We're getting closer and closer to April, which in football terms only means one thing, the NFL Draft. As the Combine goes on and BBV explodes with talk about particular prospects, I'd like to take some time to profile some of my absolute favorite guys that are not likely to be taken in the first couple of rounds. While Ed and Jesse have been doing a phenomenal job on draft coverage and prospect profiles, there just isn't enough time between now and the draft for them to cover every name. So lets take a closer look at some guys who have high potential and if yall have anyone you'd like to add, please do so in the comments. This would allow the entire community to have an ever deeper knowledge of the draft this year.
David Amerson, CB/S, NC State
Some would say that Amerson isn't really a mid round prospect, and I'd have to say I agree with them. He was an All-American in 2011, where he had an eye-popping 13 interceptions. Unfortunately Amerson had a much slower 2012 campaign, with only 5 interceptions and plenty of film that shows the Tennessee Wide Receivers burning him. Still, this guy is 6'3 and close to 200 pounds. On film it seems like he has a great vertical and great closing speed.
The first think you may notice about Amerson in his film below is that he can play aggressive. He draws a PI penalty around the 1:15 mark, even though I think he arrived at the ball perfectly on time. Also early on in the film he makes his tackles when the Wide Receiver does catch the ball, holding the YAC to a minimum for the Receivers. He does miss a few tackles, but it's not due to bad form or terrible angles.
I'd also like to point out Amerson's interception at the 3:30 mark. Amerson does an amazing job sticking in his Receiver's pocket and reading the Quarterback's eyes the whole way. Then he makes a good play on the ball and uses his larger frame to create separation.
While most defenders that have the size of Amerson are usually more press-man type guys, what I like about him is he can do both. He's got very quick feet and has the closing speed to ball off the ball and still come up and make a play even if he's 5-7 yards out. At the same time he'll use his size to play up against a Receiver and force them off their original route. My knock on him is the same as everyone's, consistency. Amerson MUST prove that he can be a consistent player on the field, and this in both making tackles and making plays on the ball. He's no first rounder, but I'd gladly take him in either the 2nd or the 3rd.
Sanders Commings, CB, Georgia
Here is one of my favorite DB's in this years draft. Commings is a large, physical Cornerback that played for a very solid Georgia defense. Measuring out around 6'2, 217 pounds, Commings has the large frame that the Giants seem to covet in their DB's. And with the success of Seattle's large backfield, Commings could possibly be a key component to making our secondary a larger groups.
Commings has a good skill set that could be utilized in the NFL, especially against some of the taller, stronger Receivers. One of the first things you notice about Commings is his size, and it's something he's able to use to his advantage. I find Commings to be at his best when he's allowed to play a press-man style and can hit the receivers coming off the line. In the video below you'll see that this is the instance he gets his interception. Around the 4:00 minute mark Commings plays up on the line and sticks close to Patterson, and then reads Bray's eyes and picks off the ball. He also plays outfielder well (a position he was drafted to play by the MLB, but opted to play football instead) at the 5:00 mark, cleaning up a tipped pass and essentially ending the game for Georgia.
There are two cons that I would say are keeping Commings out of the first couple rounds. The first, and largest concern is that his size sometimes hinders his ability to play against faster receivers. Commings plays a lot against Patterson in the film below, and you'll notice that sometimes Commings can't quite keep up with the speed that Patterson offers. Around the 3:30 mark Commings gets beat to the inside by Patterson, who is able to flip his hips and cut his route quicker. This isn't something that happens all of the time, but it happens every once in a while.
The second concern I have, and this is more of a personal problem, is that Commings just doesn't seem to be as physical as he should be for a guy his size. In this instance I mean more so against the run than with Receivers. I've seen Commings bully Receivers before, but when playing in run support he doesn't seem to want to lay the wood like guys his size usually do. He's still a willing tackler, but he doesn't wrap and clean up like you want to see him do. But even with those two concerns, I still think he's a very good player and very worth of a 3rd round pick from our Giants. Pairing him up with Prince on the outside would give us two large, solid corners to play the outsides for us. Take a look for yourselves.
Michael Mauti, LB, Penn State
Here is a guy I just can't help but liking. Hailing from the school known for their Linebackers, Mauti lives up to the Penn State Linebacker label in my opinion. The first thing you notice about the guy is that he's very energetic. He's always jumping around, making plays, and just getting hyped up to play. I love that. Going hand in hand with his energy is aggressiveness. Mauti is always launching himself towards the ball, looking for contact. Another thing I really like seeing from a Linebacker. Just watch the very first play of the film below against Illinois, being the first player down the field on Special Teams and making a big play. You know the Giants love a guy that can play ST's.
One thing about Mauti is that he's a very instinctual player. He doesn't make his living off of being a superior athlete and just beating the runner to the hole, instead he is able to read and diagnose plays before they get going. Around the one minute mark he makes a good play inside the goalline, reading where the back is going and making a play on the ball. Mauti also shows ability to handle blocks, because around 2:05 he takes on a block, gets rid of it, and makes the tackle to stop the play. Both his instincts and strength make me think that he has potential to be a very solid MIKE on the Giants.He also shows ability to blitz, which never hurts. Around the 5:53 mark he slips to the outside and comes off the edge hot, making a play on the Quarterback.
Mauti is decent in coverage, flashing ability but never overwhelmingly impressive either. He nabs an interception at about 4:30, but he's with his back to the endzone and has a short field to protect. He does a good job of reading the Quarterback's eyes and uses his instincts to get to the ball. But when he's dropping back 10-15 yards, he begins to get lost and his lack of elite athleticism begins to show.
Overall Mauti showed a good body of work this year, and I would love to have him as a MIKE for the Giants. He stands at 6'2 and weighs about 240, so he would be about just the right build to play the middle for us. He also put up 28 reps on the bench, proving he's a powerful player. He isn't set to impress during the 40 yard dash, but I'm fine with that. My comparison is Jon Goff, but a bit better in coverage. At this point I'd spend a 3rd round pick on him, which is higher than most have him.
Michael Williams, TE, Alabama
If the Giants happen to lose Bennett to Free Agency, Williams is my hands-down favorite replacement for the big guy. He's around 6'6 and weighs close to 270. The guy is an excellent blocker and has very underrated receiving ability. Almost sounds exactly like the reports on Bennett as he was leaving the Cowboys (minus all the interesting quotes and sayings that is). Nick Saban seemed to know that Williams liked to block, because he was used to constantly seal the edge and spring runs for Lacy and Yeldon. Alabama would use him in a number of different packages, playing him in the traditional TE spot next to the Tackle, split out off the line, and even next to McCarron in the shotgun around the 30 second mark of the video. At one point he even pulls from one side of the formation and lead blocks for Yeldon, who scores on the play. This is right around the 1:00 mark. Not enough can be said about Williams blocking, just watch it for yourself. He's the perfect component to help David Wilson gain a few more yards next season.
I don't know how much more I should really say on Williams, because it's all pretty easy to see from his style of play. He's a smash mouth type guy that just SCREAMS Giant to me. The only way Williams isn't on the Giants radar is due to his lack of impressive athleticism. He's not going to have great straight-line speed and he won't be burning guys for long gains, but Williams will go out in the flats or over the middle and make tough catches and pick up important yards. He shows the ability to read a defense and use the seam to his advantage around the 2:20 mark, exploiting the gap in Miss State's defense and scoring an easy Touchdown. Also can get physical even in his route running, shoving the defender off of him at the 3:30 mark and making the catch. He's another guy I'd be fine spending a 3rd rounder on, but his draft position is probably more around the fourth realistically. When I watch him play I'm seeing a younger Martellus Bennett with the ability to be coached up into a better receiver by both Pope and Eli.
Aaron Mellette, WR, Elon
Mellette just happens to be my favorite small-school prospect. Maybe I'm biased because he's a local guy from my area who I've enjoyed watching, but oh well. He's a very good Wide Receiver and seems to be the potential-filled athlete that Reese enjoys going after. He never went up against great competition, and when he did he was challenged due to the fact that he was literally the only weapon that Elon has had. Like.....ever. Still, Mellette uses his 6'2, 215 pound frame to play physically against Cornerbacks, but he also has the speed to get behind them and stretch the field. On the first play of his film you see him beat the Corner down field for a large gain.
Another positive of Mellette's game is his ability to block. Mellette has no inhibitions about getting his hands on a defender and holding his blocks. This is another small aspect that I think the Giants always look for in their outside Receivers. Also watch the body control around the 2:00 mark. That catch reminds me a lot of Hakeem Nicks in a lot of ways, positioning his body around the defender to give himself a chance for the ball even though McCray sticks with him for pretty much the whole route.
Mellette has pretty sharp routes, but they could use a bit of touching up in my opinion. Sometimes he'll round them off when he gets lazy and it allows the Corner to get better position, but we don't see this all the time. He does have good stopping ability for a guy his size, which allows him to run a good come-back route and use the Corner's momentum against him. This is shown in two consecutive plays starting at the 2:35 mark. The only knock I really have on him is his tendency to disappear against more talented competition, but I also once again point out he's the only real weapon his team had. Between his height/weight combo, body control, big play ability, and solid route running I would go out on a limb and say Mellette is a very poor man's Hakeem Nicks. Could be excellent working as a 3rd/4th Wide Receiver in his first couple years with the Giants, and could even possibly progress into a #2 type guy. If we could snag this guy in the 5th round I'd consider it very good value.
Overall I really like the guys that I've presented to you above. They all have roles that they could fill and while they may end up on other teams, their prospect potential all seems to be very high. If I had to choose one or two of the guys above that are my absolute favorites, I'd say that I'm really hoping Michael Mauti and Michael Williams become Giants. Now I'd be really appreciative if other draft type guys could present their favorite sleeper picks, because as I mentioned before it just improves the community knowledge and makes discussions on here that much better!