Grading the New York Giants' Draft Pics
After starting out the 2009 campaign with five straight wins, the Giants took a nose dive and crashed into an 8-8 record, missing the playoffs for the first time since Coach Tom Coughlin took over in 2004. That was the year when Eli Manning was a mere rookie, Kurt Warner started the season as the Giants number one quarterback and Tiki Barber was inducing lightning bolts from the backfield instead of the press box. Now, with Jets' sophomore quarterback Mark Sanchez fresh off of a playoff appearance, the Giants entered the 2010 draft looking to fill holes in an usually stellar defensive unit in hopes of avoiding another debacle and blessing their new stadium as the top team in New York. This was no secret as they spent five out of their seven draft picks on defensive players.
Jason Pierre-Paul--Round 1, DE, South Florida, 6-5, 270 lbs.
A-: In 2009, as a junior, Pierre-Paul had 42 total tackles and six sacks. His main competition with the Giants is Mathias Kiwanuka, Justin Tuck and, of course, Osi Umenyiora. Pierre-Paul epitomizes the new breed of defensive ends that have been baptized into the NFL in the past few years. His stature is that of a linebacker, which allows him the quickness to get around the corner of the offensive line and cause havoc on the opposing quarterback. He runs the 40-yard-dash in 4.71 seconds. He isn't on top of the depth chart quite yet, but do not be surprised to see him subbed in and possibly starting by the end of the year or within the next couple years. His outside presence, coupled with that of Umenyiora's, could bring back memories of when Strahan and Umenyiora were the dominant duo of the league.
Linval Joseph--Round 2, DT, East Carolina, 6-4, 328 lbs.
B: You want to talk about a big pick? This guy is listed as the heaviest player on the Giants' roster. In his three years at ECU, this mammoth of a player recorded 136 tackles and six sacks. Even though his college stats are not incredible, the Giants are very thin at the center of their defensive line. Look for Joseph to start seeing snaps immediately, relieving tackles Barry Cofield and Chris Canty.
Chad Jones--Round 3, S, LSU, 6-2, 221 lbs.
A+: I usually don't believe in A-pluses, but the Giants' front office did their homework. Jones, already coming from a big-time football school in Baton Rouge, is ranked the number one free safety draftee by our friends at CBS Sports. The Giants defense was 15th in the NFL for passing and 13th for total defense. As Coughlin tries to resurrect these uncharacteristic stats and return the Giants' defense to the Steve Spagnuolo days, the coaching staff will be looking for opportunities to put Jones on the field immediately. As a junior in 2009, he had three interceptions and 73 tackles. Jones, a good second round pick, is a steal in the third round.
Phillip Dillard--Round 4, LB, Nebraska, 6-0, 245 lbs.
C+: As an average round four pick, Dillard doesn't jump off the page statistically. In 2009, as a fifth-year senior, Dillard had 76 tackles and three sacks for the Cornhuskers. These numbers are solid. However, Dillard is still ranked 155th overall and sixth among inside linebackers by CBS Sports. Again, Dillard is an average pick in round four. I gave the Giants a notch above a C on this pick because they are in desperate need of linebackers since they don't have any standouts like Antonio Pierce. I'm not sure how many snaps Dillard will see this year.
Mitch Petrus-Round 5, G, Arkansas, 6-3, 310 lbs.
photo courtesy of footballsfuture.com
B+: Not only is Petrus ranked the number three inside guard in the 2010 draft class by CBS Sports, but he is a great pick for the Giants. Let's face it, Chris Snee at 28-years-old and Rich Seubert at 31-years-old are not going to be around forever. There is no doubt that these two veteran leaders have some years left in the tank, making this pick a great investment for the future. Petrus will have a chance to learn from these guards so when his time is ready to protect Eli, he will have concrete knowledge on what to do. Great pick!
Adrian Tracy-Round 6, LB, William and Mary, 6-2, 248 lbs.
B-: Very solid sixth round pick. He's not in the same class as Phillip Dillard, but helps the Giants fill the linebacker void with their last pick (traded away their round 7 pick). He runs the 40-yard-dash in 4.76 seconds, which is not to shabby for a former defensive end turned linebacker. He has 46 tackles and one forced-fumble in his three years playing defensive end. Again, he's no Phillip Dillard, but his size and speed makes him a promising late round selection.
Matt Dodge--Round 2, P, East Carolina, 6-1, 224 lbs.
photo courtesy of conferenceusa.cstv.com
C-: This pick had me scratching my head, not because he's not an excellent player, but because, well, he's a punter. Now, I know the Giants need a good punter to replace a guy like Jeff Feagles, and Dodge is ranked number three among punters by CBS Sports, but I disagree with the Giants taking him so early. They had two second round draft picks and I expected them to address the defensive voids that they have. The Giants should have chosen a high caliber defensive player with this pick and then drafted a punter late in the draft or signed a free agent.