- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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So far in the 2014 NFL draft, the New York Giants have made one pick. I have spent some time over the past 16 hours or so analyzing that one pick, which is my job. Many of you have responded to my analysis by informing me that there are still six more rounds to the draft and that the Giants have six more picks (two in the fifth, none in the seventh, as it turns out). I sincerely appreciate your help in this regard.
Tonight offers us the second and third rounds of the draft. The Giants hold the 11th pick of the second round and the 10th pick of the third. Those are the 43rd and 74th overall picks in the draft. Good picks. Picks that should produce important, helpful players that develop into backbone types for good teams. The kinds of picks on which the Giants have missed too many times in recent years with guys like Marvin Austin (No. 52 overall, 2011), Clint Sintim (45, 2009), Ramses Barden (85, 2009), etc.
The jury's still out on some of the more recent second- and third-rounders. Last year, the Giants picked Johnathan Hankins 49th overall and Damontre Moore 81st, and the year before that they took Rueben Randle 63rd. The ultimate judgment of their 2012 and 2013 drafts will rest in large part on the performance of those players in the next couple of seasons.
So yeah, it's fair to call this a big night for the Giants. They need to maximize the value of tonight's picks. They need to come up with good players that help them restock their talent pipeline in key spots. Fortunately for the Giants, this is a deep draft that offers them good choices in tonight's rounds, or possibly the chance to move back and add picks if they don't like those choices.
Let's look at some of the players who could be available for the Giants tonight and would be helpful to what they need to do long-term:
Joel Bitonio, OT, Nevada. The Giants spent time with this player before the draft and like him a lot. He's the pick for them in our second-round mock draft put together by Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl. Todd McShay ranks Bitonio as his second-best remaining available offensive lineman, behind Virginia tackle Morgan Moses, whom Todd mocked to the Giants in the first round of the mock draft that was based on what he'd do if he had the pick. Obviously, this indicates that Moses also would be a strong pick here if he's available. Other still-available, highly-rated offensive linemen include UCLA guard Xavier Su'a-Filo, Alabama tackle Cyrus Kouandjio and centers Marcus Martin of USC and Weston Richburg of Colorado State. The Giants should have their choice of quality offensive linemen in the second round, and as I'm sure you know by now, I think they'd be foolish not to grab one here. It's not crazy to think that a center they take at 43 could start for them right away, given what they have at the position right now.
Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech. Lots of you wanted Eric Ebron in the first round, but he went No. 10 to the Lions, and honestly I don't think the Giants were going to take him if he was still there at 12 anyway. I don't think they're motivated to take a tight end in the second round, either, be it Amaro or Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Sure, it's possible they like one of those players more than I realize and could take him for that reason. But I don't believe the Giants are going into Friday night thinking they need to pick a tight end. They don't value the position that highly and I believe that they are willing at this point to give the guys they already have a shot at more playing time.
Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame. Unlike Pitt's Aaron Donald, who went to the Rams one pick after the Giants took Odell Beckham Jr. on Thursday night, Nix has the kind of size the Giants look for in a defensive tackle. Same could be said for Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman, who's also still around, if the Giants decide to use one of tonight's picks to beef up in the middle of the defensive line.
Just a few names to whet your appetite. Round 2 starts at 7 p.m. ET. On ESPN, of course.