Sunday, October 13, 2013
No, it's not too early for Giants draft talk
By Dan Graziano
The New York Giants aren't playing Sunday, since they already played (and lost) the Thursday night game this week. In fact, the Giants play on only one of the next four Sundays, since they have the Monday night game next week and a bye in Week 9.
So Giants fans will have to watch other teams or do other things with their time on Sundays for the foreseeable future. And when your team is 0-6, one of the other things that's on your mind is next year's draft.
If the season ended right now, obviously, the Giants would hold the No. 1 pick in the draft. And while they're playing like a team that can contend for that pick all year, we have to ponder several possibilities in addition to that. It's hard to imagine at this point that the Giants won't have a very high pick. They haven't picked in the top 10 since 2004, when they had the No. 4 pick and traded with San Diego to get No. 1 pick Eli Manning. Here's a look at a few ways the Giants could go come early May if they continue to slog along as one of the worst teams in the NFL.
Jadeveon Clowney. The South Carolina pass-rusher was being talked about prior to this season as a once-in-a-generation talent who'd have gone No. 1 overall if he'd been in last year's draft. With Justin Tuck likely gone after this year, the Giants would have to be intrigued by the idea of pairing Clowney with Jason Pierre-Paul as a high-impact pass-rush tandem for years to come. Clowney has had a rough year so far and has been the subject of controversy over whether he's holding back so as to avoid getting injured and jeopardizing his draft status, but the Giants likely would have to land the No. 1 or No. 2 pick if they wanted to get him.
Offensive line. The Giants went 13 years without picking an offensive lineman in the first round before they picked Justin Pugh in 2013. They liked Pugh because they believed he could play several positions on the line and they didn't know what their specific line needs would be in 2014 and beyond. If Chris Snee and David Baas are gone, as is likely, they could move Pugh inside and take a top tackle such as Texas A&M's Jake Matthews or Michigan's Taylor Lewan. They could start the rookie out at right tackle and, if he ends up better than left tackle Will Beatty, could flip them somewhere down the road.
Linebacker. Nah, just kidding. The last linebacker the Giants took in the first round was Carl Banks.
Quarterback-as-trade chip. Eli Manning is struggling, but he's not going anywhere anytime soon, so the Giants aren't likely to take a top quarterback such as Teddy Bridgewater or Brett Hundley with their theoretical high pick. However, if they end up in the top five, they could find that quarterback-needy teams with lower picks are eager to trade up to position themselves to take a quarterback. In such a case, the Giants could slide down a couple of slots and pick up valuable extra picks the way the Rams did two years ago when the Redskins traded up for Robert Griffin III. That would help them as they work to rebuild their offensive and defensive lines, or could position them to draft a mid-first-round defensive back, which is something their history says they love to do.
Lots of time, obviously, between now and then. And much will change about the landscape and/or the Giants' position in it. But I'm getting a ton of questions about this, and based on the way the Giants' season has gone so far, they're not silly.