By Bobby “Blackjack” Guarente-Talking Football Live Host/ Special Contributor-FRO
When given the task to write about the New York Giants’ first 2 draft picks in the upcoming NFL Draft, the first thing that came to mind was something that my on-air broadcast partner on Talking Football LIVE had said. To paraphrase the words of Anthony “Big T” Guarente, “My God, our New York Giants have just won the Super Bowl and we weren’t even that good.” That’s the beauty of the greatest sport in the world, where on ANY given Sunday, ANY team can win. Well, that and having the genius of Head Coach Tom Coughlin at the helm and GM Jerry Reese rolling snake-eyes on free-agent pick-ups and those not picked up.
Heading into the NFL Draft though, the team on top of the world has some glaring holes to fill. On the offensive side of the ball, the Giants need depth and a potential starter at Running Back. The Big Man, Brandon Jacobs is now the enemy, “I Gotta Ring” viral sensation Andre Brown is out for 4 games with a league suspension and even the current stud, Ahmad Bradshaw will be resting most of the off & preseason due to his ankle/feet. With the running game itself being sub-par in 2011, you have to think maybe the Offensive Line needs some new life. RT Kareem McKenzie has already been shown the door. Can LT Warren Beatty not only reclaim his LT spot but at least be as good as his replacement David Diehl (who by the way, quietly is going to be remembered as an all-time Giant)? Where will Diehl end up if moved again? He’s obviously one of the top linemen so he should still be starting somewhere. I know Big T was never a huge fan of last year’s main free-agent grab, C David Baas but as we all snickered at Reese’s assessment of Kevin Boothe, the guy simply played lights out when forced into play.
Lastly, are we content with what we have at the slot Wide Receiver position now that Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham is gone? I personally have no faith in who we have on the roster now (Jernigan, Barden). On the defensive side of the ball, there is some concern at Strong Safety as Kenny Phillips just hasn’t been himself after serious knee surgery 2 years ago so I see that position as one of need. There is also the question of the depth at Defensive Tackle. Marvin Austin hasn’t played a down of football in 2 years though is still thought of as a first round talent. I don’t see the veteran back-ups returning here i.e. Rocky Bernard, Jamie Kennedy so maybe some younger depth here is necessary. Though we lost fan favorite Dave Tollefson to free agency, I think the signing of LB Keith Rivers will allow Mathias Kiwanuka to get back to more for a DE rusher.
I did a very random sampling of various sports/football related websites to get a feel of the who the experts (CBS Sports, Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, USA Today) and guys like you and me (Bleacher Report, NFL Draft Geek) thought the Giants would draft in these spots. I was quite surprised that many sites had at least 2 rounds predicted! Overall, 15 websites were reviewed and 24 opinions given. The overwhelming majority choice was Stanford TE Coby Fleener (7 picks) over OT Mike Adams of Ohio State (3 picks). I was surprised by this because after the signing on Martellus Bennett, I do not think Tight End is a need at this point, at least not with our first pick. The only other players picked multiple times (2) were OL Jonathan Martin (Stanford) and LB Dont’ae Hightower (Alabama). The players picked just once underscore the needs of the G-Men as listed above: DT Devin Still (Penn State), DE/OLB Nick Perry (USC), RB’s Doug Martin (Boise St.)/Lamar Miller (U. of Miami) and WR Kendal Wright (Baylor). With those sites (6) that also predicted Round 2 of the NFL Draft, the offensive side of the ball was dominant with RB Chris Polk (Washington) the only player picked twice along with Boise’s Martin, TE Orson Charles (Georgia) and OT Michael Schwartz (Cal). An interesting choice by a CBS Sports staffer was local stud WR Mohamed Sanu also in Round 2. Having watch Sanu play many times in person last year for TFL, I think he would be an awesome addition to the G-Men as that slot/WR3 as he catches everything. In summary, look for the G-Men to add much needed depth at RB, WR, OL and DT. My dream duo would be some sort of combination of RB (Doug Martin) and WR (Sanu/Wright)) while Big T likes OT Mike Adams in the 1st and RB Martin in the 2nd. But as we all know, predicting the NFL Draft is just as difficult as winning Power Ball!
Eds. Note: Mr. Reese again held a pre-draft presser and gave away little indication of What NY would do at #32 or with any other pick.