Archive for May, 2009

Post Draft Analysis

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

The NFL draft ended on Sunday with the Giants not getting the player that had been rumored for weeks and months to be coming to them: Braylon Edwards. In the end, the Giants either felt the trade value put on Edwards by the Browns was out of touch, and/or the contract demand by the WR, entering his first contract year in 2010, was too great a price to pay. So the Giants ended up utilizing the draft to help improve the team for 2009.

With their first pick, the Jints selected WR Hakeem Nicks from North Carolina. I had predicted either Nicks or Rutgers’ Kenny Britt as potential picks (and Britt went immediately afterwards to Tennessee). Admittedly, I liked Britt because of the local ties to Rutgers, but after watching and reading about Nicks, I am very happy with this pick. Along with top prospect Michael Crabtree, Nicks was the most “NFL ready” WR in the draft. Some other things that grab your attention: he has the best hands of any WR, seemingly attacking the ball while in flight. He started all three of his seasons at NC and never missed a game. And he uses his thick body to fight for the ball and isn’t afraid to go over the middle. I expect him to be part of the rotation come fall.

The second round brought an extra pick, courtesy of the Shockey trade. The first pick yielded Virginia LB Clint Sintim, and the reaction was luke warm by the Giant following. Sintim’s game in college was rushing the passer, which you’d think fits the Giants’ scheme perfectly. But Sintim’s highlights were probably what turned off viewers. First, NFL Network showed him at the Senior Bowl practices covering backs and TE’s in drills, and he simply looked lost. Analyst Mike Mayock pointed out it was a bit unfair to Sintim because he was a 3-4 rusher in college and was being asked to cover in a 4-3 (which made the pick a bit more puzzling because the Giants are a 4-3 base). But after hearing Jerry Reese, they plan to utilize this guy as a pass rusher come next year. Rumors even had the Giants considering him in the first round, so they certainly wanted this guy and feel they can teach him the rest. The second choice was a great value pick, William Beatty. An athletic left tackle prospect from UCONN, Beatty had been projected a low first round pick in some mocks, going to the Giants. The Giants got their man at the end of the second. There will be no pressure on Beatty as he adjusts to NFL competition, but there will be on current backups Kevin Boothe, Guy Whimper, and Adam Koets to produce in camp. One of those guys will not be on the team in September. In a perfect world, Beatty will eventually move to LT and Dave Diehl to guard in a few years.

In the third round, the Giants got their Plaixco Burress. Only this guy is a little bigger! Ramses Barden is a startling 6′ 6”, 229 lb. wideout who played at Cal-Poly. The Giants traded up using their second fifth, ironically with the Eagles, to nab him (apparently, Miami was hot for him). Barden completely dominated at the college level, which is one thing the Giants look for when evaluating small school talent (much like Kevin Boss). He’ll be one of the most intriguing players to watch in camp, but he’ll have a quite a bit of a learning curve so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he’s inactive for most of next season, or perhaps strictly a situational player in certain packages (i.e. red zone). Ray Didinger, the highly respected writer out of Philadelphia, had him as one of his sleeper picks and that’s good enough for me. How great would it be if this guy does develops into a big time receiver at the expense of the Eagles?

The comp pick at the end of the third round for losing Gibril Wilson produced a player that Giant fans seemingly got excited about the most: TE Travis Beckhum. In my draft preview, I commented that the Giants would be looking for another pass catching TE to improve the offense, and Beckhum fits that model. The term we keep hearing about Beckhum is “H-Back” rather than TE, with many comparisons to Dallas Clark. Either way, this sends a message that the Giants are aware that they must tweak their offensive philosophy in the vertical passing game and work in more underneath patterns. That’s were a guy like Beckhum becomes very valuable. When you hear Jerry Reese calling Beckhum a “nightmare matchup” for safeties and linebackers, you can see why fans were excited. I’d love to see the seam pass, thrown so many years by Simms to Bavaro, again become a staple in the offense. A bit undersized like many TE’s in this draft, they’ll have to teach him to be a better blocker, but he’ll learn from one of the best in Mike Pope.

In the fourth, the Giants went running back with NC State’s Andre Brown. Brown had moved up the charts in pre draft workouts and had been projected as high as the second round, so getting him the fourth again represents value. Compared to Derrick Ward in running style, Brown combines good size with speed and demonstrates a better ability than Ward to catch the ball, specifically mentioned by the Giants in post draft comments. This again tells me the short passing game, with emphasis on the backs receiving, will become a bigger part of the offense. The Giants have been outstanding at evaluating running back over the last few years, and while I am not sure how much Brown contributes this year because of the depth we have, he provides insurance if injuries and/or Danny Ware is unable to progress to the next level.

I wouldn’t have thought QB to be a position drafted in 2009, but there the Giants were selecting the intriguing Rhett Bomar in the fifth round. Much like last year’s choice of Andre Woodson, this pick hopefully develops into a legit backup QB or possible trade potential down the line (see Matt Cassell). It also tells me the Giants are not thrilled with how Woodson developed since last camp and are concerned about David Carr leaving after only signing on for one more year. Bomar has skills, ranked in some parts as the fourth best QB in the draft. He’s got the arm and attitude to play in the NFL, so we’ll see.

The last two selections, DeAndre Wright and Stoney Woodson, are defensive backs that will battle for the fifth CB spot on the roster. Again, sixth and seventh rounders are hard to evaluate, but DeAndre Wright might have an advantage as he does have some return experience, in addition to good size.

Most national pundits gave the Giants very good grades for this draft, and I have to say I agree. But as always, we won’t really find out the true value of these picks for at least a couple years.