The countdown is on for Ben McAdoo as he prepares for his first NFL draft as New York Giants head coach.
Daily mock drafts and months of speculation have only been able to shed light on the inevitability that California quarterback Jared Goff and North Dakota State Bison quarterback Carson Wentz will make up the first and second picks overall.
Giants fans await to see how their number 10 overall pick is used with General Manager Jerry Reese, while managing to say a lot without really revealing anything,recently telling Giants.com: “If you pick inside the first 10, 12 picks, you’d like to get a starter who you can put out there to start to play right away, and we sure hope we can get one. We believe we can.”
Two positions emerge as a potential first round draft pick for the Giants, although it is difficult to overlook the likelihood of teams feeding misleading rumours before a potentially season defining occasion.
The Giants have not drafted a linebacker in the first round since Carl Banks in 1984 but that could change tonight with Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd posing as a much talked about name.
Given the apparent revival of defensive end Jason Pierre Paul, even despite the uncertainty surrounding his future, and the presence of Olivier Vernon on the other end of that four, the Giants may not turn their attention to a starter in these specific positions.
Having said this, there is certainly room for the addition of another pass rusher and Floyd is a possibility in that respect. He offers something no other Giants linebacker offers in terms of a combination of athleticism and speed off the mark that not only allows him to be an effective edge rusher but also to move quickly from side to side in a way that helps him combat the run when dropping into coverage.
Comparisons of his slight frame to that of a wide receiver have fueled concerns over his ability to come up against the physicality of the league. It has also been suggested that his style of play makes him better suited to a 3-4, which is something that could put the Giants off.
This could also prove to interest Reese though given his knowledge of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s tendency to rotate players and the theory that bringing Floyd forward could allow Pierre-Paul operate more centrally at times.
His traits as an athlete make him capable of impressing in a pass-first league and his versatility is something that could well be an attraction to the Giants.
Go back a few months and UCLA linebacker Myles Jack would have been a prospect out of reach for the Giants. Not anymore.
Jack looks to have fallen down the board in dramatic fashion with teams expressing their caution over his injury problems.
Ralph Vacchiano has highlighted on New York Daily News how the Giants do not wish to take a risk with Jack: “But I’m told that Reese – and perhaps Reese’s bosses – are unwilling to take a risk on a player that one anonymous NFL source in one pre-draft report called “a time bomb” because of his knee. Maybe if they were picking lower, but that’s way too big a risk for a team with big needs and a history of injury problems to take at No. 10.”
The money spent in the free agency on defensive reinforcements also allows for the Giants to turn their attention to an offensive linemen in the first round.
Michigan State’s Jack Conklin looks certain to be around at number 10 with fellow tackles Laremy Tunsil from Mississippi and Ronnie Stanley from Notre Dame drawing the attention of earlier first round picks.
Quarterback Eli Manning needs as much protection as he can get heading into a season where big things are expected of the Giants and Conklin could be the man to offer him that. He has been highly praised for executing combination blocks with guards while his power and tenacity in his work has been there for all to see.
ESPN Staff writer Dan Graziano has spoken of ideas he learnt of during numerous conversations with people aware of the Giants’ plans: “I have been told their No. 2 offensive lineman is Michigan State’s Jack Conklin, who could potentially start as a rookie at right tackle and allow the coaching staff to keep Flowers on the left side, where they believe he has elite upside.”
There is the argument that if the Giants are to go for an offensive lineman that they cannot afford to wait beyond the first round. In which case, Conklin is the best option and therefore a strong candidate to be taken at number 10.
It looks as though one of Leonard Floyd and Jack Conklin will be taken in the first round by the Giants, however the surprise availability of other prospects could spark a last minute change in mind.
Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott is a name that just will not go away. Though it is hard to see it happening, there have been suggestions that he could be around until 13 where the Miami Dolphins have been tipped by many to take him. If this were the case, it would be interesting to see how much faith Reese has in current running backs Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams. Do not rule out Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves either. The Giants lack depth in this department, despite the arrival of Janoris Jenkins in the free agency.
A big night in store for Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo as they look to improve this Giants roster.