Grading The Giants' Draft, 'Kudos & Wet Willies' Style

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It is time to put a bow on the New York Giants' 2011 NFL Draft. The way we do that here at Big Blue View, of course, is by turning to our signature post, 'Kudos & Wet Willies,' to give you our overall reaction to the work done by General Manager Jerry Reese and the rest of the Giants staff during the draft.

We will go pick-by-pick, giving each selection a 'Kudos' or a 'Wet Willie.' If you have been paying attention the past few days you probably already have a pretty good idea how this is going to go. But, let's make it official.

Round 1 -- Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

Unless you are Aaron Ross, Terrell Thomas or one of the "fringe" cornerbacks on the Giants' roster who just lost a chance to make the team what is there not to love about this pick?

A top 10 talent in the draft taken at No. 19. A guy who, potentially, could turn into the best corner the Giants have and who, at the very least adds depth and speed to a secondary that under-performed in 2010. If you have time don't forget that you can chat with Amukamara today via Twitter.

Grade: Umm ... 'Kudos.' You expected something different?

Round 2 -- Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina

Yes, there are concerns due to Austin's 2010 suspension and some analysts' belief that Austin does not play hard all the time. This pick is a risk, but as Tom Coughlin said over the weekend the Giants are "in a high-risk business."

Austin was unquestionably a first-round talent -- the Giants felt quite possibly a top 15 first-round talent -- only still available with the 52nd pick due to the character concerns. I have to put my faith in the work done by the Giants in vetting Austin, and in the fact that they have been successful with "character concern" picks like Mario Manningham and Ahmad Bradshaw.

Just a guess, but this probably also means you can say goodbye to Barry Cofield. It seems unlikely to me that with Austin, Linval Joseph and Chris Canty that the Giants will give Cofield the big-money deal he wants.

Grade: 'Kudos'

Round 3 -- Jerell Jernigan, WR, Troy

I can't call this the best pick of the Giants' draft. I also won't go where ESPN's Todd McShay did and call it their worst. I look at it as their most interesting -- for a variety of reasons.

First, the speed and the varied skills that the diminutive Jernigan brings to the Giants. Receiver, kick and punt returner, possible gunner on punt coverage, maybe even the Wildcat although Coughlin again expressed his disdain for it when asked about the possibility.

Second, the fact that the Giants left Washington linebacker Mason Foster -- an obvious 'need' target and a good value at that point in the draft -- on the board to select Foster went to Tampa Bay with the very next selection. Jernigan a player who joins a seemingly crowded receiving corps. Even though he does potentially have a skill set unique to the group.

I am excited about the potential Jernigan brings to the table. Considering the lockout circumstances, his return skills could make him the rookie who has the most immediate impact. Still, I will watch Foster's development with interest and compare it to Jernigan's production as a Giant.

Grade: 'Kwillie' ... Tough not to give it 'kudos,' but the 'what if' factor with Foster tempers this grade just a bit. Even though the Giants did get Greg Jones later.

Round 4 -- James Brewer, OT, Indiana

Brewer is a massive, 6-foot-6, 323-pound player the Giants think could easily add another 12 to 15 pounds -- something they want him to do. They admit that he is a developmental player, but this is a typical Reese middle- to late-round gambit on a high-upside player.

Best guess is that Brewer would be the likely successor to veteran Kareem McKenzie at right tackle, though the Giants do think he has left tackle athleticism. Another player who the Giants were able to get at least one round later than he was expected to be drafted.

Grade: 'Kudos'

Round 6 -- Greg Jones, LB, Michigan State

All you really need to know when considering how to grade the Jones pick is that no one would have considered his selection a "reach" if the Giants had turned his name in during the third or fourth round. You know who I think of when I consider the fact that the Giants just got a player in the sixth round who could eventually replace Jonathan Goff as their starting middle linebacker? I think of Antonio Pierce.

Remember, before Pierce came to the Giants he was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2001 by the Washington Redskins. AP had a pretty darn good career for a guy who was undrafted.

One cautionary note about Jones. Let's not be expecting him to walk in and take Goff's job right away. Considering the heavy responsibilities of a middle linebacker in calling the defense, reading the offense and aligning his teammates, I believe the lockout is really going to hurt him initially. No playbook, no contact with coaches, no chance to learn the scheme. Still, tremendous value considering when the Giants were able to get him.

Grade: 'Kudos'

Round 6 -- Tyler Sash, SS, Iowa

Sash was another player the Giants were fortunate to find available to them with the 198th overall selection. This is a player thought to be a third- or fourth-round value.

Sash is a playmaker with the size (6-foot, 211 pounds) to fill the "box" safety role in the three-safety scheme Perry Fewell loves to utilize. Reese loves his intelligence, and the Giants also love his athleticism and potential ability to contribute on coverage teams.

Grade: 'Kudos'

Round 6 -- Jacquain Williams, OLB, South Florida

I don't know what to make of this pick. Nobody does, really, since Williams was an unknown and since there is very little out there in terms of scouting reports it's obvious this pick caught draft analysts by surprise. Reminds me a little, actually, of the Giants taking a flier on Adrian Tracy a year ago. The sentimental side of me really wanted this pick to be Boston College outside linebacker Mark Herzlich, mostly because he is a guy -- a cancer survivor back on the field -- I really want to root for. Who knows? Maybe this guy is the next Jessie Armstead, a developmental linebacker who comes from nowhere to be a star. Only time will tell.

Grade: 'Kwillie' ... Because I know zilch about the guy, and because I really wanted Herzlich.

Round 7 -- Da'Rel Scott, RB, Maryland

Reese said the Giants "took a flier" on Scott because of his speed. At this point in the draft, why not? Late in the draft you are not going to find perfect players -- they all have flaws. I love taking gambits on guys who have one outstanding characteristic or skill that could allow them to help a team -- and Scott's sub-4.4 speed is definitely "one outstanding characteristic."

Grade: 'Kudos.' ... There is one other reason for the 'kudos,' and some of you may have already guessed it. Being a Maryland alumni myself, I love having a former Terp to root for.

Summary

I know that grabbing a linebacker like Foster would have been nice. And some will argue that a player like Illinois running back Mikel LeShoure or Florida center Rodney Hudson might have been a better second-round pick. Realize that no draft is perfect and that you are never able to address every perceived hole on your football team in any given draft, or any entire off-season for that matter.

As Coach Tom Coughlin said in his post-draft press conference "You are better off if the idea philosophically is to take the best player who is on the board. That way you are not doing any reaching, you are not trying to make somebody up who doesn't belong there. ... Do you solve all of your problems? Of course not."

Quibble with certain picks, or with a position like center not being drafted all, but the Giants got a talented player who was a great value with almost all of their picks. That's hard to argue with.

Grade: 'Kudos'

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