Monday, April 28, 2008

Giants' Draft Report Card

After a weekend hiatus, it’s good to be back, and there is a lot to talk about. Let’s start with the Giants draft…

ESPN dusted Mel Kiper off for his two weeks of work covering the NFL draft. (Who said April was only busy season for accountants?) Before being stuck back in the ESPN storage closet in between Barry Melrose and Dick Vitale, Kiper left Giants fans these parting words…

New York Giants: GRADE: C+

I understand taking safety Kenny Phillips with the last pick in the first round. He had a great sophomore season in 2006. Terrell Thomas could be a No. 2 cornerback, but I thought that pick was just OK. Wide receiver Mario Manningham is worth a role of the dice in the third round because he has talent, but his stock dropped in the months leading up to the draft, with some teams viewing him as a late-round pick. Jonathan Goff was a good find in the fifth round, and the same can be said about Andre' Woodson in Round 6. Defensive end Robert Henderson is just a marginal prospect. (

Mel, I really would have loved to have seen a little…I don’t know…expert analysis. This analysis reeks of “ESPN dubbed me the resident NFL Draft expert, so I pretty much don’t need to justify any comment I make!” Professorial complacency is leaking into the sports world!

This bothers me so much because I thought the Giants drafted pretty well. They used their first to picks to sure-up their biggest weakness, the secondary, and then took it from there. Let’s look at the first three picks:

  1. Kenny Phillips (Safety, U of Miami)

Phillips was the first safety taken in the draft. I am not going to pretend to have watched him closely, but to me, it seems his style of play suits the Giants. With the departure of Gibril Wilson, the Giants are going to be looking for someone who can not only defend the pass but also tackle. Wilson was always among the team leaders in tackles (he finished only behind Antonio Pierce for total tackles in 2007). In 2007, Phillips had 82 tackles (also second on his team), which will be crucial in preventing big plays from developing in Spags’ high pressure defense. His 54 solo tackles are notable as well. And yes, he did have a great sophomore season in 2006, for what its worth.

  1. Terrell Thomas (CB, USC)

“Terrell Thomas could be a No. 2 cornerback.” Gee, Mel, that sounds great. Considering Aaron Ross, Corey Webster, and Sammy Madison are already on the Giant’s depth chart. I’d say a number 3 cornerback would be fine also at this point. I don’t think we should be dubbing the secondary “lock-down” yet with Ross and Webster still needing to show some long-term consistency. (Not to take anything away from their ability to absolutely shut down some of the leagues down the stretch last year.) Of course, now having learned the new defensive scheme they will certainly do well to help Thomas along. Also, having a veteran like Sammy Madison will make New York a great place to breed DBs.

  1. Mario Manningham (WR, Michigan)’s James Walker called Manningham’s selection a potential steal. The Giants already have a “Manning to Manningham” banner on their website. Consensus among draft analysts is that Manningham’s “character issues” lowered his draft value. I’d say in the third round he is certainly worth the pick. In only three years, Manning became one of Michigan’s greatest receivers. At only 5-11 and 178 lbs, he shows a great degree of versatility as both a possession receiver and a bona fide deep threat. Plus, with the amazing depth of the Giants receiving corps, (Burress, Toomer, Smith, Moss, Michael Jennings, and some guy named David Tyree) there is not much downside with Manningham.As for the character issues, my guess is that Coach Coughlin will have them solved just in time for the season (or I guess 5 minutes early).

More on Kiper and the Giants later.

No comments: