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A stat that tells the Giants not to pick a wide receiver in the first round

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Journey To The Draft: Amari Cooper

Mel Kiper Jr. breaks down some of the strengths and weaknesses of Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper.

With the NFL draft 13 days away, I continue to be asked a lot about the chances the New York Giants pick a wide receiver such as Alabama's Amari Cooper or West Virginia's Kevin White with the No. 9 pick in the first round. I addressed it a bit with this post Wednesday. My position is that I don't think they should do it, but that I can't rule out the possibility that they will.

While we were working on NFL Insiders on Thursday (I'm back on Friday at 3 pm ET, in case you wanna watch), the remarkable Doug Clawson of ESPN Stats & Info showed me this stat:

"Only 1 team in the common draft era (1967) has taken a wide receiver in the top 15 in back to back drafts ... That was the Lions from 2003 to 2005 with Charles Rogers, Roy Williams and Mike Williams."

That's eye-opening. The Giants, of course, took wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. with the No. 12 pick last year and would be the second team on this list if they took Cooper or White or DeVante Parker or any other wide receiver at No. 9 this year. Obviously, it's not a list on which they should want to be.

Roy Williams was a pretty good player for Detroit, catching 262 passes for 3,884 yards and 29 touchdowns before being dealt to Dallas in 2008. But the other two combined for 73 catches, 889 yards and 6 six touchdowns for the Lions -- numbers that don't even approach those Beckham put up in his injury-shortened rookie year with the Giants. Three years after this remarkable run of draft hard-headedness, the Lions became the first NFL team to finish a season 0-16.

But really, the reason the Giants shouldn't do this has nothing to do with Beckham, Rogers or either of these Williamses. It has to do with allocation of resources. Top-15 draft picks are high-end resources, and when you commit too many of your high-end resources to one position, that's a recipe for roster imbalance. You can look at the Giants' wide receivers and say that Victor Cruz might not fully recover from his injury and Rueben Randle only has one year left on his contract and talk yourself into the idea of wide receiver as a need. But the Giants' roster isn't in such good shape that it can't use a first-round pick elsewhere -- on defense, or on the offensive line, for instance.

Cooper is enticing, there is no doubt. And if he were to fall to No. 9, he might represent the kind of value that smart drafting teams don't like to pass up. But I think it's a mistake to spend such a high pick on the same position two years in a row. It's not as though the Giants are one star rookie wide receiver away from the Super Bowl.