New York Giants 2014 Draft Picks: Results, Analysis and Grades
The 2014 season of deceiving has ended—and not a moment too soon.
The New York Giants placed a huge premium on adding leaders to their locker room, covering both sides of the ball by adding to the offensive line, receivers, linebackers, running backs, and defensive secondary.
With the draft complete, the Giants will now get to work on adding undrafted free agents to the mix and getting the rookies folded into the offseason program which is currently on-going at the team's East Rutherford, N.J. headquarters.
The following is a quick snapshot of all of the Giants' 2014 draft picks. Be sure to weigh in with your thoughts about the 2014 Giants class!
Unless otherwise noted, all scouting reports are from NFL Draft Scout (via CBSSports.com), and player information and stats are via NFL.com. All quotes obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted. Follow me on Twitter, @Patricia_Traina.
Round 1 (No. 12 Overall): Receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., LSU
Wide Receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.
Maybe general manager Jerry Reese really does take into consideration what his players have to say, even if he won’t admit it.
Receiver Victor Cruz told the NFL Network that he thought a big-play receiver “is something we need in this offense to be successful” while Ruben Randle, per Conor Orr of the Star-Ledger, told former LSU teammate Odell Beckham, Jr. that the Giants were looking at him.
Both receivers were correct, as the Giants selected Randle’s old teammate at LSU, receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (5’11”, 198 pounds) with the No. 12 overall pick in the NFL Draft.
Todd McShay, ESPN (subscription required), who picked Beckham for the Giants in his mock draft, said that “Beckham can heat it up in a hurry; (he) has very good top-end speed and is a big-time playmaker with the ball in his hands.”
Beckham should be a Day 1 starter for the Giants, taking the spot left open when Hakeem Nicks departed via free agency to the Indianapolis Colts. Meanwhile Randle, who was initially thought to be the heir apparent for Nicks’ spot, will presumably compete with Mario Manningham for the Giants’ third receiver role.
Round 2 (No. 43 Overall): Center Weston Richburg, Colorado State
Center Weston Richburg
After surprisingly passing on offensive tackle Zack Martin in the first round in favor of former LSU receiver Odell Beckum, Jr., the Giants finally picked up their offensive lineman in the second round, that being Colorado State’s Weston Richburg, NFL Draft Scout’s second-highest rated center.
Per NFL Draft Scout’s Rob Rang, Richburg, who can also offer flexibility at guard, is athletic enough to change direction on a dime, hence why he was likely asked to pull on sweeps and screens a lot in college.
Possessing good balance, he can turn and seal his opponents and has the ability to stay on his feet. Richburg isn’t a mauler, but has been effective as a run blocker.
With there still being question marks regarding the statuses of right guard Chris Snee and the identity of the backup center to J.D. Walton—Dallas Reynolds is currently the incumbent—Richburg should be able to come in and contribute in some capacity, that probably as a blocking tight end, for the Giants offense.
Round 3 (No. 74 Overall): DT Jay Bromley, Syracuse
Defensive Tackle Jay Bromley, Syracuse
The Giants finally turned their attention to their defensive line, taking Syracuse’s defensive tackle Jay Bromley (6’3”, 306 pounds).
Projected as a sixth-round pick by NFL Draft Scout, Bromley has a quick first step and is able to control the line of scrimmage while controlling his gaps. Given his big frame, he also does a good job of holding up at the point of attack, and he’s solid in his prep with good speed to chase down ball carriers.
Bromley is versatile—he lined up at every position along Syracuse’s defensive line. However, general manager Jerry Reese, who compared Bromley to a shorter version of former defensive tackle Chris Canty, said he doesn't envision Bromley as someone who can play defensive end.
A three-year starter, he was the Orangemen’s first interior lineman to have double-digit sacks since 1987. Bromley also ranks 13th in Syracuse's program history with 25.5 tackles for a loss.
Also worth noting regarding Bromley is that he's a former captain for the Orangemen, which Reese said they like in their prospects.
"If you're a captain for your team, then there's some sort of leadership role you're being recognized for," he said.
Round 4 (No. 113 Overall): RB Andre Williams, Boston College
Running Back Andre Williams, Boston College
Although general manager Jerry Reese still continues to insist that running back David Wilson is in the team’s plans—he most recently did so during a radio interview with WFAN on Friday which The Record’s Art Stapleton noted—the Giants apparently learned a lesson about leaving themselves thin at certain positions.
Reese says David Wilson is full participant in offseason program. "He's definitely in our plans," but has not been cleared for contact. #NYG— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) May 9, 2014
That’s why the Giants took running back Andre Williams (5’11”, 230 pounds) out of Boston College with their fourth-round pick. Williams posted 2,177 rushing yards last season to lead the NCAA after not reaching more than 600 yards in his previous seasons with the Eagles.
Williams is a downhill runner whose NFL Draft Scout’s scouting report at NFL Draft Scout reminds one of smaller version of Brandon Jacobs.
He’s especially adept at picking up yards after contact. While posting 18 rushing touchdowns in 2013, he didn’t have any receptions.
The key for Williams will be learning how to pass block at this level. If he can pick up the protection schemes quickly enough, there should be no reason he can't see some snaps this year on offense.
Round 5 (No. 152 Overall): S Nat Berhe, San Diego State
Safety Nat Berhe, San Diego State
With the first of two picks in the fifth round, the Giants added safety Nat Berhe (5’11”, 193 pounds) out of San Diego State.
The Giants’ need for a safety escalated recently following a report by the NFL Network last month that current starter Will Hill failed another drug test.
Giants general manager Jerry Reese, in his pre-draft press conference, acknowledged that Hill is going through an appeals process, and said that the team will “respect the process” before making any decisions on Hill’s future.
If Hill loses the appeal, he could be looking at a suspension that would run anywhere from six to eight weeks, per Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News.
With Hill fast becoming someone they can’t seem to count on, the Giants made their move to bolster the safety depth.
Besides Hill, the Giants depth at safety is set to thin out in a hurry after this season. Antrel Rolle is in the final year of his contract, and both Stevie Brown and Quintin Demps are both signed to one-year deals.
Berhe is a confident safety with a high-powered motor who’s not afraid to go after ball carriers. However, his smallish size and lack of special teams experience would appear to be negatives, though with the Giants, he’ll have to show he can contribute on special in a hurry if he’s to make the team.
While I like that they went safety at this spot, I’m not overly enthused with the selection based on his NFL.com scouting report, as he seems to be a very raw prospect at this point.
Round 5 (No. 174 Overall, Compensatory Pick) OLB Devon Kennard, USC
Outside Linebacker Devon Kennard
The Giants linebacker situation, while not as scary looking as it’s been in the past thanks to the team’s re-signing of Jon Beason, is another unit where the depth was in need of an upgrade moving forward.
As noted, Beason will anchor the middle for at least the next three years. The team also signed Jameel McClain to replace Keith Rivers on the strong side.
Over on the weak side however, are question marks. In 2011, the Giants had drafted Jacquian Williams in the sixth round with an eye on him becoming a full-time starter.
That hasn’t happened yet, partially due to injuries—Williams dealt with a PCL strain part of 2012 and at the start of 2013—and partially due to inconsistency in his play.
Spencer Paysinger, an undrafted free agent also acquired in 2011, has been solid, particularly against the run. Like Williams and backup middle linebacker Mark Herzlich for that matter, his contract will expire after this season, and it’s unlikely the Giants will keep both.
Enter Kennard (6’3”, 249 pounds), who was recruited as a defensive end before finding a home as an outside linebacker for the Trojans last season.
Per NFL Draft Scout’s Rob Rang, Kennard, whose father is former NFL offensive lineman Derek Kennard, has a good burst off the snap and is effective in coverage, with the ability to smoothly change direction.
However, Kennard has had some durability issues throughout his career and doesn’t seem to do any one particular thing exceptionally well.
Rang also notes that Kennard right now doesn’t have the strength to play defensive end at the NFL level or the fluidness to be an outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense.
So where does he fit in besides special teams? His selection, combined with the signing of Jameel McClain suggests to me that defensive coordinator Perry Fewell could be contemplating revisiting some multiple front looks that will include some 3-4 packages.
That’s something that the Giants did experiment with last summer only to scrap it for the season. With a fresh set of talent and some progress made by both Kennard as well as the rest of the defensive personnel, it would not be surprising if we see Fewell re-open that experiment again this summer.
Round 6 (No. 187 Overall): CB Bennett Jackson, Notre Dame
Cornerback Bennett Jackson
Just as you can never have too many pass rushers, you can apparently never have too many cornerbacks.
Enter Bennett Jackson (6'0", 195 pounds), the Giants' sixth-round draft pick and the last of their Class of 2014.
A former high school wide receiver, Jackson made the switch to defensive back shortly after arriving at Notre Dame, where he went on to excel on special teams, earning the Irish's "Special Teams Player of the Year" honors last season.
According to NFL Draft Scout, Jackson has a good number of issues in his game, including inconsistent technique, too many drops of would-be interceptions, and poor hand placement.
However, as a special teams player, Jackson appears to have a great deal of upside, as it's there that NFL Draft Scout's Dane Brugler believes Jackson will earn his living at the NFL level.