2011 NFL Draft: Analyzing the New York Giants Drafts Under Jerry Reese—2008
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Here we are in part two of this series. If you missed part one, click here for the 2007 draft analysis.
The 2007 draft yielded three starters, one potential starter in the future and a solid backup, so will the 2008 draft live up to that standard?
As Super Bowl champs, they had a very late pick in each round, but still managed to find unbelievable value in their selections, especially in the first five rounds.
This draft may even be better than the 2007 draft. Let's take a look.
Round 1: Kenny Phillips, Safety
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It's hard to imagine how much of a stud this guy would be if he didn't suffer from an arthritic knee condition in 2009 that kept him out for the last 11 games of the season. He was actually out for three games prior to that, but the news came after the 5-0 start.
Phillips came in in 2008 and eventually won the starting safety job as a rookie and had a better than expected season. The dynamic athlete from "The U" showed great instincts for the ball and proved he can come in the box and stop the run.
He looked like he was going to be one of the best safeties in the league in the very near future. Then, 2009 happened.
After the Giants started 5-0, they got crushing news when Phillips was lost for the season with the aforementioned knee injury. They were never the same with C.C. Brown (aka Can't Cover) in the lineup.
Fast forward to the 2010 season. The Giants brought in Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant, both proven safeties, and drafted Chad Jones in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Kenny Phillips knew he had something to prove.
He played the entire season with a chip on his shoulder and finished with 77 tackles and an interception while sharing the safety duties with Rolle and Grant.
He wasn't completely healthy, but he showed improvement.
This was a very good pick, and the Giants got one of the best players in the first round that year despite picking 31st.
Grade: A- (would be A+ if not for the injury)
Round 2: Terrell Thomas, Cornerback
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Not many expected the Giants to take a cornerback so early in the 2008 draft when they had Corey Webster and Aaron Ross both coming off good seasons, but the pick turned out to be gold.
Thomas has been one of the more underrated corners in the NFL in his career. Teams often stay away from Corey Webster, and Thomas has done a terrific job handling all the attention from opposing offenses.
He finished the 2010 season with 101 tackles, 21 passes defended and five interceptions. He could have made the Pro Bowl were it not for some elite candidates beating him out for the small number of spots.
I imagine he could make the Pro Bowl some time in the future, but for now, he'll have to settle for being someone that all Giants fan know is a great asset to the defense.
Round 3: Mario Manningham, Wide Receiver
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Mario Manningham had a lot of critics coming out of college that said he didn't have the necessary skills to be a productive wide receiver in the NFL.
Fast forward to 2010 and he is a part of one of the best wide receiving corps in the entire NFL. Manningham was called upon this season and stepped up in a big way.
At times when both Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith were sidelined with injuries, the Giants looked to Manningham to carry his weight.
He did that and then some.
He also proved to be a strong home run threat with two of the biggest plays in Eli Manning's career. The two hooked up for 87 and 92 yard touchdown throws in consecutive weeks.
In games that Steve Smith missed, Manningham led the Giants in receiving four of the seven games. In total he had 60 catches, 944 yards, and nine touchdowns, improving on his 2009 season.
He seemed to fix some of the dropping issues he had which allowed Eli to trust him more; that went a long way to developing a chemistry between the two.
Manningham could be a starter on just about every other team in the NFL, it's such a great weapon to have as the third option.
Round 4: Bryan Kehl, Outside Linebacker
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Bryan Kehl is another player the Giants had high hopes for but couldn't find room for on the roster. He was a fantastic special teams player and often came in the game in relief of starters.
He was a blue collar hard worker and was expected to get a shot at the starting outside linebacker position, but the Giants signed Keith Bulluck and had to start him somewhere, so Kehl missed his shot.
After the first game of the season, Kevin Boss suffered a concussion and was forced to miss the following game. The Giants were forced to sign Bear Pascoe off the practice squad and cut Kehl to make room for him.
His former defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo, did not waste any time, and the Rams picked him up.
He never amounted to anything more than a special teams producer, unfortunately, so I can't give the pick a good grade.
Round 5: Jonathan Goff, Linebacker
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Nobody expected Jonathan Goff to be able to replace Antonio Pierce as the team's starting middle linebacker. Nobody.
While he may never be the emotional leader that Pierce was, he definitely looked like he has the potential to be just as good as Pierce was as a defender.
He had as many tackles as Pierce did in his first season with the Giants—80—and proved to be just as good stopping the run. In every game you could count on Goff making at least one solo tackle behind the line of scrimmage.
He definitely made an impact on the Giants this season and allows them to focus this year's draft on other positions. People killed the Giants for not taking a middle linebacker last year—they obviously knew something we didn't.
He still has to prove he can be consistent with his production—last year was his first full year with significant playing time.
Round 6: Andre Woodson, Quarterback
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The Giants drafted Andre Woodson after he had a stellar career with the Kentucky Wildcats. However, the Giants didn't ever really give him an opportunity to prove himself, and he was cut by the team in September of 2009.
He spent his entire first year on the practice squad and was signed by the Redskins in 2009 but cut that November.
He has since returned to school to finish his degree and enter the world of coaching.
Grade: D (Would be F, but this is a sixth round pick; can't expect to find Adam Koets in every sixth round)
Round 6: Robert Henderson, Defensive End
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Robert Henderson came out of Southern Mississippi with little promise of making the Giants roster, considering they had Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Dave Tollefson and Mathias Kiwanuka as the current defensive ends.
He never made the roster, as he was cut before the season opener in 2008.
So, I decided that my way of averaging the draft sucks. The way I did it before evaluates each pick evenly and just averages out each grade per player. That doesn't work when I get four starters from this draft out of seven players and the average grade comes out to a C.
From now on, this is going to be an objective process.
Overall Grade: A-
I give this draft a A- because while they did find three starters and a wide receiver that pretty much is a starter, they also used three picks on guys that essentially amounted to nothing.
It's a good thing they "wasted" those picks on late middle to late round selections, because then it's not as devastating.