Now that the big-money part of NFL free agency is over, teams have begun increasingly focusing on the NFL draft, and their first-round targets are becoming a little clearer. So here's SNY's weekly look at the top players on board for the Giants as they prepare to make the 23rd overall pick of the NFL draft on April 27:
1.OT Garett Bolles, Utah - After dissecting the Giants' free-agent activity, it's hard to see them not focusing on a tackle in the first round (or least somewhere in the first couple of rounds). Yes, they'll say they take the "best available player," but "need" is always a strong factor in their pick and how they organize their draft board. The fact is they have questions at both tackles - Ereck Flowers needs a lot of work on the left side, and no one knows who the right tackle will be (presumably it's D.J. Fluker, but he said he was signed to play guard). Also, Fluker and left guard Justin Pugh (a potential tackle candidate) are unsigned beyond this season. They desperately need a young tackle and Bolles, a 6-5, 297-pounder who will make a pre-draft visit to the Giants, might be the best of an underwhelming group. (Last report: 1)
2.OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin - If Bolles isn't the top tackle on the board, then it's likely this 6-6, 314-pounder. For all the reasons listed above, he figures to be in play on the Giants' board too. The only question, really, is whether either of these two - or both - will be available at 23. The offensive tackle class is generally considered weak, but it's such a primary position that one figures to go in the Top 10 or 15. And sometimes when one goes, more go (The old "Dance of the Elephants," as the late George Young used to call it). (Last report: 3)
3.OT Cam Robinson, Alabama - This big, powerful and somewhat raw 6-6, 326-pounder might be the most likely to still be available for the Giants - which would be an odd drop since there was a time, early in this process, he was expected to be a lock for a Top 10 pick. But as the scouts begin their nit-picking season they see footwork flaws and things that worry them about his ability to handle NFL speed rushers. There's plenty of potential there, but I'll keep repeating this concerning item: The NFL.com scouting report lists his comparable NFL player as Ereck Flowers. (Last report: 4)
4.TE David Njoku, Miami - Even if the Giants can just piece together an adequate offensive line, imagine how dynamic their attack might look if they had a true, dynamic, receiver-like tight end to draw the eyes of the defense. It's a glaring need, but they haven't done much about it. They did sign Rhett Ellison, and they envision using him as both a blocker and receiver, but he's not the type of tight end/weapon most teams have. Ideally, the Giants would've loved to have O.J. Howard here, but there seems to be no way he drops this far anymore. This 6-4, 245-pounder could drop. Some have him in the Top 20. Others have him in the second round. The Giants will definitely take a long look at him. (Last report: 5).
5.DE/DT Malik McDowell, Michigan State - The Giants have a lot of money invested in three defensive linemen - Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison - and they're not going anywhere anytime soon. They may still bring back defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, too. But, as the Giants always say, "You can never have enough pass rushers." Also, look beyond the Front Four (or three). Where's the depth? There's really nothing there. McDowell is an intriguing 6-6, 295-pounder who has been rising up some boards because of his exceptional size, freaky athleticism, and raw potential - not unlike some of the early reports on JPP. He probably is more suited to end than tackle, but he can play both - not unlike Justin Tuck. Everything about him makes him look like a fit on the Giants. There's no consensus on where he goes at the moment, though, if he even ends up in the first round. (Last report: N/A).
Dropped from the board: Alabama TE O.J. Howard (2 last report).
Other previously included players: Michigan DE Taco Charlton, Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey, Tennessee DE Derek Barnett.