Thursday, May 21, 2009

2009 NFL Draft Grades: New York Giants

The Giants - surprise Super Bowl Champions after the 2007 season - were considered one of the elite teams entering 2008. They backed that up with a 12-4 record and NFC East Division title. Of course they ran into a team that was hotter than them in the divisional playoffs - the Eagles - which ruined their chance at being the first club since the 1998 Broncos to repeat as Super Bowl champs. But what about 2009? Questions are swirling that Plaxico Burress was the reason for Eli Manning's success. Can the club win without the erstwhile receiver?

Manning and Burress, for most of the season, helped lead an offense that finished 3rd in points scored, 1st in rushing yards, and 7th in total yards. They were only 18th in passing yards per game. Is the notion that Burress was the reason for success absurd? Still probably not. Despite the team ranking in the lower half of the league is passing offense, the threat of Burress was still there. Once Burress was gone teams could stack the box to stop the Giants amazing rushing attack, which lost one of its contributors. The rushing game could suffer if a WR doesn't step into the role vacated by Plaxico. Of course the defense may be even stronger. After finishing in the Top 10 in the four major statistical categories, the Giants get Osi Umenyiora back plus added Chris Canty. The rich get richer. The team was 5th in total yards and points allowed per game. I underestimated the Giants last year. Even with the loss of Burress, I don't think I'll do that again.

Tom Coughlin is the man in charge in New York for a sixth season in 2009. Can he live up to lofty expectations? Unless this team completely bombs, Coughlin will be back in 2010. However, if the Giants capture another title it isn't out of the question for him to go out on top. The Giants are loaded and should be right there with Philadelphia as favorites in the NFC.

1/29/29 - Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina
2/13/45 - Clint Sintim, OLB, Virginia
2/28/60 - William Beatty, OT, Connecticut
3/21/85 - Ramses Barden, WR, Cal Poly
3/36/100 - Travis Beckum, TE, Wisconsin
4/29/129 - Andre Brown, RB, North Carolina State
5/15/151 - Rhett Bomar, QB, Sam Houston State
6/27/200 - DeAndre Wright, CB/S, New Mexico
7/29/238 - Stoney Woodson, CB/S, South Carolina

  • WR - Check!
  • LB - Check!
  • TE - Check!
  • OL - Check!
  • QB - Check!
  • RB - Check!
Yep that's a clean sweep for their needs. It's what good teams do, fill holes with the right players. Jerry Reese knows what he is doing. He has a perfect view of areas that need improvement and works to fill those needs without reaching. I can't really say "it would have been nice to get..." because, frankly, they got everything and assured that they should be competitive for some time.

GRADE: 100/100

Pick 1 - The Giants needed a bigger WR that could evolve into a feature guy. They believe that's Nicks. Nicks had a phenomenal season at North Carolina which sent him soaring up draft boards. He has great hands and could eventually replace the production lost with the release of Burress. However it does take WRs a long time to adjust to the NFL so expecting Nicks to be a savior is too much. He was a nice selection for need and value at the end of round one. Grade: 9

Pick 2 - The Ginats have a great defense but the one thing they were lacking is a strongside LB capable of disrupting plays in the backfield and at the line of scrimmage. Sintim should not have fallen this far. While it was a surprise to see him go to a 4-3 team - he'd played exclusively in a 3-4 at Virginia - he is more than capable of being the strongside LB the Giants needed. Whether or not he'll start from day one is up in the air but I'd bet he has a strong chance to do so. Grade: 10

Pick 3 - Again, how did this person fall here? Beatty was considered a late first round pick, no later than the early second. Here he is at the end of round two. Why? He was probably the last OT capable of developing into a LT. Did the Giants absolutely need a young OT to groom? Not especially though depth there is always a plus. The value was just to big to pass up. Plus they had already filled two big needs with their first two picks. Grade: 9

Pick 4 - They hedged their bets and went with another big WR; perhaps one of them will work out? Barden was taken right around where expected, though maybe a shade early. Again, he is a huge target but needs some work. He played at Cal Poly so his opponents weren't as strong as the ones Nicks competed against. He'll need time but has the physical tools to succeed. Grade: 7

Pick 5 - The Giants round out the first 100 with Wisconsin's Beckum. The Giants have been looking for a more reliable TE since jettisoning Jeremy Shockey last year. Kevin Boss is nice but is more suited as a #2, where he can excel. Beckum, who suffered through injuries in 2008, is more of a pass catcher than blocker; that's certainly an area that needs to be refined. Grade: 9

Pick 6 - Meet the new Derrick Ward. Andre Brown, who could have easily gone at the end of round two, falls to the Giants who take him to complete their new trio. Just wow. Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw now have a guy to share more of the load with. Grade: 9

Pick 7 - Did they really need a QB? That's up for debate. David Carr is the backup for Manning and that isn't changing soon. Bomar will be fighting with Andre Woodson and Anthony Wright for the third spot. Bomar could develop into a solid #2, fringe starter such as Billy Volek and Matt Schaub. In New York he'll get that chance. And the Giants will be the one to benefit from it. Grade: 6

Pick 8 - It is really hard to rip on late round picks and Wright isn't a bad one. He may not be ideal at CB but that's probably where he'll start. He may have to move to safety. There were better options available to fill their need in the secondary, such as Captain Munnerlyn, Ellis Lankster, and Mike Mickens. Grade: 4

Pick 9 - Almost the exact thing said for Wright can be said for Woodson. He may become a safety and there were better prospects left at 238. Did they need another DB? If they did, safety Courtney Greene would have been better. Or OG Trevor Canfield would have added even more quality depth along the OL. Grade: 3

GRADE: 66/90


The top of this class, really 66% of it, was amazing. Sintim may start from Day One, Nicks will see some time this season, as will Beckum. Beatty is great insurance and eventual starter. Barden needs some development but can become an adequate #2. Brown will fil Derrick Ward's position nicely. They even have insurance at QB or a future bargaining chip. They added developmental guys in the secondary. All needs were filled.


WHY: Because of what I just said. All needs were filled and they were filled with arguably the best player available at their position. You don't get much better than that. This class could have been an A+ if the final two DB picks had gone a different way.

NOTE: My "final grade" is weighted and is not a simple combination of "needs" and "talent".

Best Pick: Beatty
Worst Pick: Woodosn (if I have to pick one)
Sleeper: Beckum
Instant Impact: Sintim
Developmental: Barden

CBS Sports (Prisco): B-
CBS Sports (Rang): A+
ESPN (Kiper): B (Brooks): B+ (Fan's): B
Walter: A+


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