Entering the draft most knew the theme for the New York Giants would be defense, and the team stayed true to form.  Prospects in the front seven were needed and the Giants came away with several good players, filling a number of needs along the way.

Once Rolando McClain came off the board with the eight pick of the draft the Giants had no chance to move up for the run defending thumper.  They turned their attention to the defensive line and had their pick of two juniors; Jason Pierre-Paul and Derrick Morgan, at pick number fifteen.  They chose the former and selected Pierre-Paul.

There’s no denying Pierre-Paul offers a tremendous amount of upside potential and when compared to Morgan, he hold greater growth potential.  He has the ability to be a three down defender who can rush the passer as well as defend the run.  The pick comes with some risk as Pierre-Paul must prove he is more than a one year wonder and show some maturity in his decision making.  And while we rated Morgan slightly higher when the draft started, we can’t slam the Giants for selecting a potentially quality defensive lineman in the middle of round one.

All signs pointed to the Giants selecting Sean Lee to fill the void at linebacker in round two but when Linval Joseph was still on the board the team grabbed him with the 46th pick.  Like their first selection Joseph is another junior whose best football is ahead of him.  He offers size, athleticism, growth potential and has been productive on the field.  Joseph must improve the details of his game (use his hands better, consistently bend his knees) yet has the ability to develop into a three down lineman that can line-up at tackle or even as a two-gap end in certain situations.

The choice of Chad Jones in round three was slightly surprising considering the team signed Antrel Rolle in the off season and expect Kenny Philips back at full strength this season.  Jones is a terrific athlete but has an undeveloped game at safety.  With linebackers such as Donald Butler and Navorro Bowman still on the board, we question this pick.

We also question the following choice, linebacker Phillip Dillard.  They expect Dillard will fill a need at middle linebacker but in our minds he’s a one-dimensional run defender with limited range and athleticism.  We feel the Giants over-drafted Dillard.

New York came back with a steal a round later. Mitch Petrus was rated as our number three guard and a player worthy of being chosen in round three.  Injuries and character concerns pushed him into the fifth frame.  That being the case, he’s a terrific athlete who plays with a fiery attitude.  Still learning the offensive guard spot since moving from his fullback position, Petrus has great upside and could develop into a starter in due time.

Adrian Tracy was an interesting pick in round six.  A pass rush specialist in college, Tracy possesses terrific size/speed numbers and is a solid developmental prospect.  He needs to improve his playing strength and get accustomed to the speed of NFL competition.  It will be interesting to see if he ultimately lines-up at defensive end or outside linebacker down the road.

Matt Dodge was a terrific final choice and will assume the punting duties now that veteran Jeff Feagles has retired.  Dodge is a big legged punter who does well in the wind, something he’ll have to deal with in the northeast.  He may need a bit of time but has the tools to be the primary punter for the Giants.

Grade (B): Our primary concern with this draft is the top two players will need a little more time to develop than people presently think, which leads to some risk.  We also think Dillard was over-drafted in round four.  Other than that the Giants came away with quality, quantity and several potential starters.