I am not going to try and grade the New York Giants' draft class. Immediate draft grades are meaningless, and I won't go there.
That said, I know everyone has an opinion on how General Manager Jerry Reese fared over the weekend.
I love what the Giants tried to do Saturday and Sunday. I admit that I thought a Braylon Edwards trade would happen, or that the Giants would rade picks and move up into the middle of the first round. I am surprised the Giants ended up making as many picks as they did.
Personally, though, I am very happy with the results. Let's take a closer look.
No, the Giants did not get Edwards or Anquan Boldin, the big-name guys we have been discussing for weeks. They did not trade up in the first round to get Jeremy Maclin, which the Eagles did, or to gamble on Darrius Heyward-Bey. But, I think what Reese tried to do in collecting new targets for Eli Manning was exactly the right approach. He recognized that with Eli at the helm, and the swirling winds and bad weather the Giants often play in, their passing game will never be about precision. They need receivers who can go get the ball in traffic, who can adjust to balls not thrown perfectly, and who have the size, strength and hands to make difficult catches in the Red Zone.
Hakeem Nicks -- Truthfully, this is the guy I was hoping for all along. His coach at North Carolina, Butch Davis, compared him to Michael Irvin.
“(Nicks) is a big, physical kid with the ability to run routes and the ability to catch the ball with bodies all over him,” Davis said. “In the NFL defenders will press you, jam you, and he has the ability to catch balls with people draped on him as well as the ability to push off. I’ve seen Michael do that for many years, just use a little elbow to get some separation and make the catch.”
Forget Plaxico Burress for a second. If Nicks has a career somewhat resembling that of Amani Toomer with the Giants we will be pretty happy with that, don't you think?
Ramses Barden -- With his freakish size (6-foot-6, 229 pounds) Barden is the guy who could make this a special draft for the Giants. ESPN's Matt Mosley considered the Barden selection the riskiest draft move by any of the NFC East teams. It's a risk, however, that -- pardon the pun -- could pay huge dividends.
Reese felt strongly enough about him to pull off his only trade of the day Sunday to make sure Barden became a Giant.
Well, we wanted to move up because we really like this guy. We really think he has a huge upside. So we had an opportunity not to give up a lot to move up so we gave up the second five and we moved up a few slots to secure him. So we thought that was the right thing to do. We wouldn’t do that unless we thought this guy had tremendous upside.
Travis Beckum -- Another big guy with excellent hands who can help the short and mid-range passing game, annd hopefully be a factor in the Red Zone. Tom Coughlin was excited by the selection because he said Beckum's skill set is different than any of the other tight ends on the Giants' roster.
It’s another aspect of matchup problems. A lot of speed. It’s going to be very difficult for a safety or a linebacker to be in position to cover this guy. Obviously you’re not going to be able to utilize him in the same way that all four of those lined up tight ends are going to be utilized. But, we always have had a move guy. We’ve always had people that have had to play the back-up fullback position. It allows you to do any number of things right off the top where you’d have Kevin Boss in the game and Beckum. Perhaps you could even envision him as the tight end in the game with the receivers when it’s clearly a third down situation. Again, all of those things are in front of him. We’re very excited and interested in putting this particular aspect of personnel on the field and having an opportunity to recognize it as something we can develop.
The Second Round
The first round gets all the attention and all the glamor, but success in the second round is critical. I thought the Giants did a good job with both second-round selections. It would have been nice if Rey Maualuga had fallen all the way to the Giants, but Clint Sintim has a chance to be an excellent outside linebacker. William Beatty is a guy many envision sliding in at left tackle within a couple of seasons, possibly allowing David Diehl to move back inside or to right tackle.
The Other Guys
Reese called running back Andre Brown "very, very similar to Derrick Ward." The Giants took a fourth-round running back a few years ago who has worked out pretty well. Let's hope this move works out the way the Brandon Jacobs selection has. ... Rhett Bomar will compete with Andre Woodson for the third quarterback slot, and this is a good gamble by the Giants. Who knows, by 2010 David Carr might be elsewhere and Eli's backups could be Woodson and Bomar. The last two picks, corners DeAndre Wright and Stoney Woodson are guys who, if they stick, would likely be special teams contributors.
- 1 (29th) — WR Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina (6-1, 212)
- 2a (45th) — LB Clint Sintim, Virginia (6-2, 256)
- 2b (60th) — LT William Beatty (6-6, 291)
- 3a (85th) — WR Ramses Barden, Cal-Poly (6-6, 229)
- 3b (100th) — TE Travis Beckum, Wisconsin (6-3, 243)
- 4 (129th) — RB Andre Brown, North Carolina State (6-0, 224)
- 5 (151st) — QB Rhett Bomar, Sam Houston State (6-2, 224)
- 6 (200th) — CB DeAndre Wright, New Mexico (5-11, 198)
- 7 (238th) — CB Stoney Woodson, South Carolina (5-11, 196)