For the second time in three years, the Giants will be selecting with the #19th pick in the NFL Draft.
It’s the “no man’s” land of picks as you’re unfortunate to just miss the playoffs while not being lucky enough to get a high-end draft prospect. That’s not to say the Giants can’t find an impact player on Thursday night.
The last time the Giants selected with the 19th pick they drafted cornerback Prince Amukamara out of Nebraska. While he has shown glimpses of potential, Amukamara has yet to put it all together.
Can the Giants hit a home run with the 19th pick? Well, that depends on a whole lot of factors. First, can the player play right away or will the prospect be a project?
While we can all hanker for a guy like, say, Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah, he is a project and he may need some time to learn the intricacies of the game. It’s not even likely that he will available when it’s the Giants turn to pick, but if he is, expect the Giants to pounce.
There are a few players who could thrive right off the bat if they are given a fair opportunity to compete for a starting spot.
The Giants have an eye on a lot of intriguing prospects with mock draft experts having varying opinions on who the Giants should select. The list of players is vast and includes-but is not limited to- players such as Zach Ertz (Stanford TE), D.J. Fluker (Alabama OT), Tyler Eifert (Notre Dame TE), Lane Johnson (Oklahoma OT), Kenny Vaccaro (Texas Safety), Xavier Rhodes (Florida State CB), Bjoern Werner (Florida State DE) and the embattled Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o .
As usual, the Giants’ and GM Jerry Reese’s mantra is to draft the best player available (BPA) regardless of need. With that in mind, I think the Giants will select between Te’o, Fluker and Werner. All three have unlimited potential, but also have their drawbacks.
Fluker is thought to be the most ready-made prospect the Giants are eyeing. Fluker is a fantastic run blocker and if playing on the right side of the Giants’ line, he can do wonders. If he is drafted by the Giants, there is no reason why Fluker can’t start right away.
Werner is the type of athletic, strong and active defensive end that the Giants covet. With Osi Umenyiora gone and Justin Tuck on the downside of his career, Werner would be a welcome addition to the Giants and with the way Perry Fewell likes to rotate his DE’s, Werner could have an immediate impact.
And then there was Te’o.
For a guy that has been maligned both for his fake-girlfriend scandal and his unimpressive combine, Te’o should be available much later in the draft than he was originally pegged to be taken. Prior to his scandal, Te’o was almost universally expected to be a top-10 draft pick.
After a promising pro day at Notre Dame, Te’o should be a lock to be a first round draft choice. If the Giants believe he is the best player out there then they should have no qualms about drafting him. With the Giants weak at linebacker, they would also be addressing a need with Te’o.
As long as Te’o can take the ribbing and joking he’ll be sure to get, he should overcome this little controversy. All we care about is football, and if he can help win games, that’s all that matters.
So, with the draft less than two days away, remember these names as they could be the difference maker the Giants are looking for.
Dan Stack | Featured Columnist