Archive for the ‘2009 Draft’ Category

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.

2009 Draft Preview

Friday, April 24th, 2009

I haven’t written a post since I’ve been vacationing in Southern California for 10 days, but I’m back at the perfect time: the NFL draft. But much has happened over the last two weeks, and two months for that matter.

First, the big news is the demise of Plaxico Burress. It’s a real shame, because the guy is so talented and never realized what he could probably have fully attained. He was one of my favorite players (the man had a place on this website’s main banner!) and the Giants wouldn’t have won the big one without him, but it’s obvious Plax no longer wanted to be a Giant. He wasn’t going to change his ways, clearly demonstrating that with his lack of communication to the Giant brass who through this entire ordeal supported him and said the right things. This behavior and the uncertainty of his trial pushed the Giants into a corner and they decided to cut their losses and move on. Burress may have been upset with the Giants trying to deny him his roster bonus and withholding game day checks, but clearly the man in the mirror was the problem.

In between that entire fiasco, the Giants had a great free agency period, but also lost some players. Gone are WR Amani Toomer, RB Derrick Ward, and S James Butler. Time to replenish via the draft. Admittedly, I do not watch a lot of college football, so I get most of my info on the draft by scouring the Internet, and watching NFL Network. In particular, I enjoy the combine. Who am I kidding? I just like NFL Network.

But I do know the Giants and have a good feel of how they draft. Going into this weekend’s crap shoot, the organization is in a great position. The only glaring weakness is the obvious number one wide receiver position, courtesy of Plax. A lot of teams would love to be in the shape the Giants are, but then again, the bar is raised now. Four straight playoff appearances. A Super Bowl title. A young and deep team. Another Super Bowl is the immediate goal. Back when the 2007 playoffs started, I just wanted Eli to get a playoff win under his belt. Times have indeed changed.

With a total of 10 picks (including five in the top 100), the Giants will surely trade a few of those for choices next year. While conventional wisdom would say drafting 10 players gives you the best chance, percentage wise, to get a hit on blue chippers, I’m not sure exactly how many roster spots the Giants will actually have. The team is very deep. Conversely, if the Giants are to pull off some draft day trade (Braylon Edwards’ rumors were prevelant by now have died down) for some of those picks, you’ll want to keep what’s left over to fill out the draft. As I have said in different posts, the Giants have options.

While best available athlete is the Giants’ way, I think they will focus on a few areas. Obviously wide receiver is on their radar. A few names I like are Hakim Nicks and Kenny Britt. Britt is particularly interesting being from Rutgers. Nicks might not be there, but I think Britt will be. But I will say first round picks on receivers scare me, as they seem to be boom or bust. Another area is depth on the offensive line. The Giants have been fortunate not to have any serious injuries the last few years. I admittedly cringe every time Kevin Boothe came in for Kareem McKenzie last year. I can see him at guard, but not tackle. Similarly, Adam Koets and Guy Whimper continue to be prospects who haven’t proven anything. A name I like is AZ tackle Eben Britton who probably would be there at #29. I also like the versatility of Oregon’s Max Unger, who can play all three line positions. He could be a second round selection.

With the linebackers, I’d like to see someone drafted to push and eventually replace (next year) Danny Clark as the SAM. Backup TE Darcy Johnson has talent, but the Giants won’t wait for it to translate onto the field and could grab one of a variety of pass catching TE’s in round two or three. As always in today’s NFL, don’t pass on a good corner. The Giants go four deep there, but injuries can happen and it wouldn’t surprise me if they grab something they like fairly early, especially with Kevin Dockery operating on a one year deal.

I think the most interesting selection could be a running back. With all the success the Giants have had with backs since Coughlin’s arrival, you begin to wonder how much it has to do with the offensive line? Right now, it’s Jacobs, Bradshaw, and the unproven Danny Ware. Many people are high on Ware. But I pose this question: if either Jacobs or Bradshaw got hurt, are you confident in Ware stepping up? Derrick Ward came from equal obscurity and we saw what he did here. But I think if a good running back is sitting there, particularly one that is well rounded (can run and catch) I think the Giants would bite. Remember, a playmaker doesn’t necessarily need to be a WR or TE. I want to see the Giants make the swing and screen pass part of this offense. That’s been missing.

I guess the point of all this analysis is, when it’s the Giants turn to pick, they will look at their draft board and ask themselves “who is the best player out there?” And that’s who they will probably take.