Welcome to NFL Draft week, Giants fans! The wait is all but over as we only have a few short days to go before the clock officially begins ticking. In the mean time, kick back, relax and enjoy your morning coffee over the following headlines.
For all their issues, it wasn’t long ago the Giants figured they had answers to two important questions: the identities of their starting offensive tackles.
Now they cannot be so sure. They know Justin Pugh is a solid player with the potential to be more, after starting all 16 games as a rookie at right tackle. But what are the Giants to make of Will Beatty, who is coming off a terrible season and a fractured right leg?
How the Giants answer that question, and how they feel about Beatty, probably will be revealed Thursday night, not by words but by deed, by a move they will or won’t make. If they select an offensive tackle in the first round of the NFL Draft — they own the 12th overall pick — it screams loud and clear that there is immediate and long-term concern about Beatty. If the Giants skip on a tackle, it means they are fairly confident Beatty can return to form in complete health, because no player they take after the first round should comfortably be projected to be a first-year starter.
Since last year’s N.F.L. draft, the Giants suffered through a humiliating 0-6 start to the 2013 season, missed the playoffs, lost their starting running back to a serious neck injury and watched as a big-name receiver and two of the team’s most productive defensive linemen left via free agency.
Oh, and the franchise quarterback still has a protective boot on his left ankle for an injury sustained more than four months ago.
It was only a year ago at the draft that the Giants thought they were just trying to plug a few holes in a veteran lineup. People expected them to be conservative and take an offensive lineman, and they did with the first-round selection of Justin Pugh, who started every game in 2013. But with the team’s having many needs at this year’s draft, the Giants’ intentions are less obvious.
When Giants co-owner John Mara issued his now-legendary description of the point-scoring side of the ball as "broken" in January, he went on to say that the team needed to change the way it drafts its players.
They have won two Super Bowls with Jerry Reese as general manager, but the Giants have drafted only two Pro Bowl players in the eight drafts in which Reese has been in charge of the picks: wide receiver Steve Smith, who isn't even playing football anymore, and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
They've found some gems in undrafted players such as Victor Cruz and brought in top-tier talent such as Antrel Rolle and Jon Beason, but when it comes to replenishing their ranks each spring, the Giants have picked more duds than studs. Which is why this year, in Reese's ninth draft, he's looking for as close to a sure thing as he can get.
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