The period right after the Super Bowl is dead time for NFL football junkies, who fill the gap with mock drafts and free agent wish lists. Fans of the New York Football Giants are already full draft mode, because over the past several seasons, the franchise has struggled with inferior drafting and injuries, yet some of the draft experts have the G-Men rolling the dice with what seems like questionable selections. With a second consecutive year with a draft pick in the top ten, clearly Big Blue should be looking for an immediate contributor; meaning the team should shy away from players who are not quite NFL-ready or already injured prospects.
Giants.com highlighted the potential prospects on Feb. 17, 2016, with Dan Salomone aggregating the top picks from several well known draft “experts”. Curiously, there was no singular theme in terms of position, although logic would seem to dictate that their woebegone defense receives some love in the draft this year. Then again, the Giants seemingly have holes everywhere, including the offensive line that was thinned out through the releases of Geoff Schwartz and Will Beatty last week.
ESPN draftnik, Mel Kiper, Jr. has the Giants selecting UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, at the number 10 position, even though Jack is coming off of major knee surgery. According to ESPN.com, Jack will not be a full participant at next week’s NFL combine. According to Josh Weinfuss, “Jack’s meniscus was torn completely off the bone and was resewn onto the tibia. He wasn’t able to run for the first four months following surgery. The timeframe for recovery from that surgery usually takes six to eight months.”
Perhaps Kiper does not realize that the Giants have recently died of a thousand cuts as continued injuries to Victor Cruz, Geoff Schwartz, Will Beatty, Prince Amukamara, Jon Beason and Devon Kennard robbed the team of several high-end players that the team should have been able to rely upon. Jack may be a top flight talent, but any setback from his knee injury, would put him at jeopardy of not being able to fully participate in OTAs, mini-camp and training camp.
Dane Brugler of NFLDraft Scout.com sees Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson going to Big Blue. Lawson suffered a sprained knee in the Tigers playoff push, but he appears to have fully recovered. When in doubt, the prognosticators always believe that Giants general manager Jerry Reese will default to a defensive end, and in this case, Lawson would be a welcome addition.
Finally, Lance Zierlein of NFL.com predicts that Big Blue will pick Jaylon Smith, OLB, Notre Dame. Once again, this selection of a promising young player need to be considered very carefully because of an injury sustained by the linebacker. According to Jeff Dickerson, another ESPN staff writer, “Smith tore his ACL and MCL in Notre Dame’s Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State. Even for a young player – Smith skipped his final year of college eligibility to enter the draft – torn knee ligaments is a serious injury. And the recovery time is sizeable and often inexact.”
This draft is seemingly less deep than the previous two, but if quarterbacks Carson Wentz (No. Dakota State) and Jared Goff (Cal) are taken within in the first nine selections, then the Giants may have a shot at Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves. But New York may also opt to re-signed injury-prone cornerback Prince Amukamara, who would not come to terms on a second contract cheaply, negating the need for drafting a cornerback early in the draft.
Whoever the selection becomes should be able to suit up and participate from day one, however.