NFL Draft: Grading the Giants’ First Four Picks
John Fennelly , Lead Writer
The Giants are a better team today than they were Thursday afternoon. In a draft that featured few marquee names, the Giants took what was in front of them in the first three rounds and then decided to roll the dice a bit. This draft will naturally define their future one way or another.
Round 1, Pick 19: Justin Pugh, OL Syracuse - A safe, solid pick. Pugh can play all five positions on the line and is a natural leader. The Giants are not concerned that Pugh has shorter arms than most teams prefer in an OT. He can flat-out block no matter where he plays. Defenders aren’t going stop to measure his arms when they line up against him. Pugh is an intelligent, high-character kid that fits the Giants’ offensive line template. He was not the best OL in this draft, but he may be the right one for the Giants. He will be a stalwart like the men before him who helped the Giants win championships: O’Hara, Snee, Seubert, Diehl, but more. A natural leader who will be a huge part of the franchise’s future core. Grade B+
Round 2, Pick 49: Jonathan Hankins, DT Ohio State - A big body with a reputation for a lack of quickness and a questionable motor. The Giants feel otherwise. Hankins was on the field every play and wore down during games because what 320 lb guy wouldn’t? The Giants will fix that issue by increasing his stamina and placing him in the D-line rotation, where he’ll still be fresh in the fourth quarter. He’s a run-stuffer, plain and simple. They need as many of those as they can get. Grade: B
Round 3, Pick 81: Damontre Moore, DE Texas A&M - This is the pick, folks. The Giants have had some of the game’s most prolific and feared pass rushers in league history and they may have just gotten another one. Why in God’s name Moore was still around in the third round is mystifying. Not our issue. We got this kid, who at 20, finished third in sacks in the mighty SEC last year behind Jarvis Jones (taken in Rd 1 by the Steelers) and Jadeveon Clowney, who may be the top pick in next year’s draft. And he was hurting for most of the year! Moore was, IMO, the best pass rusher in this draft. He has a reputation as a partier and is said to be immature. Imagine, a 20 year-old college kid that likes to party! OMG! His whole world is about to change, however. He will get to TPC and get the Coughlin “come-to-Jesus” speech. Then the strength and conditioning guys will go work on him. Tuck, Rolle and Kiwanuka will also be keeping an eye on Moore. This may be the best pick of Jerry Reese’s career. Grade: A (even though he fell to them)
Round 4, Pick 110: Ryan Nassib, QB Syyracuse - Still mixed on this one, but warming up to it. The Giants have been wanting to get a young QB to sit and learn behind Eli Manning. They saw Nassib still on the board in Round Four and moved up to get him. End of story. This is long-term project. The team may feel they are pressing their luck with Eli’s durability. Reese sees a lot of Andy Dalton in Nassib, which is a good thing, but Nassib may end up not playing a meaningful down here in New York over the next few years. It’s an old-fashioned, pre-emptive move that really can’t be evaluated until the time for him to play – or leave – comes to pass. Grade: C