The NFL Selection Meeting is just under two weeks away and the Giants have seven total selections in one of the deepest drafts in recent history. Earlier, we reviewed several options the Giants will consider with their first round pick, 12th overall, and revealed in a mock draft that Aaron Donald, a versatile defensive tackle/defensive end, from Pittsburgh, is the player expected to be drafted. The roster still has some holes to be filled on draft day, and we will examine several players that should be available when the Giants turn comes up in the later rounds, offering a projected pick for each slot.
Round Two, Pick 43 Overall:
Projected Selection: Joel Bitonio, Guard/Offensive Tackle, Nevada
Bitonio is 6’4” and 302 pounds yet and has a reputation for being a strong and nasty player who finishes every play. The versatile Bitonio can play any position on the offensive line, a key for the Giants who have a need for a stating center to emerge in training camp. While able to play tackle, Bitonio projects inside in the pros and needs work on his bend and hand placement. He is projected as a late first round talent in some mock drafts, but should slip to the Giants in the 11th slot of the second round. His versatility is an asset the team will covet.
Alternate Pick One: Marcus Martin, Guard/Center, USC
An inside lineman who is not a tough or gritty as NFL coaches desire. He’s thick and wide bodied and seals off defenders well. At 6’3” and 320 pounds, Martin is a three year starter who enters the draft following his junior year. He could step in and start immediately at center or guard, and Martin would fill the Giants need at center quite nicely.
Alternate Pick Two: Allen Robinson, Wide Receiver, Penn State
Robinson is 6’2” and 220 pounds, but lacks the elite top end speed desired in a number one NFL receiver. He runs good routes, makes exceptional catches, and will be a red zone threat immediately. He was the Big 10 conference’s leading receiver for each of the past two seasons and would help fill the void created by Hakeem Nicks departure.
Round Three, Pick 74 Overall:
Projected Selection: CJ Fiedorowicz, Tight End, Iowa
The Giants biggest remaining need is tight end as no receiving threat at the position resides on the current roster. Fiedorowicz, at 6’5” and 265 pounds, is an outstanding blocker who uses his size to screen off defensive backs and make athletic catches down field. While not a top flight receiver, he holds his own while providing strong blocking capability. Fiedorowicz is considered the best blocker in this year’s crop of right ends. His size will provide match up issues for NFL safeties.
Alternate Pick One: Jace Amaro, Tight End, Texas Tech
A pure receiving tight end, Amaro’s blocking skills will have to be developed at the pro level. He needs time in a weight room to fill out his 6’5”, 265 pound frame. Amaro was often split out wide in the Texas Tech offense and does not have the top end receiving skills one would expect coming out of that type of offense, but will still create match up issues for defenses. Considered by some a first round talent, Amaro’s lack of blocking ability will cause him to slip in the draft. The Giants might also consider him with their second round pick, although he would be a reach in that slot.
Alternate Pick Two: Trai Turner, Center/Guard, LSU
Turner enters the draft as a third year sophomore and might have benefited from another year of college football. He is a road grading inside lineman who can latch on to a defender and wall them out of a play. Given the NFL caliber of opponents in the SEC, he has the desired experience entering the league, but his technique needs to be further developed and he therefore is not considered an instant starter. Turner would be a great addition to the Giants as a second offensive lineman added in the draft, providing versatility and depth on the line.
Round Four, Pick 113 Overall:
Projected Selection: Brandon Coleman, Wide Receiver, Rutgers
A huge target at 6’6” and 225 pounds, Coleman uses his long 34 inch arms to slap away defenders and create space. He will be an immediate red zone threat in the NFL. While not possessing top end wide receiver speed, Coleman covers ground quickly with his long strides. He needs work on his route running and will drop a few passes, but the Giants will grab Coleman here and hope he becomes everything that Ramses Barden did not.
Alternate Pick One: Dakota Dozier, Guard, Furman
Dozier is the type of small school athlete that Jerry Reese loves to take chances on in the draft. At 6’3” and 313 pounds, Dozier dominated lesser competition, playing left tackle for four years at Furman. He projects inside in the NFL and needs to work on his footwork and technique, but could develop into a solid starter at guard. Dozier has no experience playing center.
Alternate Pick Two: Jonotthan Harrison, Center, Florida
Harrison will fill a need for the Giants if they have not taken a lineman capable of playing center by this point in the draft. He has a good work ethic and is considered an excellent run blocker, but has lost his head in games in the past and will need to work on remaining calm under fire to avoid penalties at the pro level. Harrison is able to make all the line calls and has good football awareness; his experience will put him in competition to start as a rookie.
Round Five, Pick 152 Overall:
Projected Selection: Tyler Gaffney, Running Back, Stanford
Gaffney is a big durable running back who, at 5’11” and 220 pounds, has the size and attitude to be an every down, between the tackles runner in the NFL. Having split his time between baseball and football, Gaffney chose football and carried the ball 330 times in his senior season, including 45 times in a game against Oregon. While lacking break-away speed, Gaffney’s tough running style would provide the Giants with the move the chains, short yardage, and goal line back that they have lacked in recent years. Gaffney’s thumping ability would be a good compliment to David Wilson’s blazing speed.
Alternate Pick One: Craig Loston, Strong Safety, LSU
Loston is a big, physical, and aggressive strong safety who is excellent in run support. His aggressiveness makes him susceptible to play action fakes and prone to overrunning plays. Loston has had durability issues due to the physical style of his play. Given the impending drug policy suspension of Will Hill, the Giants may look to add a body at safety to compete for a roster spot.
Alternate Pick Two: Zach Moore, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, Concordia (MN)
Moore is another small school prospect that fits the type of player that Reese loves to takes chances on in the draft. He is a raw, physically gifted Division II athlete that has a rare combination of size and speed that coaches fight to develop. Moore will take some time to develop but has all the tools to become a solid NFL defensive end or linebacker.
Round Five, Compensatory, Pick 174 Overall:
Projected Selection: Telvin Smith, Outside Linebacker, Florida State
Smith is a fiery, emotion, undersized linebacker who is always around the ball making plays. Although lacking the ideal size for his position, he has been durable and works hard at his craft. The Giants lack depth at linebacker and Smith would provide competition on the weak side and be a leader on special teams.
Alternate Pick One: John Urschel, Center/Guard, Penn State
While possessing NFL size at 6’3” and 313 pounds, Urschel lacks power and explosiveness and is expected to best fit as a center. He has excellent leverage, technique, and body control, and is one of the smartest linemen in the draft. A three year starter for new Texans coach Bill O’Brien at Penn State, Urschel would provide the Giants will quality line depth as a rookie.
Alternate Pick Two: Devin Street, Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh
Smith is tall and thin at 6’3” and 198 pounds and can definitely benefit from time in a NFL weight room. He can play inside and outside and uses his size to screen out defensive backs. Smith started 40 games at Pittsburgh, was a team captain, and finished his college career as Pitt’s all time leading receiver, finishing ahead of Antonio Bryant and Larry Fitzgerald. He would be an immediate red zone target at a rookie.
Round Six, Pick 187 Overall:
Projected Selection: Aaron Lynch, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, South Florida
Lynch has the size, at 6’5” and 249 pounds, combined with his 34 inch arms and 10 inch hands to dominate at the NFL level, but lacks the motivation to succeed. If Tom Coughlin can light a fire underneath him, he could be a steal in the sixth round of the draft. Lynch has flashed potential and could wind up on the practice squad as the Giants coaches try to determine the best way to motivate him into reaching his potential.
Alternate Pick One: Marcel Jensen, Tight End, Fresno State
Jensen is more of a developmental project, but possesses outstanding size, at 6’6” and 259 pounds, is an above average blocker, and has 35 inch arms. He has surprising speed for his size but is not a quick accelerator and will not blow away opponents as a receiver. Jensen’s size and mismatch potential will tempt coaches and if the Giants have concluded that Adrien Robinson is the bust that he appears to be, Jensen is an ideal candidate to take his roster spot. Given the team’s glaring need at this position, he would have to be the second player added at tight end.
Alternate Pick Two: Dion Bailey, Strong Safety, USC
At 6’0″ and 201 pounds, Bailey has the size and experience to play nickel linebacker as well as safety. That versatility will appeal to the Giants at this point in the draft. An excellent special team player, Bailey has good instincts but struggles to match up with slot receivers and does not have deep coverage experience. He also takes poor angles on play at times. He might have benefited from another year in college rather than declaring for the draft after his junior year. His durability is a concern.
The Giants do not have a pick in the seventh rounds, having traded it to the Carolina Panthers for linebacker Jon Beason, a value they could not expect to match in the last round of the draft.
The greatest team needs at this point are offensive and defensive linemen, a receiving threat at tight end, a big wide receiver that is a red zone threat, a thumper at running back that can gain a yard when needed, and depth at outside linebacker and safety. The players identified above are expected to be taken in the rounds indicated per the best source of draft information available, Nolan Nawrocki’s NFL Draft 2014 Preview. The player analysis is also courtesy of this outstanding resource that will be constantly by my side until the undrafted free agent signing period ends a week after the draft concludes.
Do you disagree with the team needs identified? Do you think the there are better players that will be available in later rounds? Comment below or on my twitter account @hyprcaffeinated