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article: G Mike Iupati an optiom

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article: G Mike Iupati an optiom

Post  Big_Pete on Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:34 pm


Be on 'guard' for surprise Giants pick
Giants Blog


Last Updated: 12:32 PM, April 19, 2010

Posted: 2:23 AM, April 19, 2010
Comments: 7
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There is no doubt last season the Giants lost their way on defense, lost their identity and the physical nature to the way they used to stomp on opponents. But tucked into the retreat from toughness was a blatant and disturbing departure from smash-mouth offensive football.

The simple yet difficult formula of pounding away on the ground played such a huge role in the Super Bowl triumph and carried the Giants through most of the 2008 season. The power running game took a vacation last season and without that identity and production too much of a burden was placed on the right arm of Eli Manning.

The quickest way to rebuild an offensive line that not long ago helped carry the team and re-establish the power-running game comes Thursday night with the selection of Idaho guard -- yes, Idaho -- Mike Iupati in the first round of the NFL Draft.

"I am very powerful," Iupati said in a phone interview, "and I will improve the running game anywhere I go."

Is a guard from Idaho the most obvious need? Certainly not. But, with the 15th overall pick, if the Giants want to be assured of getting the very best player at a certain position -- a player who might be able to step in and start from Day 1 -- they will make the surprise choice of Iupati.

There's some prevailing theories that a team doesn't need to spend such a high pick to find a quality guard. The Giants found David Diehl (since moved to left tackle) in the fifth round and nabbed Pro Bowl guard Chris Snee in the second round.

The goal, though, is never to pass up a potential marquee player, even if he doesn't exactly play a marquee position. If linebacker Rolando McClain, running back C.J. Spiller, cornerback Joe Haden and perhaps defensive tackle Dan Williams are all gone by No. 15 -- a scenario that could happen -- Iupati might not thrill the draftnicks, but could make an immediate impact.

It doesn't take much reading between the lines to realize a change is likely coming around the bend for the Giants' offensive line. Kareem McKenzie at right tackle and Rich Seubert at left guard are the two vulnerable players.

The Giants have second-year Will Beatty waiting in the wings for right tackle -- or left tackle, if they want to move Diehl to another spot -- but there is no ready-to-start guard on the roster if the coaching staff deems it time to replace Seubert, a tenacious overachiever and the longest-tenured Giant.

"You love continuity," general manager Jerry Reese said. "If you have the five guys, that is a good thing. But at some point age comes into play and injuries come into play and you have to have some new blood to infuse into any position."

Most scouts are in agreement that Iupati should become a Pro Bowl player fairly quickly. He's far and away the top guard on the board and will be the sort of athlete that NFL teams will run behind early and often. At 6-5 and 331 pounds he's a physical specimen from American Samoa who came to this country at 14, settled in Orange County, Calif., and started at left guard for three years at Idaho.

One draft expert says Iupati has "an ornery and competitive streak" and is "a mauler who gets push." Another says Iupati "manhandles defenders with his hands -- packs a powerful punch to jar defenders."

Pairing Iupati and Snee could give the Giants two powerhouse guards and might reinvigorate a line that a year ago was considered perhaps the best in the league.

Iupati says he should also be considered a future tackle prospect but for now his idol is Steve Hutchinson, a perennial Pro Bowl guard.

"I want to be like him, or better," Iupati said. "I think I bring a lot of physicality, great character and a good player."

A good player?

You could almost see Iupati smile into the phone.

"A great player, pretty much," he said.

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Re: article: G Mike Iupati an optiom

Post  Big_Pete on Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:36 pm

I actually don't mind the idea of picking Iupati in the first round, he would really give us a quality Oline being a big upgrade over Seubert.
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