Knowledgeable NFL people will tell you it takes three full seasons to judge a draft class. That’s how long it should take for players to become pretty much what they are going to be, to find out how many truly useful players a team has netted from any single draft class.
CBS Sports did that recently for all 32 NFL teams. CBS’s Pete Prisco bumped the Giants draft grade up from the C+ he have it immediately following the draft to a solid B.
Giants’ 2014 draft 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
How we graded the draft
Here at Big Blue View, we of course graded the draft in our own way. I gave the draft a “Kudos” at the time. Here is why:
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.
Individually, I gave the Beckham and Richburg selections “Kudos,” the Bromley selection a “Kwillie” and the final four picks overall a “Kwillie.” At the time, Bromley seemed like the draft’s most questionable pick, and he still has yet to justify the Giants selecting him earlier than most analysts thought he deserved to be picked. Here is part of what I wrote:
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. ...
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.
I was wrong about Williams, though, writing at the time that he was “the best pick of Day 3” for the Giants. That has turned out to be Kennard.
The grade is still a “Kudos”
It has to be. When you get a superstar in the first round and a stud center in the second round who should be a long-term anchor to your offensive line that is pretty good. The Giants have gotten great value from Kennard as a fifth-round pick, and some value from Berhe. They missed on Williams, are still waiting to see if Bromley can be the pass rusher they hoped, and saw Jackson’s career go up in flames due to knee injuries.
Still, this was pretty good work by Jerry Reese and his staff.