Reese's Pieces: New York Giants 2007 Draft Review
They say it takes three years to fairly grade an NFL draft class. Well, it's been three seasons since Jerry Reese's first draft as an NFL GM.
With this draft, Reese put his name into consideration for the NFL's best drafter. This draft class was affectionately referred to as "Reese's Pieces" and many were instrumental in the Giants' Super Bowl run.
Aaron Ross (Round One, Pick 20)
Ross had a very good rookie year and looked to be the Giants' No. 1 cornerback of the future. Since then, Ross has regressed and faced nagging injuries, while Corey Webster and Terrell Thomas have cemented their place as the Giants' top two cornerbacks.
If healthy, Ross could either bounce back and give the Giants one of the best CB cores in the NFL, or he could continue to play like a slightly above average defensive back. He could also be moved to safety, although this is unlikely. Ross is already 27, older than most players in his draft class, so 2010 will be a big year for him.
Because he was such a big part of the Giants' Super Bowl defense, its hard to argue that Ross was a bad pick. He has the talent to be a top CB, but he needs to put it all together or else he'll be a disappointment after his great rookie season.
Fairly or unfairly, he will always pale in comparison to Darelle Revis, whom the Jets traded up six picks ahead of the Giants to draft.
Steve Smith (Round Two, Pick 51)
Taken just six picks after his USC teammate Dwayne Jarrett, Steve Smith was an underrated draft prospect who continues to play way above expectations in the NFL. Smith was the No. 2 target to Jarrett in college, but there is no argument as to who is the better pro player.
Smith set the Giants' single-season receptions record with 107 in 2009, and he has given Eli Manning and the Giants a third down weapon rivaled only by Wes Welker of the Pats.
Smith caught a huge third down pass and got out of bounds immediately before Eli Manning hit Plaxico Burress to win Super Bowl 42. Now Smith has replaced Burress as Eli's first look and safety net in the offense.
Jay Alford (Round Three, Pick 81)
Like the two above, Alford was key to the Giants' Super Bowl victory. Although he was not as instrumental as the above players in the NFC playoffs, he provided one of the most memorable moments of the game; sacking Tom Brady in the waning minutes to basically seal the victory.
He was also the long snapper on field goal attempts in 2007.
Since then, Alford had developed into a very nice player and looked to be on the verge of a breakout season before blowing out his knee in the preseason.
If fully healthy, Alford should be a big part of the defense in 2010, and he could eventually become a starting defensive tackle.
Zak DeOssie (Round Four, Pick 116)
Zak and his father Steve DeOssie are the only father-son combination to win Super Bowl rings with the same franchise, and for that reason alone, this was a worthwhile pick.
Family ties aside, DeOssie was a solid pick due to his solid contributions on special teams and as a long snapper. Although he has not made a big impact on defense, he has been an okay reserve.
He also made it to the Pro Bowl as long snapper, in part because Giants' kicker John Carney and punter Jeff Feagles were on the team.
Kevin Boss (Round Five, Pick 153)
When Boss was selected in the fifth round of the 2007 draft, it looked like nothing more than a late-round flier on a position already filled by pro bowler Jeremy Shockey.
Little did Giants fans know that less than a year later, Kevin Boss would be running down the field, holding onto the ball for dear life as Rodney Harrison tried to drag him down in one of the most important plays of Super Bowl 42.
Boss did a great job replacing Shockey and his play directly led to a Giants' touchdown in the Super Bowl. Since then, Boss has gotten better every year and looks every bit the part of an every down tight end.
His blocking has improved, he's turned into a a red zone weapon and he constantly puts his body into harms way to make tough catches. And he almost always hangs on.
Adam Koets (Round Six, Pick 189)
Koets has played in only one regular season contest, as well as playing on special teams during the Giants' NFC Wild Card victory over Tampa Bay in the 2007 playoffs.
You can't win 'em all.
Michael Johnson (Round Seven, Pick 224)
A great find this late in the draft. No, Johnson is not a pro bowl caliber player; he is basically a slightly better than average starting safety. But to be able to find a solid starter this late in the draft is something that can separate good GMs from great ones.
He made modest contributions his rookie season, including a handful of tackles in the playoffs.
But his second season, he was able to take a big step forward and hold onto a starting safety spot the entire season, recording 72 tackles and two interceptions. In 2009, he was one of the only consistent members of a secondary ravaged by injuries.
In an ideal world, Johnson would be the team's third safety. He is not a great talent, but he is not someone who will make the pass defense a weakness either. If the rest of the defense is healthy, he is certainly good enough to be a solid starting safety.
Ahmad Bradshaw (Round Seven, Pick 250)
The steal of the draft for the Giants. Bradshaw was a talented running back from Marshall who slipped to the seventh round due to character issues. Since being drafted, his personal life has not been a problem.
He led the Giants in rushing yards in Super Bowl 42, which should be enough to qualify a seventh rounder as a success. But Bradshaw keeps proving himself as a legitimate force in the NFL.
He is one of the shiftiest runners in the league, with the ability to turn broken plays into big gains. He also has a lot of strength for a smaller back, giving him the ability to run between the tackles.
He has been a great change of pace from the bruising Brandon Jacobs, and has the talent to reward the Giants greatly when given a larger role in the offense.
2007 Draft Grade: A+
Any time a draft gives you the long term impact this draft gave the 2007 Giants, it has to be considered a success.
Flash forward three years and this draft has given the team two starting defensive backs, a starting tight end, a 100 reception wide receiver, a playmaking change of pace running back, a valuable rotation defensive tackle and a key special teams player. And Adam Koets.
But what made this draft class so special is that seven of the eight players had a legitimate impact on the team in their rookie year. Plainly put, this team would not have won Super Bowl 42 without the contributions this rookie class gave them.
It's hard to imagine a better draft class, top to bottom.