2014 NFL Draft Grades, 'Kudos & Wet Willies' style

Andre Williams - Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Grading the Giants' 2014 NFL Draft in our traditional 'Kudos & Wet Willies' style.

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The New York Giants certainly marched to the beat of their own drum during the 2014 NFL Draft. For months, analysts predicted they would target the tight end position early in the draft. The Giants, of course, never selected one. The common belief was that the Giants would take one of the top offensive linemen in the draft if one was available at No. 12. The Giants passed on Zack Martin for wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The Giants did address defensive tackle, but passed on several more well-known players in Round 3 for Jay Bromley of Syracuse. The fourth-round selection of San Diego State safety Nat Behre also raised some eyebrows.

We have already reviewed the entire draft class, discussed the draft grades given to the Giants by analysts across the Internet and analyzed why no tight end was taken by the Giants. Now, let's put a bow on all of that by discussing the Giants' draft in our traditional 'Kudos & Wet Willies' style.

Giants' selections:

Round 1 (12th): Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
Round 2 (43rd): Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State
Round 3 (74th): Jay Bromley, DT, Syracuse
Round 4 (113th): Andre Williams, RB, Boston College
Round 5 (152nd): Nat Behre, S, San Diego State
Round 5 (174th, compensatory): Devon Kennard, LB, USC
Round 6 (187th): Bennett Jackson, CB, Notre Dame

The Draft Gets A 'Kudos'

Let's start off by saying up front that I am giving this draft by general manager Jerry Reese and the Giants an overall 'Kudos.' The first two picks were brilliant. The remaining five picks were somewhat unexpected in that while the Giants addressed areas of perceived need throughout the draft the players were not ones that might have been anticipated at those spots in the draft -- particularly Bromley in the third round and Behre in the fifth.

The draft wasn't perfect. The need for a tight end was not met, although we have explained why. The selections of Beckham Jr. and Richburg can be considered home runs because of what they potentially bring to the rebuilt Giants' offense. Each of the last five picks, however, carry question marks. In each spot you can make an argument, as Jesse Bartolis has done, that the Giants could have -- and should have -- gone in a different direction.

The Giants had a plan, quite obviously, and they stuck to it. They wanted leadership and character, and every player they selected had been a collegiate team captain with a "clean" record. They wanted a weapon for Eli Manning, and got it in Beckham Jr. They wanted to add more talent to the offensive line, especially at center, and got the top-rated center in the draft in Richburg.

The Individual Selections

Let's quickly grade the individual selections.

Round 1 (12th): Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU -- The chalk -- and my initial expectation -- here was that the Giants would select Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin. In retrospect, facing a choice between Beckham Jr., Martin and probably Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald it should have been obvious that Reese would select a wide receiver. Reese loves wide receivers, and historically when faced with a choice he almost always opts for the receiver.

Hakeem Nicks instead of linebacker James Laurinaitis in 2009; Jerrel Jernigan instead of linebacker Mason Foster in 2011; Reuben Randle instead of tight end Dwayne Allen and others in 2012.

The Giants needed a weapon for Manning in the passing game, and got an explosive playmaker acknowledged as the best route-runner in the draft class.

"We think he's a dynamic receiver and returner, by far the most versatile receiver in the draft," said Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc ross. "He can make explosive plays in a variety of ways - receiving, punt returns, kick returns. He's polished, smart, great work ethic, so he just fit all the criteria that we look for."

With the Giants' draft card in my hand the pick probably would have been Martin -- I have espoused the 'pass protectors before pass receivers' theory often enough. Still, little not to like about this pick.

Grade: 'Kudos'

Round 2 (43rd): Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State -- If you read Big Blue View at all during the buildup to the draft you know I was calling for this pick in the second round weeks before it actually happened. The Giants needed a center with only the relatively unknown J.D. Walton at the spot, and Richburg could be the answer at the position for several years to come.

ESPN's Todd McShay called Richburg his favorite pick by the Giants, saying he is "a great fit for their offense."

Grade: 'Kudos'

Round 3 (74th): Jay Bromley, DT, Syracuse -- This pick is probably the most questionable. Bromley was taken aback by it, not expecting to be drafted until Day 3. Pat Traina of Bleacher Report called it the Giants' worst pick of the draft, even though she believes "Bromley is going to be an excellent player for the Giants."

Jared Smith of SB Nation's SU web site Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician, think Bromley will do well.

"He is a fantastic player. He was the anchor of Syracuse's defensive line last season and should continue the tradition of Orange defensive linemen being productive NFL players.

"With that said, I am not sure if Bromley will develop into an All-Pro or Pro Bowl player but he could develop into a solid rotation guy or starter. Bromley has solid strength and is a pretty smart guy. He works hard -- he developed slowly and in the last two season really became a productive player -- and will not give the Giants any problems off the field as he is a really good guy.

"If the Giants were looking for help on the DL, not an immediate play-maker, he should work out pretty well in the long run."

The problem  is that most analysts think the Giants, in a draft deep in talent at many positions, "reached" here for a player they could have gotten on Day 3. No one will give a hoot where the Giants selected Bromley if he becomes a productive player. Of the Giants' top three picks, however, Bromley has to be the one who inspires the least confidence right now.

Bromley, however, might be the perfect player temperament-wise to handle the fact that many will wonder if he can live up to being the draft's 74th overall selection.

"Jay Bromley has been an underdog his whole life, so he is going to come in here and you are going to have to kill him to get him off the field," Ross said. "There is nothing to deter that guy with what he has been through. That shows with how he plays. It's great when the best asset for a player is determination and desire, and that is Jay Bromley."

Grade: Kwillie ... This selection is a 'Wet Willie' on its face because there is general agreement that the Giants probably could have selected Bromley a round later. It's bumped up to 'Kwillie' simply because you give the Giants props for having the conviction that this was the defensive tackle they really believed in, and they did what they felt necessary to make sure they got him.

Round 4 (113th): Andre Williams, RB, Boston College
Round 5 (152nd): Nat Behre, S, San Diego State
Round 5 (174th, compensatory): Devon Kennard, LB, USC
Round 6 (187th): Bennett Jackson, CB, Notre Dame

I am lumping the last four picks together and grading them as a 'Kwillie.' These, largely, are the project players who might or not help the Giants down the road.

The exception to that, and the best pick of Day 3, is Williams. The big, bruising running back could be for the Giants what Brandon Jacobs was in his prime and what Eddie Lacy was for the Green Bay Packers last season -- a powerful, inside runner

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