In the relatively brief but spectacular tenure of Giants General Manager Jerry Reese, he has created a very succinct approach to the draft.
Year after year, certain players see a reduction in their draft “stock” based on a poor senior season, low 40 yard dash time, off the field issues, an injury, or even attitude issues. Certain players even detract the perception of “risky.”
It is in through these players that Jerry Reese has been able to generate such successful drafts the past two seasons.
The trend began in the 2007 draft when Reese selected Ahmad Bradshaw, who recently finished up a 60 day prison sentence for stealing his room-mates game console in college.
Most front offices around the league deemed Bradshaw a bad seed, allowing him to slip down to the seventh round.
One could even make the argument that Aaron Ross was considered an extremely “risky” pick, as many scouting reports read: “Ross is still learning how to play corner back, thus has plenty of upside based on his athleticism and skills. He will have to bulk up and increase his upper body strength to battle the bigger receivers at the next level.
Ross needs a team that is willing to be patient for him to develop as a starting corner back while taking advantage of his play-making skills returning punts. He is likely to be an early second round pick, but could move to a late first round selection, with several teams in need of a corner back.”
Where other teams saw a second round talent, The Giants saw a first round athlete that while raw, still started for a world championship team and signified the end of a horrid era for Big Blue’s secondary.
Overall, the 2007 draft yielded Ross, Bradshaw, Kevin Boss, Michael Johnson and Steve Smith.
In the 2008 draft though, Reese made his trend regarding sliding players quite apparent, selecting safety Kenny Phillips with the last pick in the first round. Phillips mediocre junior season and his perceived attitude dropped him out of what was projected to be top-ten status after his sophomore season.
In the second round, they selected Terrell Thomas whose injury history cause scouts to overlook his ability to play both corner and safety.
The third round was the riskiest pick of all: Mario Manningham. After a great campaign at Michigan, Manningham coupled a slow 40 time with failed drug tests, low test scores, and lies to scouts about just how many of those tests he failed.
This caused Manningham to absolutely plummet in the eyes of scouts, but the Giants grabbed him in the third round.
While each of these players may not have seen a massive drop in draft stock, every one of them was projected to go picks, if not rounds higher at some point during their career. But when draft time rolled around, they slip down the boards.
I see this trend continuing in this upcoming draft, as The Giants look to build upon their 2008 success and possibly hoist the Lombardi Trophy yet again.
I have expressed my confidence in just how much improvement The Giants can see in this upcoming draft, and I expect them to keep the focus on defense, as Jerry Reese has expressed his confidence in the current core of receivers.
With two second round selections, The Giants will surely be targeting the following player with one of them: William Moore.
The fifth year senior out of Missouri tallied 117 tackles and eight interceptions his junior season, which was one of the best in the nation. His senior season took quite a dip, as he had 86 tackles and one interception.
Moore is your typical intimidator, big, plays the run very hard, and has great bulk. Giant fans may notice a resemblance to Gibril Wilson, but would soon realize that Moore has even better coverage skills. He has great range, and most importantly, he has the ability to make the big play.
While The Giants are excited about their young safeties in Michael Johnson and Kenny Phillips, they are currently only carrying both they as well as newly signed C.C. Brown on the roster as safeties. With that in mind, they will be drafting a safety, but the question is where.
Based on how his stock fluctuated and his senior season dipped, Moore seems like just the player that Reese would invest a pick in at some point on day one of the draft. Few that I have ever seen have been able to take advantage of talent that finds its way down the draft boards like Jerry Reese. Don’t be surprised to see William Moore in Blue in 2009.
Yet another cog that I fully expect The Giants to address fairly early on in this draft is offensive line. While the starters are studs, backups like Kevin Boothe and Guy Whimper leave a lot to be desired.
Other than Boothe, Big Blue has no backup interior linemen or center.
Grey Reugamer is a free agent right now, and he is the only one who has played center other than O’ Hara on the Giants squad.
With a large shift of power occurring in the NFL Draft, where offensive tackles are at a premium early, interior linemen are an amazing value in the middle rounds.
Versatile players like Louisville’s Erik Wood will surely intrigue Big Blue with some of their mid-range picks. Wood is a very agile player who can pull and get up on linebackers, is real nasty, and has a first rate football I.Q.
Ironically enough, names which I have linked to The Giants in the past such as Hakeem Nicks and James Laurinaitis (for first and early second round picks) have both experienced similar issues with draft stock.
James Laurinaitis was projected as a top ten pick before he returned to Ohio State last season and Hakeem Nicks apparently experienced a fifteen plus pound weight gain after injuring himself at the Combine. All are names to keep an eye on in the early rounds (1-3) of The NFL Draft.
It will be interesting to see if Jerry Reese works his magic yet again to land The Giants numerous stud players.