My 2nd annual draft review. This year, it is the 2012 NFL Draft.
In what seems like another lifetime ago, I posted my review for the 2011 NFL draft, which you can find right here.
I'm not quite as bullish on this year's class as I was from last year's, but I still think we managed to pull in a top 5 draft. The past three or four years have taught me the key operative phrase: "In Reese We Trust."
*Originally posted on BloggingTheBeast. Please check the site out!
1st Round: David Wilson, Va Tech
Ht: 5'9 Wt: 208 lbs 40: 4.39 (Pro-day) Vert: 41" Broad: 11-0
David Wilson vs Virginia 2011 (via JMPasq)
Strengths: Explosive. Best way to describe David Wilson. Has the quickest first step of almost any RB in the draft, both North and South, as well as East and West. He's got excellent balance and lead the NCAA in yards after contact with 990 yards. Is a homerun threat, and his cutbacks are devastating. A nice blend of speed and power. Athletic specimen, with top numbers in the vertical, 40 yard dash, broad jump, 3 cone drill, and short shuttle. Solid pass catcher from the backfield that can manage screen passes and shallow wheel routes. Also has experience playing in the slot, as well as a very successful KR.
Weaknesses: He does not have the best vision, and is sometimes undecisive when a gap opens up. Does a lot of Brandon Jacobs dancing, which he will not be able to afford to do in the NFL. He also needs to work on his pass protection. He wasn't asked to do much of it, but when he did, he took poor angles. That needs to get shored up. He's also a bit of a fumbler. That's never good for a Tom Coughlin lead team.
How He Fits:
Of course, the Giants had a "need" at RB after the departure of Brandon Jacobs. David Wilson fills that void, because Ahmad Bradshaw's foot cannot be trusted to last the full reason, and the depth behind him consists of the "meh" DJ Ware, and the unreliable speedster, Da'Rel Scott. With training camp to get his feet wet in pass protection, he should provide an instant boost to the running game. With the offensive line in flux, the fact that Wilson can dance around may end up being a good thing. Too elusive to get caught by the first man, he might be able to squeeze through the transient holes made by the line. Eventually, I anticipate him getting equal snaps with Ahmad Bradshaw, as an explosive complement to unleash on tired defenses in the second half of games. The Giants are gambling that this kid is the next Lesean McCoy.
2nd round: Rueben Randle, WR LSU
Ht: 6'3 Wt: 215 40: 4.42 Vert: 31" Broad: 10-1'
Rueben Randle vs Arkansas 2011 (via JPDraftJedi)
Strengths: Randle has an excellent blend of size and speed. Has timed good long speed, unofficially between 4.37 and 4.4, with good size at 6'3. Has strong body control and will often make adjustments to catch the ball. Most of the games I've seen, he'll win every contested ball thrown to him because of his wide catching radius and out physical the corner. He's matched up against good competition as well, playing in the ever dangerous SEC. A highly underrated blocker as well, probably second only to Stephen Hill and Mohamed Sanu in this draft class.
Weaknesses: He isn't the most polished route runner. That's his biggest flaw. Not explosive in and out of his breaks, which will probably hurt him gaining separation at the NFL level. The Giants are one of the most complicated offenses in the NFL, so this is a big concern. Also, he was not truly dominant when it truly counted. He had terrible QBs, but in both games against Alabama, he was shut down when up against Dre Kirkpatrick.
How He Fits:
The Giants lost Mario Manningham to free agency, and arguably got an upgrade. Randle will come in and compete for the 3rd WR position behind Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz right away. The incumbents, Ramses Barden, Domenik Hixon, and Jerrel Jernigan will all compete, but Randle is expected to win the job at some point in the draft. Many will view this as simply a "BPA" pick but it is very much a need pick. Both Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz will become unrestricted free agents in 2014. That will be Rueben Randle's 3rd year in the league, and prime time for him to break out as a possible new featured WR. Jerry Reese said he was heavily considering him at 32, and sees a lot of Hakeem Nicks in him.
3rd Round: Jayron Hosley, CB Va Tech
Ht: 5'11 Wt: 182 lbs 40: 4.38 Vert: 34.5" Broad: 10-1
Jayron Hosley vs Clemson 2011 (via JMPasq)
Strengths: The very definition of ballhawk, Hosley had 9 INTs in the 2010 year. Teams usually shied away from throwing at him in 2011, so his plays cut down. He is a very smooth athlete, that can transition from his backpedal to trailing position quickly and fluidly. He is explosive out of his breaks, and is capable of matching up with the receiver on his quick breaks. He can track the football in the air quite well, and has very good hands - one of the best in this draft class. He tested well at his pro-day and combine, but is one of the very few that actually plays at that speed. He is a legitimate 4.35-4.4 player with a good vertical.
Weaknesses: Is almost useless in run defense. Is not overtly physical and can, and probably will, be manhandled by the bigger wide receivers in this league. He also shies away from contact sometimes, although isn't completely contact averse. He's also known as a bit of a gambler, and he'll try and bite on some plays here and there, and he can lose. Also does not have the size that the Giants usually like from their corners.
How He Fits:
Hosley played most of his college career outside, but his skillset will send him ticketed for the slot. He's comfortable playing in a zone scheme, so he's a prototype slot CB. He will be brought along slowly as the 5th CB behind Corey Webster, Prince Amukamara, Terrell Thomas, and Justin Tryon. I anticipate him competing with Tryon for the dime CB, and will be quality depth. Also provides insurance in case Thomas suffers some sort of setback coming back from his ACL tear. This was not a need for the Giants, but then again, going back to last year, we know that anything can happen. Especially in a division that has Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Jeremy Maclin, Desean Jackson, and Pierre Garcon, you need all the quality CBs that you can get. A pure BPA pick.
4th Round: Adrien Robinson, TE Cincinnati
Ht: 6'4 Wt: 267 lbs 40: 4.55 Vert: 40" Broad: --
Adrien Robinson Xceler8 Performance (via Xceler84)
Strengths: Vicious blocker. Was one of the biggest reasons why Isaiah Pead was successful. Technically sound and takes proper angles. Workout warrior. As you can see by the measurables, he's got incredible athleticism and is explosive out of his stance and running down the field. Smooth athlete as well, with soft hands. Natural hands catcher that is able to pluck the ball away from his body. Due to his height and vertical, he can win a great amount of jump balls and will be a redzone threat as well.
Weaknesses: Limited production. Only caught 12 balls last year. Very raw, doesn't run a full route tree, and is basically an unknown in this regard. Was not sharp in and out of his cuts. Will take some time to learn the basic route tree, and was not an overwhelming force.
How He Fits:
It has been well known that the first thing the Giants look for in a TE is a blocker. Robinson is extremely polished in that aspect of his game, and will look to see immediate action splitting snaps with Martellus Bennett early. Mike Pope is one of the best TE coaches in the NFL, and this was his pick. Jerry Reese remarked, "He is the JPP of TEs. We've just scratched the surface." This seems like a boom or bust pick, but the Giants are clearly hoping that he develops as a solid route runner and eventually takes over as the primary TE for the team. A developmental pick that I don't expect much from in this first year.
4th Round: Brandon Mosley, OT Auburn
Ht: 6'6 Wt: 315 lbs 40: 5.05 Bench: 30
Brandon Mosley vs LSU 2011 (via JPDraftJedi)
Strengths: Technically sound for the most part. Is a natural knee bender and has a nice solid punch. Doesn't usually overextend when blocking and his hand placement is decent, if not great. He flashes a mean streak and I've seen several blocks where he pancakes people. Doesn't seem to have much difficult with power rushers, though he will sometimes get pushed back. He seems comfortable in space, and can pull off devastating blocks running downhill. He's a prototype size with room to add a little bit more weight for an ideal RT or G. Position versatile. By all accounts, is high character and competitor who is unafraid to get dirty.
Weaknesses: Has trouble with speed rushers. This is mostly because he doesn't have great footwork, and his shuffle looks pretty awkward. Sometimes he can latch on to a defender and will get stuck with him. He'll get called for holding every single time. Can still refine his technique, because there are times were he gets inconsistent and overextends against extra speedy guys.
How He Fits:
It's no secret that the Giants' offensive line was beyond awful in 2011. Much of that, however, was due to injury from several key figures. Mosley will probably not see much, if any, game time. The Giants absolutely despise using rookie OL , and believe that they need a full year getting coached up. They have a damn good OL coach in Pat Flaherty who will try and coach him up as the potential RT of the future. As of right now, the RT spot looks to be held by David Diehl and will see time from red shirt 2nd year James Brewer. Mosley provides insurance in case Brewer and Diehl gets injured, and also adds in much needed depth. Because of his versatility, he can also backup Snee, Petrus, and Boothe as a G.
6th Round: Matt McCants, OT UAB
Ht: 6'7 Wt: 308 lbs 40: 5.38
Matt Mccants vs Mississippi State 2010 (via JPDraftJedi)
Strengths: Incredibly long arms (36"). That allows him to gain significant leverage against opposing defenders. He's a natural bender that's got efficient footwork and can deliver a nice strong, coordinated punch. Based on the videos that I've seen, he doesn't seem to have too much trouble with speed rushers he's faced. Has long, athletic frame that is capable of adding on weight. Seems flexible. Played the tuba in highschool. Versatile!
Weaknesses: Going to have a real problem going up against power rushers, especially at the NFL level. Did not play in a Division 1 team, and so level of competition is also questionable. Is not as strong as he needs to be and is still a very much developmental prospect. Can probably only play LT, and nothing else.
How He Fits:
The long and short of it is that he's a project. Definitely athletic enough with the measurables (especially arm length) to be an NFL caliber LT, but it will take a few years. I anticipate him being inactive for most every game this year if he makes the team. The hope here is that if William Beatty happens to leave in free agency, the Giants will have a good and polished, athletic replacement ready for him.
7th Round: Markus Kuhn
Ht: 6'4 Wt: 300 40: 4.80 Vert: 34.5" Broad: 9-4'
Markus Kuhn vs Louisville Belk Bowl (via JMPasq)
Strengths: Athletic freak. Explosive first step that allows him to get a jump on the snap. Can collapse the pocket and has good strength with 28 bench press reps. Was very smooth at the combine and showed fluidity while moving. High motor player that doesn't give up on plays. If he gets on the field, Giants will have their own "KUHNNNNNN" chant.
Weaknesses: Sometimes gets too upright and will get stood up. Has good upper body strength, but lower body strength looks like it needs work. Developmental prospect that doesn't have many pass rushing techniques.
How He Fits:
He's basically the definition of a late round flier. The defensive rotation at DT consists of Linval Joseph, Marvin Austin, Chris Canty, and Shaun Rogers. Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul also take a few snaps at DT, so it's not likely that Kuhn will get many snaps unless injuries play a factor. He's clearly an athlete more than a polished DT, but he's got upside at possibly making the roster as a rotational guy that takes over for Jimmy Kennedy.
->The Superbowl Champion Giants definitely had a plan in mind when it came to the early picks of the draft. They got more explosive at the skill positions - RB, WR, TE, CB with the first four picks. All of those picks have great measurables, and good acceleration and speed.
-> When you look at the rankings from 2011, the Giants ranked 8th in offense, 27th in defense. Yet, 5 of the 7 picks in the 2012 draft came on the offensive side of the ball. Part of that was undoubtedly due to the incredible number of injuries on the defensive side of the ball, but it was still somewhat shocking.
-> The Giants did an incredible job of filling needs, both future and present, with this draft. The needs coming into this draft, in no particular order, were: RT, RB, TE, WR, CB, FS, DT. The Giants filled the RT spot with Mosley, RB with Wilson, WR with Randle, CB with Hosley, and DT with Kuhn. They still have a need at FS, but I'd say 5 out of 6 ain't bad at all.
-> A couple other surprising notes were that this was the first time in a long time that the Giants selected a CB below 6'0 in the early rounds. Previous draft picks?
Prince Amukamara - 6'0
Terrell Thomas - 6'1
Corey Webster - 6'0
Aaron Ross - 6'1
Kenny Phillips - 6'2
The Giants are the tallest team in the NFL, making for a great coincidence (or is it) with their name. So they must have really liked what they saw to divert from their typical DB drafting style.
The other surprising note is the lack of DL selected in this draft. We often think of Jerry Reese and the Giants as "collectors" of passrushers, but the Giants decided to go in a different direction and didn't pick one until their very last pick. They have now picked a defensive lineman in all but 2 drafts (2003, 2009) since 2000. Thank goodness for Markus Kuhn.
-> It was also believed that the Giants definitely believed in positional value. The history of 1st round picks under Jerry Reese? CB, FS, WR, DE, CB. Widely believed that the Giants valued skill position guys and pass rushers, it was a bit shocking to see them go in a different direction and take a RB in the first round. I guess you learn something new every day.
-> With this draft finally in the books, it became clear to me that the Giants were obviously stung by their dreadful 32nd ranked rushing attack. Tom Coughlin and Kevin Gilbride want a balanced offense. In fact if you take a look at the past several years, it has been just that.
2007 Pass/Run Ratio: 54% Pass/46% Run
2008 Pass/Run Ratio: 50% Pass/50% Run
2009 Pass/Run Ratio: 55% Pass/45% Run
2010 Pass/Run Ratio: 53% Pass/47% Run
In 2011? They passed almost 60% of the time, a clear deviation from the more balanced attacks that they hand in recent years. Now, I'm not complaining with the production that Eli Manning had, but there's no doubt an effective running game will ease some of the pressure off of him.
So what did the Giants do? They take a RB with their 1st round pick. Sign Martellus Bennett, one of the better blocking TEs in the NFL, and draft three guys in a row that made their scratch off of nasty blocking: Adrien Robinson, Brandon Mosley, and Matt McCants. It's clear that upgrading the running game and finding good blockers was a priority in this draft.
-> My final thoughts on this draft were that the Giants did an "efficient" job. They went about their way selecting guys that fit their system, fit what they wanted to do. They tried matching up BPA with need, and were unafraid to take a few risks with some high upside, but raw players. They took the JPP approach when it came to developmental prospects from the 4th round onwards, and that is a testament to their belief in the strength of their coaching. In Wilson, Randle, and Hosley, they took skill position guys to try and add an extra dimension to the offense that not only was about replacing guys, but by upgrading them. All in all, a very strong, solid draft for the Superbowl Champions.
One quick hat tip to JMPasq/RedEyeJedi. He is my go-to source when looking up youtube cut ups and was an invaluable resource during my research and "scouting" players, especially prospects unavailable to me by television broadcast.