In the first three rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft, the New York Giants addressed their main three needs at wide receiver with Odell Beckham Jr. and both sides of the line of scrimmage with center Weston Richburg and defensive tackle Jay Bromley. With four picks remaining in the draft, the Giants still had several positions on their wish list, particularly at the skill positions.
The Giants definitely needed a running back, a position that has not only lacked production in recent years but has had serious problems holding onto the ball. Even with a lineman on either side of the ball already drafted, the Giants could’ve still used some depth on the offensive line or a pass-rusher to compliment the style of Jay Bromley, who is a run-stopper. They also needed help in the secondary whether in the form of a safety or a cornerback, but after Antrel Rolle and Prince Amukamura, the Giants don’t have much. They did address some of these needs in the late rounds of the draft:
Round 4, No. 113 – Andre Williams, RB – Boston College
This guy had an unbelievable senior season, leading the nation in rushing yards (2,177) and finishing as a Heisman Trophy finalist and consensus All-American. He’s very strong and with good blocking, is able to find holes and break off long runs. He doesn’t break contact very well but if he gets an angle on you, he has the speed to pull away and he doesn’t get caught from behind. He wasn’t used much in the passing game, understandably, but he is a very good blitz protector and I could see the Giants using him on screen plays. I think the Giants made a great pick here and he could definitely be in the mix this year for some of the carries. Here are his senior highlights:
Round 5, No. 152 – Nat Berhe, SS – San Diego State
The Giants addressed another need here in Round 5, adding some depth to the safety spot with the former captain and four-year starter from SDSU. Berhe is a tough kid with very good instincts and reactions as the play unfolds and seems to always be around the ball. He likes to throw his body around which sometimes leads to him missing tackles he should make, something he’ll learn to correct in the NFL. I like this pick, he doesn’t have typical safety size but he lead the team in tackles last season so if he continues that style of play in the NFL, he could see time on special teams and potentially as a corner.
Round 5, No. 174 – Devon Kennard, OLB – USC
While not a major need, the Giants decided to add some depth on defense and potential leadership with the former captain from USC. He’s not a great athlete but is a very good tackler and a smart player who has seen time at defensive end as well as both middle and outside linebacker. He doesn’t really have a specialty as he isn’t a particularly good run defender, he doesn’t have a great pass-rush game and isn’t really athletic enough to drop back in coverage. He’s a bit of a tweener in terms of size and has a limited skill-set but could pan out as a good special teams player and situational linebacker.
Round 6, No. 187 – Bennett Jackson, CB – Notre Dame
With this pick, the Giants not only add depth to their secondary, they add an experienced special teams player who is a good kick returner. Jackson is an athletic freak who is able to get away with mistakes and playing with separation because of his athleticism and explosiveness. He is a former receiver so he has the hands to make plays on the ball but would need to get stronger before he can handle NFL receivers. For the time being, Jackson will probably only be used on special teams but if he transitions into the NFL well, has the potential to become a solid cornerback.
Overall, I think the Giants had a very solid draft as every pick had a purpose and some could possibly contribute to the team immediately. The one thing I think they should’ve done differently was draft a receiver or tight end in place of Devon Kennard but there is still a whole summer for them to acquire another target for Eli Manning.