2008 NFL Draft Preview- NY GIANTS ON THE CLOCK

1) NEEDS. The biggest offseason losses were Mitchell and Wilson. So LB and S are the biggest needs. Reese picked up Danny Clark and Sammy Knight to enable FLEXIBILITY in going after as much VALUE as possible. Those acquisitions are not long term answers, so you still have to expect the Giants to target those positions early. Reese is smart- he gets stopgaps so that he can maneuver on draft day.

2) Which returning starter is the WEAKEST LINK on DEFENSE? S James Butler. Butler is an overachieving UFA. While he is a competent tackler, his lack of speed is consistently a liability. The Giants can AND NEED to improve here.

3) Which returning starter is the WEAKEST LINK on OFFENSE? LT David Diehl. It pains me to say this because I am such a huge Illini fan, but I think that makes my objectivity even stronger here. David Diehl is an unbelievable 5th Round draft choice who has not missed a start in FIVE seasons (86 consecutive starts). Great Guard. Weak tackle. Too vulnerable on the edge. Second in the league in sacks allowed in 2007. Abused by Adalius Thomas in the Super Bowl. Reese loves Diehl for his work ethic and durability, but he’ll be pragmatic and draft a LT HIGH. VERY HIGH.

4) PICK #31. Ultimatenyg’s expert draft analyst is “Wonder.” Wonder dissects the first round like this…You can easily see

6 OL (Long, Clady, Albert, Otah, Williams, Cherilus)
2 QB (Ryan, Flacco or more likely Brohm to GB)
3 DT (Dorsey, Ellis, Balmer)
4 DE (Gholston, Long, Merling, Harvey)
5 DB (100% RCromartie, McKelvin, Jenkins, combo of 2 from Flowers/Talib/Cason/Phillips)
2 LB (Rivers, Mayo)
4 RB (McFadden, Mendenhall, Stewart, Jones)
2 TE (Keller, Davis)
4 WR (BUFFALO????+TENN+PHIL+WASH+DAL???? taking Thomas, Sweed, Hardy, Kelly)

That adds up to 33 players for 30 spots before the Giants pick. This means that at worst you could end up with LB Quentin Groves from Auburn or Safety Tyrell Johnson from Arkansas State. Wonder loves Groves. There is volatility in the pick but the upside is a total home run, great value at #31. On Johnson, he is a very good pick at #1, he STARTS AT SAFETY ON OPENING DAY and would not be able to get out of the starting lineup for years to come. Two keys before the Giants pick… who does Buffalo take at #11. Wonder thinks it is quite possible that they take WR Devin Thomas, and if they do it is CELEBRATION TIME IN EAST RUTHERFORD, because that means an extra team taking a WR and leaving a great oppty for other players to fall to the Giants. Second key… If Denver does NOT take Mayo it is possible he could fall all the way to the Giants.

The draft is loaded with Offensive Tackles; Gosder Cherilus (Boston College) can fall to #31 simply because there are 5 OLinemen rated above him by consensus.

WR James Hardy (Indiana) may somehow fall to #31, that is another Wonder steal at that slot. Take the tall 6’7″ Hardy and now you can definitely trade Shockey, says Wonder. The same argument is even easier to see if TE Keller falls to #31.

5) PICK #63. Wonder has Bryant, Avril, Nicks and Barrett as potentially there and representing value for the Giants at this spot. My favorite is Barrett, because this is a Safety at the right spot and right time. He can get the help of Knight, does not need to be an immediate starter, he’s a good quality pick that matches need and lastly you are not wasting a first rounder on a position like Safety. If the Giants are keyed on getting interior DL help (it depends on their outlook for Jay Alford), then Bryant is your answer.

6) PICKS ON DAY 2. Wonder offers the following Day 2 names as players representing value in later rounds: Carl Nicks, Chris Johnson, Jamaal Charles, Jordy Nelson, Curtis Lofton, Cliff Avril, Jeremy Thompson, Kellen Davis, Mike Pollack, Chilo Rachal..one may be available in 3rd round if LUCKY…but..you also have Patrick Lee, Marcus Howard, Justin King (steal !!)…after that you have guys like Tyvon Branch, Donnie Avery, Brad Cottam, Eddie Royal, Jeremy Zuttah, Craig Stevens, Tom Zbikowski, Terrell Thomas…Mike McGlynn…ALL would have great value anytime after round 3…total speculation as what to expect, and who will fall in 5-7….have to wait until AFTER the first day is over to have any clue…

7) There are a few potential first rounders that Wonder says to avoid. They are LT Chris Williams, S Kenny Phillips, LB Dan Connor, WR Desean Jackson, TE Fred Davis and WR Malcolm Kelly.

8) Wonder separately points out a scenario in Round 1 where Oakland picking #4 would choose from Chris Long or Gholston, not care who it is, and let time expire to have the Chiefs pay more at #4 and let the Raiders save cap space too. The Top 10 salaries have gotten so out of hand that it is making a mockery of the ‘reward’ you get for picking high. Gene Upshaw and the Players Union are awol.

Summary- LB, S, OT are biggest needs. Groves, Johnson, Mayo, Cherilus and Barrett get the Wonder seal of approval for meeting those needs, if they are available.

Live draft coverage on Saturday and Sunday.

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