If you have been around long enough to go through a couple of drafts with me, you know I absolutely hate NFL Draft Grades. They are stupid, meaningless and much ado about a whole bunch of stuff no one knows anything about yet. Since, of course, players have not even gone to rookie mini-camp yet.
Shoot, I'm not even ready to grade the 2009 Giants' draft. There is still way too much to learn about what kind of players Hakeem Nicks, Clint Sintim, Will Beatty, Ramses Barden and Travis Beckum will be to do that with any authority whatsoever. So, try to grade the just-completed 2010 NFL Draft? Forget it. Can't be done with any real meaning.
That said, everybody loves to immediately put their individual stamp of approval, or disapproval, on what teams choose to do with their picks in the NFL Draft. And 'draft grades' seems to be everyone's crutch way of doing it. Giants' fans are no different. 'FreeBradshaw' took a stab at that Sunday, and I referenced several posts from mainstream writers offering their opinions of what General Manager Jerry Reese and Director of Scouting Marc Ross decided to do with the Giants' seven selections.
So, there is only one way I know of to give a complete review of the Giants' draft. That, as you might have guessed by now, is to look back at it in Big Blue View's signature style, with a 'Kudos & Wet Willies' post.
So, here we go. Let's go selection by selection, and give each pick a 'Kudos' or a 'Wet Willie.'
Round 1, Jason Pierre-Paul. DE, South Florida
I summed up my feelings about this selection Friday morning. I was less than thrilled when the pick was announced, but after getting away from the emotional reaction I am very happy about what Reese tried to accomplish here. Rather than settle for 'probably good', he took a risk and aimed for 'possibly great.'
Here is some of what I wrote the other day.
This is what I really like about the selection of Pierre-Paul. With Rolando McClain and C.J. Spiller off the board, Reese still swung for the home run. There were safer options, and clearly selecting Morgan, Mike Iupati, Bryan Bulaga or a handful of other players who were still available might have been an easier pick for the fan base to swallow.
Yet, Reese did not do the safe thing and I admire him for it. To be great, you have to be willing to accept risk, to swing for the home run on occasion. It's how Ernie Accorsi swung the deal that brought Eli Manning to New York in 2004. Reese had the courage to go for greatness.
I will stand by that. We just have to wait and see what happens with JPP. To be honest, we aren't likely to see much in 2010, though he may flash occasionally if and when he gets opportunities as a pass rusher. It's what we see in 2011 and beyond that will determine the wisdom of this selection.
By the way, if you have not read it yet you have to check out Ralph Vacchiano's outstanding profile of JPP.
Round 2, Linval Joseph, DE, East Carolina
My absolute favorite pick of the draft by General Manager Jerry Reese. I have been beating the drum for a potentially dominant, run-stuffing force ever since we began discussing the draft nearly three months ago. I just believe that a dominating player inside who commands a double-team can make everyone around him a better player. The Giants did not have a guy like that in 2009, and probably have not had one in a long time. That is not a knock on Fred Robbins, but Robbins was more of a pass-rush guy than an impenetrable force against the run.
In his initial press conference as a Giant Joseph said "I like to stop the run. I like to hit the running back, I don't why. I just like to hit the running back."
Reese summed up Joseph this way.
"Gigantic Man. That's where I can start with him. He's a big human being. He's powerful inside and a run stuffer. Push the pocket back toward the quarterback. Strong kid with a lot of upside ... He is a load inside and it's hard to push this man back. He is kind of like one of those guys who is a presence and is like a human post. He'll give the linebackers a chance to run to the ball and he will block the inside."
I have a feeling Giants' fans are going to love this guy.
Round 3, Chad Jones, S, LSU
I thought this was a great value for the Giants, especially since I figured this was a player who could justifiably been off the board somewhere in the second round. We knew going into the draft that, even having signed two free-agent safeties, the Giants would likely try to add another as long-term protection for Kenny Phillips.
Jones was also a closer on LSU's baseball team, and the fact that he has never fully concentrated on football leads you to think there is a lot of untapped ability there.
"I didn't get as much football maybe that I think would make me a better player. I think now that I'm focusing on football year round, I think you're going to see the best of me," Jones said. "I feel that the best is yet to come. I think I had some good games at LSU and I had some strong points. But I think there is so much more to see what I have."
Here is Director of Scouting Marc Ross summarizing Jones' skill set.
Chad is a young, versatile player. He is a safety who plays in the box, and they play him deep. He returns punts. I don't know if you guys know but he plays baseball, too. This kid has a nice, versatile skill set of things that he can do. He's a big kid...221 pounds, 6'2". He can run and he's strong.
"The way we use our guys, they have to be able to do a little bit of everything. And he fits right in with that. Because that is the way they used him there. You see him up in the box like a linebacker, sometimes you see him back deep playing cover two and single-high stuff."
As a safety, all Jones has to do initially is be better than Michael Johnson to be of help to the Giants' defense. In the long run the Giants think he can be a lot more than that, however, and I hope they are right.
Round 4, Phillip Dillard, MLB, Nebraska
This was one of those picks where, as a fan without all the detailed information the teams have you might have been left scratching your head when the name flashed up on the board Saturday.
I guess as a fan just having the "expert" draft analyst reports to read I thought this was a tad early for Dillard to be selected. Yet, being unable to get Rolando McClain (if they actually wanted him) the Giants needed a middle linebacker to add to their competition. They like what they got.
Here is Ross talking about Dillard.
Phillip is a high energy, fast kind of player. He is a little on the short side but the guy is 245 pounds. He's thick, and we expect him to play in the middle and compete for that job there. He's a smart kid and he's really been a tough worker there at Nebraska so we are excited about him.
The Giants, of course, are looking for a replacement for Antonio Pierce. I'm not the first one to write it, but it is actually stunning how much you can compare Dillard to Pierce. AP was undrafted when he entered the league in 2001, considered not athletic enough. But, made up for physical shortcomings with leadership, study and heart.
Just listen to Dillard, and you think about Pierce.
"I love to be in control of the checks and make the checks. And if you look at our defense, I made all of the checks from blitzes to checking high coverages, to checking man coverages and telling our corners or safeties or dimes what they are going to do and what check to make. That is just something that I love to do. I love to lead and have that on my shoulders, the quarterback of the defense.
"Now that I don't have to worry about classes. I get to watch film even more. So I'm just going to go in there and I'm going to be in there with the coaches, be on his ears and I will probably get on his nerves. "Coach, what do I do here?" I want to know everything, I want to know the in's and out's of everybody that we play, and then go to me watching the film and then me being able to pick out the offensive linemen's stance - is it full; is too high, is it buzzsaw, is he standing on his feet when he backpeddles. Just everything. I watch for every little thing. I really watch film because I love giving a heads up on the players. It makes it look like I'm doing good out there but really I'm just doing my research and I'm playing off of it."
If this guy can duplicate the success AP had during his first few seasons with the Giants this will be looked back upon as a tremendous selection.
Round 5, Mitch Petrus, OG, Arkansas
I had two thoughts when I saw Petrus' name flash up on my computer screen Saturday afternoon while I was writing and monitoring the draft.
- Goodbye, and good riddance, Adam Koets.
- David Diehl was a fifth-round pick, and he has been a pretty darn good lineman for the Giants. Even if he is miscast as a left tackle.
Ross referred to Petrus' toughness when asked about him, something that Tom Coughlin and Reese repeatedly said was missing from the 2009 Giants. He called him "a tough, nasty, feisty, competitive guy. That's who he is going to be and that is going to be his calling card. ... He is a guy that is going to attack it from day one."
There is no way of knowing right now if Petrus can eventually push Rich Seubert for the starting left guard job. Now way he pushes Chris Snee on the right side. This was classic Giants, though, looking for the big bodies on the offensive line in the middle rounds. Let's hope he has a career as good as Diehl's has been.
Round 6, Adrian Tracy, OLB, William & Mary
This is a player I knew zilch about, except for the fact that the Giants worked him out, prior to seeing his name pop up with 'Giants' next to it Saturday in the sixth round.
A defensive end at William & Mary, the Giants see him as a player who can transition to outside linebacker.
Here is Reese talking about Tracy.
"He is a really good athlete, really smart kid and big kid. We think he has upside to project to a SAM linebacker and give us some depth at that position."
The Giants see Tracy as a diamond in the rough. At the least, he should provide athleticism and tackling ability on special teams.
My only problem with this pick really has nothing to do with Tracy. It has to do with the guy selected immediately AFTER Tracy. That would be tight end Anthony McCoy, who was snapped up by Seattle. The Giants seem to have a revolving door of free agents who they keep bringing in and hoping can become a blocking tight end. This guy has a reputation as an excellent blocker, could help the Giants in short-yardage and red zone situations and would likely have seen the field a lot more than Tracy will -- at least initially.
-- Wet Willie
Round 7, Matt Dodge, P, East Carolina
First of all, 'kudos' to Jeff Feagles for letting the Giants know before the draft that he is considering retirement. That was a class move that gave the Giants an opportunity to address the punter position in the draft if they wanted to.
Dodge was the third punter drafted over the weekend, yet some rankings listed him as the best punter available in the draft. He averaged better than 45 yards per punt in 2009.
Possesses an accurate leg and shows the ability to trap opponents inside the 20-yard line. Versatile punter who can kick off and make some field goals in a pinch. ... Struggles to consistently get good hang time and punts too many line drives past his coverage.
Right now it looks like Dodge will compete with Jy Bond for the punting job, should Feagles decide to retire. Will he have a 20+year career like Feagles? No one knows, but the Giants deserve credit for moving decisively to solve a potential problem.
This was a very important draft for the Giants, who have obvious flaws after going 8-8 in 2009 and missing the playoffs for the first time in five years.
Reese had a phenomenal draft in 2007 that helped propel the Giants to the Super Bowl title. He has been good, but not as good, since. Last season there were a few curious selections, like H-Back Travis Beckum and two corners at the end of the draft who did not make the team, and some free-agent miscues.
The franchise needed JR to re-discover the 2007 magic. There is no way to know for sure right now, and maybe not for a couple of years, but I have a feeling this could be Reese's best draft since that amazing 2007 season.