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What to watch for: Giants 2015 Draft storylines

See which prospects the experts say the Giants will take with the No. 9 pick.

Draft month is here, football fans.

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With (hopefully!) warm weather, April will bring much change across the NFL landscape. In just 29 days, the 2015 NFL Draft will kick off in Chicago -- not New York -- for the first time since 1964.

But temperature and location aren't the only differences.

Between April 30 and May 2, teams will pick prospects with the hopes of either turning around their franchises or building on last year's success.

Somewhere in between are the Giants, who hold the ninth overall selection after finishing 6-10 last season and not having made the playoffs since their 2011 Super Bowl run.

That's why this draft is an important one for the franchise, and the clock is ticking.

Here are five major storylines heading into the draft:

1. The Giants need another strong draft.

As mentioned above, the Giants have missed the postseason for three straight years, going, in order, 9-7, 7-9, and 6-10 in the regular season.

However, the arrow is tilted up as the Giants came on strong down the stretch in 2014 and won three of their final four games. They also received strong contributions from their last two draft classes, which include multiple starters and the reigning AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.

"We have had two very strong drafts in a row," Giants president and chief executive officer John Mara said in his season-ending remarks. "We need to have another one. I think with that and with another year under this new offense, we have a chance to be a good team next year. Obviously, that is a tough sell right now when you go 7-9 and 6-10, but I still have a very strong belief in this staff and in this organization. I think we are going to be a good team next year, but we need another strong draft."

2. Big Blue's first time picking in top 10 since 2004.

For a team that has won eight NFL championships, including four Super Bowl titles and two in the last decade, the Giants are not accustomed to picking near the top of the draft order. But they will again try to make the most of it.

Since the draft began in 1936, the Giants have selected 20 times in the top 10. The last was 2004, the year they acquired eventual two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning in a draft-day trade. Will they again make deals? Will they trade up? Trade down? Or stay put?

Find out what college the Giants have drafted the most players from

3. Who is the first non-quarterback taken?

From here to the far corners of the Internet, nearly every mock draft projects Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston to be selected with the top pick, which currently belongs to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But the Giants have their franchise player under center.

So all eyes turn to what happens next, beginning with the Tennessee Titans at No. 2.

What they do will reverberate through the rest of the first round and beyond.

4. How the Giants address the secondary

NFL.com names the top-10 safest draft choices

As the roster currently stands, the Giants have only two true safeties: Nat Berhe and Cooper Taylor. That's after the team parted with defensive co-captain Antrel Rolle, who signed as a free agent with the Chicago Bears.

Meanwhile, Stevie Brown and Quentin Demps, who split the starting role opposite Rolle last season, remain free agents.

"That's an issue, no doubt," coach Tom Coughlin said last week at the NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix. "We do have one more access to bringing in personnel with the draft. We have a couple of guys in the program - Berhe, who we liked as a rookie as a special teamer. We have injured players coming back who hopefully can help, but it's a concern."

Coughlin also mentioned cornerbacks Bennett Jackson and Chykie Brown as candidates who could get some looks at safety.

5. The effect of free agency and injuries.

A year after one of their most active offseasons in recent memory, the Giants added several free agents, including running back Shane Vereen, return specialist Dwayne Harris, offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse, linebackers J.T. Thomas and Jonathan Casillas, defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis and defensive end George Selvie. But there are still plenty of holes to fill.

We'll see how the draft unfolds and which positions the Giants plug into them.

Meanwhile, the Giants had one of the longest injured reserve lists in the league last season. The team will gauge where the injured players are in the rehab process when they return later this month for the start of the offseason conditioning program.

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