In the second to last positional installment, Wonder reviews the Linebackers in the 2012 NFL Draft.
I know you guys are tired of the Linebacker rant. I am tired of it too. (Feel free to skip to paragraph 4 if you just want to get to the 2012 discussion.) But in fairness to me, it HAS been 28 years since we have gotten a LBer in Round 1, so it is not as if I am the outlier. You might be quick to say- why does it matter when the Giants just won another title, without the Linebacker?! My answer is to remember that Chase Blackburn with two legs could barely guard Rob Gronkowski with one.
No, we do not believe that Linebacker is critical to winning to a title. We simply see a shortage that forces the coaches have to plug in DE's and SS's at the position in order to get by. Blackburn off the sofa. Boley for $$. Bulluck for a cheap call option. Rivers for $ and a Round 5. WHY? Because the Gmen don't prioritize the position highly enough and NEED free agency to survive. So we end up with the Adrian Tracys and Philipp Dillards. Jacquian Williams was a pleasant surprise at R6 last season. He's our first serviceable late round LBer since Dhani Jones. But does anyone here think Williams will be anything more than a 4 (replaceable starter)? Trust me, yielding a 4 out of the 6th round will be sweet if that is as far as Williams goes. We should be so good in every draft. But most of the time, especially at LBer, we have not been anywhere near that good. Heck, I'd do cartwheels if R2 Sintim or R3 Wilkinson could be a healthy 4.
Wonder: "Pay up for Hightower. There is nobody in the entire draft that will give more radical change to the NY Giants football team than Hightower. He fits in perfectly, is at a position of need, and is a beast. If he goes 15th-17th in Round 1, well okay, you should not be paying up for that. That will be too costly. But if he is still around in the mid 20's, you pay up for that. He'll make a huge difference for your team."
When you consider that the talk is how Rivers might be moved over to MLB, or that Boley could possibly play there, it goes back to the question- why? ... Blackburn? Jones? Schtick dreck.
Now I am not the kind of guy who wants to trade up in any draft. But if I can complete the defensive puzzle with a MLB who will be there for MANY years behind an excellent DL, that sounds like something you have to weigh carefully. Together with Manning running the offense, that means a whole lotta competitiveness. Wonder is on record with a pretty bold call. He does not want to mortgage the farm. But for a reasonable price, if he slips, he says you get him. The Steelers pick #24, and Wonder speculates that Hightower will not make it past them. So he argues that right now you set up a trade for the Lions' 23rd pick. The cost? a R3 pick next year. (This year would have to be more, since the Giants pick at the end of R3.)
For the sake of consistency, I will disagree and resist the temptation to trade up. I would rather sit back and see who falls to me. This draft is not great. There are not a world of 1's and 2's that are worth going crazy for. So just sit back with your #32 pick in the draft and let the chips fall where they may. If a LBer is our destiny, let it be this way. David Lavonte is very attractive as well. Hightower will be gone. Maybe Lavonte is not. And there are MANY other suitable players at 32 for the Giants because they have many needs. Patience.