New York Giants 1998 NFL Draft Preview
INTRODUCTION: The following is a list of collegiate prospects available in the 1998 NFL Draft who I think well of. If you notice a number of high profile names missing from my listing, it is because I have removed many players from consideration because of off the field problems, concerns over their work ethic, compatibility with the Giants’ offensive or defensive systems, or I think their ability is overvalued.
Note: (*) indicates one of Eric’s favorites.
Just what the Giants ordered! This looks like a deep draft at wide receiver and the Giants will probably come out with two guys, one having punt/kick return capabilities. Randy Moss, Tony Simmons, and Donald Hayes did not make my cut.
*E.G. Green, 5-11, 190lbs, 4.55, Florida State: Very polished, very smooth wide receiver who comes from a sophisticated passing attack. Great route runner and runs well after the catch. Play-maker. His quarterback looks to him in key situations. Not a blazer and not big, but very quick in and out of his cuts and gets separation. Avoid the jam well. Good hands. Underrated. Serious consideration for the Giants in round one.
*Jacquez Green, 5-9, 175lbs, 4.45, Florida: Junior entry. Small prospect with great speed, quickness, and explosiveness. Comes from a sophisticated passing attack. Runs great routes and runs well after the catch. Knows how to set up defensive backs. Excellent hands and tough. Top flight punt and kick returnman. Lack of size is his only major drawback. His play-making ability and return skills have to be very attractive to Jim Fassel.
Kevin Dyson, 6-2, 195lbs, 4.45, Utah: Widely considered the second most talented wide receiver in the draft after Moss. Physically reminds me of Thomas Lewis. Good speed and can be explosive. Great body control. Solid, but not great hands. Improved route runner and will work to get better. Not real sharp out of his breaks, but he can separate and accelerate. Does damage after the catch. Has lapses of concentration and not a real sharp cutter. Can return kicks and punts.
*Joe Jurevicius, 6-5, 230lbs, 4.65, Penn State: Very underrated player. Huge athlete with long arms. Well coordinated and graceful. Tough guy who can get deep and also catch over the middle. Play-maker. His quarterback looks to him in key situations. Needs to work on improving his route running. Not quick out of his cuts because of his long-strides, but very dangerous in the red zone and a real nightmare for cornerbacks to cover because of his combination of height and speed.
*Az-Zahir Hakim, 5-10, 175lbs, 4.45, San Diego State: Small receiver with fine speed and quickness. Fluid, graceful, and explosive. Good burst and can separate. Excellent hands. Elusive. Good route runner and good runner after the catch. Tough and will go over the middle. Has returned kick-offs and punts. Good fit for the Giants. Has some off-the-field concerns which need to be check out.
Germane Crowell, 6-3, 212lbs, 4.50, Virginia: From a physical standpoint, he looks like what you want in a wide receiver. Big, athletic wide receiver with decent, but not great, hands. Great body control and is fluid. Tough, will run over the middle. Comes from a very unsophisticated passing attack. Needs a lot of work on his route running and it will take him time to learn the pro game. Not a sharp cutter due to his size. Inconsistent. High upside. Can get deep, but he’s not real explosive and he needs to focus better on the playing field. Would look good in Giant Blue if he has the work ethic.
Marcus Nash, 6-3, 195lbs, 4.50, Tennessee: Big, athletic receiver who is well coordinated and can be explosive. Has long arms and big hands — can really snatch the ball — but drops far more passes than he should. May need a lot of route refinement given the nature of his offense in college. Huge upside if he can concentrate better.
Hines Ward, 6-0, 190lbs, 4.55, Georgia: Very smooth, very fluid receiver who played in a sophisticated passing attack but who doesn’t have a lot of experience at wide receiver because he’s played so many different positions. Not fast or explosive, but quick and has very good hands. Does damage after the catch. Can return punts. Plays with fire. May have a big upside. Seems like a Fassel-like kind of guy.
Mikhael Ricks, 6-5, 235lbs, 4.60, Stephen F. Austin: Used as a pass catching TE in college, but worked with the wide receivers in the All-Star games where he played very well. Huge, athletic target with long arms and decent hands. Not explosive and he is a little stiff, but he has good body control. Not a sharp cutter and has had some problems with the jam. Can get deep and will go over the middle. Physical. Very good potential, but has a lot to learn still.
Pat Johnson, 5-10, 180lbs, 4.40, Oregon: Smaller receiver with explosive quickness and speed. Can avoid the jam and get deep. Decent hands, but he will drop some. Somewhat inexperienced and needs more work on his routes, though he is getting better in this area. Not real physical. Dangerous punt and kick returner.
Jerome Pathon, 5-11, 185lbs, 4.45, Washington: Lacks great size but has good speed and quickness. Can separate. Decent hands and is aggressive going up for the ball. Not real sharp out of his breaks and may have problems with being jammed. Very good punt and kick returner.
Bobby Shaw, 6-0, 190lbs, 4.65, California: Solid, well-schooled receiver with decent size and average speed. Played in a West Coast style of offense. Good hands and instincts. Makes clutch catches and knows how to get open. Not explosive, but quick. Runs good routes and runs well after the catch. Good fit for the Giants system, but has real problems escaping the jam.
Brian Alford, 6-2, 190lbs, 4.50, Purdue: Good-sized receiver who comes from a West Coast style of offense. Fluid with decent speed, but not real fast or explosive. Has good hands and runs good routes. Knows how to get open. Team leader who makes plays in the clutch. Doesn’t focus all the time. Not terribly bright and in the past there have been questions about his work ethic and focus. Good fit for the Giants system if he willing to pay the price.
*Tim Dwight, 5-8, 182lbs, 4.50, Iowa: Small, competitive receiver who plays with great toughness and hustle. Field fast. Decent but not natural hands. A little stiff, but has quick feet. Very good punt and kick returner. The type of guy coaches love to have on their team.
Patrick Palmer, 6-2, 181lbs, 4.55, Northwestern Louisiana: Good-sized wide receiver with good hands. Fluid. Field fast and can do damage after the catch. Makes big plays. Needs to get stronger and improve his focus. May have problems with the jam. Good punt returner.
Anthony Eubanks, 6-2, 195lbs, 4.65, Arkansas: Big, physical receiver with very good hands and only average speed. Clutch receiver — gets open. Tough, will go over the middle. Good body control. Not quick or fast, but can do some damage after the catch.
Harvey Middleton, 6-0, 185lbs, 4.57, Georgia Tech: Decent sized receiver with very good hands. Knows how to find the open spot and set up defenders, but lacks speed and quickness. Will catch over the middle. Has trouble separating from defenders at times. Has returned punts and kick-offs.
Decent quality here. Look for the Giants to take one tight end.
*Blake Spence, 6-4, 250lbs, 4.90, Oregon: Big, athletic tight end who knows how to get open. Runs good routes. Smart, tough, and competitive. Good hands and will catch in a crowd. Doesn’t have great speed, but he keeps the chains moving and can do some damage after the catch. Only an average blocker — needs to get stronger.
Stephen Alexander, 6-4, 245lbs, 4.70, Oklahoma: Pass-receiving tight end who does a decent job of blocking for his size, but will never stand out in this area due to his build. Has the speed to get deep down the middle of the field. Good, but not great hands. Hasn’t proven to be durable. Great work ethic and is a top competitor.
Alonzo Mayes, 6-4, 255lbs, 4.75, Oklahoma State: Huge, athletic, physical tight end. Coordinated and adjusts well to the football. Not a top blocker, though he has the tools to do so. Physically, the best tight end in the draft, but questions remain about his desire, work ethic, and concentration. Doesn’t sound like a Fassel kind of guy. Has a shoulder injury which must be checked out.
Cameron Cleeland, 6-4, 270lbs, 4.80, Washington: Big, athletic TE. Has the tools to be a good blocker, but is not physical enough. Good hands and has good movement skills for a big man as a receiver. Not a deep threat and doesn’t do much after the catch. Reportedly not well liked by teammates and coaches.
Rod Rutledge, 6-5, 270lbs, 4.85, Alabama: Big tight end with decent movement skills. Athletic and agile for his size. Gives a good effort when blocking, but is not physical or tenacious enough. Has good hands, but inconsistent and inexperienced as a receiver. Has the tools to do well, but is no sure thing and could end up being a bust.
Jarrett Grosdidier, 6-5, 245lbs, 4.77, Kansas State: Tall tight end with decent speed. Good hands and concentration. Not a top blocker. Good on special teams.
Roland Williams, 6-5, 265lbs, 5.00, Syracuse: Big tight end who is a better blocker than receiver. Team leader. Inconsistent hands and not going to hurt teams deep.
Mark Thomas, 6-4, 250lbs, 4.95, North Carolina State: Better receiver than blocker. Competitive. Good in the clutch and can catch in traffic, but is not a real good runner after the catch. Must get stronger and be more physical as a blocker.
The Giants need another quality center to compete with Lance Scott.
Olin Kreutz, 6-2, 300lbs, 5.30, Washington: Junior entry. A little shorter than ideal but a big, strong man who plays with toughness and tenacity. Quick. Has a mean streak. A little stiff and lacks top explosiveness. Has very good potential, but needs a lot more technique work.
Jeremy Newberry, 6-5, 315lbs, 5.40, California: Junior entry. Also a prospect at guard. Physical, strong, power player with good size. Smart and has a good motor. Not terribly athletic or agile. Needs more technique work, but has a good upside.
Bob Hallen, 6-4, 295lbs, 5.05, Kent State: Could also be a prospect at guard. Big, strong athlete. Intelligent and tough. Solid work ethic. Not real explosive. Needs work in pass protection.
Aaron Taylor, 6-1, 320lbs, 5.30, Nebraska: Has played both guard and center. Short, stout lineman. Power player with decent feet and coordination. Quick. Can pull. Aggressive, physical competitor. Needs a lot of work in pass protection. May not have a high upside in the pros.
Gennaro DiNapoli, 6-3, 300lbs, 5.30: Played guard in school. Short, stout lineman with great attitude and hustle. Smart and has a good work ethic. Not very athletic, but has some agility and can pull. May not have a big upside.
Nathan Strikwerda, 6-5, 295lbs, 5.20, Northwestern: Good-sized. Smart and competitive. A little stiff in his movements, but can run. Decent athlete. Needs to keep his feet moving more and better technique in general. Power players sometimes give him trouble.
Seamus Murphy, 6-5, 290lbs, 5.47, North Carolina State: Tough, competitive, hard working leader. Not very athletic, agile, or quick.
The Giants would like to add some bodies to compete with LG Greg Bishop and reserve guard Rob Zatechka.
*Alan Faneca, 6-5, 320lbs, 5.40, Louisiana State: Junior entry. Big, strong, physical, competitive player. Great run blocker. Quick and sustains well. Needs technique work in the pass protection department. Not overly agile, but can move. Serious consideration for the Giants in round one.
Kyle Turley, 6-5, 310lbs, 5.00, San Diego State: Also a prospect at tackle, where he played in school. Smart, competitive, physical, aggressive player who is a better pass blocker than run blocker at this point. Strong and uses good technique. Hard worker and has a mean streak. Mobile for his size and can pull, but not a great athlete. A little stiff. May not have a big upside. Serious consideration for the Giants in round one.
Victor Riley, 6-5, 330lbs, 5.40, Auburn: Also a prospect at left tackle, where he played in school. Big, powerful player with long arms. Athletic with good balance and agility. Can run and pass block well — can be explosive. Needs to improve his technique. Could be a super pro but needs to become more physical and questions exist about his work ethic. Serious consideration for the Giants in round one.
*Mike Goff, 6-5, 310lbs, 5.13, Iowa: Combines good size with decent agility. Smart and plays with a touch of nastiness. Can pull. Not an explosive player, but gets movement in his blocks. Needs to get stronger.
Melvin Thomas, 6-3, 320lbs, 5.30, Colorado: Wide body with long arms. Physical and naturally powerful. Athletic with good agility — can pull. Plays hard. Sustains his blocks. Inconsistent. Sometimes lacks focus. Needs better technique.
Benji Olson, 6-4, 320lbs, 5.30, Washington: Junior entry. Big, powerful, physical player. Very strong and can be explosive. Not overly agile or athletic. Doesn’t have a great work ethic. Needs to keep his feet moving and sustain better. Needs better technique, especially as a pass blocker. Has had back problems. Big upside if he is willing to pay the price.
Scott Shaw, 6-3, 310lbs, 5.50, Michigan State: Tough, competitive powerful player with decent size. Leader and a hard worker. Has a mean streak. Not a great athlete and not mobile or agile. Lacks quickness.
The Giants are happy with Roman Oben and Scott Gragg as their starting tackles, but they may want to add another player for depth. Much depends on where they want reserve Jerry Reynolds to compete. Regardless, don’t look for the Giants to take a tackle high — unless it is a tackle they wish to convert to guard like Victor Riley (see above). Thus, it isn’t likely that the Giants will select any of the prospects listed below as most of them will go relatively high in the draft. Moreover, Mo Collins and Toby Myles didn’t make my cut.
Tra Thomas, 6-7, 345lbs, 5.45, Florida State: Has played both left and right tackle. Huge, athletic player with long arms. Strong with quick feet. Better pass blocker than run blocker at this stage because of the offense he was in at college. Relatively inexperienced and doesn’t have a top work ethic.
Flozell Adams, 6-7, 340lbs, 5.50, Michigan State: Has played both left and right tackle, but is better suited for the right side in the pros. Huge player with good athletic ability and feet for his size. Long arms. Powerful player and very good run blocker. Needs better consistency. Very high draft pick.
Chris Conrad, 6-6, 300lbs, 5.30, Fresno State: Left tackle. Good sized athlete with long arms and decent foot quickness and mobility. Not an explosive run blocker. Needs to get a lot stronger and will take time to develop technique-wise. Will take time to develop.
Anthony Clement, 6-8, 350lbs, 5.60, Southwestern Louisiana: Has played both left and right tackle, but is better suited for the right side in the pros. Huge player with long arms. Can be powerful. High cut — similar to Scott Gragg. Keeps his feet moving and works to sustain. Not great feet and isn’t mobile.
Jason Fabini, 6-6, 315lbs, 5.60, Cincinnati: Played left and right tackle in college, but is better suited for the right side in the pros. Huge player with athletic limitations. Smart, competitive, and tough. Plays the game with an attitude and works to sustain his blocks. Not very mobile or agile. Has trouble with quick rushers and lacks long arms.
Robert Hicks, 6-7, 345lbs, 5.30, Mississippi State: Right tackle. Huge player with long arms. Good work ethic. Can be powerful, but is not real fluid or athletic. Lacks great feet.
The Giants may still be searching for their feature back, though they are more likely to give Tiki Barber and Tyrone Wheatley another shot first. They have also added LeShon Johnson to the mix. The Giants already have their smaller but quick, 3rd down-type back in Tiki Barber. Thus, don’t look for the Giants to show any interest in Tavian Banks, John Avery, Rashan Shehee, or Saladin McCullough. Also, Fred Taylor, Ahman Green, Michael Pittman, Treymayne Stephens, and Pepe Pearson didn’t make my cut. The Giants may show more interest in a strong short-yardage runner, where there is a need.
Curtis Enis, 6-1, 240lbs, 4.55, Penn State: Junior entry. Big, tough, strong, athletic runner. Runs with power, vision, and instinct. Can catch the ball. Very high draft pick.
Robert Edwards, 6-0, 215, 4.50, Georgia: Athletic back with good size and speed. Elusive, instinctive, and can go the distance. Has excellent hands as a receiver. Has problems staying healthy and will fumble. Could be special, but needs to stay healthy.
Skip Hicks, 6-0, 225lbs, 4.53, UCLA: Big, athletic back with good speed. Fluid and instinctive. Good receiver. Could be tougher and will fumble. Inconsistent — could be special if he is willing to pay the price.
Robert Holcombe, 5-11, 215lbs, 4.53, Illinois: Tough, determined back with fine size, instincts, and vision. Low center of gravity. Good receiver. Not really a big play threat. Has been called a “poor man’s” Rodney Hampton.
Chris Howard, 5-10, 220lbs, 4.65, Michigan: Tough, competitive, instinctive back with average speed. Decent receiver. Solid runner who lacks special qualities but generally gets the job done.
Jonathan Linton, 6-1, 245lbs, 4.80: Versatile — has played both halfback and fullback. Tough, physical, and powerful. Runs hard, has excellent size, and is a good receiver. Lacks speed and is not that elusive. Not a good blocker for the fullback position.
Carlos King, 6-1, 225lbs, 4.72, North Carolina State: Played fullback in college, but lacks the great size and blocking ability for that spot in the pros. Looks like a short yardage specialist. Instinctive, powerful runner and a good receiver. Lacks speed and elusiveness.
The Giants have a Pro Bowl-caliber guy in Charles Way, but they may want to add another body to compete with back-up Eric Lane.
Jon Ritchie, 6-1, 250lbs, 4.65, Stanford: Big, physical back with good speed. Good blocker and receiver. Not elusive.
Marcus Parker, 5-9, 245lbs, 4.70, Virginia Tech: Big, improving fullback who has also played some halfback. Decent blocker who needs better technique. Can catch the ball, but needs route refinement. Decent, but not special runner. Has an upside.
Chris Floyd, 6-0, 235lbs, 4.75, Michigan: Tough, physical, aggressive player who lacks ideal size. Good lead blocker. Not that athletic and not a strong pass receiver.
The Giants will not draft a quarterback. They have no room on the roster. Danny Kanell is the starter, Kent Graham is the new veteran back-up, and Mike Cherry is the promising developmental prospect. Besides, after Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf get drafted, the talent level really falls off this year at quarterback in the draft.
The Giants are in good shape with starters Keith Hamilton and Robert Harris, but would like to add some more depth now that Ray Agnew has departed.
Vonnie Holliday, 6-5, 295lbs, 5.10, North Carolina: Big, tall DT who plays with strength and quickness. Long arms. Good effort player. Competitive and tough. Can rush the passer and defend the run. Not flashy and needs better technique.
Jeremy Staat, 6-5, 300lbs, 4.95, Arizona State: Improving player with good size and strength. Powerful with long arms. Has a good work ethic. Inexperienced but improving. Better run player than pass rusher. Lacks top agility. Suffers from dyslexia. Has a big upside.
Jason Peter, 6-5, 280lbs, 4.92, Nebraska: Brother of DT Christian Peter. Lacks great size, but is a tough, strong, physical, competitive player with a no quit motor. Good quickness. Better athlete than Christian, but does not have top agility and coordination.
Leon Bender, 6-5, 315lbs, 5.15, Washington State: Big, powerful, athletic prospect. Aggressive and has long arms. Not a top “moves” guy — plays with strength. Better against the run than the pass. Needs to work harder and learn better pass rush moves.
Michael Myers, 6-2, 280lbs, 5.10, Alabama: May be a prospect at defensive end. Quick, agile DT who lacks great size. Better pass rusher than run defender. Disruptive. Often beats his opponent with quickness, but if he doesn’t, he can get smothered inside. Did not play his senior year due to suspension for dealing with an agent. Might be better suited outside.
Martin Chase, 6-2, 295lbs, 5.15, Oklahoma: Short but decent sized DT with a low center of gravity. Good quickness. Can rush the passer and defend the run.
Brandon Whiting, 6-3, 285lbs, 5.25, California: Lacks great tools, but is a smart, instinctive, tough, hard worker who makes plays. Has good quickness and penetrates. Doesn’t have a lot of size or speed.
Nate Hobgood-Chittick, 6-3, 285lbs, 5.10, North Carolina: Lacks size, but is a smart, hard working, competitive player. Tough, aggressive, and quick. Did not start at Carolina and is somewhat inexperienced.
The Giants are very happy with Michael Strahan, but no one still has stepped forward at the all-important right defensive end spot. Look for the Giants to search for a guy who can put heat on the passer from that position. Kenny Mixon and Dorian Boose didn’t make my cut.
*Andre Wadsworth, 6-4, 275lbs, 4.70, Florida State: Great player and person. Impact player and difference maker. Top pass rusher who can also play the run. Works hard and has a good character. Will be a top three pick.
Grant Wistrom, 6-5, 260lbs, 4.67, Nebraska: Could also be a prospect at linebacker. Super intense, physical, aggressive, competitive player. Athletic, quick, and fast. Can rush the passer. Smart and has good instincts. Makes big plays. Lacks size for a defensive end and may have problems against bigger tackles.
Greg Ellis, 6-5, 260lbs, 4.87, North Carolina: Pass rusher with good size, but a narrow base. Athletic and quick. Has long arms. Good leadership and character qualities. Hard working and plays hard. Improving against the run, but needs more strength and needs to be more physical.
Mitch Marrow, 6-4, 290lbs, 4.85, Pennsylvania: Also a prospect at defensive tackle. Tremendous physical talent who works out better than he plays, but has very good potential. Big, strong, athletic prospect with speed and quickness. Good pass rusher. Not a top run defender at defensive tackle. Needs a lot better technique. Boom-or-bust type.
*Steve Foley, 6-3, 260lbs, 4.70, Northeast Louisiana: Could also be a prospect at linebacker. Undersized but extremely athletic and quick pass rushing specialist. Very strong for his size. Tough and competitive. Can be run on at defensive end due to his size. Could be a pass rushing DE for the Giants or another Ryan Phillips-type SLB.
Kailee Wong, 6-3, 265lbs, 4.70, Stanford: Could also be a prospect at linebacker. Undersized but extremely athletic and quick pass rushing specialist. Plays with a lot of intensity. Has some problems disengaging. Can be run on at defensive end.
Jonathan Brown, 6-4, 270lbs, 5.05, Tennessee: Undersized but competitive, instinctive, hard working DE who has a feel for the pass rush — has good moves. Quick and athletic. Lacks size and speed.
Eric Ogbogu, 6-4, 270lbs, 5.00, Maryland: Stronger pass rusher than run defender. Athletic with decent quickness and speed. Long arms. Gives a good effort. Inconsistent. At times he has looked awesome; at other times very ordinary. Boom-or-bust.
Jason Chorak, 6-3, 255lbs, 4.70, Washington: Could also be a prospect at linebacker, but not likely in a 4-3. Undersized but extremely quick and explosive pass rusher. Tough, aggressive, and competitive. Strictly a pass rushing specialist in a 4-3 defense — he would be rated much higher by me if the Giants ran a 3-4. Somewhat stiff — struggles in coverage.
Chance McCarty, 6-3, 250lbs, 4.90, TCU: Small, but quick pass rushing defensive end. Would be strictly a situational guy in the pros. Has long arms. Not real athletic, but is instinctive. Can be run on.
Lemanzer Williams, 6-4, 270lbs, 5.06, Minnesota: Went from an average player to a good prospect in one year. Quick, instinctive pass rusher, but not overly agile. Needs to be more physical and get stronger — can be run on.
The Giants are pretty much set on the weakside with Pro Bowler Jessie Armstead and high quality reserve Scott Galyon. Weakside is even Marcus Buckley’s best position. It is the strong side where there is greater need. Thus, don’t look for the Giants to be interested in weaksiders like Brian Simmons, Anthony Simmons, or Takeo Spikes — guys who will shine in the pros.
As for middle linebacker, the Giants already have three quality guys in Corey Widmer, Pete Monty, and Doug Colman. In the Giants’ system, the middle linebacker has to be a big, stout guy who can take on the big guards in the NFL. None of the stouter middle linebackers in the draft look to be that much more talented than Widmer and Monty. Thus, I haven’t included quality prospects such as Kivuusama Mays.
*Keith Brooking, 6-2, 240lbs, 4.68, Georgia Tech: Can play both outside and inside. Combines good size with good quickness, speed, and strength. Competitive, physical, and aggressive. Can take on blocks and defend the pass. Solid but not spectacular. Very high draft pick.
Greg Spires, 6-1, 260lbs, 4.75, Florida State: Played defensive end in college, but I see him as SLB in the pros. Agile, quick, and fast for his size. Competitive and plays hard. Good pass rusher. Projection picks are always risky, but I see this guy making the same transformation that Peter Boulware did last year.
Antony Jordan, 6-3, 240lbs, 4.75, Vanderbilt: Improving player with good size. Athletic. Has a burst. Can cover, but is a little stiff. Has problems getting off blocks at times, but shows good instincts in run defense and is getting better.
Sam Cowart, 6-1, 243lbs, 4.70, Florida State: Big, strong, tough, physical, instinctive linebacker. Good speed, but a little stiff. Has problems disengaging from blocks sometimes. Suffered a serious knee injury two years ago which must be checked out.
Casey Dailey, 6-3, 245lbs, 4.80, Northwestern: Played defensive end in college but projects to linebacker in the pros. Good pass rusher and can play off blockers. Competitive, tough, and instinctive. Very inexperienced in pass coverage.
Jamie Duncan, 6-1, 240lbs, 4.70, Vanderbilt: Played inside at college, but I see him more as a strongside prospect. Decent-sized player with good speed and strength. Tough, competitive, aggressive, hard working, and instinctive. Has problems at time taking on big blockers. Only so-so in coverage.
Ron Merkerson, 6-2, 255lbs, 4.80, Colorado: Once highly regarded prospect who didn’t play as well as expected in 1997, but who played hurt. Big with some athleticism and agility. Can play off blocks and stack the run. Not strong in pass coverage.
Ron Warner, 6-2, 242lbs, 4.67, Kansas: Recently underwent reconstructive knee surgery. Somewhat of a projection pick because the guy rarely dropped into coverage in college. Big, athletic, mobile, and quick. Can rush the passer. Good in run defense from the OLB spot. Very inexperienced in coverage. Injury question mark, but has fine potential.
The Giants need to add another cornerback for depth purposes now that Thomas Randolph has left.
*Charles Woodson, 6-0, 200lbs, 4.45, Michigan: Junior entry. Big play cornerback who can do it all. Tremendous athlete and coverman. Impact player who dominates. Top four pick.
*Brian Kelly, 6-0, 190lbs, 4.55, USC: Excellent size. Athletic, quick, physical, tough, and aggressive. Not a blazer, needs to tackle better, and needs better technique, but he is a very good player. If this guy slips, don’t be surprised to see the Giants take him in round one.
*Cordell Taylor, 5-11, 190lbs, 4.50, Hampton: Small school prospect with very good skills. Good size. Athletic, quick, competitive, physical, instinctive corner. Needs better technique.
Duane Starks, 5-10, 170lbs, 4.35, Miami: Smaller than ideal corner who has very good coverage skills. Very fast and quick. Athletic and instinctive. Dangerous punt returner. Tough and can be physical despite his size. Needs to be a more consistent tackler.
Terry Fair, 5-10, 180lbs, 4.45, Tennessee: Smaller than ideal corner who has very good coverage skills. Athletic, fast, and very quick. Dangerous punt returner. Need to improve his tackling.
R.W. McQuarters, 5-10, 190lbs, 4.50, Oklahoma State: Junior entry. Good size. Tremendous physical specimen who is a tad too immature. Cocky, physical, and tough. Very raw. Has the athletic ability to be a super player but needs a ton of technique work. Very dangerous punt and kick-off returner.
Corey Chavous, 6-0, 203lbs, 4.55, Vanderbilt: Could also be a prospect at safety. Excellent size and athletic. Physical, competitive, and hard working. Real student of the game. Good, but not great in coverage. A little stiff. Good tackler. Excellent special teams player.
Robert Williams, 5-10, 175lbs, 4.50, North Carolina: Junior entry. OK height but lighter than ideal. Very athletic and quick. Has good speed and acceleration. Not very physical.
Roosevelt Blackmon, 6-1, 180lbs, 4.47, Morris Brown: Tall, but thin corner who is raw but has tremendous athletic ability. Fast, quick, and fluid. Instinctive. Not a great run defender.
Fred Weary, 5-10, 180lbs, 4.55, Florida: OK height but lighter than ideal. Smart, hard working, instinctive, aggressive, competitive, tough player. Lacks great speed and acceleration. Decent player against the run despite his size. Good on special teams.
Quincy Coleman, 5-10, 180lbs, 4.50, Jackson State: OK height but lighter than ideal. Athletic and quick with good speed. Good hitter and tackler for his size. Fluid and quick. Suffers some breakdowns in coverage from guessing too much. Needs to get stronger and play more physical.
Omarr Morgan, 5-9, 165lbs, 4.40, BYU: Very small corner with tremendous athleticism, speed, and quickness. Instinctive. Very aggressive for his size. Not that bad defending the run but his lack of size will be a problem there.
Allen Rossum, 5-8, 177lbs, 4.45, Notre Dame: Very small corner with tremendous athleticism, speed, and quickness. Tough for his size and a great kick and punt returner. Not real strong in coverage. Lack of size will cause him problems in the pros.
Patrick Surtain, 5-11, 195lbs, 4.55, Southern Mississippi: Good size. Smart and instinctive with decent quickness. Good tackler. Not a top athlete and lacks great speed.
The Giants just re-signed FS Tito Wooten to a big new contract and they are very excited about the potential of SS Sam Garnes. It is depth that is more a concern. Much depends on how long the Giants can keep FS Percy Ellsworth. The Giants also may want an upgrade over Rodney Young at strong safety. Don’t look for the Giants to take a safety high. Number one, the need is not that great, and number two, the Giants seem to do an excellent job of finding late round gems.
Shaun Williams, 6-2, 210lbs, 4.50, UCLA: Free safety who could also play strong safety. Decent size and very good athletic skills for a safety. Tough and physical. Aggressive against the run. Doesn’t make a lot of picks. First rounder.
*Donovin Darius, 6-1, 210lbs, 4.60, Syracuse: Played free safety, but looks more like a strong safety. Big, athletic, extremely physical and aggressive player. Instinctive, tough, and competitive. Decent, but not great against the pass — but is improving. A real monster against the run. Big hitter and good tackler. Good on special teams.
*Tebucky Jones, 6-1, 215lbs, 4.50, Syracuse: Strong safety. Huge, athletic, physical safety with great speed. Very raw — has played only one year at safety after being moved over from running back. Does well in coverage. Good run defender. Great on special teams. Needs a ton of technique work and is somewhat of a risky pick, but he has a huge upside.
Tony Parrish, 5-11, 203lbs, 4.50, Washington: Plays free safety but could also play strong safety. Lacks great height, but combines excellent athletic ability, quickness, and speed with strength and toughness. Can play the run and pass. Big hitter but inconsistent tackler.
Lloyd Lee, 6-1, 215lbs, 4.55, Dartmouth: Strong safety. Small college prospect who is an excellent prospect. Big with fine athletic ability. Smart, tough, and physical. Hard worker. Very good against the run — big hitter and strong tackler. Decent against the pass. Good special teams player. Can return punts.
Ryan Sutter, 6-1, 203lbs, 4.60, Colorado: Free safety who could also play strong safety. Improving player with good size. Smart, competitive, and hard working. Aggressive, physical guy against the run. Decent against the pass — instinctive. Average athletic ability and speed — will never be a real strong coverman. Very good special teams player.
Eric Brown, 6-1, 210lbs, 4.55, Mississppi State: Strong safety. Athletic. Competitive, physical, and aggressive. Very good against the run, but needs to improve his pass defense. A little stiff. Needs a lot of technique work. Not real bright.
Tawambi Settles, 6-2, 195lbs, 4.55, Duke: Plays cornerback but projects to free safety. Decent size and has good speed. Tough. Can tackle, but is not a big hitter. Good special teams player.
Lance Schulters, 6-0, 190lbs, 4.60, Hofstra: Plays cornerback but projects to safety in the pros. Smaller than ideal for a safety, but is physical, aggressive performer. Very strong against the run. Needs a lot of technique work against the pass. Has a special teams demeanor.
Omar Brown, 5-10, 196lbs, 4.65, North Carolina: Smaller than ideal. Good run player — tackles well and will hit. Competitive, smart, instinctive, physical. Lacks great speed and needs to improve against the pass.
KICKERS AND PUNTERS:
Don’t look for the Giants to draft any kickers or punters. They just gave PK Brad Daluiso a big, new contract. They also have a high draft pick invested in P Brad Maynard already.
And the New York Giants Select…
1st Round — WR E.G. Green, Florida State: If it came down to E.G. and OG Alan Faneca, I would probably take Faneca, but I think Faneca will be gone by the 24th pick. E.G. may not get by Tampa Bay, but I have a feeling that they may go for WR Jacquez Green instead. If OG/OT Victor Riley and WR Kevin Dyson slip, they may be possibilities as well, as would Jacquez if he is there. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Giants take a guy like WR Joe Jurevicius, WR Germane Crowell, DT Jeremy Staat, DT Leon Bender, or CB Brian Kelly either. Moreover, “the best available athlete” may in fact end up being one of the top rated safeties. E.G. Green may not have ideal tools, but he is a consistent play-maker who runs great routes, can avoid the jam, gets open, and score touchdowns. He, along with a healthy Ike Hilliard, would dramatically improve the passing offense.
2nd Round — OG Mike Goff, Iowa: The Giants could go in a few directions here. There should be a few quality wide receivers left. A guy like WR Az-Zahir Hakim who could also return kicks and punts would be a viable option. So would adding a big wide receiver such as Crowell, Jurevicius, Marcus Nash, or Mikhael Ricks. The Giants could also look at TE Stephen Alexander here or a center such as Olin Kreutz, Jeremy Newberry, or Bob Hallen. The Giants may also prefer OG Melvin Thomas to Goff. On the defensive side, DE/OLB Greg Spires or one of the many quality cornerbacks could be an option. Goff is a smart, tough, competitive lineman who can run and pass block as well as pull.
3rd Round — TE Blake Spence: Some may think this is a little high for Spence, but I think he is the best TE in the draft. I also don’t think the Giants can risk having Tampa Bay snatch him right in front of their pick in round four. Other guys who I would consider here include WR’s Hines Ward, Jerome Pathon, and Brian Alford; OC’s Aaron Taylor and Gennaro DiNapoli (if Kreutz, Newberry, and Hallen are gone); OG Benji Olson; OLB/DE Steve Foley; OLB Antony Jordan; CB’s Robert Williams and Roosevelt Blackmon; and S Tony Parrish. Spence isn’t the next Mark Bavaro, but he is a solid receiver with good hands and who makes plays in the clutch. He’s a smart guy and knows how to run routes and can run after the catch. Factoring E.G. Green, Ike Hilliard, and Blake Spence into the offensive equation would make QB Danny Kanell a very happy camper.
4th Round — WR Tim Dwight, Iowa: Dwight has the type of attitude that all coaches love. He’s a solid receiver, but it is his special teams play that attracts attention. Very good kick and punt returner.
5th Round — OLB Ron Merkerson: Giants finally turn to the defensive side of the ball. Merkerson has the size and plays the physical kind of game you need at the strongside position, but is not real strong in coverage. His presence makes Corey Miller even more expendable.
6th Round — DT Brandon Whiting, California: Strictly a back-up type, but a smart, tough, hard-working, competitive player who will help out the depth situation inside.
7th Round — CB Omarr Morgan, BYU: Smaller than ideal, but a quick, fast coverman who could make a very good nickel back.