Giant Move Might Be Giants' Best Move

Osi Umenyiora may be on the trading block

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Eli was the result of a big play on draft day.

    It's been hard to remember for most of this offseason, but there are still two football teams that call our area home.

    While the Jets have wheeled and dealed their way to the top of the headlines, the Giants have been content to largely stand pat with a team that failed to live up to expectations last season.

    Since they like to position themselves as the conservative alternative to the frantic Jets, it stands to reason that the Giants are going to take a similar approach to the NFL Draft.

    With the 15th overall pick and several holes to fill, it wouldn't be at all surprising to see Big Blue sit back and take the best player who falls into their lap in the middle of the first round. Sounds cool-headed, sensible and eminently Giant-like, but it's the wrong choice right here.

    Every year during the draft you hear some team crowing about how they got the third or fourth best player on their board with a pick far below that lofty ranking. That makes it seem like you walked away with a steal and sometimes it is true, but it's no substitute for taking a player who can change the fortunes of your franchise.

    If Giants fans don't believe that, they should just ask their favorite Jets fan. The two best players on the Jets defense last year were David Harris and Darrelle Revis. Their playoff offense was spearheaded by Shonn Greene and Dustin Keller. And Mark Sanchez is the face of the franchise. All five of them were nabbed by making big moves in the draft, in the first round and beyond, because the Jets weren't willing to settle for whoever fell into their lap. They got a new identity as a result and that identity has become the apple of the NFL's eye.

    We can't know if Clemson running back C.J. Spiller or Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain is such a player, but if the Giants want one of them they shouldn't settle for whoever comes their way. We also don't know that the moment of truth will come before the Giants make their first round selection. We do know, however, that fortune favors the bold in football and the Giants could use a little more boldness and little less sobriety when it comes to assembling their roster.

    That might force them to make a choice on keeping Osi Umenyiora. Rumors have swirled around the malcontent defensive end since he decided to act like a toddler for most of the 2009 season and opened the offseason with a silly threat to retire unless he was guaranteed a starting job. Umenyiora may still have good years ahead of him, but that's just as much of a risk as one the Giants would be taking to move up and grab a player that beguiles them. 

    We know they are capable of making such moves. Eli Manning wouldn't be here if the team had just sat on its hands in 2004. It cost them a lot and came with the possibility of a significant downside, but the Giants saw something they wanted and did what it took to get it. That's a good thing for them to remember when the first round kicks off at Radio City on Thursday night.  

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.