The New York Giants offseason priorities are fairly clear. They need to boost their offensive line, add depth on all levels of the defense, and unearth another offensive playmaker.
General Manager Jerry Reese prides himself of scarcely reaching for a need, so he will let the depth of the draft and the talent available dictate to him. Bearing that in mind, there are some names Reese will undoubtedly be keeping an eye on over the course of these next several days.
Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
The 6'7" 243 pound Dion Jordan is a guy who played outside linebacker in Oregon's 3-4 scheme but has the physical skills to be a very versatile pro. He lined up in a variety of places throughout his tenure at Oregon and displayed great ability to set the edge, stunt when asked to, and consistently made tackles downfield.
The Giants would love to add another body to their front seven with the ability to get to quarterbacks and play stout against the run.
NFL offenses are evolving. quarterbacks are more mobile, the tempo is quicker, and the spread (or pistol) offense has caught on. Players who have a familiarity with defending the spread offense and the mobile quarterbacks that come along with it are valuable in todays NFL.
Jordan is one of those players with a lot of room for growth both physically and mentally. His presence would help add another player cut from the Mathias Kiwanuka mold. Seeing how Jordan is able to move in space in the drills this weekend will offer a better feel as to how he will hold up if asked to play a 4-3 SAM role.
Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama
Barrett Jones is a player who would fill an immediate need for the Giants: depth and versatility along the offensive line. While he played center for Alabama, he is touted as the most versatile linemen in the draft. He has the ability to play virtually the entire right side of the line including, as some believe, right tackle.
The Giants do not give away starting positions to rookies out of the gate, and while many are clamoring for an offensive linemen in the first round, it may be tempting to hold off and see if Jones slips into the second round range.
The Giants will have James Brewer, David Diehl, and likely a rookie battling for starting positions at right tackle and possibly left guard if Kevin Boothe leaves via free agency.
With a versatile body like Jones, the Giants have a bit more security moving forward at several positions. How Jones communicates his skills in interviews this week as well as how he holds up in drills that test his footwork will be a good indicator of just how versatile he is.
Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford
2013 could be the year that the Giants replace one blue collar linebacker named Chase with another.
Chase Blackburn has been the quintessential over-achiever and blue collar worker for the Giants over the past decade. Chase Thomas out of Stanford is another 3-4 outside linebacker whom will be an intriguing prospect in the middle rounds.
At Stanford, Thomas was a four-year started with undeniable production (228 tackles, 50 for a loss, and 27 sacks). He was also a fantastic leader who still has regular communication with San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio (former Stanford defensive coordinator).
He is another player with intimate knowledge of defending these more spread-out offenses. He could be someone the Giants look to in a middle round to supplement their rotation along the front seven and help "set the edge" against teams with sideline to sideline running schemes.
Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Giants need extra hands in the secondary but more specifically, they need someone who can man up against big wide receivers on the outside. The lack of size at corner is disconcerting to say the least.
Rhodes stands at 6'2", 217 pounds. Outside of Corey Webster, Terrell Thomas is the Giants only cornerback worth mentioning that stands over six feet.
Rhodes has good instincts and is not afraid to get his hands dirty in terms of making tackles (139 at Florida State). He has everything teams desire in terms of a pro cornerback. He is one of the most pro- ready players in the draft and has the tools to succeed in a zone based scheme such as the Giants.
The question will be: how fast is he?
Posting a great 40 time is something that can only boost Rhodes draft status. He is a candidate to be selected by the Giants in the 2nd round if he is available.
Also…Barrett Jones, Chase Thomas, Dion Jordan, Football, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Xavier Rhodes
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