2011 NFL Draft Grades: Report Card for the New York Giants Entire Draft

Jeff ShullAnalyst IMay 1, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Grades: Report Card for the New York Giants Entire Draft

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  Prince Amukamara, #19 overall pick by the New York Giants, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Well since I graded each pick individually, I thought I would now finally compile the entire draft and give it an overall grade.

    First, I will recall each pick and give them an individual grade (it will look familiar), then talk about the draft as a whole and what it means for the Giants moving forward.

    To some, this draft was not popular because once again, Jerry Reese did not draft a playmaking linebacker with any of the first picks in the draft. I'll admit I was surprised the Giants did not take Mason Foster in Round 3—the Bucs took him right after the Giants picked Jerrel Jernigan.

    However, after watching some of Jernigan's highlights, I can see why the Giants were in love with him, and also why many projected him as a second-round pick.

    The Giants went with value in the first three rounds; both Mike Pouncey and Nate Solder were off the board in round one, and draft day inside sources claimed the Giants were actually only targeting those two at the No. 19 pick and not Castonzo like many indicated.

    In Round 2, Bruce Carter and Akeem Ayers were taken before the Giants had a chance at them, you could argue they should have traded up for them, but it would have cost them a 2012 first rounder to do so.

    In Round 3, several of the linebackers that the Giants may have taken were all gone by their pick, and the only offensive lineman taken in the round was Joseph Barksdale, in whom the Giants did not show interest.

    They got value out of many of their picks, while they made a couple questionable selections, several of them will contribute right away

Round 1: Prince Amukamara CB, Nebraska

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    LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 26: Prince Amukamara #21 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers misses a chance at an interception from Scotty McKnight #21 of the Colorado Buffaloes during the second half of their game at Memorial Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Lincoln, Neb
    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    Several players fell to the New York Giants who weren't expected to be there, especially Prince Amukamara, Da'Quan Bowers, and Anthony Castonzo—Castonzo was a popular pick for the Giants, but as the draft drew near, many had him going to the Lions or the Vikings.

    They had plenty of very talented players to choose from with so many quarterbacks being taken in Round 1. How crazy was it that Jake Locker went No. 8 overall to the Titans before Gabbert?

    After a long discussion in the Giants draft room, they felt there was no way they could pass up the opportunity to pick Prince Amukamara, CB from Nebraska.

    Most people had Amukamara as a top 10 player in this draft and no lower than 15, so it appears the Giants did in fact ignore their major needs to take the best player available.

    However, with Aaron Ross struggling, the Giants definitely needed some depth at the cornerback position, and Amukamara was only overshadowed by Patrick Peterson, who was one of the best corners to come out of college football since Deion Sanders.

    I watched Amukamara several times in college, and in person when they played Texas A&M and 2012 first-round wide receiver Jeff Fuller; he dominated Fuller all game long.

    While he struggled against 2012 top 10 pick Justin Blackmon, that's not that big of a deal considering Blackmon is expected to be a back-to-back Biletnikoff winner.

    While he has some things to work on, that's anyone. His skills in man coverage and his size and strength at the position are a rarity that the Giants could not pass on.

    Grade: A

Round 2: Marvin Austin DT, North Carolina

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    CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 7:  Marvin Austin #9 of the North Carolina Tar Heels warms up before the game against the Duke Blue Devils at Kenan Stadium on November 7, 2009 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    I doubt many people are going to appreciate what Jerry Reese did in Round 2 and 3, but in the long run, they could be great picks.

    The Giants got a high-valued player when they took defensive tackle Marvin Austin of North Carolina. He is someone with first-round talent who has been hindered by some minor character issues.

    Some may call them major, but he had a youthful lapse in judgment when he allegedly took benefits from an agent; several of the UNC players got in trouble for doing that in 2010.

    Now he has a chip on his shoulder by going from a top 20 pick to a middle of the second round selection. He was dominant for three years before returning for his senior season.

    He was the top defensive tackle when he was recruited by North Carolina, and if it weren't for this hiccup, he would have been a first rounder. He has crazy athleticism and explosiveness on the inside and will bring pressure up the middle.

    He finished in the top three in all of the combine workouts among defensive tackles, and looked great in the drills.

    If you question this pick because of character concerns, that's reasonable, but just take a look at previous drafts by Jerry Reese; none of the players has been in serious trouble while as a member of the Giants.

    Reese is smart when it comes to evaluating players and you should continue to trust his judgment until he shows otherwise.

    That doesn't mean this pick doesn't come with some risk involved; there must be some reason he fell, so this I can't give it too high of a grade.

    Grade: B

Round 3: Jerrel Jernigan WR, Troy

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 18:  Jerrel Jernigan #3 of the Troy University Trojans scores a touchdown over Donovan Fletcher #29 of the Ohio University Bobcats during the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on December 18, 2010 in New O
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    With their third-round pick, the Giants wasted no time finding someone who will immediately become their starting return man.

    He had two returns for touchdowns in 2010 and over 900 return yards. He averaged 23 yards per kick return in the past two years as the team's premier return man.

    Another thing the Giants love about him is his versatility. He played QB, RB, WR, and kick returner in college, and his 4.4 speed is something the Giants don't have at the wide receiver position.

    As a receiver he is raw, but he is the perfect fit for the Giants as he catches the ball well with his hands and can take hits over the middle. He had 262 receptions in four years at Troy, and could be a weapon for Eli Manning in the slot.

    Jernigan can change a game with one play, something the Giants haven't had in a long time.

    Grade: B+

Round 4: James Brewer OT, Indiana

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    Okay, so maybe the Giants did not draft an offensive tackle as early as some of you may have liked, but they got a very talented player when they waited for Indiana's James Brewer.

    Although he played right tackle in college, that was mainly due to them having Roger Saffold at left tackle prior to the 2010 season. Saffold was drafted in the second round last year by the Rams.

    Brewer is a dominant pass blocker; he allowed only two sacks as a senior and has the athleticism to handle all the speed pass-rushers. He played very well against Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan, who just so happened to be a first-round pick this year.

    He can make the transition to left tackle or play right tackle, depending on where the Giants feel most comfortable with Will Beatty moving forward.

    This year, he will add depth at a key position, if he impresses in camp, the Giants could slide David Diehl inside and start Brewer, though I really don't see that happening.

    However, if the Giants suffer injuries to their offensive line again they definitely have a nice back up plan.

    "There are some guys who are not even really great athletes but can still play on the left side," GM Jerry Reese said. "Guys just know how to make their set and know who their opponents are, and you can get away without a great athlete on the left side.

    "You'd like for the guy to be a dynamic athlete on the left, but that's not always the case. You see some very good players out there playing left tackle that are not dynamic athletes. But this guy's a dynamic athlete."

    "The thing about these guys who we call late bloomers, if they're not competitive, you tend to shy away from them a little bit. But this guy is very competitive; he really wants to do it. We did all the interview stuff with him—'Do you want to play football?' He convinced us that he did."

    Grade: B+

    Remember, David Diehl was a fifth-round pick, and he's been a terrific left tackle; you don't always have to invest first- and second-round picks to build your offensive line.

Round 6: Greg Jones LB, Michigan State

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    EVANSTON, IL - OCTOBER 23: Greg Jones #53 of the Michigan State Spartans awaits the start of play against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field on October 23, 2010 in Evanston, Illinois. Michigan State defeated Northwestern 35-27. (Photo by Jonathan Dan
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Giants waited until the sixth round to address the linebacker position but got an incredibly talented player in doing so.

    I know it's the sixth round, but this guy seemingly fell to the Giants for no real reason. Teams may shy away from him because he is a bit undersized, but in terms of production, his numbers are off the charts.

    He had 464 tackles and 16 sacks in his four-year career, making All-Big Ten three times and first team All-American twice.

    Say what you want about the guy's size, he can play.

    "To get a guy this productive this late " Marc Ross, director of college scouting said. "three-time All-Big Ten, tons of tackles, sacks, tackles for loss, instinctive, plays hard, gets to the football, he's short but he's compact, thickly built, he's just a football player."

    Jones' best season came in 2009, when he racked up 154 tackles and nine sacks. He can move to the strong side LB spot if the Giants aren't comfortable with either Sintim or Dillard at that spot.

    The Giants got a steal at this point in my opinion.

    Grade: A+

Round 6: Tyler Sash S, Iowa

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    IOWA CITY, IA - OCTOBER 30- Cornerback Tyler Sash of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes celebrates after intercepting a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against the Michigan State Spartans at Kinnick Stadium on October 30, 2010 in
    David Purdy/Getty Images

    Let me just set the record straight, this wasn't that bad of a pick just looking at it, but with TE Virgil Green and OLB Ross Homan sitting there, I was left scratching my head.

    For the first time so far, I actually don't like a pick by Reese.

    He isn't the best athlete, but he has a high football I.Q. and is a high motor guy. He was a vocal leader for that Iowa defense; he could be a backup strong safety for the Giants but is guaranteed to help in special teams right away.

    "He just has a knack for getting around the football," Ross said. "At Iowa, they played him everywhere: they played him back, they played him close, they played him over the slot, and he can handle all of that. He sets the coverages, he'll line up your whole defense for you. Those are the things you really like about him.

    "Although his skill set for us might translate more to a box guy, there they played him everywhere and he got to the football."

    While I agree, I'm not sure he has a place on this defense; he'll just be a special teams player. With the other options, I question the selection.

    Grade: C

Round 6: Jacquian Williams OLB, South Florida

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    This was a pick made purely based on the upside that Williams has as an athlete. He played linebacker in college and has tremendous speed for the position.

    Though again I question the pick due to the nature of it—it was a reach—and the available players. I would have been much happier if the Giants took TE Virgil Green or QB Greg McElroy.

    Again, Williams will be an instant help on special teams with his high work ethic, speed and athleticism, but I don't see where is his place on the defense.

    "As a football player, he plays with good instincts," Ross said. "He's good in the classroom. He won't be one of the best. But on the field, he plays with good feel for the game. He plays with an edge, more of a run-and-chase kind of guy who plays hard, flies around and likes to hit."

    All that cries out special teams player.

    Grade: D

Round 7: Da'Rel Scott RB, Maryland

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    CHESTNUT HILL, MA - NOVEMBER 29:  Da'Rel Scott #23 of the Maryland Terrapins carries the ball in the first half against the Boston College Eagles on November 29, 2008 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    I really liked this pick, much better than the last two. Da'Rel Scott doesn't have the incredible numbers that most of the backs taken before him do, but that was mainly because Maryland used a running back by committee system.

    He is very explosive and can get to the edge quickly. He can be a threat for the Giants out of the backfield in the passing attack; neither Ahmad Bradshaw nor Brandon Jacobs had a receiving touchdown last year.

    I love his home-run threat ability too, he ran a 4.34 at the combine—the fastest of all the running backs. In his last game in college, he broke for touchdown runs of 61 and 91 and finished with a 200-yard performance.

    Although he only had 708 yards, he ran at a 5.8 yard per carry clip. When he was the sole ball carrier in 2008, he had 1,122 yards and eight touchdowns.

    He fell so far in the draft because of the fact that he shared the load and was not required to pass block, but the Giants are looking for exactly what he brings to the table, so it is a perfect fit.

    Grade: B+

Overall Grade

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - CIRCA 2010: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Jerry Reese of the New York Giants poses for his 2010 NFL headshot circa 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
    Handout/Getty Images

    So yes, you could nitpick and say the Giants didn't address needs in the rounds you thought they should have, but the fact of the matter is they did address all needs that most people considered to be of a top priority.

    Offensive lineman and linebacker were their biggest needs, and depth at the cornerback, running back, and defensive tackle positions were right behind them.

    The bottom line is if you get in the business of reaching for players, then you can set yourself back several years when those picks don't hit.

    The Giants took players that were great value at the time they selected them, and since they didn't have a high pick in each round, most of the players they were targeting to fill those "needs" were off the board.

    Also, the lockout has created some uncertainty with the free agents; if the Giants had been able to sign Barry Cofield, maybe they don't make the Austin pick.

    If Cofield leaves, and it looks like he might seeing as how he has publicly expressed his unwillingness to play under a tender offer, the Austin pick will look even better.

    If you evaluate talent as well as the Giants have done over the years, you can usually find players in the late rounds that fit what you are trying to do. James Brewer and Greg Jones may not be Mike Pouncey and Bruce Carter, but they are good for the value.

    With a couple questionable selections late, it's hard for me to give this draft an A, but they set themselves with some pretty good players.

    Grade: B+