At a minimum it's good to have as many of your picks as possible. The trade with San Diego for Eli Manning has now been paid in full. They did not receive any compensatory picks. They still may make a few moves in free agency before the draft, but except for one big decision they need to resolve, the draft needs are fairly well set. The one thing still hanging as we go to press is LaVar Arrington. Technically, they are still in the running for Arrington along with Miami, Jacksonville and Cincinnati.
As much as we think he could help the Giants at weakside linebacker, our gut feeling is he will not sign with the Giants. His high asking price has kept him from signing anywhere thus far. We also heard that former Redskins coaches were trashing him to other teams when they would call to inquire about him. There is also a reported rift between the Giants coaches and the front office about the signing. Most believe the front office wants him and the coaches don't. So, for the purposes of this exercise we will assume Arrington will not be a Giant.
Critical team needs at present are: a weakside linebacker as well as LB depth, a wide receiver, a defensive tackle to replace Kendrick Clancy, a running back for the future and more help in the secondary. If we can fill these needs through the draft, that would be good. So let's get into it.
Round One – The Giants are picking in the 25th slot. At that time of the draft it appears that there are a good number of linebackers and corners who will be available to them. They might also get a crack at one of the top four running backs. Let's look at the LBs who could be there. D'Quell Jackson from Maryland, Demeco Ryans from Alabama, Bobby Carpenter from Ohio State and Kamerion Wimbley and Ernie Sims from Florida State. They won't all be there, but there is a chance two or three will be. Jackson and Wimbley are better suited to a 3-4 defense. Sims is the most logical weakside backer. Some think Carpenter's best position would be strongside, but we believe he is athletic enough to play weak. If we were going to go with a linebacker our choice would be Carpenter, but our fallback pick would be Sims.
We believe there are only two wide receivers with first round grades and they are Chad Jackson from Florida and Santonio Holmes from Ohio State. Both of them should be long gone by the Giants' pick at 25. Teams needing WR help will grab them early because of the sharp drop-off in talent.
At some point they will need to be concerned about a replacement for Tiki Barber. We believe they could have their choice of Laurence Maroney from Minnesota or DeAngelo Williams from Memphis. While RB is important to consider, we don't see them pulling the trigger on a first round back.
Good corners will be available. Players like Tye Hill from Clemson, Antonio Cromartie from Florida State, Johnathan Joseph from South Carolina and Ashton Youboty from Ohio State could be available to them.
We don't see the need to trade up with this pick. Value will be there and that means no need to give up picks to move up. We would consider a trade down here but only at an attractive price and we wouldn't go too low. With the offseason work they have done in the secondary we think it would be wise for them to get a linebacker in round one.
So, with the 25th pick in round one our selection would be Bobby Carpenter from Ohio State. He is the son of former Giants' running back Rob Carpenter. You will recall that Rob Carpenter was a real tough back. He ran hard and played with intensity. Bobby is a lot like his old man. He has that same toughness and love of the game. He is very athletic. He runs well and he can cover, which is essential for a weakside backer. He's smart and has shown explosion in blitz situations.
Round Two – We made a need pick in round one, but it was also a good value pick. It's always good when your need coincides with talent at the top of your value board. In round two we will still be concentrating on need, but we want to make sure we don't force a need pick and overlook obvious talent. In this spot we will be looking for a wide receiver, a defensive tackle, a corner, safety or a running back.
We think WR is a position they can still do something about in free agency. We would like to see them sign veteran receiver Ricky Proehl. He has always wanted to play for the Giants and he is the kind of receiver that would help Manning tremendously. He catches the ball and with Manning's current lack of accuracy that means a lot. So, our point is if they get Proehl they can look to fill another need. If they don't we would consider Maurice Stovall from Notre Dame here. They are also putting a lot of faith in Corey Webster being ready to assume a starting corner role. If they look at a corner with this pick, we would consider Demario Minter from Georgia as the pick.
There are a couple of DTs that would also be of interest here. Orien Harris from Miami and John McCargo from North Carolina State are solid candidates. Of these two we would prefer McCargo. He is a no-nonsense guy who is not afraid to do the dirty work. He's a tough blue-collar guy who doesn't look good in shorts, but is a player. He knows how to play the game and we like guys like him. Running back is another consideration here. Joseph Addai from LSU is a complete back that blocks and catches well. Jerious Norwood from Mississippi State is one of our sleeper picks; we like his slashing running style. Of the two we would prefer Norwood.
So the choice would come down to Stovall, McCargo and Norwood. Our choice for the Giants with their second round pick is Jerious Norwood, RB, Mississippi State. You may ask why take a running back when Tiki Barber gets better with age. Well, Tiki is 31 now and his budding media career is waiting for him. We are not comfortable that his replacement is not presently on the team. Norwood could be that guy. Much like Barber, Norwood is not a jumbo back. He is fast and quick. He shows a lot of flash when he runs and he can use power too if he needs to. We like his field vision, which is important for a running back. He has reliable hands and he is a willing blocker.
Round Three – So now we have an LB and an RB in our pocket. We still have needs to fill, but we can't ignore obvious talent to force a need pick. There are two TEs we like that could be available. We like Tony Schleffler from Western Michigan and Joe Klopfenstein from Colorado. Schleffler is an emerging player. Scheffler was the closest TE to Vernon Davis at the Combine in athletic ability. He has good size and his 4.59 at 254 pounds is very good speed. We like his hands and though he needs some work, he is a willing blocker. Klopfenstein is a lot like former Giants TE Dan Campbell. He's a good blocker who can also catch. We would consider a TE because Visanthe Shiancoe still cannot be trusted.
A corner like Will Blackmon from Boston College would also be an option. We are aware of the Boston College connection with the Giants. Blackmon was a CB/WR but his pro position is CB. Joseph Scott, an OT from Texas, could be there as well. We are not enamored with Luke Petitgout at LT. Someone to challenge him would be a good idea in our opinion. Again, assuming they don't sign Proehl, the WRs we like in this spot are Greg Jennings from Western Michigan and Mike Hass from Oregon. Hass is one of our favorite players. He's fairly slow on the stopwatch, around 4.6 in the 40, but we really like his hands. He is field fast. He knows how to get open and is a great technician when it comes to routes. This would be a very difficult choice, but of these two we would chose Jennings.
All things considered our pick for the Giants in round three would be WR Greg Jennings from Western Michigan. Jennings is not a burner at 4.48 in the 40, but we like his production on the field. He plays faster than he runs on the clock. He has only average WR size, but he has very good hands and he has good route skills. The most important thing he would bring is the ability to catch the ball.
Here's how the Giants' final day one draft board should look:
Round One – LB Bobby Carpenter, Ohio State
Round Two – RB Jerious Norwood, Mississippi State
Round Three – WR Greg Jennings, Western Michigan
Straight Talk with Jim Sabo: Draft Day 1
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