- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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While it could still fluctuate wildly based on game results in the final three weeks of the season, the New York Giants currently occupy the No. 13 spot in the projected first-round order for the 2014 NFL draft. Looking at that list, you can see it's not crazy to imagine the pick getting as high as around 5 or dropping into the early 20s. But since 13 is where they sit right now, let's look at what they might be able to do with a pick like that.
What I think they should do: Offensive line. We've been over this, and I don't think it's what they'll actually do, since this year's pick of Justin Pugh broke a stretch of 13 years without a first-round offensive lineman. But if I were the Giants, I'd be hoping one of the better offensive linemen on my board was there when I was picking in the first round. They could conceivably need a new starting center and two new starting guards, but that immediate problem isn't as alarming as the fact that so little is in the developmental pipeline behind the guys (David Baas and Chris Snee, mainly) who got hurt this year and may not be back. Even if they re-sign Kevin Boothe (which would make sense), it's hard to see too many answers coming from the Jim Cordle/James Brewer/Brandon Mosley group. Taking a mid-first-round tackle would deepen them at offensive line, which they desperately need, and could help them stay flexible down the road if they decide Pugh (or the tackle they pick) is better suited for an inside spot or Will Beatty needs to be on the right side. Auburn tackle Greg Robinson ranks 14th on Mel Kiper Jr.'s latest Big Board but hasn't yet decided if he'll enter the draft. Michigan's Taylor Lewan is another guy who could be around at that spot.
What I think they will do: Wide receiver. This is only if Hakeem Nicks leaves, but since I believe he will, this would be such a Giants thing to do. Even though the biggest problem for the passing game right now is the protection of Eli Manning, the temptation when you're building around a franchise quarterback is to add weapons for him. The Giants are thin at wide receiver even if Nicks does come back, but if he doesn't, they'll be looking for a big-play threat to replace what Nicks gave them before the injuries and the disappointing contract year. They need someone to take attention away from Victor Cruz, and so far they don't seem to see Rueben Randle as a true outside No. 1. Mel's got Clemson's Sammy Watkins and USC's Marqise Lee in his top 10, and if a guy like that fell to 13, you could easily see the Giants taking him and crowing about how much higher than that they had him ranked on their board.
Other notes and possibilities: As is the case with wide receiver, they need to add depth at defensive end and never seem to shy away from doing that. Especially if Justin Tuck leaves, this could become a major priority area worthy of addressing with the first-round pick... Someone like North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron would fit the "another weapon for Eli" bill as well... Defensive back is one of Jerry Reese's favorite positions to draft in the first round, but it doesn't look like there are too many great cornerback or safety options in the first half of this year's... The Giants haven't drafted a linebacker in the first round since Carl Banks, so don't get too excited if you see a linebacker projected to them in any of the mock drafts.