NFL Draft: Will the Giants draft a LB in Round One? Uh, no…

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

I love mock drafters and speculators who feel confident they know who the Giants will select in the upcoming NFL Draft. I know it’s fun to guess, but the truth is, the Giants are unpredictable. The first round is full of surprises and, over the years, the Giants have been one of the teams providing those surprises.

Jerry ReeseMost mockers make the mistake that the Giants draft out of need.  The record shows they don’t normally do that. On occasion, the selection intersects or coincides with a need, but that is not the team’s mantra or goal come draft day.

They take the highest player on the their board. Their board, mind you, looks a lot different than one might think. In fact, if we were ever to get a glance at it, we might find ourselves somewhere between baffled and downright angry.

That’s a story for another time, however.  With the No. 12 pick in this year’s draft, the Giants will take the best player that falls to them. At least, that is what GM Jerry Reese has told us every year since he’s been here – ‘we take the highest player on our board.’

Unless that player is a linebacker.  The Giants haven’t drafted a LB in the first round since 1984, when they took Michigan State’s Carl Banks.

Now, the chances are that a linebacker has not been high enough on their board since then for them to take. Then again, an NFL team going thirty years without drafting a LB in the first round is unfathomable. That trend is going to continue this year, I’m afraid.

The Giants will not be selecting a LB in the first round this May. Here’s why…

The Giants employ their base 4-3 defense on less than 50 percent of the snaps. Translation: It’s five defensive backs, two LBs and the front four. In the final weeks of the season, the Giants abandoned their 4-2-5 only when they played the run-centric Seahawks, and then still only had three LBs on the field 48 percentof the time.

fewellIn Week 16 against the Lions, the Giants deployed three safeties on all 85 defensive snaps. They don’t value linebackers in DC Perry Fewell’s scheme. And now that they have a solid MIKE in Jon Beason, that plan should not change. Hence, the loading up of defensive backs this offseason.

That being said, if the Giants were to draft a LB in Round One, he’d have to: a) be an excellent 4-3 LB that is strong against the run and the pass or b) an OLB that can play most snaps with his hand in the dirt.

Will there be a player at No. 12 that fits those skill sets and is the best player available? Probably not.

Jadeveon Clowney will be gone. He’s a DE, anyway. Khalil Mack projects as an OLB in a 3-4. Should he fall to the Giants, they would have to change their scheme to fit his skills. UCLA’s Anthony Barr is listed as an OLB, but 4-3 teams would use him as a DE. That includes the Giants.

As far as I see, there are no other ‘linebackers’ worth selecting at No.12, so the streak will continue. Alabama’s CJ Mosley might be the only player I see the Giants diving after. At 6’2″, 234 Mosley is actually a quasi-DB. He’s got good cover skills and is quick to the football.

That being said, there will be too many other good football players for the Giants to choose from to take a shot at Mosley.




38 comments
mcfly
mcfly

Trade down so we could get quality depth like Niklas, Stork, and Mason. The beauty of this draft, while it doesn't have many impact now players, it's has depth. The next two years of rookies will determine if we are reloading or rebuilding. We can't afford to take a huge risk at 12. This is the year we need to play it safe early and take risks in the later rounds.

thatfunk
thatfunk

I think Lewan is the pick at 12, even if Mike Evans is still there. However I would not be mad if the Giants landed either of the two. I feel that taking Lewan in round 1 and targeting a big WR in round 2/3, such as Jordan Matthews is the best scenario.

Trading down to obtain more picks should seriously be considered if Bortles/Manziell/Bridgewater don't go in the top 10. Otherwise we should have a great selection for BPA.


As good as Ebron seems to be, I will be disappointed if the Giants take him at 12. Look at the Super Bowl winners in the past 10 seasons, and see who their TE was. How many of the 10 teams had a "Superstar pass-catching TE" on their roster? Dallas Clark for the Colts in 07 might be the only exception. These TE's are great for fantasy football purposes and are a luxury for modern quarterbacks, but they are not a necessity to win!

hashburry
hashburry

They don't draft out of need, they draft with wishful thinking.

rico
rico

DE, cuz that's what he does


Reese should try and trade Nassib for another 1st rounder or a few more pics

Brian Bannon
Brian Bannon

Sounds a little crazy but i think the sleeper pick at 12 for the Giants could be Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Brown is coming back from a serious knee injury, Hill is a liability off the field and Rolle has played great but is in a contract year and isn't getting any younger, Clinton-Dix has size, range and instincts, i could see a Mark Barron situation where the closer the draft gets the higher up on team's boards he's gonna go, i don't see him slipping out of the top 15

jaymanjay
jaymanjay

Dear, Reese

I implore you do not reach for players.  Follow the Patriots blue Print and trade down!!! We have holes to fill attaining another 3rd rounder could make a huge differences. 

Thats why I say if Lewan, Evans, Robinson, Mathews are gone dont fall for the hype.  Don't draft the Boom or Bust selections like Donald, Ebron, or Barr.  We don't need splashes we need instant impact at key positions.  We need an OT, WR, TE, C, G and DE in that order. 

If you trade down in this situation you maybe able to select a Kelvin Benjamin who some think may end up being better then Evans or drafting Zach Martin who can play any position on the line. 


With an extra 3rd pick you might be able to pluck a C and G in one round. 

rock99
rock99

yes reese has taken BPA since he has been here however that philosophy left the cubbard bare in too many places. too many reaches and projects that didnt pan out.  i think he will pick by need now. 

Skookaloop
Skookaloop

Mr.F--

DC FeWell Scheme was Helped Along by,

the LACK of LBer's on the ROSTER....

and, without Man-2-Man cover, CB's,

plus the VOID, of a Cover OLB.....

a Heavy ZONE Secondary GAME Plan,

was Kinda a Default, D-System....

LB K. Mack could be the ASSASSIN,

Cover OLBer the NYG need....

LB K.Mack

LB J. Beason, possible 2014 ProBowler...

LB J. McClain

CB Prince

CB DRC, possible 2014 ProBowler....

S S. Brown

S A. Rolle, possible 2014 ProBowler...

... Could be a League TOP 5, back 7 !!!

BTW,

LB CJ Mosley, is UNDER SIZED, ILB.....

and, we already have 2 ILBer's...

CJ Hurt his Knee & Hip at "BAMA,

and missed some time,

injury was also the reason he Didn't RUN AT

THE COMBINE....

NOT a #12 Pick and ZERO FIT for the NYG's...

and....

at #12--- LB K. Mack ....... BPA ???!!!???

espirence
espirence

John, What happens if Anthony Barr falls to the Giants? Which could actually happen

cole3244
cole3244

lately reese has been gambling and not taking bpa imo, this needs to stop before we get too far behind and are in complete rebuild mode before you know it.


his drafting of jpp might have been the player that got him into this habit of gambling since he hit the jackpot that one time.  you don't build a team by drafting players before their grade indicates, if you like such a player trade down and get extra picks don't waste an opportunity to use the draft to your advantage.

mcfly
mcfly

Why would a team trade a first round pick for Nassib? Extreme homerism. He would garnish a 3rd, at BEST.

Having said that, I wouldn't mind trading down to get more picks. Nor would I mind taking a d line player. Old Ernie said it best, you need a qb then someone who can hit the qb

Matthew Cohen
Matthew Cohen

@jaymanjay  "We don't need splashes we need instant impact at key positions.  "

You do realize that Benjamin is the classic boom or bust right?

Peter Sinapi
Peter Sinapi

I would be cool with drafting out of the first if they it got an early 2 plus for the pick. Take Benjamin and Niklas. But I'm only OK with that scenario if 1) Mike Evans is not available. 2) Lewan is cleared of any wrongdoing 3) you can guarantee me Benjamin and Niklas in round 2.

Peter Sinapi
Peter Sinapi

Mack would be amazing but square peg in round hole.

Matthew Cohen
Matthew Cohen

 @espirence Indeed, that is the question.  Mack will be gone and there is no other linebacker that merits serious consideration at 12 other than Barr.


Barr would certainly play DE on passing downs.  And that is very exciting.  The question is, can you get him on the field in run/pass situations enough that he's worth the pick?  At 255 pounds, does he have the bulk to stop the run when up against 300+ pound right tackles.  Osi was always considered a liability against the run.

Another question, of course, is if you believe the guy is the next DeMarcus Ware, do you get him and alter your scheme to fit his talents?  As a generally good team, you don't get a chance to draft guys with that kind of ceiling very often.

Peter Sinapi
Peter Sinapi

Outside of 1 season, JPP was not worth the slot he was selected. Obviously the book is not closed on him or his "bust/boom" status. But he won't be on this team next year if he doesn't perform this year.

Skookaloop
Skookaloop

@cole3244  

Aaaaa......i think We are in,

complete REBUILDing Mode ?!?

JPP was ONLY Good,

with OSI & TUCK,

Now, their Gone,

JPP is a BUST...

... and YES... REESE must Not Reach !!!


thatfunk
thatfunk

@Matthew Cohen @thatfunkThat's a horrible story, if the details are in fact true. 


I'm not saying I necessarily want Lewan, but from a football perspective I think he has the potential to be great for a long time.


I really just don't want Ebron at #12! I think he's an exceptional talent, but not for the Giants at 12. If they trade down, get a few more picks in the 3rd round, and take Ebron later in the 1st...That's a win in my book!

Peter Sinapi
Peter Sinapi

I will remember you said that when he is in Giants blue and helping Eli sign that next $100million contract. But I agree, I'm done talking prospects. This draft needs to happen. We've been draft talking since 0-4.

spider43
spider43

@Peter Sinapi  .... Benjamin won't last until Round 2, and if he did, he'd be gone before the Giants picked in that round.

Matthew Cohen
Matthew Cohen

@John Fennelly @espirence  So do you draft him and hope he can bulk up a bit and play the run at end?  He could be the BPA by a lot at 12 if Lewan is a character risk and Donald, Ebron and Evans are gone.  This is especially true given that you've sworn off the CBs in round 1.

Matthew Cohen
Matthew Cohen

@thatfunk @Matthew Cohen  I agree on Lewan's talent but teams consider everything when drafting a player.

Matthew Cohen
Matthew Cohen

@Peter Sinapi  Yes - that's why this Lewan rape threat accusation is  a big concern draft-wise.  If Lewan falls, the Giants are more likely to be stuck with Ebron and corners and safeties as choices.

Peter Sinapi
Peter Sinapi

So that means Clowney, Donald, Mack, 3QBs, Evans, Watkins, Matthews, Robinson, and Ebron are all taken. To me that leaves Gilbert, Dennard, Jernigan and Barr on defense and Martin, Lee, Benjamin on offense.

All but Gilbert and Dennard would be a reach so in that scenario I would take Gilbert.

But man that would be a really terrible way for the draft to go. Need to hope that Lewan, Gilbert and maybe even Derek Carr go in the top 11, leaving better options for the GMen.

spider43
spider43

@Matthew Cohen.... Seriously doubt Ebron will be gone by #12. Evans and Donald more likely to be gone than Ebron.

Matthew Cohen
Matthew Cohen

@Richard George Novotny III @Matthew Cohen @Peter Sinapi  
http://www.washtenawwatchdogs.com/4/post/2013/08/the-cover-up-of-the-arrest-of-university-of-michigan-football-player-brendan-gibbons-for-rape.html
"Shortly after the woman reported the rape, she began to receive threats from Gibbons roommate and fellow football player, Taylor Lewan (now an All-American), that he would rape her again if she pressed charges against Gibbons. "
Yeah - you can handle the press conference.

Matthew Cohen
Matthew Cohen

@Peter Sinapi  So who do you draft if Evans, Ebron and Donald are gone and Lewan is a character risk and you can't trade down?  The best other players are corners and safeties at that point.  

Peter Sinapi
Peter Sinapi

Barr would be an unwise selection at 12. Drafting in the top 1/3 of the draft should be all about grabbing the most sure thing available. Anthony Barr doesn't even have a true position. I would pass and not think twice. Especially considering the giants use the 4-2-5 so much.

John Fennelly
John Fennelly

@Matthew Cohen @John Fennelly @espirence  yes Barr would be a DE on the Giants. He would not be asked to play OLB. They cannot be drafting guys and putting them at positions they can't play at this level. That's exactly where Reese has gone wrong in past years. Barr is aLB in the NFL in a 3-4 scheme only

Matthew Cohen
Matthew Cohen

@John Fennelly @Matthew Cohen @espirence  Of course he wouldn't play LB on third down; he'd play end.  The question is what does he do in run/pass downs.  Is he strong/big enough to play DE?  If not, does he offer enough versatility to be on the field as a joker?