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Wednesday, April 21, 2010
No gadget plays for Giants in first round

By Ohm Youngmisuk
ESPNNewYork.com

On the eve of the 2010 draft, talk is intensifying about what teams may do, with misdirection and smoke screens all around.

The Giants, however, are going for defense in the first round and Jerry Reese's top target is believed to be Alabama middle linebacker Rolando McClain.

McClain would seem to be the heir to Antonio Pierce's old spot, but the Giants aren't sure if McClain will be there at 15th overall when they pick. There could be heavy trade activity starting with Jacksonville at No. 10. Denver has been linked in many mock drafts to McClain at 11. And the Dolphins also could be interested in the Alabama linebacker at 12.

Jason Pierre-Paul
If the Giants miss out on Rolando McClain, they could target South Florida's Jason Pierre-Paul.

If the Giants don't trade up for McClain or if he is gone by 15, Reese is expected to take South Florida defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. That move could potentially impact Osi Umenyiora's future, considering rumors have been flying about a potential trade involving the defensive end in Day 2 of the draft.

If Reese's second target is gone, the Giants could have a debate on their hands. The Giants are leaning toward defense and Florida cornerback Joe Haden, Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan and Tennessee defensive tackle Dan Williams are all on their radar. Haden said Wednesday at an NFL event in Central Park attended by several draft prospects that he has been contacted by the Giants, asking for a phone number where he can be reached on draft day.

That's typical of teams, though, as Clemson running back C.J. Spiller said he also was contacted by the Giants for his draft-day information. The Giants reportedly are interested in Spiller although the running back is not expected to slip to 15.

"I haven't heard any talk with the Giants," Spiller said Wednesday. "The only talk is when the Giants called and asked for my draft-day number. But no one really knows until tomorrow. I met with them at the combine but other than that, no contact."

Offensively, the Giants could use a talent like Spiller in the unlikely case he falls to 15, with both Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw returning from offseason surgeries. And Rutgers tackle Anthony Davis is also a consideration should he be available at 15.

But the Giants want to go defense and they want McClain. The Giants also could go linebacker in the second round or later. Penn State linebackers Sean Lee and Navorro Bowman along with Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes could be options later. Linebacker Michael Boley welcomes the addition of a highly touted linebacker like McClain.

"The more, the merrier," Boley said Wednesday. "Watching the national championship game, [McClain] is a pretty good player. Tremendous athlete. Just by watching him play he has a natural knack for the ball. [But] it is going to be tough [to replace Pierce]. He is one of a kind. He is not one of those guys you can replace overnight."

As for whether the Giants will trade Umenyiora overnight sometime this week, Boley said he is not going to worry about what may happen with the Giants' pass-rusher.

"I have talked to Osi a couple of times and he is there working hard and just like the rest of the guys and he seems very upbeat right now," Boley said. "He is not worried, I am not worried. It's one of those things you learn to accept over the years. I haven't been [here] but a short time and I have seen so many people come and go that you think, 'They'll be here, they are not going anywhere,' and then next minute they are gone.

"As any team, we have more than one need," Boley added. "It will be pretty interesting to see what we do."

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.