Posted by Alexis Celluro | Featured Columnist
Just a few days away from this year’s Senior Bowl, it’s time to stir up some conversation about what your New York Giants might be searching for in the 2015 NFL Draft.
There are a few key positions the team needs to fill, especially on defense. With Steve Spagnuolo back in charge, the Giants will be looking for a revival of the tenacious pass rush that highlighted his time with the team back in 2007. That being said, there is a strong possibility the team looks to enhance their lackluster defensive front in the draft.
At number nine, the Giants could be looking to pick up either a tackle or a defensive end. There are a couple of names that stand out to me in particular that would be worth a glance in the first round- Danny Shelton and Shane Ray.
Danny Shelton, DT Washington
Shelton is thought to be the second best tackle in the draft, right behind Leonard Williams (who will most likely not make it out of the top 5). Standing at 6’2 and nearly 350 pounds, Shelton is a big guy, to say the least. However, he is surprisingly quick. He explodes off the line of scrimmage, and shows impressive amounts of endurance. Shelton is also incredibly powerful- a menacing combination of both strength and speed. During his last season in college, he recorded 9 sacks, and 24 tackles for loss. He can pressure the quarterback, but is also effective at stopping the run. Many, including ESPN’s Mike Mayock, have compared him to Haloti Ngata of the Baltimore Ravens.
Shane Ray, DE Missouri
Again, Ray is considered the second best defensive end in the draft. His sheer athleticism attracts a lot of attention- at 6’3, 250 pounds, he reportedly runs a 4.4 40 yard dash. He was named the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year after racking up 14.5 sacks in 2014. A number of NFL executives have compared Ray’s explosive style of play to Denver Bronco’s linebacker Von Miller.
This draft class is fairly deep at both positions, so it is also possible Big Blue chooses to defer this need to a later round. Some of the names that might still be available when the Giants pick again include Carl Davis and Lynden Trail.
Carl Davis, DT Iowa
While some mock drafts have the Giants picking a different Iowa player in OT Brandon Scherff, Davis is someone the Giants have already shown interest in. The tackle is projected to leave the board during the second or third round, and could be a great pick-up if he is still available when the Giants are up. Davis, at 6’5, weighs in at 315 pounds. Those covering the Senior Bowl have been impressed with his dominance in 1-on-1 drills, and his speed off the snap. Davis also plays smart, and has been praised for his use of his hands. However (and this is a big however), he has not shown much productivity yet as a pass rusher. His physical build and skill sets are promising, though.
Lynden Trail, DE Norfolk State
Recent reports say that the Giants have taken a real liking to Trail, who is projected as a fourth or fifth round pick. At 6’6 and 265 pounds, Trail has the long and lengthy body, and the flexibility and speed to match. He spent much time in college playing linebacker, but this past season put his hands in the dirt up front and showed he has the ability to be an effective pass rusher. His speed allows him to also turn, and catch a runner in backside pursuit.
This list is certainly not complete, and there are also a number of guys who play in a DE/LB hybrid position that have been mentioned as potential interests for the G-men (Vic Beasley, Shaq Thompson, Michael Bennett-to name a few). But, this list aims to showcase guys I think would be good additions to adding a real presence up front on defense.