How Much Impact Will Giants’ First-Rounder Have This Season?
Jim Mancari , Contributor
There’s always the debate about whether a team should draft the best available player or draft based upon team needs with its first-round draft pick.
The Giants have shown over the last few years that they lean more towards the best available rather than worry about team needs.
With Ahmad Bradshaw in house, Jerry Reese still brought in running back David Wilson. The idea is that eventually the player will be called upon to play a significant role on the team. Just look at how the Giants view Wilson now.
Jason Pierre-Paul was a similar case a few years back.
Heading into this draft, the Giants right now lack depth, but for the most part, if the season started tomorrow, we pretty much know who would be the team’s starters.
With that in mind, how much impact will the Giants’ first-round draft pick this year have on the 2013 season? It really depends upon that player’s position.
The Giants seem to be leaning towards defense with the 19th overall pick.
If the Giants choose a defensive lineman, like Sheldon Richardson from Missouri, Bjoern Werner from Florida State, Ezekiel Ansah from BYU or Sylvester Williams from North Carolina, there is very little chance that player would crack the team’s starting rotation.
Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, Cullen Jenkins and Shaun Rogers will likely be the team’s primary front four, but depth of course is important, especially given Tuck’s injury history from last season and the fact that Rogers is coming off injury as well.
As far as the team’s secondary, the Giants again appear set but would certainly benefit from depth. Some available defensive backs could be Desmond Trufant from Washington, Xavier Rhodes from Florida State, Kenny Vaccaro from Texas and D.J. Hayden from Houston.
Antrel Rolle and Stevie Brown will be the team’s safeties, while some combination of Prince Amukamara, Corey Webster and Jayron Hosley will be the corners. A healthy Terrell Thomas could also be a factor.
More so here than along the defensive line, maybe a cornerback like Trufant or Rhodes would see a significant role, especially given Webster’s inconsistency from a year ago.
Linebacker may be the spot where a first-round pick could have an immediate impact. The Giants have been linked to Notre Dame’s Manti T’eo as an inside linebacker, but the team really could use an outside linebacker after releasing Michael Boley. Dan Connor was signed to replace Chase Blackburn in the middle.
Georgia’s Alec Ogletree seems to be the best outside linebacker that would potentially be available at No. 19. With Mathias Kiwanuka moving back to the defensive line, that leaves Jacquian Williams, Keith Rivers and Spencer Paysinger to fill the outside linebacker roles.
If the Giants choose an offensive player, an offensive tackle may factor in right away, with David Diehl then becoming an all-purpose back-up. But again, defense seems to be the team’s priority.
So if the Giants decide to draft for need, an outside linebacker would be the way to go. But based on Reese’s draft history, the best available player – even if that player may not be a significant part of the 2013 Giants – will be selected at No. 19.
Just because a player is selected in the first-round any given year doesn’t mean he automatically must be a factor that same season.
Follow Jim Mancari on Twitter @JMMancari.