With the current work stoppage, instead of drafting for value, the Giants will have to change course. Drafting for need will trump value
Since the owners and players could not come to an agreement on a new CBA, free agency has been put on ice. Therefore, this year, teams will use the Draft to fill needs rather than free agency. So what does this mean for our Giants?
First, we have a lot of holes to fill. Offensive line, linebacker, running back, tight end, wide receiver, special teams players, cornerback, and defensive line. When the Giants select at 19, they might pick the best available athlete who can fill a need. What complicates the issue for the Giants is they have their own guys who are stuck in limbo. Free agents Steve Smith, Mathias Kiwanuka, Dave Tollefson, Ahmad Bradshaw, Barry Cofield, Kevin Boss, and Kevin Boothe have been tendered. Like the rest of the league, the Giants will have to come up with a new strategy. Over the past few days, Pete, one of our draft gurus, believes this is a weak draft. Unfortunately, for the Giants sake, the player they covet may not be there at 19. Recall, this happened last year when Alabama's Rolondo McClain was plucked earlier than anticipated by the Raiders. In the meantime, let us take a look at some of these aforementioned positions of need.
Wide receiver: Since being drafted in 2009, Ramses Barden has seen limited action. And last season he suffered a broken ankle in November which ended his season. Newark Star-Ledger's Mike Garafolo has reported there was unexpected swelling in his surgically repaired ankle. Because of the untoward swelling, his rehab has been set back. Combine this recent turn of events with Steve Smith and Domenik Hixon recovering from knee surgeries, (Smith's being microfracture surgery), the Giants have a dilemma at this position. Smith is a free agent. So this complicates the situation even further. It may be in the Giants best interest to draft a receiver. Especially if a speedy one is available in the first round. Having another speedy receiver can only help Eli and this offense. So if one is available in the first round, the Giants should grab him.
Cornerback: Yes. This position needs to be upgraded. Last year, we struggled against teams with speedy receivers. Recall, the Dallas game at PSL Stadium. Dallas WR Dez Bryant had a field day against us. For those who think the Bryant game was an anomaly, consider Pro Football Weekly's Eric Edholm's take on the Giants cornerbacks. In the Giants' Week 16 loss to the Packers, however, the Giants were unable to rush QB Aaron Rodgers effectively on three- and five-step drops, and the coverage holes emerged. CBs Terrell Thomas and Corey Webster are big, athletic and physical, but they both can struggle at times with quick-twitch and deep-speed receivers. Both of them struggled in bail technique in that game, not flipping their hips quickly enough to adjust to the sharp-breaking routes the Packers ran. And with Aaron Ross's mediocre play over the last few seasons which can be attributed to his nagging injuries, the Giants find themselves in need of a top notch cornerback. If they would draft a cornerback at 19, this would help defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. Fewell can use Terrell Thomas as a slot cover guy. Thomas has demonstrated a unique ability to rush a passer. The Packers have done the same thing with Charles Woodson. Woodson has excelled playing as a slot cover guy. So having Thomas lined up on the line of scrimmage would give an opposing quarterback something else to think about. Needless to say, if a talented cover corner is available at 19, the Giants have to pull the trigger.
Being that the NFL is unknown territory, anything is possible with this years draft. Let us hope the Giants draft guys who can make us better immediately. Depending on the protracted lock out, unfortunately, we may not see these guys play until 2012.