When debating potential candidates for the New York Giants to acquire in this month’s NFL draft, it seems that everyone has an opinion. Normally, the 10th selection allows a team to select a plug-in and play starter, but this year’s talent pool remains unique in that regard. On the surface, there appear to be very few players, who scouts and draft “experts” are sold on. Injuries, off-field issues and increased scrutiny have combined to generate enough questions with several prospects like Myles Jack, Jaylen Smith, Robert Nkemdiche and Laquon Treadwell, that none of this group now seem likely to get snapped up in the first ten selections.
In addition, the trade between the Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee Titans shook up the top end selections, with quarterbacks Jared Goff (Cal) and Carson Wentz (North Dakota State) being the prime beneficiaries of the reshuffling of the deck. Even the consensus third best quarterback (Paxton Lynch) might sneak into the top ten because Goff and Wentz seem destined to get drafted first and second at this point.
With the first selection firmly in hand, the Rams appear unwilling to tip their hand, as NBC’s Pro Football Talk reported on April 17, 2016 that the team will have both Goff and Wentz in for a pre-draft visit. According to PFT, “Some think the Rams knew who they were going to take before they made the trade with the Titans but are just choosing to keep things close to the vest. Even if that’s the case, however, it doesn’t hurt to take a meeting with both quarterbacks and learn a little more about the player they’re not going to take.”
Many of the mock drafts posted believe that Big Blue will opt for an offensive tackle with Ronnie Stanley (Notre Dame), Jack Conklin (Michigan State) and Taylor Decker (Ohio State) being mentioned most prominently. Other observers think the Giants would be best served by continuing their off season rebuild of the defense by selecting defensive end Shaq Lawson (Clemson), defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson (Alabama) or linebacker Reggie Ragland (Alabama).
New York Giants beat writer Paul Schwartz of the New York Post prefers linebacker Leonard Floyd of Georgia with the 10th selection. In an article written on April 18, 2016, Schwartz says, “If you want a difference-maker who might be the finishing touch to a rebuilt defense, you want the Giants to write out ‘Leonard Floyd’ on their first-round card and rush it up to commissioner Roger Goodell, knowing this will go against the way the team has operated in the draft for the last 32 years.”
Schwartz concedes that there is a boom-or-bust potential with Floyd, even down to the fact that most teams are unsure where the versatile defender will ultimately line up for them. At 6-6, 245 lbs., Floyd projects as a linebacker, especially in the Giants’ 4-3 defensive scheme, but his positional strength in college was rushing the quarterback for the Bulldogs, which seemingly does not mesh well with the base defense of the G-Men.
After four years out of the NFL playoffs, and two straight 6-10 campaigns under his belt, general manager Jerry Reese still has more work to do in order to complete the 2016 roster, even after spending over $200 million in free agency. With that in mind, it seems likely that Reese will go with a draft pick that fits his positional calling card, like an offensive lineman or defensive end. In the past, Reese has seemingly undervalued linebackers and tight ends, as New York has not made these positions draft or free agent priorities, despite the apparent need to upgrade the talent at these positions.