New York Giants 2005 NFL Draft Preview
My draft preview this year is going to be a bit different. With only four selections, it seems a tad silly to me to do a more comprehensive draft preview. Forty-two players will be drafted by other teams before the Giants make their first selection in round two. After that, they only have picks in the 3rd, 4th, and 6th rounds. Thus, the heart of this document will really be what I see are the Giants draft needs plus a listing of some of the players who have caught my eye. You will see some highly regarded prospects missing from my list for a variety of reasons: they will be gone before the Giants pick, I don’t think they are a good fit for the Giants’ coaching staff or schemes, or they have too many traits that I find unappealing.
The Giants really upgraded themselves in free agency with the acquisitions of RT Kareem McKenzie, WR Plaxico Burress, and MLB Antonio Pierce. These moves helped them to make up some ground against the Philadelphia Eagles as well as improve the Giants’ competitiveness vis a vis the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins. Unfortunately, the Giants are likely to lose ground to all three of their divisional rivals on draft day. Philadelphia has 13 picks; three times as many as the Giants. Worse, they will pick twice before the Giants select and have three more selections after that on the first day alone. The Cowboys have two first round picks (including the 11th overall selection) and there are already whispers that they will use one of these first rounders to trade down and acquire even more picks. The Redskins only have five picks, but they do have the 9th and 25th overall selection in the entire draft. Only a true-blue Giants’ fan wearing rose-colored glasses could put a positive spin on this situation. Unless teams like the Eagles, Cowboys, and Redskins really screw up their picks, draft weekend is likely to be a depressing affair for the G-Men.
And I think it will also be rather unexciting. I see posts in The Corner Forum speculating on how the Giants will be movers and shakers on draft day. I doubt this very much. I think the Giants will make their two picks on Saturday and their two picks on Sunday and call it a weekend. The team will then be aggressive in pursuing the rookie free agents who went undrafted.
So what are the Giants’ big needs? Aside from the glaring need at halfback, most of the issues the Giants have are on the defensive side of the football. The Giants lack impact play-makers in the front seven, are paper-thin at defensive end, and may need to draft Will Allen’s eventual replacement if he is allowed to depart in free agency in 2006. But don’t be surprised to see the Giants draft for best available player. It is better to come away with a future Pro Bowler at a non-need position than it is to draft an average player at a need position.
Quarterbacks: I seriously doubt the Giants will draft a quarterback. Eli Manning is THE present and future. Jim Miller will serve as his mentor. And Jesse Palmer just re-signed for two years and will battle Miller for the primary back-up spot. The Giants also have the strong-armed Jared Lorenzen on the roster.
Wide Receiver: With the signing of Plaxico Burress, the Giants no longer have a pressing need at wide receiver. Amani Toomer is safe for one more year for cap-reasons alone. Plus, he is likely to have a strong comeback season for the Giants. The speedy but injury-prone Tim Carter will get one more shot and the Giants think highly of speedy second-year man Jamaar Taylor. Rounding out the group are special teams stars David Tyree and Willie Ponder. Added training camp competition will come from Jason Geathers and Michael Jennings. The Giants will only keep six receivers and unless the Giants are really looking to replace Carter right now, I think they will use their few picks in other areas. However, if the Giants are looking to add another receiver, I think they will be completely focused on speed guys:
- Roddy White, 6-1, 207lbs, 4.40, Alabama-Birmingham: Small school prospect with an excellent combination of size and athletic ability. Has the speed to get deep and consistently pressure defenses. Can run by defenders. Physical and will go over the middle. Adjusts to the football. Very good hands. Needs work on reading defenses, route running, and blocking. Confident and competitive player. Will talk some smack.
- Terrence Murphy, 6-1, 202lbs, 4.43, Texas A&M: Polished receiver who runs good routes and knows how to set up defenders. Quick and fluid in and out of cuts with good speed and hands. Gets separation on defenders and can get deep. Can adjust to the football. Runs well after the catch. Hard-working and tough. Good blocker. Can return kickoffs.
- Mark Bradley, 6-1, 201lbs, 4.43, Oklahoma: Moved to wide receiver in 2003 so he is still a raw, but developing, talent. Has a nice combination of size and athletic ability. Has very good speed and accelerates quickly. Escapes the jam well. Adjusts very well to the football and has excellent hands. Needs a lot of work in reading defenses and route running. Outstanding gunner on special teams.
- Jerome Mathis, 5-11, 182lbs, 4.29, Hampton: Lacks ideal size, but he is an extremely fast player who can blow by a defensive back. Outstanding acceleration. Has good quickness and is elusive. Not natural catching the football, but has decent hands. Will need a lot of work on reading defenses and route-running. Good competitor and will run block. Excellent kick returner.
- Roscoe Parrish, 5-10, 168lbs, 4.39, Miami: Junior entry. Very small receiver with excellent speed and quickness. Runs good routes and separates from defenders out of breaks. Tough, will go over the middle. Can adjust to the football and has good hands. Clutch receiver. Outstanding with the football in his hands after the catch. Excels as a punt returner.
Halfback: The big need on offense is a halfback to share time with Tiki Barber and who could step in and play at a high level if Barber were to get hurt. Ideally, this guy would be a physical, powerful back who would excel in short-yardage and in goal line situations. If Barber were to get hurt, the Giants’ offense would be in a lot of trouble. And Tom Coughlin certainly does not want Barber touching the ball as many times as he did last year. He wants to extend Barber’s career, not shorten it. There is an excellent chance that the Giants will spend one of their top two picks on a halfback.
- Ciatrick Fason, 6-0, 207lbs, 4.62, Florida: Junior entry. Fason has OK size, but he is a very strong, well put-together athlete who runs bigger than his listed weight. Has good vision, instincts, and competitiveness. Accelerates quickly and can break big runs, but he is not an explosive home run threat. Tough inside runner who can pick up yardage after contact, but not overly powerful. Runs with balance and patience. Has deceptive quickness, but he is not real elusive. Catches the ball well. Needs to improve his ability to pick up the blitz.
- J.J. Arrington, 5-9, 214lbs, 4.45, California: Lacks ideal height, but he is not small and is an excellent athlete with fine speed. Strong and tough. Well-rounded back who can run inside, outside, and catch the football. Slashing-type of runner with good vision and instincts. Has the speed to break off big runs and go the distance. Not terribly elusive or powerful, but he cuts back well and can break tackles. Has had some fumbling issues. Needs to improve in pass protection.
- Ryan Moats, 5-8, 210lbs, 4.49, Louisiana Tech: Junior entry. Lacks ideal size, but he a tough, competitive back who has very good vision and instincts. Has good quickness, balance, and elusiveness in his game and can break off big runs. Not a powerful runner. More dangerous on the edge, but he can also run between the tackles. Hard worker. Has good hands. Needs to improve his blitz pick-ups, where his size also limits him.
- Marion Barber III, 5-11, 221lbs, 4.51, Minnesota: Junior entry. Big, aggressive, tough, and powerful back. Has good vision and instincts. Has quick feet and cuts well. Better inside runner than outside runner, but he can turn the corner. Runs with power and can break tackles. Lacks ideal speed and elusiveness. Hard worker. Not used much in the passing game in college. Needs to improve his pass protection.
- Frank Gore, 5-9, 217lbs, 4.66, Miami: Junior entry, who is leaving school early because his mother needs a kidney transplant. Suffered two serious ACL tears to both knees (to his right knee in 2002 and to his left knee in 2003). Before injuries sidetracked him, he was considered a better player than teammate Willis McGahee. When healthy, Gore looked like a premier running back with an excellent combination of power, toughness, balance, explosiveness, instincts, and vision. Was not the same player for most of 2004, but he flashed signs of his former self late in the season. The big questions are can he return to form and how durable will he be in the pros? A gamble-on-greatness-type of selection.
- Vernand Morency, 5-10, 212lbs, 4.66, Oklahoma State: Junior entry. Tough, physical runner who lacks ideal speed. Plays faster than he times. Good inside runner who accelerates quickly…has a burst through the hole. Runs with power and breaks tackles. Not terribly elusive, but he can cut quickly. Gets tripped up too easily at times…needs to pick up his feet more consistently. Can get to the outside, but this is not the strength of his game. Has good vision and is instinctive. Must do a better job of protecting the football. Not used much in the passing game, but he can catch. Needs to improve his pass protection.
- Eric Shelton, 6-1, 246lbs, 4.56, Louisville: Junior entry. Huge, physical, powerful back who excels near the goal line and in short-yardage. Gains yardage after contact. Runs with good pad level, but he can sometimes get tripped up too easily…needs to pick up his feet more consistently. Has good vision and is instinctive. Not elusive, quick, or explosive. Not much of an outside threat as a runner. Not used in the passing game. Good blocker.
Fullback: The Giants re-signed Jim Finn to a 5-year deal, but it would not be impossible to cut him as his signing bonus was probably not too high. Still, the Giants are unlikely to draft a fullback because this is a terrible year for fullbacks in the draft.
Tight End: Jeremy Shockey is obviously entrenched as the starter, but much depends on how Tom Coughlin feels about Visanthe Shiancoe and Chris Luzar and their respective blocking skills. However, this is a terrible year for tights ends who can block. I don’t really see any worth drafting.
Offensive Tackle: The Giants are set on the right side with Kareem McKenzie. If he were to get hurt, the team also has the ability to shift David Diehl back to right tackle in a pinch. Luke Petitgout will start at left tackle. Ideally, the Giants would like to draft another left tackle to compete with Brandon Winey in camp behind Petitgout and possibly challenge Petitgout in 2006 or 2007. However, good left tackles usually fly off the board early and I don’t see any that really stand out who will be available after the first round.
Offensive Guard: With other more desperate needs, the Giants are unlikely to draft a guard. Chris Snee will start at right guard and David Diehl will likely start at left guard. There is good depth with Jason Whittle and Rich Seubert (assuming Seubert recovers from the severe leg injury he suffered in October 2003). Wayne Lucier can also start at guard in a pinch.
Offensive Center: On paper, it would appear that the Giants have more crying needs than to draft a center. Shaun O’Hara is a decent center and Wayne Lucier is capable of starting as well. However, there are three good centers in this draft who could make the Giants’ offensive line a real strength.
- Chris Spencer, 6-3, 309lbs, 5.24, Mississippi: Junior entry. Strong, quick, athletic center. Good run and pass blocker. Plays with natural leverage and can create movement in the ground game. Can pull and get out on linebackers on the second level. Has very quick feet and lateral quickness to excel in pass protection. Smart. Somewhat raw and inconsistent as he has only started for a little over a year. Needs technique work. Looks like a future Pro Bowler.
- David Baas, 6-4, 319lbs, 5.08, Michigan: Big, strong, athletic guard and center. Played better at guard in 2003, but came on late in 2004 at center. Plays with some power and good technique. Plays with a nasty attitude. Tough and aggressive. Not a mauler, but he effectively seals his man away from the action. Can pull and get out on the second level and engage linebackers. Works to sustain his run blocks. Anchors well in pass protection. Can have some problems with quickness when he plays at a heavier weight, but he has very good foot agility when he plays closer to 300 pounds. Has Pro Bowl ability.
- Jason Brown, 6-3, 313lbs, 5.49, North Carolina: Strong, physical center. Can block at the point-of-attack and get to the second level when in shape. Anchors well in pass protection at times, but he can be knocked back by tackles who quickly get into his chest when he does not use his hands aggressively. Lacks ideal lateral quickness. Hard-working, competitive, and smart. Plays better (i.e., quicker) when he keeps his weight in check.
Defensive Tackle: The Giants have a lot of bodies and youth here, but aside from Fred Robbins, there are no sure-things. And a great defensive tackle can elevate the play of the entire defense. Tom Coughlin and Tim Lewis seem to be still searching for that stud defensive tackle.
- Luis Castillo, 6-3, 303lbs, 4.82, Northwestern: Versatile defensive tackle who can 2-gap or 1-gap; has the ability to play nose tackle. Average size, but he is strong, quick, and powerful. Top competitor who plays hard and will play hurt. Tough and intense. Good run defender who can play with leverage and hold up against the double-team. Needs to play with leverage more consistently and not get too high. Makes plays down the line of scrimmage. Decent pass rusher – lacks ideal initial quickness but he has a good combination of power and athleticism . Hard-working and smart. Tested positive for steroids at the NFL Combine.
- Travis Johnson, 6-4, 305lbs, 4.99, Florida State: Quick, strong, athletic1-gap defensive tackle. Disrupts running and passing plays with his quickness. Not stout run defender against the double-team, but can make plays with penetration. Needs to play more with leverage more consistently and shed better. Very agile and can pursue down the line of scrimmage. Good pass rusher who consistently gets pressure on the quarterback. Combination of strength and quickness gives opposing interior linemen fits. Needs to become a harder worker. Has some character concerns. Only just scratched the surface of his potential.
- Jonathan Babineaux, 6-2, 286lbs, 4.90, Iowa: Lacks ideal size, but he is a very quick, athletic, and strong tackle who can also play some defensive end. Quick hands. Plays with natural leverage. Can 2-gap and hold up against the double-team on running plays. Can make plays down the line of scrimmage – makes a lot of plays in pursuit. Can penetrate the pocket and pressure the quarterback…has an excellent closing burst. Hard worker with great intangibles.
- Mike Patterson, 6-0, 290lbs, 4.96, USC: Very short tackle who is a disruptive presence in the middle of the line. Has long arms. Very quick and has quick, strong hands. Plays with natural leverage and is strong at the point-of-attack (he is a non-factor when he doesn’t play with leverage). Can 2-gap at the collegiate level, but some questions about his ability to do it at the pro level. Makes plays down the line of scrimmage. Combination of strength and quickness allows him to pressure the quarterback. Hard-working, intense, and competitive. A team leader.
- Anttaj Hawthorne, 6-3, 321lbs, 5.26, Wisconsin: Huge, powerful tackle who can 2-gap and hold the point-of-attack against the double-team. Can play with leverage, but needs to do so more consistently. Needs to use his hands better to shed quicker. Lacks range in making plays down the line of scrimmage. Can push the pocket on the pass rush. Biggest problem is that he is inconsistent…he does not play hard all the time. Tested positive for marijuana and will likely slide some because of it.
- Atiyyah Ellison, 6-4, 305lbs, 5.11, Missouri: Combines decent size with good strength and athleticism. Strong hands. Good run defender who can 2-gap and hold up against the double-team. Needs to play with leverage and aggressiveness on a more consistent basis. Can make plays down the line of scrimmage. Flashes quickness on the pass rush, but does not generate much heat on the quarterback (needs more pass rush moves). Needs to become much more consistent. Has the ability, but doesn’t produce enough on the football field.
- Ronald Fields, 6-2, 307lbs, 5.25, Mississippi State: Cousin of DT Kenderick Allen. Has the ability to play nose tackle. Has good size and is very strong. Can 2-gap and hold up against the double-team at the point-of-attack. Can play with leverage, but needs to do so more consistently or his strength is negated. Needs to use his hands better in order to shed more quickly. Has some quickness to his game and flashes an ability to penetrate. Lacks range in pursuit. Not much of a pass rusher. Needs to play hard all the time.
Defensive End: The Giants are paper-thin at defensive end. Worse, Michael Strahan turns 34 this season and is coming off a serious injury. Osi Umenyiora flashes great ability but has been somewhat inconsistent. There is no depth whatsoever. Tom Coughlin believes football games are won up front in the trenches.
- Shaun Cody, 6-4, 293lbs, 5.06, USC: Played mostly tackle in college, but probably projects best as a strongside end at the pro level. As a tackle, he is strictly a 1-gap player as he lacks power and natural leverage at the point-of-attack. Quick lineman who flashes explosiveness. Plays hard and his quickness and agility can give blockers problems. Uses his hands well. Penetrates. Can and will pursue down the line of scrimmage. As a pass rusher, he has a very good combination of power and quickness. Can rush off the edge. Intense and relentless. Smart and a hard worker.
- Justin Tuck, 6-5, 268lbs, 4.71, Notre Dame: Junior entry. Very athletic end with excellent speed and quickness. Decent run defender who plays with leverage and can hold up at the point-of-attack, but who has problems shedding blocks consistently. Needs to get stronger and shed better. Can penetrate and disrupt with his quickness. Excellent in pursuit. Notre Dame’s all-time sack leader. Has the tools to become a very good pass rusher at the pro level. Explosive edge rusher and closes on the quarterback in a hurry. Has impact potential, but is inconsistent…not consistently aggressive. Has a knee injury that needs to be checked out (he tore his ACL in 2003).
- Matt Roth, 6-4, 278lbs, 4.83, Iowa: Big, powerful strongside end. Intense, tough, and competitive. Plays hard all of the time. Has short arms, but strong hands. Good run defender who can hold up at the point-of-attack and shed blocks. Needs to use his hands more consistently. A bit stiff, but he flashes quickness and power as a pass rusher. Good power rusher, but he needs to develop better pass rush moves. Disruptive.
- Dan Cody, 6-5, 254lbs, 4.78, Oklahoma: Weakside end who also projects to a 3-4 linebacker. Tall, but lacks ideal bulk. Very athletic end with very good speed and quickness. Has the ability to drop into coverage. A team leader. Intense, tough, and aggressive. So-so run defender who needs to get bigger, stronger, and play with better leverage. Has trouble shedding at times. Strong hands help him control blockers, but he is not stout at the point-of-attack. Can disrupt with his quickness and is good in pursuit. A little stiff, but he has fine pass rush tools. Can be explosive and close on the quarterback in a hurry. Needs to develop more pass rush moves. Big hitter. Hard worker on and off the field. Team leader. Has had issues with clinical depression in his past.
- Chris Canty, 6-7, 279lbs, 5.01, Virginia: Talented strongside end who will likely be drafted lower than he should as he is coming off an ACL injury that he suffered in late September. Also suffered a serious eye injury in January 2005. Both need to be checked out. Has the ability to play defensive tackle in a 3-4 or defensive end in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. Has excellent size and long arms. Good run defender. Can anchor against the double-team and shed blocks to make the play. Can play with leverage, but sometimes plays too tall. Hustles in pursuit. As a pass rusher, he has a nice combination of power and agility. Lacks great quickness and closing speed – not much of an edge rusher. Plays hard.
Linebacker: The starting middle (Antonio Pierce) and strongside (Carlos Emmons) are set and if Barrett Green can recover quickly from offseason knee surgery, he should start on the weakside. There is decent depth with Reggie Torbor (who needs improve his game dramatically as a linebacker, not just a pass rusher), Nick Greisen (can play all three linebacker spots), and Kevin Lewis. Second year men James Maxwell and T.J. Hollowell are also in the picture. Nevertheless, Green was disappointing last year and Emmons turns 32 this year. However, I personally think this is a terrible draft for linebackers. It seems as if all of the highly regarded prospects have at least one significant blemish: too small, too slow, character concerns, not aggressive enough, etc. In fact the only linebacker I will list below is a defensive line conversion project who projects more to a 3-4-style of defense.
- Trent Cole, 6-2, 245, 4.86, Cincinnati: Collegiate defensive end who projects to linebacker in the pros. Makes big plays in clutch situations. Intense, competitive, and athletic. Physical and hustles in pursuit. Inconsistent run defender at the point-of-attack, but flashes ability in that area. Can penetrate and disrupt. Excellent in pursuit. Very good pass rusher who has excellent initial quickness and closes on the quarterback in a hurry. Has long arms. Not fluid or experienced in coverage. A 3-4-type linebacker-type.
Safety: Assuming his neck injury isn’t chronic, the Giants are set at one safety spot with Gibril Wilson. My best guess is that he will start at free safety this year, but he certainly has the flexibility to play in both spots. Shaun Williams’ contract was re-structured, cutting salary and two years from his original deal. It is pretty obvious that the team sees him as a short-term solution. It will be interesting to see how physically he performs coming off of back-to-back offseason surgeries on both his knees. Brent Alexander is respected by the coaching staff for his smarts, but he is getting up there in years. Curry Burns saw some starting time late last year and could compete for a starting job opposite of Wilson. Ideally, the Giants would like to acquire one safety who will eventually replace and serve as an upgrade to Williams and/or Alexander.
- Thomas Davis, 6-1, 230lbs, 4.62, Georgia: Junior entry. Strong safety. Huge – has linebacker size and could project to linebacker. Very good athlete for his size. Tough, physical, and instinctive. Major force in run defense. Very good tackler and a big-time hitter. Has great range against the run. Not as strong in pass defense where he lacks ideal speed. Aware in zone coverage and makes plays on passes in front of him. Can man up with backs and tight ends. Inconsistent on deep reads and deep outside throws. Will have some problems with quick receivers in man coverage. Good blitzer. Similar to Cowboys’ safety Roy Williams. Has impact ability.
- Josh Bullocks, 6-0, 209lbs, 4.50, Nebraska: Junior entry. Good athlete with decent size. Tough and physical. Aggressive in run support – good hitter and usually tackles well although he needs to be more consistent in the latter area. Instinctive pass defender who has good range in coverage. Has experience in both man and zone coverage. Has some problems with quick receivers in the slot. Makes plays on the football.
- Oshiomogho Atogwe, 5-11, 219lbs, 4.57, Stanford: Lacks ideal height, but he has good size and athleticism. Smart and instinctive. Needs to be more consistently aggressive in run defense and become a more consistent physical tackler – flashes ability here. Solid in pass coverage, but is a bit stiff and this can hinder him in man coverage against quick receivers. Has good playing speed and can cover on deep passes to the outside. Makes plays on the football. Hard worker.
Cornerback: Everything depends on the status of CB Will Allen. There have been rumors that Allen will be traded on draft day. If true, the Giants will need to draft a corner high. There are also whispers that the Giants may allow Allen to walk in free agency in 2006 (though that probably depends on what kind of season he has in 2005). If true, the Giants need to draft insurance in case Allen does depart. The Giants are set at right corner with Will Peterson. And Frank Walker and Curtis Deloatch are better players than most fans realize. Adding a 5th corner would be ideal unless the Giants are high on Art Thomas.
- Justin Miller, 5-10, 4.46, Clemson: Junior entry. Shorter than ideal, but a well-built, athletic corner who plays an aggressive game. Confident and instinctive. Has good (not great) speed and very good quickness. Accelerates well. Has the ability to be exceptional in coverage, but is inconsistent. Teams rarely throw in his direction, but he sometimes gives up the big play. Can stick with top receivers in man coverage. Physical with receivers. Makes plays on the football. Good run defender. Needs to improve his work ethic and become more team-oriented. Has experience as a punt and kickoff returner.
- Eric Green, 5-11, 198lbs, 4.57, Virginia Tech: Confident, instinctive corner who plays much faster than his 40 time. Athletic, agile, and quick. Good man-to-man defender who can press receivers at the line of scrimmage. Alert in zone coverage. Makes plays on the football. Needs to improve his footwork. Needs to become a more physical and aggressive player in run support.
- Fabian Washington, 5-10, 188lbs, 4.32, Nebraska: Junior entry. Lacks ideal size, but he is an excellent athlete with great speed. Quick and agile. Has experience in both man and zone coverage. Needs a lot of technique work, especially with his footwork. Inconsistent instincts. Gets turned around some in coverage and gives up more catches than he should. Doesn’t make enough plays on the football. Hard worker. Has great ability, but the production isn’t there yet.
- Corey Webster, 6-0, 199lbs, 4.56, LSU: Former wide receiver converted to cornerback. Needs a lot of technique work, especially his footwork. Combines good size and athletic ability. Lacks ideal speed, but he is quick and fluid. Tough, aggressive, instinctive corner. Does well in man and zone coverage. Makes plays on the football. Hampered by injuries in 2004 that affected his play and could cause his stock to drop. Needs to improve his play against the run.
- Darrent Williams, 5-9, 176lbs, 4.35, Oklahoma State: Lacks much size, but plays bigger than he is. Excellent athlete with very good speed and quickness. Instinctive cover man who makes plays on the football. Play both man and zone coverage well. Confident, aggressive, and competitive. Sometimes too aggressive in coverage and will gamble too much. Raw – he needs a lot of technique work. Lack of size does hurt him against big receivers and in tackling. Has been somewhat injury-prone. Dynamic punt returner. Has some character concerns.
- Bryant McFadden, 6-0, 193lbs, 4.49, Florida State: Combines good size, strength, and athletic ability. Lacks ideal speed, but he is quick and agile. Good in tight man coverage, but he needs to react quicker in man off and zone coverage. Needs to make more plays on the football on passes in front of him. Confident. Needs to become more aggressive in run support and become a better tackler.
- Karl Paymah, 6-0, 204lbs, 4.39, Washington State: Combines good size and athletic ability. Has good quickness, but he needs to improve his footwork. Lacks ideal speed, but he is instinctive and can play both man and zone coverage. Plays the ball well on passes in front of him. Needs to become a more consistent tackler. Good special teams player.
- Kelvin Hayden, 5-10, 195lbs, 4.52, Illinois: Converted wide receiver who has a lot of learning to do about playing corner. Showed promise as a first-time defender in 2004. Lacks ideal height, but he has good size, quickness, and speed. Agile and can man up on a receiver. Makes plays on the football. Competitive, aggressive, and physical. Inexperienced and needs a lot of technique work, but he is a hard worker. Needs to become a better run defender.
- Scott Starks, 5-8, 175lbs, 4.42, Wisconsin: Diminutive corner with excellent athletic ability. Plays bigger than his size. Fast and quick. Tough, instinctive, competitive cover corner who plays with an attitude. Good in man and zone coverage. Lack of size affects his ability to tackle. Projects best as a nickel corner in the NFL. Good gunner on special teams.
Punter/Place Kicker: With Jeff Feagles and Jay Feely on board, the Giants will not draft a punter or kicker.
And the New York Giants Select…
2nd Round – DE Justin Tuck, Notre Dame: While running back and cornerback are certainly a possibility here, I think the Giants will look to address the line of scrimmage with their first pick. One of the best defensive ends in the draft at a need position for the Giants. Tuck’s knee needs to be checked out. The only other primary concern is where does Tuck and Umenyiora play when Strahan retires. Umenyiora has seen playing time on the strongside as a pass rusher and Tuck has the frame to add another 10-15 pounds easily. If the Giants want to specifically draft a strongside end, they may look at DE Matt Roth instead. I would not be shocked however to see the Giants draft DT Jonathan Babineaux here. Babineaux is very similar to DT Rod Coleman, who the Giants aggressively pursued in free agency last year. I also would not be surprised to see the Giants draft for the other side of the line and select OC Chris Spencer or OC/OG David Baas.
3rd Round – CB Darrent Williams, Oklahoma State: I don’t like drafting small corners, but Williams plays bigger than his size and if he were two inches taller, he would be a first round draft pick. He would add a play-maker to a secondary that sorely lacks that ability and he is an excellent punt returner. The other guy who I considered here was LB/DE Trent Cole.
4th Round – Eric Shelton, Louisville: I think Shelton is going to fall further than most people do because I think most NFL teams will see him as a situational running back. However, I would not be shocked at all if the pick here was for the gamble-on-greatness selection of HB Frank Gore.
6th Round – ?: Probably some safety we’ve never heard of.