DRAFT PREVIEW – NEW YORK GIANTS

A look at the Giants heading into the 2011 NFL Draft; New York has the 19th pick in the first round.

REVIEW OF 2010

Record – 10-6, in a season where they started 6-2 in the first half of the schedule. But they followed that up with a 4-4 second half, but that wasn’t good enough to make the post-season.

Finish – they were tied with the Eagles on top of the NFC East but ended up in second place due to tie-breakers.

Playoffs – just missed last year, as the Giants and Buccaneers had were the teams with the best records that did not make the playoffs. New York was there in 2008 and they won the whole thing in 2007, beating New England in Super Bowl XLII.

PARTICULARS
Offense – averaged 380.3 yards per game; good for the No. 5 position among the league offense. They were the sixth best running game, averaging 137.5 yards per game. New York scored 48 offensive touchdowns in 16 games. RB Ahmad Bradshaw was the leading rusher with 1,235 yards on 276 carries and 8 TDs. Brandon Jacobs went for 823 yards on 147 carries with 9 scores. Hakeem Nicks went for 1,052 yards on 79 catches. QB Eli Manning struggled through the season, throwing 31 TDs vs. 25 INTs. Manning threw for 4,002 yards and completed 62.9 percent of his passes, while finishing with an 85.3 passer rating. Pass protection for Manning was excellent, as he was taken down just 16 times.

Defense – finished in the top 10 in fewest yards allowed, fewest rush yards and fewest pass yards. Giving up 310.8 yards per game left them ranked No. 7 in the league. They were eighth against the run, allowing 101.3 rushing yards per game. The Giants forced 39 takeaways and pulled down 46 QB sacks. Second-year man Terrell Thomas led the team with 5 INTs and both Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora had 11.5 sacks on the season.

Special teams – K Lawrence Tynes missed four of the 23 FGs that he attempted, missing two inside the 40-yard line. Rookie P Matt Dodge had a 44.8-yard average, but one got blocked. The Giants net average was 34.3 yards as they gave up a pair of punt return TDs. The return game for New York produced next to nothing on the season, with no return longer than 42 yards.

DECISION MAKERS

Who has the draft room juice? GM Jerry Reese. He appears to work well with head coach Tom Coughlin and ownership stays out of the way. Reese has the hammer.

TEAM NEEDS

1. Outside linebacker. The Giants have spent a lot of money in free agency in hopes of finding an OLB that can make an impact on the defense. Free agents Michael Boley and Keith Bulluck have not filled the bill. New York needs an impact player off the edge.

2. Center. The Giants have a lot of bodies that can play center, but all of them seem to have physical problems. Starter Shaun O’Hara had off season surgery on his right foot and left ankle. Rich Seubert replaced him and suffered a dislocated knee cap. Backup Adam Koets is coming off ACL surgery. Another interior body is needed.

3. Defensive tackle. There’s a group of bodies at DT in the 2011 draft class and the Giants have a need as the position is a bit in flux with their veterans and second-round pick Linval Joseph from last year.

FIVE-YEAR DRAFT HISTORY

It was in 2007 that the Giants made a change at the top of their football operation and Jerry Reese became G.M. Reese hit big in that first draft as several of those players – WR Steve Smith (2nd), TE Kevin Boss (5th) and RB Ahmad Bradshaw (7th) .

But since then, results have been mixed. Smith is the only player taken in the last five years to appear in a Pro Bowl.

2006 – Missed in the first round with DE Mathias Kiwanuka and the rest of the draft followed behind. Best pick was DT Barry Cofield (4th).

2007 – Grabbing Smith, Boss and Bradshaw, coupled with first-rounder CB Aaron Ross made for a good draft class.

2008 – Not as good as the ’07 class, the group from the ’08 draft has made some contributions. No 1 pick S Kenny Phillips has battled injury problems. CB Terrell Thomas (2nd) led the team in interceptions last year with 5 and WR Mario Manningham (3rd) finished up with 60 catches for 944 yards and nine TDs.

2009 – First rounder Hakeem Knicks led the team with 79 catches for 1,052 yards and 11 TDs. That’s pretty much it from that group.

2010 – As rookies, first-rounder DE Jason Pierre Paul had 4.5 sacks and 7th-round Matt Dodge became the team’s punter, averaging 44.8 yards per punt.

PREDICTION

With the bodies that remain based on our projections on the 18 picks ahead of them, I think the decision with the Giants will come down to LB Akeem Ayers and C/G Mike Pouncey. Both land right around No. 20 in overall talent and either one would fill a need. THE PICK – C/G MIKE POUNCEY.

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