Giants still need offensive lineman, linebacker, tight end
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) The New York Giants got the players they wanted in the NFL draft, and there might not be a starter among them.
There seems to be no Odell Beckham Jr., Ereck Flowers or Justin Pugh in the six players the Giants picked over the past three days.
But the Giants got highly productive college players with no off-the-field issues who add a lot of depth to an organization that has missed the playoffs the past four seasons, posting 6-10 records the last two.
What was missing for the first time in a Giants' draft was a lineman. While there were holes on the offensive and defensive lines, the right ones were not there.
''(We are) really excited about the type of players we got, on and off the field,'' said Marc Ross, the vice president of player evaluation. ''Some playmakers, some football players as far as hard working guys who are going to come in here and be what we are all about here with the Giants.''
The Giants helped their league-worst defense, particularly early in the draft. They took Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple in the first round on Thursday, Boise State safety Darian Thompson in the third on Friday and Clemson linebacker B.J. Goodson in the fourth on Saturday.
The player who might have the best chance to start right away is Oklahoma wide receiver Sterling Shepard, the second-round pick. He could fill the void opposite Beckham for quarterback Eli Manning.
The other players taken on Saturday were UCLA running back Paul Perkins and South Carolina tight end Jerell Adams.
''We may have zero starters out of the mix, we may have six starters in the mix... no one knows at this point, it's too early to tell,'' new coach Ben McAdoo said. ''But we know we have high character guys, good football players who play the game the way we want them to play the game. And depth is just as important as anything else in this league.''
Apple, the 10th pick overall, should play because most teams use three-receiver formations roughly 60 percent of the time. However, he is going to have to be extremely good to beat out either free-agent signee Janoris Jenkins or veteran Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for a starting spot in regular two-wide out sets.
Thompson is going to get a chance to win one of the safety spots opposite Landon Collins, but young veterans Nat Berhe, Cooper Taylor and Mykkele Thompson also are contenders.
Goodson, who can play both the run and pass and both middle and outside linebacker, will have to fight free agent signee Keenan Robinson for the middle linebacker spot.
Goodson led Clemson with 160 tackles, including 14 tackles for losses and 5 1/2 sacks. His 17 quarterback pressures were second on the team.
The selection of Perkins was somewhat of a surprise because they Giants already have the same four running backs who were on their roster last season - Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen, Andre Williams and Orleans Darkwa.
What Perkins provides is someone who can both run and catch the ball. He led the Pac-12 with 1,575 yards rushing in 2014 and followed that up this past season with 1,343 yards. In his three seasons, he caught 80 passes for 739 yards. His 32 touchdowns are seventh best in UCLA history.
''I think I can do it all,'' Perkins said. ''There's a lot of great running backs. I feel like I can do it all.''
The Giants were backfield by committee last season. Jennings did the majority of rushing. Vereen was the pass catcher out of the backfield. Williams was a short-yardage back and Darkwa was the sparkplug who played on special teams.
Adams didn't put up big numbers in college (66 catches in 47 games), but he was the fastest tight end in the draft and he is a good blocker. Holdovers Larry Donnell and Will Tye run better routes, but they cannot go deep and their blocking has been inconsistent.
''I feel like I can block very well and catch very well,'' said Adams, who averaged 15 yards on 28 catches this season. ''My weakness, I would say is me coming out of my breaks out of my routes.
The offensive line needs another tackle, particularly one who can play the right side and challenge veteran Marshall Newhouse.
The defensive line has free-agent addition Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul, but it needs more depth on the ends.
''You always want big bodies, but you want the right big bodies,'' Ross said.
The defense picked up a lot of help in free agency, signing Vernon, tackle Damon Harrison while the offensive line has drafted Flowers, Pugh and center Weston Richburg in recent years.
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