The Giants had the 32nd ranked defense in the NFL last season, so Big Blue selected Eli Apple with their first round pick in the draft. Chicago traded up and took Floyd, a linebacker. Then the Titans traded up and took offensive lineman Jack Conklin. However, Apple is an athletic corner who won a national championship at Ohio State. In a few years, the Giants could be thanking the Bears and Titans.
In the second round, Big Blue took Sterling Shepard, the Oklahoma wide receiver. He can give Eli Manning another reliable receiver, to go along with Odell Beckham Jr. and what is hopefully a healthy Victor Cruz. Manning has had success with a variety of weapons over the years, including Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith, Rueben Randle, and Plaxico Burress.
“Well I’ll say this about them, they look like they like football and that is a great place to start,” said head coach Ben McAdoo of Apple and Shepard. “They are cerebral guys and they didn’t have any trouble lining up or understanding their assignments, so that is a great place to start.”
Shepard knows that the NFL is different than the amateurs but feels that he can still contribute in his first season. “I definitely think I can,” Shepard said. “I did it coming out of high school and playing college, too. I know this is a different level, but I believe I can contribute as soon as I step in here. I just have to show the coaches that, and they’ll make the final decision.”
Safety Darian Thompson will be counted on to improve a swiss cheese secondary. The Giants are already stating that Thompson will have a chance to start next season. B.J. Goodson, a linebacker from Clemson, was next. Goodson was part of a Tigers team that made the National Championship game and will hopefully develop under Steve Spagnuolo into a force to be reckoned with. Thompson has wasted no time being vocal on the practice field. “It’s definitely a lot easier to communicate when you know what’s going on,” Thompson said. “So first things first, I have to learn the playbook as much as possible before I get out there. So the communication comes natural.”
The Giants went with B.J. Goodson from Clemson in the fourth round. Linebacker for the Giants might be the New York football equivalent of centerfielder for the Yankees. The Giants have had Huff, Carson, Banks, Taylor, and Pierce. Goodson is well aware of big Blue’s past. “The history here speaks for itself,” Goodson said. “It’s a great city of defense. When you think of defense, this is one of the cities you think of. So it’s a great thing to be a part of it.”
UCLA running back Paul Perkins was selected in the fifth round. The Giants have several running backs but it’s such a brutal position that you almost can’t have enough. “Paul Perkins has such great versatility,” said offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. “This is a guy who was a leader on his team, very bright, he is a three down back possibility and here is someone that can have the good hands to catch the football out of the backfield.”
The running back competition doesn’t bother Sullivan either. “I’ll tell you, the more good players you have, the more blessings you can have,” Sullivan said. “The blessings come down and that is a good problem to have.”
New York took South Carolina tight end Jerell Adams in the sixth round. That’s not the most exciting pick on paper, but Giants fans remember that the Cowboys had a pretty good tight end that was drafted in the sixth round named Jay Novacek. “I feel like it’s a good opportunity,” Adams said. “Right now I am just showing them what I can do, how athletic I am and how good of a blocker I am, so just showing them what I can do right now.”
There was no Jared Goff or Joey Bosa for the Giants, but New York addressed some issues on defense while giving Eli Manning some more weapons and protection. Draft Grade: A-