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A prediction on the Giants first round pick.

My thoughts on who the Giants will select in the first round.

With a work stoppage and the 2011 season in doubt,  the NFL Draft is the only glimmer of excitement.  Based on analysis from Wonder and comments by Pete ( his analysis of players is coming soon), unfortunately for the fans,  the crop of talent is weak and this puts a damper on the draft too.  Nonetheless,  the Giants are picking at 19.   Much has been said  about the Giants need for an offensive lineman.  Names like Pouncey and Castanzo are being bounced around the MSM and Internet.  However, will these guys be available when the Giants will be submitting their pick.  I do not think so.  St. Louis, Detroit, and New England could all use help along the offensive line.  It is my judgment,  two out of the three teams will select Pouncey and Castanzo.   If my thinking is correct,  who do the Giants believe can help them at 19?  In order for us to delve into this,  we have to go back to last season.  After Coughlin was retained as head coach,  the thinking coming out of PSL Stadium:  Coughlin is not the problem.  The excuses given for the Giants missing the playoffs once again was injuries and turnovers. In other words,  it was on the players and not the coaches or the front office for another Giant collapse and missed opportunity on making the playoffs and a chance to get to the Super Bowl.   If this is the case, they must acquire talented players who can help them immediately.   Here at UltimateNYG, during this dreaded off season, we highlighted areas of weakness. These areas are pass defense and special teams.  Because Coughlin and Reese got a reprieve,  the pressure is on them.  Three straight seasons in which the Giants collapsed is unacceptable.  And if there is a 2011 season and the Giants have another collapse,  Tom Coughlin will be out of excuses and unemployed.  In the meantime,  Coughlin is the head coach and he has a lot of work to do.  What player at 19 can be of value and need?  If we look back over the last ten years, players chosen at 19 have helped their respective  clubs.  Names like Casey Hampton, Vernon Carey, Michael Griffin have been very good NFL players.  And this is what the Giants need.  A very good player who can step in right away and make significant contributions.  The player I have in mind can help in pass coverage and special teams.  As mentioned earlier, these two areas have to be addressed with the first round pick.

Pass defense: 
The Giants did very well in this category except when they played top notch quarterbacks.  The Giants record against good teams was 1-4.  They got shellacked by the Colts and Peyton Manning. Colts 38-14.  Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers shredded the Giants pass defense. The Packers went on to win 45-17.  And the Eagles Michael Vick beat the Giants twice.  A common theme in all of these losses:  the Giants secondary was very leaky.  Remember, the NFL is about mismatches.  And very good quarterbacks can exploit mismatches.  This is what Manning, Rodgers, and Vick did.

Special teams: 

The Giants had one of the worst special teams units in the NFL.  As mentioned on a previous post,  Bill Parcells said, “The quickest way to get better in the NFL is with special teams.”  The Giants have to acquire a player who can contribute on specials as well as help in pass defense. 

Who is this player?

Cornerback Jimmy Smith.        

I like Smith for several reasons.

1.  Greg Cosell’s luminous assessment of Smith. The most confident press-man corner in this draft. Physical and patient. Loose  hips. Smooth change of direction in off coverage. Only potential negative: lack  of explosive speed. Physical prototype for NFL press corners. Has the mindset of  a man-to-man corner, and mindful of Darrelle Revis when he came out of  Pittsburgh a few years ago.

2.  Smith is a Jerry Reese prototype NFL cornerback. (Tall and long arm span)  Like Terrell Thomas and Corey Webster,  Smith is listed at 6′ 2″ and 211 pounds.

3.  If Smith is chosen by the Giants,  this will enable defensive coordinator Perry Fewell to use Terrell Thomas as a slot cornerback.  From a 2009 article on Mike Garafolo’s blog:  he’ll still be a valuable part of the defense as the nickel corner who plays over the slot receiver. At that spot, he’s an effective blitzer off the edge. Plus, two of his three interceptions this season have come on coverages underneath a receiver running up the seam.  Needless to say, this would improve our defense.  

4.  Besides playing defense,  Smith can help in special teams.  Having a guy who can run and tackle well will only help a beleaguered special teams unit.   

In summary,  before the Giants are on the clock at 19, the offensive linemen being mentioned Pouncey and Castanzo will be gone.  This rules out them going after an offensive lineman in round one. However, I do believe they will draft an offensive lineman but it will be in the middle rounds.  Most likely,  they will wait until the second round to pick their linebacker.  Therefore, with not many talented cornerbacks in this draft,  the Giants have to grab one.  And I believe their guy is Smith.