The song has been the same when it comes to the New York Giants and the NFL Draft the past couple of seasons. The consensus for years now has been that the Giants need to spend an early-round pick on a linebacker.
Will this be the year general manager Jerry Reese finally agrees? He brought in several young linebackers this season — via late-round picks and the signing of undrafted free agents Mark Herzlich and Spencer Paysinger. The one early pick he did use, a second-rounder on Clint Sintim in 2009, has not panned out.
The Giants still have issues at middle linebacker, where they pulled Chase Blackburn off the streets a few weeks ago and stuck him in their lineup. Let’s take a quick look at some of the mocks, and some of the linebacker candidates for the Giants.
Vontaze Burfict, MLB, Arizona State — Walter Football chooses him for the Giants, calling him an “intimidating playmaker.”
Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College — Draft Countdown is among the mocks connecting Kuechly to the Giants — relying on the Boston College connection to Tom Coughlin.
Dont’a Hightower, MLB, Alabama — Hightower is the choice by Mocking The Draft, which calls him a “plug and play guy who could start as a rookie.”
Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame — Te’o is the choice by Sideline Scouting.
There is no certainty, of course, that Reese and the Giants will agree with any of this opinion. One thing that does seem certain, though, is that this time around there are several linebackers who could go early in the draft. Thus, it might be a good year for the Giants to finally take that plunge.