Thanks to Ed for taking some time to answer our traditional five questions.
Ed Valentine: I really hate to judge drafts before players actually get on the field and play in any games. Everybody does draft grades, and they are probably even sillier than offseason power rankings. Still, to your question I thought the Giants draft was very surprising and, in the end, could turn out to be very good.
Justin Pugh (19th overall) was the seventh offensive lineman off the board in the first round, and that raised some eyebrows. But he offers the Giants five-position versatility in a player who could start for 10 years. DT Johnathan Hankins was, to many, first-round value in the second round. DE Damontre Moore (Round 3) was at one time considered a top 10 pick, as was fourth-rounder Ryan Nassib. So, I see all of them as excellent 'value' picks.
As far as Day 3 picks, safety Cooper Taylor, 6-43/4, 228-pound hybrid safety/linebacker is the most intriguing.
The one area Giants fans question is not taking a linebacker, most notably passing on Arthur Brown in the second round.
2.) What's the latest on the Nicks and Cruz poker game? Being veterans, it seems like Jerry Reese is doing the right thing waiting this out.
Cruz will sign eventually. As you said it's a poker game and neither side is in a hurry to end up with a deal they might regret. It will get done. Nicks is interesting because he can be a free agent after 2013 and we know the Giants want to keep him. The most recent news is that Nicks will wait until next offseason to negotiate a deal, which will give him immense leverage -- unless he has another injury-plagued year.
3.) Do the Giants have a backup plan if Cruz or Nicks don't sign? How is Rueben Randle progressing?
Randle would probably be the guy who would replace Nicks if, ultimately, he moves on after the upcoming season. Judging his progress right now is difficult, but I believe he will be very good.
4.) What holes do the Giants still have and are there any concerns there for 2013? Draft pundits were quick to point out CB and LB is still a problem.
Linebacker is generally the big concern, although I think the Giants will counter that by using a lot of 4-2-5 and 4-1-6 sets with fewer linebackers on the field. What they really have or don't have there nobody really knows. As for cornerback, there are a lot of names -- Corey Webster, Terrell Thomas, Aaron Ross, Jayron Hosley -- after Prince Amukamara. Question is, can any of them play? In retrospect I might be more disappointed that they didn't address corner in the draft than I am about the linebacker situation. Linebacker seems easier to cover for.
Wilson will most likely start with Brown getting a lot of work as well, especially in short-yardage and goal-line situations. Scott and Torain will compete with seventh-round pick Michael Cox for roster spots. I keep waiting for Scott, but he's never proven he can do anything except run fast in a straight line.