Last year the New York Giants struck gold in the mid to late rounds of the draft by picking up future starters, RB Andre Williams and LB Devon Kennard, in the fourth and fifth rounds respectively. Safety Nat Berhe also picked up in the fifth round, figures to be a significant contributor to the team down the road as well.
With the draft approaching this spring and the Giants at the brink of completing their rebuild, New York needs to find players who can aid the team in their late round choices. Here are some talented prospects who may get over looked on draft day that the Giants should target in the later rounds of the draft to help make New York a competitive squad in 2015.
WR Phillip Dorsett, Miami
Despite not being able to play in the Senior Bowl due to injury, Dorsett was arguably the most impressive receiver in the practices leading up to the game. A projected third rounder, Dorsett has incredible speed, telling draft analyst Mike Mayock he’ll be shooting to run a 4.29 second 40 yard dash at the Draft Combine this year.
His big play ability draws comparisons to Arizona Cardinal John Brown as a guy who can use his speed to beat corners deep down the field. In his final season at Miami, Dorsett caught 36 balls, 871 yards, and 10 touchdowns while averaging an incredible 24.2 yards per catch. His yards per catch number alone show his potential as an incredible deep threat at the NFL level. If the Giants could roll out speedsters Victor Cruz, Odell Beckham Jr., and Phillip Dorsett opposing defenses would be hard pressed to find three reliable corners who could match the speed and quickness of those players.
The knocks on Dorsett from NFL scouts are that is small frame and heavy reliance on pure speed in his routes raise concerns on how well his skill set will translate to the pros. But with smaller yet fast receivers like T.Y. Hilton and Antonio Brown excelling in the today’s NFL, Dorsett should be no exception and a valuable pickup for the Giants if he falls to them in the third round of the draft.
DE Lynden Trail, Norfolk State
Since 1996 Norfolk State has seen just one NFL pick, with hyped outside linebacker/defensive end Lynden Trail figuring to be the second in that span. While the small school is not known for producing NFL players, in Trail it may have produced a first year starter. After leaving Florida when the man who recruited him, Urban Meyer left, Trail moved to Norfolk State where he put up career numbers of 229 total tackles, 41 tackles for loss, 19.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles, and two interceptions.
At 6’6″ and 260 lbs, Trail is a gifted athlete who uses his raw abilities and fluid athleticism to cause havoc on the defensive end. Trail played mostly linebacker in a 3-4 college scheme so the Giants would have to convert him to a defensive end in their 4-3 scheme. Trail needs to develop more than a just a speed rush in order to be successful in this transition.
Developing better handwork, leverage, and not slowing when coming into contact with blockers will be key in making him a dangerous player at the NFL level. New York has yet to have much success in recent years with draft “projects”, but Trail’s raw skill set and stature make him an intriguing Day 3 prospect that would fit an immediate need for the Giants.
TE Blake Bell, Oklahoma
Once one of the top rated quarterback prospects coming out of high school, Oklahoma’s Blake Bell has transformed himself from a skinny passer into a 6’6″ 259 lbs load. He is a great run blocker who can play tight end, fullback, or H-back. With fullback Henry Hynoski and tight ends Larry Donnell and Daniel Fells all set to become free agents in the offseason, Bell’s skill set could immediately make up for any potential free agency departures as he would be an excellent versatile piece for offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo to use.
Bell caught 16 passes for 214 yards and four touchdowns in his first season at the tight end position. His strength also makes him a reliable blocker and deployable ball carrier in short yardage situations (two carries for four yards and two first downs in 2014). Many teams will pass up on Bell because of his limited experience at tight end, but his growth into an easily draftable one in just his first year at the position is a testament to his hard work and dedication to the game. He has all the tools to be able to develop into a consistent contributor to the offense in both the running and passing game.
SS Sam Carter, TCU
At 6’0″ 216 lbs, Carter is not a reliable deep centerfield safety but his strengths at playing around the line of scrimmage and drop back into coverage could make him a valuable defensive back in nickel packages. With safeties Stevie Brown, Quintin Demps, and Antrel Rolle all pending free agents the Giants would be wise to draft some insurance should some or all of them decide to hunt for larger paydays elsewhere.
With 52 tackles, four interceptions, and five passes defended last season, Carter’s talent is getting overlooked by many due to the rising draft stocks of fellow Horned Frogs teammates LB Phil Dawson and FS Chris Hackett. A projected 7th as of now, the converted quarterback needs to work on his breaking down and tackling abilities but has the ball skills to develop into a solid NFL caliber safety.