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Friday, April 26, 2013
Manti still on the board

By Ohm Youngmisuk

Justin Pugh is the newest Giant.

In some ways, the versatile offensive lineman is the anti-Manti -- not a sexy well-known name but a 'clean' and safe pick at 19. But now the Giants might focus their attention to their defense, where Manti Te'o is still on the board entering Day Two.

The Giants weren't going to draft Te'o in the first round. But if the Notre Dame linebacker continues to slip to when the Giants pick at 49, Te'o has to at least be in the discussion when they are on the clock.

Jerry Reese and his scouting staff often talk about value and production when they make picks. Say what you want about the girlfriend hoax, Te'o's poor showing in the national title game and his lackluster 40 time. But he was the best linebacker in the country, a Heisman runner-up and an undisputed leader for the Irish.

The Giants should know Te'o better than most. Tim McDonnell, John Mara's nephew, recently left Notre Dame as its former director of football personnel to join the Giants as a pro personnel scout.

As for whether the Giants should take Te'o, that all depends on who is still available at 49. ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. has the Giants going linebacker but taking UConn's Sio Moore in his second-round mock. And Scouts Inc. has the Giants drafting another linebacker in LSU's Kevin Minter in their second-round mock. In both mocks, Te'o was gone.

I firmly believe the Giants should be thinking about how to improve the 31st-ranked defense. Defensive end, defensive tackle, cornerback and safety are areas where the Giants can use a second-round talent. And in my opinion, all those positions are bigger needs than linebacker at this point in the draft.

The Giants can use another linebacker but always remember that they don't play three linebackers for three downs, often going with their three-safety look on passing downs. A middle linebacker like Te'o is a guy who would be a two-down linebacker. And who knows? Perhaps the Giants have another linebacker rated higher than Te'o, who did visit and had a positive meeting according to Reese.

Value-wise, the Giants are probably better off going defensive end, cornerback, defensive tackle or safety in the second round. But Te'o deserves to be in the discussion if he's there at 49.

So guys, tell me: Do you want the Giants to take Te'o if he's there at 49?