The No.1 need for the New York Giants heading into this year's draft was definitely finding a replacement for the troubled Plaxico Burress. Last season's late collapse, which ultimately led to a loss in the playoffs to the Eagles, proved that Eli Manning needs a big target in the red zone for the Giants' passing game to be successful.
In round one, with the 29th overall pick, New York selected Hakeem Nicks from North Carolina. Nicks has been touted, by many, to have all the physical tools needed to develop into a No. 1 receiver. Nicks is fast off the snap, has great burst to generate separation, and has an impressive field awareness.
What I didn't like about this pick by the Giants was how small Nicks is. At 6'1", Hakeem hardly draws comparison to how the monster Plaxico was in the red zone. Granted, Nicks has shown a penchant to fight for the ball up in the air, it would be even easier if he was closer to 6'5" or taller.
Manning loves to just hang the ball up in the air where only his receiver can make a play on it. And God knows we don't need to give Eli any more opportunities to turn the ball over.
The pick that I like is the Cal Poly wide receiver Ramses Barden. The closer we got to the draft the more I heard about the potential this kid has.
At 6'6", 229 pounds, Barden is by far the more impressive physical specimen. He's even taller then Plaxico (6'5"), still has an impressive vertical jump (33.5 inches), and dominated his college competition with his size and strength.
Barden excels at getting yards after the catch and can be an impressive blocker on the outside, where the Giants love to run the rock. He definitely provides the G-Men with a red-zone target, as he can easily reach up and over smaller corners to snag the ball.
The biggest concern was the WR's level of competition. He didn't come from the SEC or ACC, where the competition is a bit tougher, and there's a concern he may not be able to immediately excel in the NFL because of this.
I think everybody always says this about small-school prospects, and that more often than not, they surprise the critics once they're on the field. Barden should be no different once he's been coached a bit.
Who do you guys like better?