With a Solid Draft, Giants Looking Like NFC East Contender

Entering a make or break season, New York Giants’ general manager Jerry Reese is in desperate need of a stellar draft class to keep his job. Without a playoff berth sense the 2011 Super Bowl victory, the team is hopeful that this crop of Giants’ rookies will all be contributors in the near future. Here are some tentative grades for Reese’s 2015 selections and on how these new Giants may fair at the professional level.

Round 1 Pick #9: OT Ereck Flowers, Miami 

At 6’6″ 329 lbs, OT Ereck Flowers has scouts split on what his true NFL position will end up being. Although he posses ideal size and strength for the tackle position, his poor footwork in pass protection makes him a liability on the edge. The Flowers selection feels like a bit of a settle, with the most talented prospects already off the board come the Giants selection. Yet, New York knew it needed to upgrade their offensive line and 22nd ranked run defense from last season, so they took Flowers and his exceptional run blocking to help strengthen that glaring weakness. He has all the physical tools in the world to develop into an elite offensive tackle, it all depends on how he improves his pass blocking. If he improves his balance and gets a better punch of his drop in training camp and the preseason he will be the Giants’ starting right tackle come open day. If not, he could be one of the draft’s biggest disappointments.

Grade: B- 

Round 2 Pick #33: S Landon Collins, Alabama 

The Giants traded their second, fourth, and one of their two seventh round picks to the Tennessee Titans to move up to the first pick of the second round. They used the pick to select safety Landon Collins, both the best player still available in the draft and a position of need. The Alabama product held a first round grade on many draft boards, but slipped to the second round due to the lack of teams in need of a safety.

Collins has average hands and will not come up with any spectacular interceptions, but he makes up for it with solid coverage and quickness. His greatest asset is in the run game, as Collins will make his money as a reliable tackler who explodes into contact. Head coach Tom Coughlin will love the effort Collins exudes on every down, never giving up on a play and rarely missing a tackle.

Anytime you find a reliable starter who immediately improves a unit on the second day of the draft, it is an excellent pick.

Grade: A 

Round 3 #74: DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA

The former UCLA captain may end up being an even bigger steal than previous selection, Landon Collins. In addition to being 6’3″ and 267 lbs of pure muscle, Odighizuwa posses incredible football IQ. He raved about the strengths he observed on tape of former Giants defensive ends Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck, which he hopes to emulate on the field.

Odighizuwa has all he physical tools in the world and a great work ethic on and off the field to go with it. His active hands and powerful frame make him an absolute force when defending against the run. The only things that could hold him back from being truly special are his health and effectiveness in the pass rush. Odighizuwa had two hip surgeries during his collegiate career, missing his entire 2013 season because of it. Meanwhile, although he never gives up on a pass rusher, his skills in the area are limited. He has a tough time getting the edge on offensive linemen, often trying to simply out muscle his opponent.

If he can develop some better pass rushing moves, Odighizuwa could end up being the best player the Giants drafted in 2015 and he certainly has that hard-working mentality to make it happen. For now though, he is a solid option on running situations and should be a special teams star.

Grade: A-

Round 5 #144: DB Mykkele Thompson, Texas

The projected undrafted free agent garnered New York’s election in the fifth round in a head scratching decision. However, although not the flashiest pick, Thompson provides excellent durability assurance (he appeared in all 52 games during his four seasons with Texas) to a cornerback position that got mauled by injuries last season.

He is not a dangerous playmaker, often taking poor angles to the ball, but has good size at 6’2″ and 200 lbs that helped make him a reliable and physical tackler. Thompson played both safety and cornerback for the Longhorns, which adds some value to him from a versatility standpoint. He figures to compete for the vacant slot corner position next season, likely becoming the backup there as well as a contributor on special teams.

The son of an active serviceman, Thompson is a well-disciplined kid with absolutely no character concerns.

Grade: C- 

Round 6 #186: WR Geremy Davis, UConn

The Giants continued to add Victor Cruz insurance in the sixth round of the draft, adding possession receiver Geremy Davis. Although he lacks ideal speed (he ran a 4.49 forty yard dash at the NFL Combine), Davis has the size at 6’2″ and 216 lbs to be an effective outside receiver. He has great hands and extends his arms to attack the football as it is coming toward him and excels at winning jump ball situations. Davis overcame poor quarterback play at UConn during his 2013 season to amass 73 catches for 1,083 yards.

Yet, concerns about his one-dimensional game are fairly serious. Davis is not a polished route runner and will not be winning any foot races to the end zone. He is a tough ball carrier and hard man to bring down, but his sub par speed and quickness will limit him as a player. The Huskies captain needs to make major improvements in those areas to become a more effective all around player.

Grade: C

Round 7 #226: OL Bobby Hart, FSU 

Check out my pre-draft interview with Bobby Hart here.

FSU offensive linemen Bobby Hart may be the Giants most NFL ready day three pick, despite being one of the youngest player’s in the draft. He was a college offensive tackle but has a better skill set for guard at the NFL level.

Hart’s good hands give him a nice violent punch off the point of attack but his unsteady base makes it necessary for him to play on the interior for the time being. At 6’5″ and 329 lbs he has exceptional lateral quickness for his massive size. Being only 20 years old, Hart has plenty of time to polish off his game before he is expected to be a featured contributor. He is a teachable player who learns from his mistakes and could be a solid rotational player on New York’s revamped offensive line.

Grade: B 

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