- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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Alec Ogletree was sitting there at No. 19 when it came time to make the pick for the New York Giants in this year's ESPN.com blogger mock draft. And man, could the Giants use him. Heck, if I were running the Giants, that's probably the pick I'd make if the draft fell just that way. But I don't run the Giants. Jerry Reese does, and he apprenticed under Ernie Accorsi, and that's the way deep-rooted organizational principles live through the decades. The last linebacker the Giants took in the first round was Carl Banks in 1984. That's not a coincidence. That's 29 years' worth of evidence that they just don't assign first-round value to players who play that position.
So linebacker was out, and since we were rolling with trends and history anyway, I figured why not pick the position to which the Giants consistently assign first-round value -- defensive back. There were some good ones available at this point. Only one cornerback (Dee Milliner) and one safety (Kenny Vaccaro) had been taken. I went with Washington's Desmond Trufant, mainly because he was the highest-rated corner after Milliner on the Scouts, Inc. draft board. It's entirely possible that, should they find themselves in this situation Thursday night, the Giants will have D.J. Hayden or Xavier Rhodes or Jamar Taylor rated ahead of Trufant and pick one of those guys. I do not know how they have the defensive backs ranked on their board. I just know that they've used their first pick on a defensive back in four of the past eight drafts, so it made sense to me to take one there this time around.
I thought about Bjoern Werner, the Florida State pass-rusher. I thought about Sylvester Williams, the North Carolina defensive tackle. Defensive line is another position on which the Giants like to use first-round picks, and either would have made sense there. My point was that, in predicting the Giants' first-round pick, it's important to understand the way they think. Yes, they believe it's important to take the best player still available on their board. But when they craft their board, the Giants tend to assign less value to some positions than to others. So while someone like Ogletree might look like the best player available at 19 to you or me, he likely doesn't look that way to the Giants, who believe they can find good value at linebacker in later rounds.