Redrafting New York Giants' 2013 Draft
Redoing the New York Giants' 2013 draft is the definition of “hindsight is 20/20”. It is also classic second-guessing.
Most importantly, though, it’s just plain fun.
Before we get started let's lay down the ground rules. First, I am using the original picks Big Blue had entering last April’s draft. Therefore, the Ryan Nassib trade that altered some of the Giants selections will be erased (I bet some of you would like to nix that trade for real but that’s another conversation all together). More on how this will affect the Giants' draft coming up in a few slides.
Second, the redraft is based mainly on 2013 performance, and how it would have not only helped the Giants last season, but also provided legitimate hope that the newly drafted player could be a mainstay with the organization for years to come. You may think Johnathan Hankins is going to be an All-Pro defensive tackle someday, but the reality is he still has a lot to prove after playing and contributing sparingly last year.
Finally, what transpired in 2013 for New York will be taken into account. For example, we now know that the Giants had major issues on their offensive line so that area will be addressed more seriously than it was when the draft actually happened.
So after all that buildup let’s take a look at their first-round pick, which is the only one of the eight picks that won’t be changed.
Round 1, Pick 19: Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse
Actual Selection: Justin Pugh
The Giants lacked plug-and-play starters from their draft selections last year, with the exception of Justin Pugh.
New York was knocked by some for taking him, with the general consensus being that GM Jerry Reese prioritized need over talent. However, the 23-year-old not only justified the selection, but also played at the level of a player taken in the top 10.
Pugh started at right tackle from Week 1—mainly due to a David Diehl preseason thumb injury—and never relented his spot, playing in all 16 games. He struggled early on, registering a minus-7.9 Pro Football Focus rating (subscription required) over his first five games. The slow start was understandable, though, since he didn’t play right tackle in college.
Pugh did adjust swiftly and put together a superb final 11 games—as witnessed by his 15.0 PFF rating over the three month stretch.
Overall, the former Syracuse standout achieved a 7.1 PFF rating, tops among all Big Blue offensive linemen in 2013. He was the best of a poor unit and should be even better in 2014 after a full season of on-the-job experience.
Round 2, Pick 49: Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky
Actual Selection: Johnathan Hankins
The 6’3”, 333-pound behemoth played every single offensive snap for the Detroit Lions and registered a sensational 22.8 PFF rating as their starting right guard. One of the reasons his rating was so high is due to the fact he didn’t surrender a sack all season.
Warford was graded the fourth-best guard in the NFL by Pro Football Focus and earned Rookie of the Year honors from the site. Given his raw strength, surprisingly quick feet and rapid adjustment to the pro game, it is conceivable that he could be the best guard in the league within a few years.
Hankins, though, may end up being a strong selection. He only played in 195 snaps last season, but did garner an 8.0 PFF rating. Especially impressive was his 9.5 rating versus the run, which makes one think he can be a very good replacement at the 1-technique defensive tackle position for the departed Linval Joseph.
Round 3, Pick 81: Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers
Actual Selection: Damontre Moore
Like Hankins, Moore possesses a lot of potential but saw limited action in his rookie season. The 21-year-old defensive end played only 136 defensive snaps, but showed glimpses of his pass-rushing ability with seven quarterback hits and two hurries.
Logan Ryan, though, turned in a more consistent and productive rookie season as a member of the New England Patriots. Ryan, who went two picks after the Giants selected Moore, started seven games and was on the field for 607 regular-season defensive snaps in 2013.
He had a stellar 4.9 PFF rating, but his true value came as a playmaker. The former Rutgers product had five interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, one forced fumble and 1.5 sacks.
The player Ryan would have likely replaced for Big Blue is Trumaine McBride. The 28-year-old was the starting cornerback opposite Prince Amukamara for a majority of the season and played well, as witnessed by his 6.6 PFF rating.
He wasn’t much of a playmaker, though, with only two interceptions and two forced fumbles. In addition he has five years on the 23-year-old Ryan.
Round 4, Pick 116: Devin Taylor, DE, South Carolina
The Giants also lost their sixth-round pick in the Nassib trade, which I’ll give back to them in this redraft. Even though Nassib was selected 110th overall, he’ll be used as the comparison point for this pick.
The signal-caller was on the Giants 53-man roster last season but didn’t play in a single snap. At this point, he is nothing more than a potentially intriguing trade piece to dangle after Josh Freeman was inked to a contract a few weeks ago.
On the other hand, Devin Taylor would have been an upgrade over Moore at a better value a round deeper in the draft.
The 24-year-old was the Lions' compensatory pick in the fourth round and he contributed nicely in a modest 308 snaps. Taylor had 2.5 sacks, 15 quarterback hurries, four hits and two forced fumbles in his opportunities. In addition, Detroit’s defensive coordinator Teryl Austin—via Kyle Meinke of mlive.com—believes the 6’7” defensive end will continue to improve in 2014.
Based on Austin’s comments and his rookie year performance, Taylor seems to have the potential to start opposite fellow 2013 draft pick Ziggy Ansah this upcoming season. Even if he doesn’t, he’ll almost certainly play a more significant role for the Lions than Nassib will with Big Blue.
Round 5, Pick 152: Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt
Actual Selection: Cooper Taylor
The Giants' ground game was awful last season, partly due to their lack of stability at running back (the other reason it was terrible falls on an offensive line that routinely failed to get a push at the point of attack).
Andre Brown missed the first eight games due to a leg fracture he suffered in the preseason finale. David Wilson was absent most of the year after suffering a serious neck injury in Week 5 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
This left the likes of recently-retired Brandon Jacobs and Peyton Hillis to fill in for what was supposed to be a formidable Brown/Wilson thunder-and-lightning-type attack.
The results weren’t good, as the Giants mustered only 83.3 yards rushing per game on 3.5 yards per carry. Their leading rusher was Brown, who accumulated a mere 492 yards, albeit in just eight games.
Zac Stacy would have given the Giants a consistent option to use to steady a tumultuous position. The 23-year-old is only 5’8”, but at 224 pounds he carries a thick, powerful build which breaks tackles and moves the pile. Stacy, who was selected 160th overall by the St. Louis Rams, racked up 973 rushing yards and seven touchdowns despite seeing consistent action in only 12 games.
In addition, the Vanderbilt product was useful as a receiver, with 26 catches for 141 yards and a touchdown.
Finally, he was a dependable blocker—as witnessed by his 2.3 PFF rating in this area—and only fumbled once in 276 touches.
As for Taylor, the only highlight in his rookie season was the aforementioned touchdown return off Moore’s blocked punt. The safety saw just five defensive snaps in 2013.
Round 6, Pick 187: Chris Jones, DT, Bowling Green
Actual Selection: none
It took two detours but Chris Jones finally found his way to the New England Patriots.
The 23-year-old was originally drafted in the sixth round by the Houston Texans. However, he was cut by the team at the end of training camp, allowing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to claim him off waivers a few days later.
His time in Florida was short-lived, though, as the Bucs released him 10 days later. Jones finally found a home in New England when the team claimed him off waivers on Sept. 12—two days after he was released by the Bucs.
After being perpetually unwanted, it is surprising that Jones went on to start 14 games for the Pats and register 792 regular-season snaps.
However, Jones did have six sacks and started for a team that went to the AFC Championship game. That’s not too bad for a player selected 198th overall.
For New York, he would have provided depth at defensive tackle his rookie season, and a potential replacement for the 33-year-old Cullen Jenkins at the 3-technique.
Also, with Jones as a pass-rushing replacement for the run-stopping Hankins, the Giants may have been more serious about retaining Joseph—who excelled in his four seasons with Big Blue at the 1-technique.
Round 7, Pick 225: LaAdrian Waddle, OT, Texas Tech
Actual Selection: Eric Herman
Herman was drafted while Waddle wasn’t, but that is where the good news ends for the former and starts for the latter.
While Herman spent his entire first year with the Giants on the practice squad, save the final game of the season, Waddle—who signed with the Lions shortly after the completion of the draft—found himself starting midway through the 2013 campaign.
Injuries thrust the 22-year-old Waddle into the right tackle job in Week 8 and he did not disappoint. In eight games at the position, Waddle posted a 9.5 PFF rating and did not allow a sack. Overall, the former Red Raider had a 7.9 PFF rating when you include the 43 snaps he played at left tackle in Week 7.
An ankle injury against the Giants in Week 16 did force Waddle to miss the final game of the season. Outside of this unfortunate end to his rookie year, Waddle’s first year in the NFL was a huge success.
If New York had signed him, he very well may have been the team’s starting right tackle instead of Pugh. In this scenario, Big Blue would have had the flexibility to move their first-round pick inside to guard.
Round 7, Pick 253 (Compensatory Pick): Joseph Fauria, TE, UCLA
Actual Selection: Michael Cox
As we look at the final pick, one thing is certainly clear—the Lions did a great job in the draft and with rookie free agents last year. Four of the players in this redraft played in the Motor City in 2013.
Considering Cox was one pick away from being Mr. Irrelevant, he actually had a positive start to his NFL career. The 24-year-old racked up 22 carries, three receptions and 20 kickoff returns for New York during his rookie season.
Just making the 53-man roster when you’re drafted that low is an achievement for any player.
Joseph Fauria, though, easily topped Cox’s rookie campaign and, like Waddle, he signed with the Lions as a free agent. The 6’7” tight end hauled in seven touchdowns on only 30 targets. He also proved to be an adequate blocker in his 312 snaps with a 0.9 PFF rating.
Both of these stats easily topped the Giants starting tight end last season, Brandon Myers. In 77 targets, Myers only hauled in four touchdowns. He also posted an abysmal minus-9.1 PFF block rating.
Fauria’s rookie season doesn’t appear to be a fluke either. Along with his size, Fauria runs well and possesses good coordination and athleticism. He certainly could have been the Giants starting tight end in 2014, which would save Big Blue from potentially using a high draft pick next week on the position.
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