The Giants took the best player on their draft board when they selected Jason Pierre-Paul with the fifteenth pick. But considering the logjam at defensive end, the pick didn’t meet any of their real needs — and they’ve got a few — heading into the 2010 season. So who’d they take in rounds two through seven, to fill those aforementioned holes?
Linval Joseph, defensive tackle, East Carolina. In his freshman season, Joseph’s weight ballooned to more than 370 pounds, leading to a back injury and minor surgery. But that was a turning point: He lost 70 pounds and now calls that period of his life “disgusting.” He had 60 tackles last season, and was considered one of the strongest players in the country.
Chad Jones, safety, LSU. At this point, the Giants’ draft strategy began to come into focus: take the best available defensive player available, regardless of need. (After all, the return of a healthy Kenny Phillips — fingers crossed — should go a long way toward fixing last season’s safety woes.) Fun fact about Jones: He pitched on LSU’s 2009 national-champion baseball team, and his fastball tops out at 95 miles per hour. Watch your back, Javier Vazquez.
Phillip Dillard, linebacker, Nebraska. Finally, a linebacker. It appears that the plan all along was to take Dillard if Rolando McClain wasn’t available, and the Giants thought so highly of Dillard that they considered taking him a round earlier. Then again, that also means they must have been pretty confident that he’d still be available in the fourth round. Also, believe this if you wish: Nebraska coach Bo Pellini told Dillard that if he wasn’t playing behind Ndamukong Suh, the draft’s second pick wouldn’t have made some of the plays he did, because teams “had to game plan” for Dillard, too.
Mitch Petrus, guard, Arkansas. First, we love that this headline, announcing the pick, reads simply “Giants draft offensive player.” Anyway, there hasn’t been much turnover on the Giants offensive line in recent years, but it’s getting older, and Petrus played a number of roles in college: He saw time at both guard positions, fullback, tight end, and was a member of the kick-coverage unit.
Adrian Tracy, linebacker, William and Mary. Like Pierre-Paul, Tracy played at defensive end in college and needs to work on his pass-rushing skills: Scouts think he relied on pure athleticism — and the CAA competition — to collect twenty sacks over the last two seasons. He’ll need to work on some technique issues, too, if he’s to move to linebacker.
Matt Dodge, punter, East Carolina. A pretty easy one to explain: Jeff Feagles is expected to retire — he’s 44 years old, after all — and Dodge finished second in the nation last season with an average punt of 45.8 yards. The Giants other option at punter? Jy Bond, a former Australian Rules Football player.