EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants head into Thursday's NFL draft needing help in the pass rush and at safety. But in the event that they come away with neither, there are a couple of players already on their roster who'd like a chance to help solve the problems.
"My goal is to show everybody that I am that third man they're looking for in the pass-rush rotation, and that's my mentality every single day," Owa Odighizuwa said after Giants minicamp practice Wednesday. "It's an opportunity. That's the way I look at it."
Odighizuwa was the Giants' third-round pick last year -- a promising defensive lineman out of UCLA whose pass-rush moves needed refining and who missed 12 games of his rookie season due to injury. Given that he didn't get a full year of development, it may be too much to ask him to be the No. 3 in a pass-rush rotation behind starting ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon. But they do like his upside, and if he develops quickly, he could factor into that rotation sooner rather than later.
As for safety, the plan a year ago was to give 2014 fifth-round pick Nat Berhe a chance to win the free safety job in camp. But a calf injury knocked him out for the season, and the Giants' coaches never got a look at Berhe in the role. He's back this year, a full go in practice this week and believing he can nail down that starting job that still hasn't been filled.
"I don't put any limitations on myself -- never have, never will," Berhe said. "I am who I am. I'm a football player. I play the game like it's everything to me, and I play it to win."
I think it's important to remember what the NFL draft is and what it's not. It's possible the Giants could draft a pass-rusher like Leonard Floyd in the first round on Thursday or a safety like Vonn Bell in the second round on Friday. And if they do, you'd look at those guys as favorites to begin the summer ahead of Odighizuwa and Berhe on the depth chart. But there's no guarantee that the draft will fall the way the Giants want it to. And even if it does, there's no guarantee their 2016 picks will be ready to help right away. If not, the answer is to develop the guys you already have -- guys about whom we may have forgotten amid all the draft hype.