Team Giants


Special Report

Sent: 04-30-13

Dave Klein was the Giants' beat writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books and he is one of only four sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls. Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.


By Aaron Klein
Now that the draft is over, you must have looked over the list of the Giants' draftees and wondered: Why this guy? Why in this round? What about him, or that, or on and on?

To ask questions about any draft class is not only valid but prudent. So let's ask aloud one question about each player the Giants selected -- we'll get to the Undrafted Free Agents in a later transmission -- and try to provide the most accurate answer for each.

Round 1: Justin Pugh, T, Syracuse (6-5, 307)
Q: Where will he play on the Giants' aging but experienced offensive line?
A: Look for Pugh to start out competing at right tackle with David Diehl and James Brewer, but there's more to the rookie than meets the eye, and that's his versatility. The Giants love offensive linemen who can be used as plug-and-play tools and Pugh, if necessary, could move over to guard or even center. Mostly, though look for him at right tackle, where some already have him penciled in as the starter, a move that would give the staff more flexibility with Diehl, Brewer, Selvish Capers and even left guard Kevin Boothe in the event that center David Baas gets hurt (it wouldn't be the first time).

Round 2: Jonathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State (6-2, 320)
Q: Will he move ahead of Marvin Austin and Shaun Rogers on the depth chart and compete for playing time?
A: Yes and no. Hankins will probably beat Austin off the roster, and probably Rogers, but don't forget that the team has brought in Cullen Jenkins to take over Chris Canty's spot for the immediate future, and picked up Jenkinsí former Philadelphia teammate Mike Patterson to see what he has left to offer. So, Hankins, a major league run-stuffer, will get his chances early at camp and in the regular season, but he's there for the long haul. Look for his biggest moments to come in 2014, whether as a starter over Jenkins or alongside him if Linval Joseph, who's entering the final year of his rookie contract, doesn't return.

Round 3:Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M (6-5, 250)
Q: Where does he fit behind Justin Tuck, Adewale Ojomo and Adrian Tracy?
A: Moore is a project with huge potential. He didn't have a great Combine and only a slightly better pro day. Many have criticized his work ethic, off-field issues and overall maturity, but the Giants are willing to work with him, "coach him up" so to speak, and get him under the wings of Justin Tuck and Matthias Kiwanuka. He's probably going to have a few "wow" moments as early as training camp and the pre-season and could give the pass rush an extra threat with Osi Umenyiora now gone.

Round 4: Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse (6-2, 227)
Q: A quarterback? A quarterback! Why did the Giants trade up for him and what's the end game?
A: Yes, a quarterback the Giants even traded up a half-dozen spots to get him. He's a true value pick with tremendous potential and has landed in the perfect position, even if he barely plays in the foreseeable future. He gets to learn under Eli Manning and maybe even David Carr (thatís a good thing, stop snickering) as well as the coaching staff. There will be no pressure to perform right out of the gate and the team can develop him for its own benefit or as trade bait in two or three years. The team is already considering going with three quarterbacks, and unless he is an abject failure, Nassib would be the third. If he wins the No. 2 job he's right on deck and even though Manning has been an ironman, you never know. Nassib could make it easier for the staff to put Manning on the bench to recover a little quicker. This is a no-lose situation for either party, though there will be no immediate impact from Nassib and one could argue that a fourth-round pick should contribute quickly, at least by his second year. However, the quarterback position is unique and the usual rules donít apply.

Round 5: Cooper Taylor, S, Richmond (6-4, 228)
Q: Heís a size/speed guy but inexperienced, so what role would he have on the defense?
A: We haven't used the word "ítweener" in a while, so this is as good a time as any. Taylor is a 'tweener': is he a linebacker or a safety? Well, he's sort of both, but not in the traditional sense. Look for Taylor to get looks as the third man in a three-safety set, coming up on the slot, supporting the run and, you guessed is, as an athletic freak defending guys like Robert Griffin III, Mike Vick. In fact, just Washington, which fields a vastly underrated offensive scheme with RGIII and his read-option system, running back Alfred Morris and that infernal zone-blocking scheme that baffled the Giants defense last year. Yes, baffled. Oh, and add the San Francisco 49ers and Colin Kaepernick to that list, too, though those teams don't meet in 2013.

Round 7a: Eric Herman, G, Ohio (6-4, 320)
Q: Is he just camp fodder or something more?
A: The word on him is that he's a mean, nasty brawler on the field, a technician who plays above his limited athletic ability. A pure guard, he could provide excellent support behind Chris Snee and Boothe, as well as their eventual replacements. However, Herman has bodies in front of him, guards like young veterans like Capers and Brandon Mosely. At least he'll provide competition. At worst, he lands on the practice squad. At best, he earns a roster spot and finds himself inactive until someone gets hurt. We won't call him a steal, but he could be a diamond-in-the-rough with the right development.

Round 7b: Michael Cox, RB, Massachusetts (6-3, 214)
Q: Does he even have a chance to stick or is he a throwaway pick?
A: At first glance, you figure Cox is there as a training camp insurance policy so the Giants don't have to work David Wilson and Andre Browntoo hard. Then again, with just DaíRel Scott and Ryan Torain ahead of him on the depth chart for the third spot, Cox could surprise. Problem is, no one can get a bead on him. Even his size is in question (UMass had him listed more like 6-1, 222). Regardless, he's a bruiser who runs hard downfield and he is an excellent receiver out of the backfield. Note: Cox turns 25 as he was a graduate transfer to UMass from Michigan, where only had 19 carries in a reserve role.

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