Jerry Reese has done it again. In the first day of the 2009 Draft, he stood his ground and landed impact players at positions of need.
With their first selection, The New York Giants selected Hakeem Nicks. My scouting report for Nicks offers high praises:
"After examining the skill-sets of each of the prospective collegiate receivers, Hakeem Nicks is one of the players who stand out the most.
He stands at 6' 3/4" and ran a 4.5 second 40-yard dash. Neither are overly impressive numbers, but his skill set will make everyone forget about those numbers very soon. Nicks plays the game of football at a very fast pace and also plays much bigger than he is.
On a consistent basis, Nicks catches the ball with the hands away from his body, using his long arms and strong hands to pluck the ball away from defenders and out of the air.
He makes tough catches away from his body, and can also leap for passes in the red-zone, all perfect evidence of the way he uses his body and his speed the way an NFL receiver should.
His concentration is unmatched by any receiver in this draft, as he once caught a pass behind his back and attempted to pass it between his legs while on the run with a defender hot on his trail.
In that same game, he tipped a pass to himself in double coverage and dragged the defender 15 yards into the end zone with him en route to a 200 yard performance.
It may have been that very game against West Virginia that put Nicks on the map, and rightfully so.
Possibly Nicks’ greatest trait though, is going over the middle of the field and displaying toughness. Not many receivers even in the NFL can go over the middle and make as many tough grabs as Hakeem Nicks.
He also possesses a trait that few on the Giant’s roster currently do, which is the ability to run after the catch. Nicks gets away from defenders at any cost, whether it is spinning, trucking, or jumping, he makes the play.
I have been outlining these traits in regards to Nicks for some time, and fully believe that he can come into the league in Anquan Boldin-like fashion and blow up opponents, suddenly striking fear into the hearts of defenses. He has to be used in the right way by Kevin Gilbride for this to occur though."
Taking into consideration everything Nicks brings to the table, his usage within The Giants' offense will be paramount to his success. Tom Coughlin, Jerry Reese and the Giants' personnel staff seemed to recognize this, and sounded positive regarding his assimilation into the offense.
"We got a very good player. We like him a lot," Jerry Reese said. "Big, strong kid. Very productive, strong-bodied type you like, a lot of production. We feel very good about picking Hakeem at 29."
As I outlined, Nicks played in a pro style offense at North Carolina, making him an intriguing option to contribute immediately.
"That was one of the things that was most intriguing was we felt he was 'NFL-ready,'" (Marc)Ross said. "He played in a pro-style offense, he lined up in various different spots, he helped the other receivers get lined up and just the way he plays the game he has a savvy feel for getting open. ... We thought his style would easily transfer to our level, whereas some of the other guys played in spread offenses or the 'Wildcat.'"
All in all, I envision Hakeem Nicks being a very solid contributor in 2009, starting accross from Steve Smith, while Mario Manningham plays the slot. The way Coughlin and company speak about Nicks really speaks to how determined they are to get the passing game on its feet and shake the stigma that they have surrounding their offense. The Giant offense will be dangerous in 2009.
On to one of the steals of the draft: Clint Sintim.
Sintim played on the outside as a 3-4 linebacker in Virginia’s system, but he projects very well on the strong side in a 4-3 or even in the middle.
His strength lies in his physicality—he takes on blocks very well, works well in traffic, and has a non-stop motor. He can struggle in space at times, but he makes up for that with incredible pass rush skills. His intensity and physicality are exactly what New York is looking for in their linebacking corps.
Lastly, Tom Coughlin and Virginia head coach Al Groh go way back in their friendship.
With Sintim in the fray, New York may begin to move to a hybrid 4-3 defense, introducing some 3-4 looks in passing situations. Osi and Sintim (or the ever versatile Kiwanuka) would play the rush linebacker spots, where their skillsets would be magnified, while Tuck and Canty will play the 3-4 ends. Tuck has proven that he can play anywhere and would be a stud in that spot. Tuck pushing the pocket for Osi or Kiwi is very scary for opponents.
New York's third selection, William Beatty, was not a player whom I connected to the Giants in any of the draft previews, but thats only because I believed that he would be a first round selection.
Beatty is a 6'-6" 307 pound monster with very long arms. This selection is amazing on the part of Jerry Reese, as Beatty is a great prospect to groom behind Kareem McKenzie or David Diehl. He may even start by the end of 2009 while Diehl moves back to guard. This pick has incredible potential.
Heres to an amazing day two of the draft.
In Reese we trust.