We’re deep into the task of opening the doors on TFQ’s NFL Draft Advent Calendar! This is our Christmas – when NFL teams get to decide what sort of new toys they get under the tree to play with next season.
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Door #20-The Giants
2012 finish: 9-7; missed playoffs
TOTAL PICKS: 8
47 (253) (compensatory selection)
Following the 2006 NFL season, Jerry Reese was promoted to general manager of the Giants amid the typically intense expectations that come with being involved with professional sports in New York.
Here’s what Reese did to start off his career as GM of the G-Men:
In the 2007 Draft he executed what is widely considered a shrewd but effective strategy that netted players like RB Ahmad Bradshaw, WR Steve Smith, TE Kevin Boss, LB Zak DeOssie, S Michael Johnson and DL Jay Alford. Some of those prospects ended up playing needed roles in their team’s Super Bowl victory in the season that followed – over the storied 18-0 Patriots. After a stretch of what seems to be an all-too-common process of retooling after losing key veterans, New York beat New England once again to end the 2011 season and give Big Blue two Super Bowls in Reese’s first five years running the team. All the while, Reese goes about his job with a steady confidence that is emblematic of his team, as head coached by Tom Coughlin. You get the sense that Reese and company would calmly make the best of what little they have even if the house was burning down around them.
Unfortunately for the Giants and their fans, a bit of a fire broke out last season. In a fashion reminiscent of the franchise’s previous stumbles after winning the title, it joined the growing list of defending champs to miss the playoffs. New York endured a slew of injuries (also nothing new) and the offense was woefully inconsistent – especially at clutch moments. The 24/7/365 NFL life waits for no one, so it’s time to regroup yet again.
As mentioned, the Giants are in a perpetual state of challenging roster crunches. This offseason is no different. Among the departed players are Bradshaw, DE Osi Umenyiora, LB Chase Blackburn, DL Chris Canty, WR Domenik Hixon, and S Kenny Phillips. Those names might not be terribly sexy – Bradshaw and Umenyiora are great at times, but have been plagued by injury problems and inconsistent play – but each of them had reputations as hard-working guys that helped form part of the team’s core psyche. Of course, Reese targets available players with those qualities in mind, so it’s no stretch to see him replacing key pieces through the draft, as he usually does. In fact, the signing of WR Louis Murphy from the Panthers could already have started that process anew.
(I’m going to assess the Giants based on the assumption that they will find a way to re-sign WR Victor Cruz. Not to do so would be just flat-out nuts on Reese’s part. Not only was Cruz the team’s most reliable scoring threat on offense – despite an off-and-on case of the dropsies – but there’s also the fact that QB Eli Manning isn’t as elite as he looks. Manning needs better players than the crew around him without Cruz would amount to, lest he be even more exposed as a mistake-prone regular season quarterback.)
The Giants did a solid job in last year’s draft, taking what were scouted as more steady players such as RB David Wilson, CB Jayron Hosley, WR Rueben Randle and T Brandon Mosley. What’s worth noting is that the aforementioned 2007 draft class didn’t exactly have staying power, and the medium- to long-term prospects of the draft class of 2012 are very unclear. Wilson stands as the player from the group who showed the most flashes of brilliance last season, but he also had that post-fumble cry and other subsequent mindfucks that cast a cloud over his personality.
This year, the most pressing needs for New York are at linebacker, defensive back, and offensive line. Georgia LB Alex Ogletree is likely to be the highest-rated pass rusher available at 19th overall, but I personally don’t think he fits the Giants’ style on D. An offensive lineman like T D.J. Fluker from Alabama could fit the bill. Florida State T Menelik Watson is a big reach to take that high in Round 1, but Moore’s the type of GM that isn’t afraid to do so if the perceived need is strong enough. The defensive backfield has been ravaged by early season injuries over the last few years, so although it might seem nerve-racking to throw another rookie as fodder into that cursed position, CB Desmond Trufant from Washington has pedigree (his brothers Marcus and Isiah are in the pros) and looked strong throughout the battery of pre-draft tests.
The defensive line has also been dinged-up at times, and even though it still boasts a beast like DE Jason Pierre-Paul, the departure of Umenyiora depletes the depth that Moore and Coughlin favor along the line. If one of the DEs from Florida State, Bjoern Werner or Tank Carradine, are on the board, the G-Men could opt for either of them. (Carradine’s stock largely depends on his private workout scheduled for April 20th, when scouts will see him work out for the first time after an ACL injury.) Most of the football writers and scouts I’ve read think NY will go with Werner or Ogletree as pressure-first players, but the Giants have a solid track record of taking bigger bodies to disrupt offenses while still occupying space, which sounds more like Carradine.
Same story as usual – the Giants have fallen since their championship, and need to circle the wagons. Just don’t expect this team to do anything rash while they try to do so.
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STAY TUNED FOR THE REST OF THE DAYS LEADING UP UNTIL THE 2013 NFL DRAFT. WE’LL TAKE A LOOK AT EACH TEAM, AS WE OPEN THEM UP IN THE ADVENT CALENDAR. WE’LL ALSO BE DOING A LIVE TWEET-UP DURING THE DRAFT.