As the Draft inches closer, speculation grows as to where certain prospects will land. Let’s take a deeper look at the Giants’ drafts over the past decade, and see if we can spot any trends or habits.
Let’s start by looking at the Giants’ approach to the first round. We’ll use 2004 as a major starting point, when Tom Coughlin took over that January. Since 2004, the Giants have used four of their six first-round selections on defensive players. The Giants did not have a first-round pick in 2005 as a result of the Eli Manning deal in ’04.

The first thing that jumps out is the defensive focus – specifically the front four and the back four. Three defensive linemen and three defensive backs were selected, with Kenny Phillips and Aaron Ross picked back-to-back. You also might notice an abundance of players from ACC programs, but Shockey and Joseph attended the pre-ACC Miami, so the number of ACC selections drops. Even still, since the 2004 Draft the Giants have picked four players from ACC schools in the first round – and if you’ll notice they’ve all turned out to be good NFL players.

Next, we’ll look at the decade as a whole. Over the last ten years, the Giants have made a total of 73 picks – 35 on offense, 38 on defense.

What jumps out right away here is the amount of picks used on wide receivers. The Giants used twelve picks on wideouts, 34.3% of the total amount of offensive players selected, while only nine picks have been used on offensive linemen. Over the last ten years, the Giants have selected more wide receivers (6) within the first 100 picks than any other position. Of those six – Tim Carter, Sinorice Moss, Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, Hakeem Nicks, Ramses Barden – five of them came in the last half of the decade.

On defense, just ten of the 38 picks have been used on linebackers; 14 picks have been used on defensive linemen and 14 picks have been used on defensive backs. The G-Men tend to add depth on defense early: the Giants have spent at least two of their first three selections on defensive players in eight of the last ten drafts; the ’04 and ’09 Drafts were the only two in which the Giants spent at least two of their first three selections on the offensive side of the football. Since the 2007 Draft – another starting point for us to examine, 2007 was Jerry Reese’s first as Giants’ general manager – each year the Giants have used at least one pick within the first 100 on a defensive back, the only exception being 2009.

Now, let’s look at some other noteworthy stats and habits in recent Giants’ drafts.

  • Over the last ten years, the Giants have selected just two offensive linemen in the first two rounds.
  • The Giants have not used a first-round pick on an offensive lineman since drafting Luke Petitgout (Notre Dame) with the 19th overall pick, way back in 1999. With the abundance of talented tackles at the top of the board – Castonzo, Solder, Sherrod, etc. – this trend could be bucked this year.
  • After acquiring Eli back in 2004, the Giants have since drafted just two quarterbacks (Andre Woodson, Rhett Bomar) – neither being selected prior to the fifth round.
  • This past decade, the Giants have drafted as many tight ends as offensive tackles (2) within the first 100 picks.
  • The Giants have selected just three running backs in the draft since 2001 – and in that same span have never selected a back prior to the start of the fourth round. The earliest the Giants picked a running back in the last ten years came in the 2005 Draft, when they drafted Brandon Jacobs (Southern Illinois) with the 110th overall pick in fourth round.
  • Despite selecting a linebacker ten times since 2001, the highest the Giants have ever drafted a linebacker during that ten-year span came recently in 2009, when they selected Clint Sintim (Virginia) with the 45th overall pick.
  • The last linebacker taken by the Giants in the first round? Carl Banks (Michigan State), third overall in 1984.
  • Since the 2007 Draft – again, Reese’s first at the helm – the Giants have used a total of 31 draft picks. There have been 14 selections within the first 100 picks of the draft. Of those 14, 12 picks have been used on players from conferences that have automatic berths to BCS bowls (Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, and Southeastern conferences).
  • On the other hand, the Giants have had 17 picks outside the first 100 dating back to 2007. Of those 17, nine have been used on players from conferences without an automatic berth – or, players from “smaller” schools.
  • In his first three picks in each of the last four years, Jerry Reese has selected eight defensive players and just four offensive players.

    I think most signs point to the Giants adding a defensive player from a big conference in the first round. Now, we all know the biggest need is along the offensive line. But if a player falls farther than we draft analysts and mock drafters expect and offers top-10 value all the way at pick number 19 – maybe Da’Quan Bowers and his knee issues? – don’t be surprised if the Giants scrap drafting for need and take the best player available.

    The ongoing labor strife has been expected to cause an increase in drafting for “need”, and I definitely see this happening early, especially with so much uncertainty on the horizon regarding signing undrafted free agents, and UFA’s and RFA’s. Teams with top-15 picks will be more inclined to draft for need rather than draft the best value – certainly when it comes to teams that need a quarterback. It might sound crazy, considering the overall talent levels of the top-6 QBs, but don’t be surprised if we see four or five quarterbacks taken in the first round – and maybe even a third rising into the top-10. The top defensive prospects will fall as a result of so many quarterbacks going early – which leads us to the Giants. The Big Blue defense already has strong depth at the defensive line and defensive back positions; there’s no real need for a first-round talent there. Now, they are lacking at the linebacker positions as we’ve mentioned here numerous times. However, if a defensive line/defensive back prospect is available and is too hard to pass up, expect the Giants to not pass. If four quarterbacks are taken within the first 18 picks prior to the Giants’ selection, a good defensive prospect or two (that doesn’t fill a necessary “need”) will be available – and you can expect the Giants to strike.

    Notice any trend in the last decade that sticks out?

    Which trends do you think will be broken this year?

    Most importantly, who do you see the Giants taking with the 19th pick?