As Giants general manager Jerry Reese winds down his draft preparation – and continues his cat-and-mouse game with the media on whom he should select – Big Blue sits in a nice spot by holding the No. 9 pick.
The consensus from most draftniks is that this draft is loaded with big-time talent, meaning whomever the Giants select, it should be an impact player.
Metro takes a look at three players the Giants could target in the first round.
1. Brandon Scherff, tackle, Iowa: While Reese has been vague about his preferences, even he admitted last week that Scherff is a “good player … who is versatile enough to play both [guard and tackle].” The Giants like guys who can immediately step in and play multiple positions – most notably recent selections of lineman Justin Pugh (tackle and guard) and receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (wideout and slot). Both Pugh and Beckham have been very good first-round selections able to handle starter’s roles, so look for Reese to be very tempted to call Scherff’s name at No. 9.
2. Amari Cooper, receiver, Alabama: It would be a shock to see the stellar Alabama wideout fall to No. 9, but stranger things have happened at the NFL Draft. Should the Oakland Raiders select another stud receiver in former West Virginia star Kevin White with its No. 4 pick, it’s conceivable that Cooper would still be on the board by the time Big Blue selects. Teams other than the Raiders that are picking 1-8 all have greater needs than receiver, so if both Scherff and Cooper are there, Reese will have a good problem on his hands. Cooper also makes sense because there’s no telling how fast Victor Cruz recovers from his torn patella (kneecap). That type of injury is devastating because the cartilage was actually pulled away from the kneecap and occurred on a non-contact motion when he merely tried to jump to make a catch. Tearing his knee while leaping, rather than twisting it on the way down, indicates something was already wrong the knee’s structure to start. Cooper could be a great fallback – and sidekick to Beckham -- in case Cruz isn’t ready by Week 1.
3.Trae Waynes, cornerback, Michigan State: He’s the top-rated corner in the draft, and possesses great speed as he ran the fastest 40-yard dash at the combine (4.3 seconds). He’s a bump-and-run cornerback with length (6-foot-1) and has the confidence to contest the deep ball. Think Antonio Cromartie as an NFL comparison. But like the Jets’ veteran corner, Waynes is also prone to garner flags for his aggressive grabbing nature in press coverage. The former Spartan is physical, has great instincts, and likes to come up in run support. He would be able to learn and lean on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Prince Amukamara, with the latter still recovering from his torn biceps last season. Perhaps the biggest factor for Reese if Waynes is still there at No. 9, is that while he’s not as naturally gifted as University of Washington prospect Marcus Peters, Waynes also doesn't have the off-field baggage, either – and that’s always a big deal for a Tom Coughlin-led squad.