenyiora. He would give them a potent pass rush. At safety we like Ernest Shazor from Michigan as a solid 2nd round value pick. He's big and has a knack for making plays. He would look good next to Gibril Wilson. When given the choice of adding a safety or a pass rusher that are nearly equal on the value board, always go with the pass rusher. So our second round pick would be Justin Tuck from Notre Dame.

In round three we definitely want to fill the safety spot. We would consider Sean Considine from Iowa. He's not super fast, but he seems to have the great instincts we would look for in a safety. He's also a tough guy and we like that. With Considine, we get a player who doesn't have all the great measurables, but we know he is a player. They need guys like him. Our third round pick would be Sean Considine from Iowa.

In round four we would be looking for a RB, a WR or an OL. At RB we would be looking for a couple of backs that could slip through the cracks and fall here to the Giants. We like Vernand Morency from Oklahoma State and Marion Barber from Minnesota. Either of these guys would provide excellent depth behind Tiki Barber. They should be able to get a receiver here as well. Guys we would consider are Reggie Harrell from TCU and Chase Lyman from California, both big possession type receivers, as well as Brandon Jones from Oklahoma and Courtney Roby from Indiana. On the OL, tackles like Rob Petitti from Pittsburgh, Jeremy Parquet from Southern Mississippi and possibly Adam Terry from Syracuse could be there. Washington State's Calvin Anderson is a left tackle that is a bit of an enigma. At times he plays like a solid mid round pick, at other times he plays like a late round pick. In round four we would go with OT Adam Terry from Syracuse. He's got great size and some good raw ability to work with. He's more of a project now, but he has long term upside. This would be a very tough pick if both Terry and Roby were available.

Since we got a tackle in round four we would look to add either a RB or WR with the final pick. Receiver possibilities are Roydell Williams from Tulane and J.R. Russell from Louisville. At RB, Alvin Pearman from Virginia, Ryan Grant from Notre Dame and Ray Hudson from Alabama might be solid 6th round picks.

Russell is a very productive player who has had some off-field issues. He's the kind of player to take a late round chance on. If there, our pick in round six would be WR J.R. Russell.

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