While it’s obviously too early to tell whether any of the prospects picked in the 2015 NFL Draft pan out, one thing is for sure, Big Blue added some talented players with great college pedigrees.
Metro takes a look at the top Giants highlights from this past weekend – as well as whether they filled enough holes to be competitive in the NFC East.
Key needs that were addressed:
First and foremost, the Giants needed to get their act together along the offensive line, as the running game has sagged in recent years, and Eli Manning gets skittish in the pocket any time there’s pressure in his face. Enter the massive (6-foot-6, 329 pounds) and talented Ereck Flowers, who was arguably the best overall player on the Miami Hurricanes last season. Flowers, the No. 9 pick, should instantly start at right tackle – pushing incumbent Justin Pugh inside to guard. It may not be fair for Pugh, but that actually settles down and improves the line. It’s a win-win for Manning, and that’s all that should matter for the Giants.
Outside of offensive line play, the Giants severely lacked any depth and playmakers in the back-end of their secondary. Former Alabama safety Landon Collins changes all of that. Collins (6-feet, 230 pounds) not only has the immense talent (First-Team All SEC) and pedigree to boost the Giants’ safety corps, but he now has a massive chip on his shoulder after having to wait until Day 2 of the draft to hear his name called. The Giants ended his miserable experience by trading up in the second round with the Tennessee Titans for the first pick of that round. Collins will undoubtedly repay his new team, as he was widely considered the top safety in the draft. He was so confident that he’d be a first-rounder that he even drove all the way up to Chicago for the first round.He said he’s ready to make any teams pay that bypassed him, and is grateful for the chance to come to a team that not only needs his services, but to a storied franchise that traded up to get him.
“I was hurt. My dream was to go in the first round and now my dream is going to be sure that all those other teams who could have taken me are disappointed,” admitted Collins. “But you know, I walked out of there with my head held high, as well as that chip on my shoulder. I know I’ll be a dominant player in the NFL. I am very motivated now and I was very disappointed that I wasn’t a first-round pick. I need to prove I should have been.”
Key needs not yet addressed:
The pass-rush was another void to fill, but judging by the numerous scouting reports, the Giants didn’t get much help in that department when they added a defensive end via their 74th overall pick in the third round. UCLA’s Owamagbe Odighizuwa, a 6-foot-3, 270-pounder, isn’t known much for his pass-rushing skills, but is a very good run-defender with strong punch on contact with offensive linemen and is a good anchor on the edge. He was selected to the All Pac-12 Second Team after registering a team-high 11.5 tackles for a loss. And while he also added six sacks, good for second on the team, he’s not considered a great rusher – and that’s a need for a defensive line unit that lacks real pass-rushing punch outside of Jason Pierre-Paul.
Eli Manning’s contract expires in 2016, and while there’s no real threat – yet – of the two sides parting ways, all bases should be covered. The Giants didn’t add a quarterback in the draft, meaning that as of today, there’s only Manning and two very green vets in Ryan Nassib and Ricky Stanzi on the depth chart.
Safety was a need heading into the draft, and the speedy Mykkele Thompson (4.47 in the 40-yard dash) is a solid selection, but the Giants could’ve also addressed their backup quarterback need had they picked UCLA’s Brett Hundley, who was picked three slots later by the Green Bay Packers. Unless the Giants are completely sold on Nassib as the future, Hundley has enough talent and big-game college experience that he would’ve been a sneaky-good late-round selection.
The Giants could still use more linebacker depth, especially with Jon Beason’s injury history. And other than their budding strongside pass-rushing star Devon Kennard, there’s not many playmakers coming off the edge. Perhaps they’ll pick up some street free agents and training camp cuts to help fill that void. But it was intriguing that the Giants failed to address adding a legit pass-rushing threat to pair with Kennard.
Big Blue notes:
- The parameters of the Collins trade (33rd overall) included the Giants sending their fourth-round and the second of their two seventh-round picks to the Titans, as well as swapping second-round picks.
- Rounding out the remaining picks: Connecticut wideout Geremy Davis in the sixth round, and Florida State guard Bobby Hart in the seventh.