Archive for the ‘2008 Draft’ Category

Review of 2008 Giants’ Draft

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

Once again, I came out of the draft feeling good about what the Giants did. They got very good value based on the spots they picked at, and filled needs. The Giants followed my recipe for going heavy on defense, with some nice surprise picks on offense.

There’s little question that the secondary needed to be built up a bit more and that’s exactly where the Giants looked first. Kenny Phillips’ stock was said to be falling, but that proved to be a good thing as he fell all the way to the Giants. Arguably the best safety in the draft, Phillips at number 31 is good value and fills a need. Originally projected to go mid-first round, the Giants will gladly take him. Look for him to see the field a lot in his rookie year. 

Second round choice corner Terrell Thomas is a name I didn’t really recognize. But the book on him sounds perfect for the Giants: big, long arms, physical. The negative on Thomas appears to be speed, but that may be deceiving due to his size. While he may project to safety, the Giants will certainly give him reps at corner in the beginning. He comes from a passing conference, a big time school (USC), and played in big games. All things I like to hear. 

The third rounder, WR Mario Manningham, is easily the most intriguing pick, and could turn out to be the steal of the draft. First, unbelievable value in the third round, since he was projected to be a possible first rounder. I predicted a wideout would only be taken if it was the best available player at the time, and that certainly qualifies here. We all know Manningham’s problems, but his upside was too great to pass up at this spot. Physically, there seems to be some disagreement on his speed and ability to separate. Honestly, I don’t watch a lot of college football so I don’t know, but all I have heard is “deep threat”, “polished route runner”, “ability to leap” as adjectives for Manningham. The Giants didn’t let a bad Combine workout dissuade them. Let fellow alum Amani Toomer take this guy under his wing this summer and the dividends could be huge. A great pick. 

The Giants made me proud in rounds four and five going for linebackers. If both these guys can play, the Giants will now possess a very deep corp. Current Giant LBs Tank Daniels and Rory Johnson are marginal NFL players. Both these draft picks are an attempt to upgrade and replace those guys. Fourth rounder Bryan Kehl is described as a coach’s dream in the writeups. The highlights I saw of him displayed an ability to drop into passing lanes and catch the ball. The Giants traded up seven spots to get him, telling us they wanted to take no chances of someone else pouncing. Fifth rounder Jonathan Goff was projected as a third rounder, so the Giants again got value. Goff could be the eventual replacement to Antonio Pierce down the road, but that’s getting way ahead of ourselves. Both figure to be special team contributors immediately. Could these picks signal a potential switch back to DE for Kiwi in the near future? Right now the Giants are saying no, but that probably hinges on Strahan coming back and how these two picks develop in camp.

In the sixth, the Giants made a choice simply by taking the best player available on the board, and it turned out to be a quarterback. Rod Woodson’s cousin, Andre Woodson, was expected to be a high pick before having a rough Senior Bowl week. The Giants simply could not let this player slide. He’ll battle Jared Lorenzen for the third spot this season, getting a lot of playing time in exhibition games. Again, this is a great low risk/high reward pick. You’re getting a projected higher round pick at the very end of the sixth round, and at a premium position. His value is two-fold. Woodson could develop into a very good backup QB, and/or possibly become a valuable trade commodity. Keep your fingers crossed.

The seventh, and last selection, secured my prediction that the Giants would take a DE. Cleary, though, Robert Henderson is a project so we’ll see what happens. He has a quick first step but needs to bulk up. The practice squad seems a likely destination for the first year. It looks to me that the Giants protected themselves by drafting linebackers, rather than a DE, in case Strahan retires. That would allow Kiwi to move to DE and give the staff more choices at LB as a replacement.

Jerry Reese followed up last season’s terrific draft with one that appears to have lots of promise. I will be interesting to see how these guys perform in their rookie mini camp scheduled for May 9th and 10th. Oh, and the Giants didn’t trade Shockey. Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make.

2008 Draft Preview

Saturday, April 19th, 2008

Unfortunately for the Football Giants, they’ll be picking last in every round of the ’08 draft. But the good news is they are picking there because they claimed the Lombardi Trophy in 2007.  More good news is in the state of the current roster. With no glaring weaknesses, the Giants will be in a position to pick the best available player, regardless of position, which I have pointed out before is always the best drafting policy. Free agency brought a backup QB (David Carr), some insurance at linebacker (Danny Clark), and the resigning of RB Derrick Ward to the deepest backfield in football. Still, there are obviously a few positions where the Giants will look to improve and upgrade, so let’s take a look.

Last year’s first pick, Aaron Ross, was really a nice selection by Jerry Reese. Not only did he take over starting duties by the fourth regular season game, but Ross played like he belonged. The Giants, I believe, would love to select a corner that could team with Ross over the next several years. That’s not to say savvy Sam Madison is out by any means, but the Giants need to think about eventually replacing 34 year old vet. While Corey Webster played extremely well in the playoffs, I am not ready to concede anything. Plus, in this age of four and five WR sets, you can never have enough cover guys. I certainly expect a corner on Day One.

Safety is an interesting position. The Giants have a player that seems more suited for a backup role (James Butler), a stop gap veteran presence (Sammy Knight), and a player (Michael Johnson) that could be ready to take over a starting spot based on what he showed last year as a rookie. Johnson is really the key here. If he can make the jump to full time starter, then being paired with either Knight or Butler would be an adequate tandem. But the Giants still need depth here, and a safety on Day One makes more and more sense.

Linebacker, a Giant tradition. Not anymore. We hear more and more that linebackers aren’t that important in Steve Spagnulo’s schemes. Poppycock. Give me an athletic linebacker that can blitz and cover and tell me Spags can’t use him?  Thing is, the Giants feel they have that, namely third year man Gerris Wilkinson. The Giants let Kawika Mitchell walk in free agency because they think Wilkinson is ready to start, and shine. We’ll find out. Kiwi, Pierce, and Wilkinson is solid corp, and Steve DeOssie hopefully can take the next step and start getting snaps in a relief role. I’d still like a Day One pick to be spent on a linebacker, either inside or out.

Do the Giants shock everyone by taking a DE with their first pick? Remember how we all fell out of our seats when Kiwi was picked in ’06? Here’s the deal. While we want Strahan to come back, any good football team starts preparing before a player retires. And  here is the perfect time to draft an end who can absorb Stra’s wisdom, much like Stra did when drafted back in 1993 (remember, Strahan wasn’t an instant star by any means). Plus, with the rumor of Osi potentially holding out this summer, the Giants may want to be proactive and protect themselves. I do think a DE will be picked in this draft. The Giants will also be on the watch for a DT.

See a trend here? I’ve written about nothing but defense, but then again I am old school. The Giant D was good last year, but they can be very good. While I don’t want them reaching for defensive players, that side of the ball is still the area to build upon.

Offensively, the Giants scored 30 or more points six times. The have a QB who is just hitting the cusp of his prime, playmakers at multiple positions, and very good line play. Mostly everyone is young. They are extremely deep at RB and TE (barring a trade of Shockey, a rumor that appears to be picking up steam).  I don’t really see a lot of weaknesses here that need to be addressed in this draft. Two areas I could see picks being spent on: offensive line and WR. With the former, you can never have enough big bodies and a pick here seems likely, perhaps even in the first round. With the latter, I can only see taking a WR if the player on the board is simply the best player available.

Reese will have eight picks, including three in the sixth. I’ll have a recap a week after the draft. Good night, good drafting.