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2017 NFL Draft New York Giants: Top needs, suggested picks, current outlook

By
Frank Cooney, NFLDraftScout.com
The signing of former New York Jet Brandon Marshall by the New York Giants was one of more crucial offseason signings. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI
The signing of former New York Jet Brandon Marshall by the New York Giants was one of more crucial offseason signings. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

The New York Giants didn't come close to making the major splash money-wise in free agency spending this year to fix the league's 25th-ranked offense.

Last year they spent $200 million to pump up the defense, with additions such as defensive end Olivier Vernon, defensive tackle Damon Harrison and cornerback Janoris Jenkins. This year the contracts for their key free-agent acquisitions -- receiver Brandon Marshall, offensive lineman D.J. Fluker and fullback/tight end Rhett Ellison -- barely matched what they spent last year on Vernon's contract alone.

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While head coach Ben McAdoo isn't sure how the new offensive personnel is going to look, he does like the possibilities that Marshall, Fluker and Ellison bring to the table, particularly for a running game that finished 29th in the league last year.

Marshall not only should take excess coverage away from Odell Beckham Jr., but he may help mentor the rambunctious young player. Marshall was invited to talk to NFL club officials at the annual league meeting in Arizona and told reporters afterward he welcomes a mentoring role within the locker room.

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The Giants are likely to add a running back to the mix through this year's draft, although McAdoo sounds like he is leaning toward keeping a committee of carriers rather than depend on a lone workhorse.

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Here is a closer look at where the Giants are, how they got here and a shot at what they should do with their first pick in the draft.

THE BREAKDOWN

2016 finish: 2nd NFC East (11-5)

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2016 STATISTICS

TOTAL OFFENSE: 330.7 (25th)

RUSHING: 88.3 (29th)

PASSING: 242.4 (17th) {b: TOTAL DEFENSE:} 339.7 (10th)

RUSHING: 88.6 (T3rd)

PASSING: 251.1 (23rd)

TEAM NEEDS

1. Defensive tackle: Regardless of what happens with unrestricted free agent Johnathan Hankins, who has an offer on the table but remains unsigned, the Giants need to add more depth at the defensive tackle spot. Their rotational depth includes Jay Bromley and Robert Thomas, two barely tested veterans, neither of whom could outgain the other last year for playing time. If the Giants can't reach an agreement with Hankins, they might need to double dip their toe into the defensive tackle class, choosing one early and another one later in the draft just to ensure they have the numbers needed for camp.

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2. Linebacker: The Giants re-signed Keenan Robinson and Mark Herzlich to one-year contracts, but except for second-year man B.J. Goodson, none of their linebackers are signed beyond 2017. That group also includes Devon Kennard and Jonathan Casillas, both projected to be starters this year, and J.T. Thomas, who might not even make it to training camp, depending on his recovery from a season-ending knee injury last year. The Giants drafted Goodson last year with the intention of slowly working him into the mix; don't be surprised if history repeats itself and they do the same thing again.

3. Tight end: The Giants are still in need of a big tight end who can roam the seam and rack up yards after the catch in the passing game. Given the depth in this year's draft class, it would be a major upset if the Giants were to come away empty at a position that has not seen a single member record at least 600 receiving yards since 2014, when Larry Donnell finished the year with 623 yards on 63 receptions and six touchdowns.

KEY PERSONNEL TRACKER (As of April 3)

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

RB Orleans Darkwa: Not tendered as Restricted free agent; terms unknown.

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LS Zak DeOssie: Potential UFA; $2.315 million/2 yrs, $400,000 guaranteed.

LB Mark Herzlich: UFA; $855K/1 yr, $80K SB.

G John Jerry: UFA; $10M/3 yrs, $2.4M SB/$4.25M guaranteed, $925K injury.

QB Josh Johnson: UFA; $1.95M/2 yrs, $100K guaranteed RB.

DE Jason Pierre-Paul: FFA; $62M/4 yrs, $20M SB/$40M guaranteed, $11M injury only at time of signing.

LB Keenan Robinson: UFA; $3M1 yr, $2M guaranteed.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

CB Valentino Blake: UFA Titans; $855K/1 yr, $20K guaranteed RB.

RB Shaun Draughn: UFA 49ers; $1M/1 yr, $100K RB 4/5.

TE Rhett Ellison: UFA Vikings; $18M/4 yrs, $5M SB/$8M guaranteed.

G/T D.J. Fluker: FA Chargers; 1 yrs, terms unknown.

WR Brandon Marshall: FA Jets; $12M/2 yrs.

QB Geno Smith: UFA Jets; $1.2M/1 yr, $300K guaranteed.

PLAYERS LOST

WR Victor Cruz (released).

K Robbie Gould: UFA 49ers; $4M/2 yrs, $500 SB/$1M guaranteed.

RB Rashad Jennings (released).

FB Will Johnson (released).

T Marshall Newhouse: UFA Raiders; $3.5M/2 yrs, $500K guaranteed (RB 3/20).

CB Coty Sensabaugh: UFA Steelers; $2.6M/2 yrs, $425M SB.

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MOCK DRAFT

NFLDraftScout.com analysts suggest (No. 23 overall).

Rob Rang (March 27 mock draft):

Ryan Ramczyk, T, Wisconsin. The Giants struggled to protect Eli Manning and rushed for a miniscule 3.5 yards per carry in 2016, scoring a league-low six touchdowns on the ground. Ramczyk has the feet to handle blind-side duties and at 6-foot-6, 310 pounds, possesses the girth to move people in the running game, as well. He is a clear athletic upgrade over current Giants left tackle Ereck Flowers, who projects better on the right side.

Dane Brugler (March 20 mock draft):

O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama. The Giants have been able to find bargain bin tight ends in recent draft classes, but the value of Howard at this point in the draft might be too enticing to pass up.

Agree? Disagree? Still shopping?

Based on the team's current status, those are our suggestions for that first pick. To double check or find another candidate see NFLDraftScout.com's full mocks and ratings.

Frank Cooney, founder and publisher of The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com, is in his sixth decade covering football and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee. TSX team insiders contributed to this article.

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