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Draft experts name Giants needs & best options

Posted Feb 6, 2017

NFL.com identifies the Giants biggest needs and names the top prospects at those positions:


The Giants hold the 23rd pick in the 2017 NFL Draft after an 11-5 regular season under first-year head coach Ben McAdoo. Big Blue also made its first postseason appearance since winning it all in 2011 but fell to the Packers in the first round.

So what does the 2017 team need to make it all the way to Super Bowl LII?

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According to NFL.com, the Giants’ biggest draft needs are linebacker, running back and defensive tackle. With that in mind, below is a look at Bucky Brooks’ top five players at those positions.


OUTSIDE LINEBACKER

1. Tim Williams, Alabama 
2. Takkarist McKinley, UCLA 
3. Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt 
4. Ryan Anderson, Alabama 
5. Devonte Fields, Louisville

“The NFL's move to more hybrid schemes has changed the job description of outside linebackers entering the league,” wrote Brooks, a former NFL player and scout. “Scouts are looking for versatile defenders capable of rushing off the edge or dropping into coverage in dynamic schemes. Williams is a shop wrecker off the edge with explosive first-step quickness and burst. In addition, he shows the ability to turn speed into power as a bull rusher off the edge. Cunningham is a long, rangy athlete with the size and pop to set the edge or plug holes against the run.”

INSIDE LINEBACKER

1. Reuben Foster, Alabama 
2. Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State 
3. Jarrad Davis, Florida 
4. Kendell Beckwith, LSU 
5. Anthony Walker, Northwestern

“The 2017 class of inside linebackers features a number of hard-hitting traffic cops with sideline-to-sideline playmaking ability,” Brooks wrote. “Foster is the top dog of the group as a punishing defender with exceptional instincts, awareness and physicality. McMillan and Davis are solid playmakers with excellent communication skills and outstanding athletic ability. Each prospect has the potential step in as a Day 1 starter in aggressive schemes.”

RUNNING BACK

1. Leonard Fournette, LSU 
2. Dalvin Cook, Florida State 
3. Christian McCaffrey, Stanford 
4. D'Onta Foreman, Texas 
5 (tie). Alvin Kamara, Tennessee 
5 (tie). Joe Mixon, Oklahoma

“The 2017 running back class is as talented as any unit that we've seen in recent years,” Brooks wrote. “Fournette is a rugged runner with an old-school game that makes him an ideal workhorse in a power-based system. Cook is a dynamic playmaker capable of delivering splash plays as a runner or receiver. Kamara isn't a household name, but teams looking for an electric pass-catching threat to feature out of the backfield will be intrigued.”

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

1. Malik McDowell, Michigan State 
2. Chris Wormley, Michigan 
3. Caleb Brantley, Florida 
4. Carlos Watkins, Clemson 
5. Elijah Qualls, Washington

“The 2017 defensive tackle class features a handful of blue-collar defenders with the size, strength and power to control the line of scrimmage as run stoppers or pass rushers,” Brooks wrote. “McDowell headlines the group as a long, rangy interior defender with disruptive potential as an inside rusher. Although questions about his motor will trouble scouts looking for a dominant player at the top of the board, he is certainly a player who flashes intriguing potential. Qualls is a fire hydrant at the line of scrimmage as an immovable run stopper with exceptional power.”