The Giants' great draft of 2007, which yielded eight players on the current roster, has put them a step ahead in the effort to develop young talent.
That windfall has allowed the team to take on greener players in the two subsequent drafts. For instance, the players taken in the 2008 draft did not have to produce right out of the gate.
That is a nice luxury to have, providing those players become productive beginning in year two.
That appears to be what is happening in East Rutherford. Their top four picks have become key players that the club has begun to rely on.
Safety Kenny Phillips and CB Terrell Thomas have become staples in the Giants' secondary. WR Mario Manningham, who chose to fore go his senior year at Michigan to enter the 2008 NFL Draft, is as good—or better—than any rookie taken in this year's draft.
OLB Bryan Kehl saw some action 2008, but now the team is asking him to take the spot they reserved for free agent Michael Boley, who is on IR. Thus far, he has not disappointed, showing a feistiness that has made him a favorite of coaches.
The other players chosen last April—LB Jonathan Goff, QB Andre Woodson and DE Robert Henderson—are all in camp and vying for roster spots.
The Giants hope Phillips can fulfill his Miami’" onclick="return(Jiglu.overlayOpen(this))">Miami pedigree and become a Pro-Bowl caliber player. Thomas was a college champion who excelled in the pass-happy Pac-10. Manningham succeeds a long line of Michigan receivers, a school notorious for producing top-flight wideouts.
As 2009 unfolds, this draft will come under more scrutiny. We feel critics will begin to like what they see.
John Fennelly is the publisher / founder of blogNYG.com, the premier Giants blog on the internet.