2013 Draft: New York Giants spotlight
Giants GM Jerry Reese has a well-earned reputation for building Super Bowl-caliber rosters, but salary cap and a few misses in recent drafts has built increased pressure to hit a home run in 2013.
This is the 20th of a team-by-team series, analyzing five prospects that each team should consider in the 2013 NFL Draft.
New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese has assembled a pair of Super Bowl champion teams and has a well-earned reputation of stocking his roster with young talent by using the proverbial "best available" approach.
The Giants have a history of loading up on pass rushers, adding Justin Tuck in 2005 and Mathias Kiwanuka in 2006 when they already had Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora. Last year, Reese added running back David Wilson in the first round and wide receiver Rueben Randle in the second; neither position was considered among the highest priorities for the Giants, but they were atop the team's value board when the Giants were on the clock.
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Wilson will compete for the starting job with Ahmad Bradshaw gone, and Randle is expected to see increased playing time in his second season, as will cornerback Jayron Hosley, who was a third-round pick in the 2012 draft. However, the Giants got very little out of their other four picks last season, beginning with raw fourth-round tight end Adrien Robinson.
"When you pick 32nd in the draft, you're picking down low, and so a lot of the guys you get are developmental-type players when you pick there," Reese said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "It's a privilege to do that, but some of the guys you pick are developmental. We picked a tight end [Robinson] who we think is going to be a good player for us. We picked a couple of offensive linemen [Brandon Mosley, Matt McCants] we hope develop, so hopefully those guys will come along and develop for us and contribute this time."
Part of a growing issue is that the team has received little out of its 2011 class beyond cornerback Prince Amukamara. Second-round defensive lineman Marvin Austin has been injury-prone, and the rest of the class has made marginal contributions at best.
Tight up against the salary cap, the Giants have parted ways with the following starters: tight end Martellus Bennett, linebackers Chase Blackburn and Michael Boley, Bradshaw, safety Kenny Phillips and Umenyiora. A few veterans were strategically added during free agency, but there were no big splashes. The Giants really need a strong draft to replenish the two-deep.
"We've added players, veteran football players who can really make a very good contribution to our team," coach Tom Coughlin said Monday. "We've added some of our own players back. There are still some we would love to have back. But the ability to bring some people in who are veterans and can contribute and help us, we've made some pretty significant moves there."
New York Giants 2013 draft picks: 19, 49, 81, 116, 152, 187, 225, 253
Primary Needs: OT, DE, OG
General Manager: Jerry Reese
Five recent draft picks that clicked:
--DE Jason Pierre-Paul, 15th overall, 2010
--WR Hakeem Nicks, 29th overall, 2009
--WR Mario Manningham, 95th overall, 2008
--RB Ahmad Bradshaw, 250th overall, 2007
--LB/DE Mathias Kiwanuka, 32nd overall, 2006
Five players who should be on the New York Giants' draft radar:
Player, school (overall rating, position rating)
OG Chance Warmack, Alabama (2, 1)
Warmack is the No. 2-rated prospect in the entire class by NFLDraftScout.com. Some analysts believe he's the best overall prospect, even above Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel. While guards rarely go in the top 10 -- much less the top five -- the Giants likely would have to move up at least a few spots to land Warmack.
He could prove worth the temptation, however. Chris Snee remains a Pro Bowl player and Kevin Boothe was re-signed, but Warmack is viewed as a good fit for the Giants' scheme. He would provide a much-needed infusion of talented youth to the offensive line, especially if he slips to a spot where Reese believes the value is too good to pass on.
OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama (21, 4)
An even bigger O-line concern for the Giants has to be outside. David Diehl's future with the team is tenuous. And while James Brewer is expected to be the starter on the right side, there is precious little depth -- or exciting talent on the developmental side.
Warmack's Crimson Tide teammate would make a lot of sense for the Giants. Fluker is a massive presence at 6-feet-5 and 339 pounds and could provide immediate competition for Brewer. At his size, Fluker isn't going to develop into a left tackle in the NFL and might even prove to be a better fit at guard. But he's the top right tackle prospect in this draft and would provide the Giants with a powerful run blocker to help the offense get back to more effective balance.
DE Damontre Moore, Texas A&M (30, 4)
Reese has a long history of snapping up defensive ends who fall in the Giants' lap, and they're again in the market with Umenyiora gone and Tuck coming off a disappointing 2012. Kiwanuka is moving back to end, Tuck will be a free agent after next season and the Giants need a long-term complement to Pierre-Paul.
Moore could slide out of the first round and right into the picture for the Giants. He left the Aggies with a year of eligibility remaining but wasn't as consistently dominating as his 80 tackles and 12.5 sacks last season might seem to indicate. He does, however, provide versatility, having starred in the "joker" position and at defensive end for Texas A&M. Moore is capable of rushing the passer or dropping into coverage.
FS D.J. Swearinger, South Carolina (97, 5)
The Giants watched Kenny Phillips take a minimum contract with division-rival Philadelphia, leaving 2012 turnover-machine Stevie Brown to assume the full-time starting role opposite Antrel Rolle. However, Brown came out of nowhere last season, Rolle is a nine-year veteran who might soon be exiting his prime and no one has been added through free agency.
Swearinger would make sense as a developmental prospect in the fourth round. He's a bit undersized at 5-11 but enjoyed a strong pro-day workout and has shown the ability to move between cornerback, free safety and strong safety -- versatility the Giants would covet behind Rolle and Brown.
ILB Kiko Alonso, Oregon (105, 3)
Inside linebackers don't carry the same value in today's pass-happy NFL that calls for such heavy use of nickel and dime packages, so Alonso could well be available for the Giants at No. 116. The middle linebacker position has been a revolving door for the Giants, who did add veteran Dan Connor to the mix in free agency.
But the unit as a whole has had trouble staying healthy, and Alonso is an impressive athlete who was an underrated star for the Ducks when he wasn't battling off-field issues. (He was sentenced in 2011 to two years' probation, community service and alcohol treatment after breaking into a home that he thought was his.) His history of injuries and off-field issues will keep him off the board of some teams entirely, but he's also a prospect who has shown a penchant for creating turnovers and might just be scratching the surface of his potential.
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