Giants New Target for Eli Could Cost Him His Protection

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, May 15, 2014 6:45 PM GMT

The Giants had arguably the worst offensive line in the NFL last season, but instead of focusing there with their 2014 first-round pick, the G-Men grabbed LSU receiver Odell Beckham Jr.. He's 16/1 on Bovada's NFL odds to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.

New Orleans Connection
New York had the chance to take highly-regarded Notre Dame offensive tackle Zach Martin with its No. 12 overall pick but wanted to get another weapon for Eli Manning in Beckham. And the two already know each other. Beckham starred at Manning's high school, New Orleans Isidore Newman. Around five years ago, Eli and Peyton Manning went home to New Orleans and asked their former high school coach to round up some receivers to help with a workout. Beckham was one of them. Eli Manning followed Beckham’s career at LSU and always invited him to his family’s Manning Passing Academy camp.

The Giants lost Hakeem Nicks to free agency this offseason and really don't have a major threat at the position outside of Victor Cruz. The question some are asking is, why take a receiver who is under 6-feet tall there, when it was a very deep class at the position and Martin could have started from Day 1 at a major need position? Last year Beckham broke the school record for all-purpose yards (2,315) and caught 59 passes for 1,152 yards and eight touchdowns. Giants coach Tom Coughlin said that getting offensive help "was a priority." It seems unlikely Beckham, who ran a 4.43 in the 40-yard dash at the combine, will return kicks because the Giants have Trindon Holliday for that.

New York did address the line with its second-round pick in Colorado State center Weston Richburg. He played multiple positions in college, starting 50 straight games, and should push J.D. Walton for a starting job. Richburg could also serve as depth at guard. Walton was signed this offseason but hasn't actually played a game since Week 4 of the 2012 season when he broke his ankle with Denver.

In the third round, Big Blue looked for help on the other line with Syracuse defensive tackle Jay Bromley. He made 33 career starts and led the Orange with 14.5 tackles for loss (fourth in ACC) and in sacks (10.0) last year. Bromley joins Johnathan Hankins, Markus Kuhn, Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson as options at tackle.

A very interesting NFL draft pick was fourth-round running back Andre Williams out of Boston College. The Giants were terrible last year in rushing. They added Oakland's Rashad Jennings in free agency, but he hasn't proven to be a true No. 1 back. David Wilson, a former first-round pick, is coming off major neck surgery. Williams is a 5-foot-11, 230-pound old-school power back. The Heisman finalist rushed for  2,177 yards on 355 carries last season despite the fact that opponents knew he was getting the ball all the time.

"Boston College would come out sometimes with two or three tight ends, which would bring the entire defense down and have the offensive formation contained almost hash-mark to hash-mark. And yet this kid still rushed for 2,100-plus yards," Coughlin said.

Williams isn't a great receiver out of the backfield -- he totaled 10 catches in his collegiate career --  but should see snaps early, especially in short yardage. The Giants had a second-round grade on him. His signing could lead the team to cut Peyton Hillis, who is a similar player.

NY Giants 2014 Season Win Totals

Full List Of Draft Picks
Odell Beckham Jr., receiver, LSU (Round 1, No. 12 overall); Weston Richburg, offensive lineman, Colorado State (2, No. 43); Jay Bromley, defensive tackle, Syracuse (3, No. 74); Andre Williams, running back, Boston College (4, No. 113), Nat Berhe, safety, San Diego State (5, No. 152), Devon Kennard, outside linebacker, USC (5, No. 147), Bennett Jackson, cornerback, Notre Dame (6, No. 187).

NFL free picks: Beckham should slide into a starting role from Week 1 but with Cruz and Reuben Randle around he may not get many looks. The Giants have never had an Offensive Rookie of the Year.