New York Giants First Round Draft Primer 2015


Hyosub Shin

Amari Cooper is one of the best offensive players the Giants could draft. (Courtesy of Hyosub Shin/ Atlanta Journal-Constitution via TNS)


The 2014 season was a disaster for the New York Giants, especially on the offensive side of the ball. With the ninth overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, the Giants will look to fill one of many holes on both offense and defense. Their biggest issues throughout the 2014 season were a weak offensive line and a lack of big-play threats outside of Odell Beckham Jr. partnered with an incapable rotation of linebackers. If the Giants are looking to return to the playoffs, they must look towards drafting a pro-ready prospect in the first round.

Colleges are now preparing their talent for the transition to the NFL, so a top-10 pick nearly ensures an immediate starter. With many quarterbacks and defensive ends expected to get picked early, New York should have their pick-of-the-litter at tackle, linebacker or wide receiver. At this point, the best options for the Giants are tackle Brandon Scherff, linebacker Shaq Thompson and wide receiver Amari Cooper.

Brandon Scherff (Offensive Tackle/Guard Iowa) :
With experience at both the guard and tackle positions, Brandon Scherff is the ideal fit for the Giants’ struggling offensive line. Measured at 6 feet 5 inches and 320 pounds at the combine, Scherff’s run-blocking ability fits perfectly into second-year offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s scheme and playcalling. His ability to open up holes in the running game would also be very beneficial for Andre Williams as the running back grows into a more crucial role in the Giants’ offense. Scherff anchored a powerful, run-heavy offense at Iowa and both his strength and athleticism will translate well at the professional level.

A three-year starter at Iowa, Scherff would be an immediate starter at right tackle and could potentially move to the left side if Will Beatty is released this offseason. In the meantime, starting the former Hawkeye at right tackle would allow Justin Pugh to move to his natural guard position. The addition of Scherff would boost a Giants rushing attack that was ranked 23rd in the league last season. If Head Coach Tom Coughlin wants to continue to develop Andre Williams by giving him more carries, building the offensive line around Scherff would be a step in the right direction.

Shaq Thompson (Linebacker Washington):
If the Giants bypass Scherff and instead decide to improve their defense, the organization will draft Shaq Thompson from the University of Washington. Another versatile player, Thompson started at defensive back as a true freshman and transitioned to linebacker his sophomore and junior years. He even spent some time at running back during his junior year and that versatility will be greatly beneficial for the Giants in the ever-evolving NFL.

The former Husky would add depth to a linebacker core that suffered from a lack of speed during the 2014 season. Thompson has the potential to immediately start at weakside linebacker replacing Spencer Paysinger in first year defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s 4-3 defense. Thompson’s biggest asset is his coverage ability as he has the speed to cover running backs and the strength to stay with tight ends going down the field. In a division full of teams utilizing the spread offense, having athletic, versatile players on defense is imperative. Thompson would provide versatility and athleticism to a defense lacking both.

Amari Cooper (Wide Receiver Alabama) :
After a strong performance at the combine, it’s unlikely Amari Cooper will even be on the board when the Giants pick. However, if the Alabama product is available, New York owner Jerry Reese may bypass the need for an offensive lineman and take a talented receiver for the second year in a row. Cooper thrived in a pro-style offense at Alabama, racking up 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns. With Victor Cruz still recovering from a torn patellar tendon that caused him to miss 10 games during the 2014 season, the Giants may draft Cooper as an insurance policy.

The former Alabama star is a fluid route-runner with experience in a pro-style offense. Cooper has the explosiveness to be a big play threat on the other side of Odell Beckham Jr. and would allow Victor Cruz to move back into the slot position. Pairing him with Beckham Jr. and Cruz would instantly make the Giants’ receiving core one of the best in the NFL. While the offensive line is a more glaring need, Jerry Reese may choose to pick the best player available, and at selection nine, Cooper would be that player.