COMMENTARY | The New York Giants like to claim that they look to take the best available athlete, regardless of the player's position, in the NFL draft.
Their recent draft history has supported this philosophy - who could ever forget, for example, how in 2006 they drafted defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka despite at the time having pass rushing ends Michael Strahan and Justin Tuck on board?
So what happens if come the Giants' turn to draft, multiple players on their value chart are equal? The obvious answer is that they look toward their most pressing immediate need, though it should be noted that by "immediate need" it could be a player they are looking to contribute at some point during the upcoming season or the following year, and not someone for whom they're looking to put on the field on Opening Day of this year.
With that all said, what is the Giants' most pressing need? I believe it's on the offensive line, both at tackle and guard.
Why offensive line over, say, middle linebacker? Simply because an offensive lineman plays every down whereas an inside linebacker, in the Giants' defensive scheme, usually is a two-down player. Thus, I believe that because everything begins with the play in the pit, the team might have a higher premium on getting new offensive line talent than anywhere else.
The Giants will try to squeeze one more year out of their current configuration of center David Baas, guards Chris Snee and Kevin Boothe, and tackles Will Beatty and David Diehl, though in Diehl's case, he is not assured of a starting spot.
The team will instead look to see what it has in potential right tackle James Brewer, who is entering his third season. But behind Brewer and Diehl, the latter of whom is entering the final year of his contract, the level of NFL regular season game experience they have is non-existent.
The Giants will, in all probability, add a veteran tackle after the draft, as they did last year when they struck gold with Sean Locklear. They might also look toward last year's sixth round pick, Matt McCants, to step up, though it should be noted that McCants was the only healthy member of last year's draft class that didn't make the final 53-man roster, spending the early part of the season bouncing on and off of the team's practice squad.
Or they might finally look to make this position a little higher priority than they have since 2009, when they drafted Will Beatty in the second round.
Meanwhile at guard, Kevin Boothe, re-signed to a one-year contract in March, and Chris Snee, who is entering an option year in 2014, are coming to the end of their respective tenures with this team.
Behind them, the depth, like at tackle, is inexperienced, with the current options being Jim Cordle, who will be a restricted free agent next winter, and 2012's fourth-round draft pick Brandon Mosley, who spent his rookie season last year on injured reserve.
Given that Baas has had trouble staying healthy in each of his two years with the Giants, it would not be a shock if the Giants try to pick up a center/guard who, if they decide to move on from Boothe and Cordle next year, can fill that dual role on the team.
So who might be an attractive option for the Giants at 19? There are two guys that, should they slide down in the first round, be worth serious consideration.
The first is Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker, a 6-5, 339-lb. junior eligible who looks to have the athleticism and the power necessary to begin contributing from day one if he can learn the playbook.
At guard, Fluker's college teammate Chance Warmack, a 6-2, 217 lb. senior, is intriguing because of his athleticism. The Giants used to have their guards pull back in the day when Chris Snee and former guard Rich Seubert were younger and healthier.
With Seubert gone and Snee having aged and taken his share of injuries, he no longer is able to move like he did during his prime. An athlete like Warmack, who realistically probably won't slide down to the Giants at 19, would be an intriguing option if he somehow does fall down in round 1 because he would appear to be able to execute the pulls that the Giants have cut from the playbook due to Father Time taking his toll on Snee.
Patricia Traina is a New Jersey-based, accredited sportswriter who has covered the New York Giants for 16 seasons with Inside Football. She is also a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow her on Twitter @Patricia_Traina.
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