Jun 232008
 
 June 23, 2008  Posted by  Articles, The Draft

New York Giants 2008 NFL Draft Review

Draft Pick Scouting Reports
Rookie Free Agent Scouting Reports
Eric’s Take on the 2008 Draft

Round Pick in Round Overall Selection Player Selected
1 31 31 S Kenny Phillips, University of Miami
2 32 63 CB Terrell Thomas, University of Southern California (USC)
3 32 95 WR Mario Manningham, University of Michigan
4 24 123 LB Bryan Kehl, Brigham Young University (BYU)
5 30 165 LB Jonathan Goff, Vanderbilt University
6 28 194 Traded to Steelers to move up in 4th round.
6 32 198 QB Andre’ Woodson, University of Kentucky
6 33 199 DE Robert Henderson, University of Southern Mississippi

2008 Draft Pick Scouting Reports

1st Round – S Kenny Phillips, University of Miami (6-2, 212lbs, 4.50)

SCOUTING REPORT: Junior entry.  Three-year starter, but only seven career interceptions.  Phillips played better as a sophomore than as a junior.  He finished the 2007 season with 82 tackles, five pass breakups, and two interceptions.  He combines very good size with good athleticism.  Phillips has good speed and range.  He is agile for a bigger defensive back.  Phillips has solid coverage skills with experience in both zone and man coverage, including some experience at cornerback.  He does not make a lot of plays on the football in the air.  He is a physical, aggressive player and a good tackler.  Good run defender.  Hard worker and smart.  He reads and reacts quickly – alert and quick to diagnose plays.  Competitive, confident, and plays with a swagger.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:

Question:  What do you like about him?

Reese: There are a lot of things we like about Kenny Phillips.  We like his size; we like his speed.  He is multi-dimensional.  We like those kinds of players – guys that have played corner before.  We think he can do down and play on your third receiver if he has to.  He is smart and he is a good person.  We like all of that stuff about him.  He was clean.  He has been a three-year starter at a high level of competition.  And he is young kid that is going to only get better; nothing but upside for this guy.

Question: He said he had not really had a lot of contact with you guys since the Combine…

Reese: Some guys are clean and you really don’t have to do a lot of extra work on.  So we had him targeted and he was clean.  You don’t spend a lot of extra time with clean guys.  You spend a lot of extra time with guys you may have some issues with and you need to clear some things up about.  So we didn’t have a lot to clear up about him.  We like Kenny; we like him a lot.

Question: Player of need?

Reese: Absolutely.  We got nice value and we got a need position as well.  So that is what we like to do in the draft.  We talk about it all of the time.  We don’t want to reach for guys.  We got what we wanted.  We got the need and we got value with the player; with this pick.

Question: Some picks are ‘easy’ for you?

Reese: Yeah, I think it was a pretty good pick.  You never know what you are going to get with these guys.  But it was a pretty good pick for us.  We felt good about him; we felt great about him, as a matter of fact – that the guy fell down to us.  We felt like he was a really good player in the first row.

Question: Was there much discussion of other guys?

Reese: There were several other guys.  We always discuss enough guys in your window to have enough to pick when it is your time to pick.  So if your number one guy goes, you have several other guys to pick from.  So we had several discussions about several other people; players we had in the first row.

Question: Does the Miami safety pedigree play into this at all?

Reese: Not for us.  Obviously they have had good safeties to come out of there.  We just left like he was a good player; not that he played in Miami.  We just felt like he was a really good football player that was only going to continue get better and have a lot of upside.

Question: Is he more of a free or strong safety?

Reese: I think he can play both. He is a free safety.  He can invert and do anything you want him to do back there.  So we love those kind of guys; versatile guys; versatile guys.  I talked to one of his coaches.  He said, “This guy is a really good athlete.  He can play corner.”  At Miami they think he can play corner.  So that is what kind of athlete we have with him.  So it is exciting to get a good, young player like that.

Question: Were you sure he would slide to 31?

Reese: Absolutely not.  I didn’t think he would make it that long.

Question: How hard was it to judge him due to fact that his team did not do well?

Reese: That didn’t play into anything for us.  We look at the player.  We really don’t look at the record and what is going on.  Just like Kawika Mitchell.  People probably said that about him.  He didn’t play on a good defense.  But we look at the player.  We really don’t care if the defense is not very good.  We are looking at what the player is doing.  So that is how I try to evaluate players.

Question: Will he get on the field as a rookie?

Reese: Well obviously he is going to come in and play on special teams anyway, if nothing else, until he learns what to do.  And we feel like in time he should challenge for some playing time back there and eventually become a starter for us I think.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS:

Question: It does look that way as you lost a safety and then drafted a safety in the first round?

Ross: You can look at it however you want, but we don’t look at it like that, no.  We like Kenny Phillips, he was the highest rated guy on our board and we took Kenny Phillips.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:

Coughlin: We were pleased to have the opportunity to draft a player of Kenny Phillips’ ability when we did in the bottom of the first round.  We had him ranked high.  We had him as the best safety on the board.  It is a need position for us.  He is an excellent football player.  He is a guy that will come down in the box and tackle and can play in coverage.  He has played over wide receivers during his career.  He has a career which gives you the balance and the versatility of a player of his ability with his interceptions, his tackles, etc.  We are excited to have an opportunity to draft this player.  There is great value in this pick and it is a need position, so therefore we have been able to accomplish a bunch of things here with Kenny Phillips.

Question: Everyone says he is not Ed Reed or Sean Taylor?

Coughlin: He is Kenny Phillips.  He is not either one of those guys.  He is Kenny Phillips and that is a plenty good football player.

Question: Do you see him as more of a free or strong safety?

Coughlin: I don’t know.  We are going to look at that.  They do have to be interchangeable to a great extent.  We have talked about this before.  You can motion or whatever and put people in position where whoever you think is free is down and whoever you think is strong is back deep.  There is so much four across the board coverage and rolled up coverage one way or the other that they end up with multiple responsibilities anyway.  We will talk about exactly where, but as I said, he is a good football player and we certainly will find a spot for him.

Question: He can play in the box versus going back and playing center field?

Coughlin: That is what you see when you study him, too.  He is down and he does play well when he is down and he also plays well…his range is good, you can see that on film.  He can go to the sideline for a ball.

Question: Do you think you were fortunate that he was there at 31?

Coughlin: Well, we do because we had him ranked as high as we did.  I think what happens when you talk about that is you may have some people in the mix in terms of who you are talking about who have, for some reason or another, not that same evaluation.  In other words, it may be a medical, it may be a character, or it may be something.  This is a very, very sound, solid young man who does have all these attributes going for him.  This was good.

Question: At what point did you think you could get him?

Coughlin: I think we started talking probably around 22 or 23.  We quickly discussed four or five players and then held for a minute and then saw a guy go off the board and then jumped back into discussions.  We were pretty well set with four, I think four, guys with three picks to go.

Question: Do you think he can come in and make an impact on this team next year?

Coughlin: I do.  I think that he will compete.  Obviously he is a young player with a lot to learn.  I think he has demonstrated that attitude to you and he is a sharp kid.  He is going to come in and he is going to be humble and try to learn as much as he possibly can, but there is no doubt that he has to be excited because of the opportunity.

Question: What did you say to him when you spoke on the phone?

Coughlin: My job is really to greet, to tell him how excited we are to be in a position where we are going to make the pick, to ask him if they are excited about being a New York Giant, and just make sure that they are healthy and their status is exactly the same as we knew it when we went into the draft.  That is basically the conversation.  There are three or four people that do get involved.  Position coach Dave Merritt talked to Kenny right after that and then all the arrangements etc., etc.

MEDIA Q&A WITH SAFETY KENNY PHILLIPS:

Question: You seemed to be the consensus as to who they were going to pick?  Were you surprised at all?

Phillips: Yeah, I am.  Because I knew a lot of mock drafts have said that I was going to go to the Giants.  But I really don’t feed into all of that, and I haven’t talked to them a lot.  So I definitely was surprised.

Question: What do you bring to the table?

Phillips: I bring versatility.  I can come down and stay in the box.  I can go back there and be a ball hawk.  I can go down there – be that guy on special teams.  Or just whatever the team needs me to do I, can do that.

Question: How does it feel to be joining a team and the defense that won the Super Bowl last year?

Phillips: To me it is a blessing.  A lot of guys want to go as high as possible and they don’t fall into teams and fall into situations just like I did.  I am going to the reigning Super Bowl champs with a great defense.  So I’m going to come in and I’m going to learn and try to make a statement.

Question: What kind of statement do you think you are going to make?

Phillips: Just basically the statement they want me to make.  They want me to come in and be that playmaker, they want me to come in and make tackles, make big plays and just be a difference-maker.

Question: With that kind of confidence do you expect that you will be competing for a starting job for opening day?

Phillips: That is the goal.  When it all falls down I definitely want to be competing for the starting job.  But I am not going to rush into the game.  I’m just going to come in, listen to the veteran players and learn from the coaches, and just try to get my feet wet.

Question: There have been a lot of safeties recently that come from Miami.  You are the fourth one to get drafted in the first round this decade.   Is there anything you can point to for that or is it just a coincidence?

Phillips: The safety position at Miami is huge. We have great secondary coaches.  And the reason I think there’s such a tradition is because those guys that went before us like Ed Reed, Bennie Blades and Brandon Meriweather, those guys come back and they teach the young guys like us.  They tell us the stuff that made them successful in college and we can add it to our game.

Question: Were you worried that Miami might not have a first rounder this year?

Phillips: No.  Every year there is a big write up down here in our papers saying, “Will the streak end here?”  I definitely thought about it but in the end it really wasn’t something I felt that was going to end.  I definitely thought I was going to go in the first round.  And it happened so I’m just happy.

Question: Are you strictly a free safety do you think?

Phillips: No sir.  I played both in college.  We were interchangeable.  So I can do either one; whatever they want me to do.

Question: There seemed to be some mixed feelings that you would go a lot higher and then there were others who thought you might actually drop as far as 31 to the Giants.  Why do you suppose you dropped down to 31?

Phillips: I am really not too sure.  I had a great record at the Combine, Pro Day.  I had a great junior season…We just didn’t do well as a team.  And I think organizations don’t want to take someone from a losing team.  And I think the team record kind of hurt me.

Question: Being a Miami guy, do you know Jeremy Shockey at all?

Phillips: I know him.  I haven’t spoken to him or anything like that.  But I do know him.  But I am really close with Sinorice Moss.

Question:  Are you looking forward to playing with Jeremy Shockey?

Phillips: Oh yeah, definitely man.  I watched him come along.  The intensity that he brings to the game is amazing.  So I’m looking forward to playing with him.

Question: Are you sure that is going happen, because we are not?

Phillips: Well, I hope it does.  And if not I wish him the best.  But right now I’m just glad to have him as a teammate.

Question: Who called you from the Giants?  Was it Coach Coughlin?

Phillips: No, I spoke to him second.  I can’t remember what the first guy’s name was because it was so loud.  But he passed me along to Coach Coughlin.

Question: What do you know about Coach Coughlin?

Phillips: Honestly I don’t know much.  I don’t know a lot about him.  I’m looking forward to learning a lot about him.  I want to be there for the next few years.  Pretty much to me, seeing him on TV, he seems like a real cool guy; a really nice guy; someone who is going to push you and expect the best.

Question: Did you have any experience talking to Steve Spagnuolo?  And what did you get from him?

Phillips: I’m not sure.  I probably talked to him…when they first called.  I remember going into the meeting room and drawing up some plays on the board and stuff like that at the Combine.  But other than that I really didn’t have any interaction with him.

Question: Was that the last time you spoke to the Giants before today?

Phillips: Yes.  One of the guys came to the Pro Day but other than that, no.

Question: Did you watch parts of the Giants defense last year in the playoffs?

Phillips: Yes, basically I was just watching the guys up front.  They set out to be the most — they…a young guy like me needs those guys in front.  Putting that pressure on the quarterback; allow the corners and DBs to make plays.

Question: To some people, playing in New York especially as a first round pick can be very intimidating?  What you are expecting from yourself in order to melt in here and not get caught up in the spotlight?

Phillips: Just come and just learn; learn from the players, the veterans, listen to the coaches.  And just go out there and play football.  Of course guys are going to be bigger, faster, and stronger.  But I’m not slow; I’m not small.  So I definitely feel that I’m going to come in and make an impact.


2nd Round – CB Terrell Thomas, USC (6-1, 202lbs, 4.50)

SCOUTING REPORT: Two-year starter who allowed only two touchdowns the past two seasons.  In 2007, Thomas started 13 games and accrued 45 tackles, 1 sack, 4.5 tackles for a loss, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 7 pass defenses, and 4 interceptions.  Thomas combines very good size and athletic ability for a bigger corner.  Quick and agile for his size.  Very long arms.  He needs to become a more consistent run defender.  Thomas has the ability to play cover-2 as well as man-to-man.  He is physical with receivers and can press receivers at the line.  Thomas has a good feel for zone coverage.  He needs to improve his footwork technique.  Thomas is instinctive and productive.  He is very smart.  Diagnoses well.  Intense and competitive.  Injury issues caused him to slide, including surgeries on both his shoulders and his right knee.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:

Question: Were you concerned at all about Terrell Thomas’ injury history?

Coughlin: We know he played through some things, the last year in particular with the shoulder, but we rely heavily on what our doctors tell us.  His grade is more than acceptable.

MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS:

Question: What do you like about Terrell Thomas?

Ross: Terrell has excellent size for a corner.  Really a top-notch athlete.  Big, fast corner who has played at a high level and has been productive.  Really a smooth, fluid athlete, and has played in big games.  He won’t be intimidated when he gets on this stage because at SC obviously they have played a lot of big games and this guy performed well in those.

Question: Is he projected as a corner or a safety?

Ross: We drafted him as a corner.  We like him as a corner.

Question: Are you surprised that you went defense with both selections today?

Ross: We are happy we got two good football players.  We didn’t go in saying we have to take two defensive guys or two offensive guys.  We went in and stuck with our board and took two football players we really like.  We didn’t have a game plan in mind of what positions or what side of the ball.  We just wanted to get good football players.

Question: Do you think both picks were need picks?

Ross: Again, we don’t draft like that, by need.  I think that is when you get hurt is when you say, ‘we need this, we need to take a corner, we need to take this.’  How the board falls and how we have them stacked, that is how we take them.  No, I wouldn’t classify them as need picks.

Question: It does look that way as you lost a safety and then drafted a safety in the first round?

Ross: You can look at it however you want, but we don’t look at it like that, no.  We like Kenny Phillips, he was the highest rated guy on our board and we took Kenny Phillips.

Question: The previous injuries are not a concern with Thomas?

Ross: No.  We have a top-notch medical staff here and when Ronnie Barnes says the guy is okay, I trust him 100 percent.  Everybody has their job to fulfill during the draft and leading up to this process.  Obviously I am new here but I trust people here 100 percent.  When Ronnie says it is okay, then I don’t even think twice about it.

Question: How did your first year go with the Giants?

Ross: Yeah, I knew when I got hired that we were going to win the Super Bowl…

Question: Your first draft as college scouting director?

Ross: It is great.  This is a great group of guys here, a great staff, coaches, Jerry (Reese) is great to work with, and Coach Coughlin, and Mr. Mara.  It is just such a great environment here and it has been really smooth.  This day was smooth; the whole draft meetings were smooth.  A professional group here at the Giants.

Question: Had you met more with Thomas before the draft than Phillips?

Ross: Kenny, we were looking at him and he just didn’t know, but Terrell, we went to his workout, we looked at him at the combine, we interviewed him at the combine, so we did a lot of work with him.  The kids, sometimes they have no idea what is going on.  It is just like this, there is a room full of scouts that they don’t know, but we are always evaluating throughout the whole process.

Question: Is Thomas ready to get playing time in the NFL?

Ross: Playing time, I don’t know.  As a player, yes, mentally he will be fine, the kid is a very smart guy.  They used him in a bunch of different roles there at SC, on the slot, outside, and that is one of his strengths, his mental and his savvy and his football instincts.  I don’t think he will be intimidated by this setting at all and I think he will be ready to compete from day one.

Question: How is his speed?

Ross: Speed is good.  His speed is good.  He runs well, he is a big man who runs well and smooth.

Question: What kind of resource was Steve Smith with this pick?

Ross: Steve Smith?  None.  We didn’t call Steve up and ask him what he thought about Terrell.  I asked Terrell about Steve and he said he shut him down every day in practice so I figured that would be good enough.  We didn’t ask him.

Question: How much did these guys’ grades change from the end of their seasons to now?

Ross: They were pretty steady.  These guys didn’t make drastic ascensions or anything because they ran fast or worked out great or had great 40s.  These guys were steady.  Some of the picks that happen, guys skyrocket a little bit, but I don’t think these guys did at all.  You didn’t hear any buzz about them so I think they were steady guys.

Question: Did you have clusters of guys who you were interested in around the time of your picks?

Ross: Well, you always want to have a group of guys in the discussion.  Two or three players you want to talk about and that brings out people’s passions for players.  Let’s see how much they really are going to step up if they like them or not.  Now ultimately somebody has to make the decision but when you talk about a group of players together it brings more clarity to the situation.

Question: Was there a lot of passion for Thomas?

Ross: Yeah, we picked him, I hope so.

Question: Was there someone who really liked him?

Ross: A few guys, yeah.  It was a lively discussion, a lot of looks at him.  It was a lively discussion.

Question: How much talk did you have about moving up or down from those spots?

Ross: I let Jerry handle that kind of stuff.  When he tells me that we are going to pick, I pick, but you would have to ask him that stuff.

Question: Did you do most of the picking at the end?

Ross: We pick as a group.

Question: Who had the final call?

Ross: I will let Jerry answer that as well.

Question: A lively discussion on Thomas?

Ross: No, I don’t want to say lively like it was negative or anything.  I just think we get in the draft room and guys have done a lot of work, so they want to be heard and the way we structure it, everybody has their say.  That brings about good discussion.  I don’t want to say it was back and forth, I meant lively and very positive discussion.


3rd Round – WR Mario Manningham, Michigan (6-0, 181lbs, 4.59)

SCOUTING REPORT: Junior entry.  Two-year starter at Michigan.  In 2007, Manningham caught 72 passes for 1,174 yards and 12 touchdowns.  Lacks ideal size – Manninghams needs to get bigger and stronger.  A play-maker who makes plays in the clutch.  He runs faster than he times and separates from defenders.  Smooth athlete who is quick in and out of his cuts.  He runs good routes.  Manningham has great body control and adjusts well to the football.  Good hands.  He runs well after the catch.  Tough and competitive.  He sometimes loses focus.  Until very recently, he was considered a first-round talent, but Combine workout, past drug issues, and poor interviews (lied about previous drug use) caused his stock to drop.  Some reports say he is moody and immature.  “He can be special,” one scout said. “The guy’s explosive, quick, fast, great route runner, makes spectacular catches.  Just very inconsistent with his hands.  A little bit is just his mental strength is not there (6 on the Wonderlic test).  He should be a first-round guy if mentally he was OK and he worked.”

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:

Question: You were not scared off by Mannigham’s marijuana use?

Reese: We did our homework on him.  Yesterday you guys talked about Kenny Phillips and why didn’t we bring him in.  There really wasn’t a lot to bring him in for.  We brought this young man in.  Our coaches spent a lot of time with him.  We interviewed him at the Combine.  We did our homework on him.  He has tremendous value right now where we are picking.  We think he will be okay.

Question: Did he convince you that it is over?

Reese: He did.  He convinced me, he convinced our coaches – and it’s well documented – that he made a couple of mistakes.  He is a young kid.  He is a junior.  So hopefully he learned from his mistakes and he will come in here and he will give us a big play threat on the outside.  This guy has got the production you want.  He has got a big strike on the outside.  He gets big strikes on the outside.  And that was attractive for us.

Question: Talent-wise is he greater than a third rounder?

Reese: Oh yeah, talent-wise I think the guy could have really gone in the first row.  Talent-wise he really could have gone in the first row.  But at this point at the bottom of the third row for us we think this is a guy that has great value and he is talented.  He is really talented.  He has talent to go on the first row over there.  And again we did our homework on him.  We have a couple of different testing agencies, physiological testing and stuff that we did with him. We are satisfied that he will be okay.  And obviously when he comes in, probably kind of like Ahmad (Bradshaw) last year, we will bring him in and say, “Look, this is what it is going to be and we expect you to do that.”  And hopefully he will do that.

Question: Will you treat him as you did Ahmad last year and tell him he is on a short leash.  Do you do the same with a guy who is taken this high in the draft?

Reese: Sure you can do that.  You can do that with anybody.  If you are screwing up, we are not going to spend a lot of time on you.  You are on a short leash, just like Ahmad last year – I don’t care if you are seventh round or third round.  If you come in here and do the wrong things, we are not going to tolerate that.  We don’t think he will do that.

Question: Was he your highest rated receiver?

Reese: There were a bunch of receivers in this draft with similar kind of value.  We had him grouped with some of the guys who have already gone.  So we didn’t have a lot of guys that could have gone in our first row.  We thought there was a lot of second-round kind of picks up there.  We had a couple of guys we thought could probably go in the first.  Actually I don’t think anybody went in the first.  But we had a couple of guys that could have probably gone in the first.  And he was one of the guys that we felt like had the skill sets to be in the first row if we had some guys in there.

Question: He was reported to have a score of six on the Wonderlic.  How does that translate?

Reese: I’m not talking about people’s Wonderlics in here.  But we brought him in; we put him on the board.  He is good football player.  He has good football intelligence so we don’t think that is an issue.

Question: How high did last year’s rookie class set the bar around here for rookies?  And how much do you think it will serve as an example for all of these kids?

Reese: I just think that you always want to get good players in the draft.  Again, I always say you try to get more right than you get wrong.  You don’t get them all right all of the time.  Sometimes you get lucky like we did last year and get a few more right.  But we have high standards every year.  We want to go in and get good players coming out of there – coming out of the draft.  And that is what we try to do every year.  It just doesn’t work like that all of the time.

Question: Can you use last year’s success as leverage with this year’s group?

Reese: I think they will see how well the draft class did last year and I think they will come in with some things they feel like they probably have to prove to try to match this year’s class.  When the players come in they are not thinking about how last year’s class did.  They are just thinking about making the team and learning what to do and getting a chance to play. I think they think about that more than what last year’s class did.

Question: Mario’s letter to NFL.  Did that have any influence on you?

Reese: No, not really.  We get letters from all kinds of guys saying, “I’m sorry for this, I’m sorry for that.”  If we have an issue with them, we usually send a coach or bring them in here.  We brought him in and spent a lot of time with him.  We interviewed him at the Combine.  So he satisfied all of our concerns when we brought him in here.

Question: Are there other players who are off the board due to character issues?

Reese: Sure.  Yeah, we have plenty of guys that are off our board, yeah.

Question: Is Mario ready to play now?

Reese: Yeah, I think he is going to come in because this guy has a strong skill set for that position now.  I’m telling you, you guys are going to say, “Wow, this guy has got the stuff.”  So we are pleased with him that he can come in and give us some help on the outside.  I think the kid can be a punt returner as well.  Because they had guys in front of him – he was probably the number one guy as a receiver over there.  But I think he could return punts as well.

Question: This is the second year in a row you have picked a receiver high.  Does that say anything about Sinorice Moss?

Reese: Well, no it doesn’t say anything about Sinorice Moss.  It says we are trying to pick good players.  This guy is a good player.  We are trying to pick good players.  We are not giving up on Sinorice Moss.  I think he is going to come in and have a big year for us because, again, last year to me with Sinorice Moss was like a rookie season for him because he missed most of the time his rookie season with injuries.  So Sinorice has got something to prove.  And I love players coming in that have something to prove.  So he definitely has something to prove and I think he will do.  We are definitely not giving up on Sinorice Moss.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:

Coughlin: I think the wide receiver Mario Manningham gives us what we wanted, which was an ability to put the fear of the deep ball to try to do some things with our compensation for the way in which coverages occur as we play not only in this division but in this league.  It gives us another young receiver who does have the ability to go deep and to be productive in terms of the deep ball.

Question: Are you concerned about the off the field issues with Mario Manningham?

Coughlin: Well you are always concerned but you also hope that as the individual matures and he looks at what he has to gain and what he has to lose that he makes some serious decisions about his life.  We felt really good about talking with him.  Mike Sullivan had some excellent sessions with him.  Our offensive coaches visited with Mario.  I had an opportunity to visit with him just briefly, but we felt that due to the fact that we obviously brought him in for a reason, we wanted to get to know him better.  We felt like because of the support services that we can provide for him, because of our coaching staff, because of our veteran players, that we he would be a young man who would quickly recognize the fact that he can be a very successful player in this league, but it can be taken away very, very quickly if he would fall into some of these problems.  He has assured me that he has learned from his mistakes and I think that with all of the support that we can give him that I think he will be a guy that will come in and hopefully do well.

Question: What do you see from him that means that he will turn things around and listen whereas another guy maybe wouldn’t?

Coughlin: I just think that you do your research, you spend your time, obviously he was here for a reason, and we talked to him exactly about the problems that he has had and recognized the fact that it is just is not something that he can do to participate at this level and to be in the good graces of the league and the New York Giants.  You have to have some faith in him.  We do have a very, very good communication with the people at Michigan and have some strong opinions about this young man going forward.

Question: Do you think the character issues are why he dropped to the third round?

Coughlin: That would be for you to say and I have listened to all that stuff too.  All I can tell you is he was there for our pick and we were glad to make that pick and we look forward to working with him to make sure that he understands how important it is for him to conduct himself the right way.

Question: Is it a difficult call for a coach to draft a guy with character issues?

Coughlin: It is always a difficult call because you want the right people in your locker room.  You want the influences to be strong and you want the individual to be pulled, if you will, in the right direction.  I think we do have people in our locker room that will help us with regard to this.  As I mentioned a minute ago, I think the leadership of the guys that we have in the locker room proved to be an important factor in the success we had a year ago and I expect it to be ongoing.

Question: Is Manningham a true deep threat?

Coughlin: I think he has the speed, the elusiveness, the make-you-miss kind of ability, and I do think that he does have the long ball speed along with other things.  He is a gifted receiver.  His workout was very good.  Mike Sullivan was there for his workout.  Mike Sullivan was right there with the instructions about the routes, the sound that a receiver makes when he is a quality guy and catches the football, and he liked his board work.  He put him on the board and the kid responded well.  He responded well when he came in here so we believe and are willing to bring that young man here, surround him with good people, a good support system, and we believe that he will make the next step.

Question: What about punt returns with him?

Coughlin: He did that but I don’t believe he was ever the featured guy, he was in a backup capacity, but he has done it.

Question: How are his hands?

Coughlin: I think the hands are good.

Question: Soft hands?

Coughlin: Got that nice sound when the ball is caught.  He is not small; he is just under six feet and 187, 188 pounds, so he is not a small guy by any means.

MEDIA Q&A WITH WIDE RECEIVER MARIO MANNINGHAM:

Question: What was your feeling when you were drafted?

Manningham: I was just happy knowing that it is the New York Giants, the Super Bowl champs.  You can’t ask for anything better than that.

Question: Did you have hopes of going much earlier than you did?

Manningham: I mean the draft is crazy every year.  You just have to relax and when your name gets called you just have to be ready.

Question: Can you talk about your off-field situation and how it may have affected your draft stock?

Manningham: The past is the past.  It happened.  Hey, I am just excited to play.  The off the field issues that is really nothing or whatever everyone is talking about or whatever.  I am just ready to play.  I am not really thinking about the past.  The past is the past.  I am ready to just come in and make my team better.

Question: Were you aware of how many rookies contributed for the Giants last season?

Manningham: No, I am not.

Question: All eight picks played; do you think you can make that kind of impact?

Manningham: I think I can come in and make my team better and help my team win.

Question: What do you remember about your visit with the Giants at Giants Stadium?

Manningham: Like I was telling Coach Sullivan, I love it.  When I came up there he was just explaining to us how the system was.  He showed us around real nice.  I like the facility and the players seem to be nice.

Question: Which players did you talk to?

Manningham: I don’t remember the players’ names, we just went down to the locker room and everyone was just talking, everyone was just cool in the weight room.  It was like a different bond from other teams that I went to.  New York is all about business.

Question: Did you welcome the chance to tell your side of the story to the Giants about your off the field issues?

Manningham: I talked to the Giants when I was at the combine and I talked to them when I went to visit them.  I let them know what was going on and stuff.  Evidently they believed in me just like I believe in me and they went and picked me.

Question: How much do you think your past problems hurt your draft status as the draft went on?

Manningham: Like I told you, you never know what can happen because some players that they had going early, they didn’t go early, and some players they had going late didn’t go late.  I am just thankful to get drafted.  I am just thankful to be in the position that I am in, playing for the Super Bowl champions and trying to make a return there next year.

Question: Did you have any regrets about how you handled the whole thing?

Manningham: No, I don’t have any regrets.  The past is the past.  The past is the past.  It happened and you can’t take back what happened.  Like I told you, I am just going to come in here with a clean head and meet my team’s coaches and do what I have to do to just come in there and play and make my team better.

Question: Do you think you are a risky pick?

Manningham: I don’t think I am a risky pick.  I don’t think that is the issue.  Everyone’s picks are the same; I mean everyone’s picks are different.  If different coaches believe in different players, they are going to pick those players, but some players go to other places.  I don’t think I am a risky pick.

Question: How much do you know about the Giants wide receivers?

Manningham: I know Plaxico (Burress) and Amani (Toomer).  They all are talented.  I don’t really know too much about them.  I watch them, they ball, they play hard, and I am looking forward to going up under one of their wings and buying into what their coaches have to tell me and buying into what they have to coach me.

Question: Do you feel like you had to sell yourself more than other players when you came in here and other places for an interview?

Manningham: When I came to the interviews they got to know me and got to know how I learn and got to know about my past and everything, so I really don’t think that I had to sell myself.  I just feel like I had to just be myself.


4th Round – LB Bryan Kehl, BYU (6-2, 242lbs, 4.68)

SCOUTING REPORT: Two-year starter.  Finished the 2007 season with 91 tackles, 11.5 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, and 3 interceptions.  Kehl combines good size and athleticism.  He is a three-down linebacker with good speed and agility.  Changes direction well.  Strong.  He is not the most aggressive linebacker out there and sometimes struggles to shed.  He has very good intangibles – smart, instinctive, intense, and hard working.  “Wow, he is really something when you talk to him,” one scout said. “He might have been the best interview at the entire Combine.  He’s the kind of person you want on your team.”  Scored a 29 on the Wonderlic.  “Kehl is just a flat-out player,” said Kehl’s college coach.  “He is one of those guys who is always around the football and is a ball hog and makes a lot of plays.  I have talked to some people out there and they tell me one thing about this guy, he is not only an athlete but he has got a mind that is absolutely unreal and football is important to him.”

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:

Reese: Bryan Kehl is a linebacker from BYU.  We liked him.  He is a big athlete, can run, very, very smart, good in coverage.  He played in a 3-4 defense as an outside backer.  So we think he can play SAM or WILL for us.  They are kind of interchangeable in our defense, to be honest with you.  So those are things we liked about him.  We moved up to get him because there were so many positive things about him.  We had some extra picks in the sixth round so we moved up a few spots to pick him.  But there is a lot of positive stuff about him – a clean guy.  We think he will be a good football player for us; play on all of the special teams right away.  We like him that way.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:

Coughlin: The linebacker situation; we lost two linebackers in free agency.  We really did a good job here because these two young men, not only are they good football players but they are smart, they have been in sophisticated systems, and I think that both of these guys are going to come in and they are going to be people who will challenge because I think mentally they will be in good shape and they also are going to be outstanding special teams players because both of them have the ability to run.


5th Round – LB Jonathan Goff, Vanderbilt University (6-2, 245lbs, 4.72)

SCOUTING REPORT: Three-year starter.  Goff finished the 2007 season with 113 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, 3 sacks, and 2 interceptions.  Goff has good size and is well built.  There are conflicting reports on his overall athleticism and range.  A little on the stiff side and not overly agile.  Active and productive.  Strong.  Goff takes on blocks well and plays strong at the point of attack.  He is not strong in man coverage.  Excellent intangibles – smart, hardworking, and plays with an attitude.  Twice voted team captain.  Scored a 29 on the Wonderlic.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:

Reese: The next man is Jonathan Goff, linebacker from Vanderbilt.  We think he is a middle linebacker; very productive; very smart.  He can play on all of the special teams.  That is a common theme with us – got to play on all of the special teams; a young kid to bring into the fold, start developing some as a backup middle linebacker.  He is smart.  All of the things that we like about football players, those last two guys.  So that was two good picks for us to give us some depth at linebacker and create some competition at some of those positions as well.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:

Coughlin: The linebacker situation; we lost two linebackers in free agency.  We really did a good job here because these two young men, not only are they good football players but they are smart, they have been in sophisticated systems, and I think that both of these guys are going to come in and they are going to be people who will challenge because I think mentally they will be in good shape and they also are going to be outstanding special teams players because both of them have the ability to run.


6th Round – QB Andre’ Woodson, University of Kentucky (6-4, 229lbs, 4.85)

SCOUTING REPORT: Three-year starter.  In 2007, Woodson completed 63 percent of his passes for 3,709 yards, 40 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.  He has ideal size and a very strong arm.  Pocket passer – not much of a scrambler.  Inconsistent accuracy.  He has an unusual delivery and a bit of a slow windup on his deep ball.  Cool, calm, and poised.  Will stand in the pocket and take the hit.  However, he will hold onto the ball and take too many sacks.  Woodson needs to throw the ball away more.  He will force the ball.  Good play action passer.  Woodson will bird dog his primary receiver.  Not a vocal leader.  Smart and competitive.  There are some questions about his ability to absorb an NFL playbook – scored a 14 on the Wonderlic.  “He made a winning team out of a doormat,” Tampa Bay consultant Jim Gruden said. “He’s got good touch and throws the deep ball well.  I don’t think he’s real mobile.  His problem is he’s got a long windup similar to some guys that haven’t made it.”

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:

Reese: We took Andre Woodson, the quarterback from Kentucky.  For years we have talked about bringing in a young quarterback; drafting a young quarterback, and developing the quarterback in our system.  Let him grow up here.  This guy has got a strong skill set.  We like a lot of things about him.  He is very productive playing for Kentucky.  He has a lot of production over his years there as a quarterback for Kentucky.  He has a skill set.  He has the arm to make all of the throws.  He is a pretty good athlete for that position.  So there are a lot of positive things about him down there in the draft room.  So we are going to bring him along and see if he can challenge for some of our quarterback position – our backup quarterback spots.

Question: Why did Woodson last this long?

Reese: Why did Tom Brady?  It is different things for different quarterbacks.  You never know.  This is the draft and things happen in the draft.  A lot of guys get overlooked. How many guys were free agents who were really good players.  Why did they get passed over so many times?

Question: Were you tempted to go for him earlier?

Reese: No.  We thought that was a good spot for him.  We have talked for years about bringing in a young quarterback and developing him.

Question: Will you take five quarterbacks to camp?

Reese: I doubt that we bring five quarterbacks to training camp.  So the competition will start quickly.

Question: Woodson went into the season very highly rated and then seemed to tail off.

Reese: Very highly rated.

Question: Heisman candidate and all of that.  By the end of the year he fell off.  Yet he had a productive season.

Reese: He had 40 touchdowns and 11 interceptions and threw for 3,700 yards.  That is pretty good production I think.  But it is just fickle in college football.  If you fall off a little bit, they don’t like you as much.  He got out of the Heisman race I guess but he was still very productive I thought.  Over the last couple of years he has thrown for I think 71 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.  So he has been incredibly productive.  I don’t know how strong his supporting cast has been, too, in Kentucky.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:

Coughlin: In Andre’ Woodson, this was just too good a pick for us to pass up.  This is a guy that was rated highly on our board.  We found ourselves in a position where we felt like he was a guy we wanted to bring in as a young quarterback who could work in our system and be a guy who we could develop as we went forward.  That was the idea as we made that pick in the sixth round.

Question: Jerry said you would try to bring Woodson along, does that mean you need to make a decision on some of the other QBs on the roster?

Coughlin: We will make those decisions going forward.  For now we are okay because we can go ahead and have the numbers because the rookies are obviously not signed.  For now we will do one day at a time.  Let’s take today and then digest some of this stuff.  As soon as the seventh round is over we do have to jump hard into the free agency stuff.  As you know we have had success doing that, we take great pride in that, our coaches are cranked and ready to go, all the instructions are given out a couple of weeks ahead of time.  We look at the players that remain on the board, we know what our positional needs are, our numbers, we have had that all figured out in advance so that is a real important part of our day and a very, very serious part to the overall success of the draft; what you can do with the quality of players that you sign as free agents.

Question: A lot of times when you see a team with an established quarterback take one in the later rounds they develop them and then trade them. Is that the situation with Woodson?

Coughlin: We are all aware, we are all aware of how these things are maneuvered.  The Patriots taking O’Connell in the bottom of the third, which is almost like what we did when we had the break at the bottom of the third round and then the next day you worry about people going back into the room saying, ‘oh there is a player that we will take right here at the top,’ so you have to take him in the bottom of the third.  There are theories, there is practicality, there is the way in which things are done within a draft, and there is the way in which things are done within a roster.  This is a good, young, and talented kid who we really were excited about and we drafted him for that purpose and we will see what the future holds.


6th Round – DE Robert Henderson, Southern Mississippi (6-3, 280lbs, 4.87)

SCOUTING REPORT: In 2007, in 13 games, Henderson accrued 64 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery.  Henderson combines good size and athleticism.  Quick and agile.  He can rush the passer.

MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:

Reese: Our last pick was Robert Henderson, a defensive end from Southern Mississippi.  He is kind of a size-speed defensive end.  He is 278 pounds.  I think he is about 6-3.  A developmental kind of a kid — ran real fast.  So he has some things to develop that we like about him.  He is a big, thick guy with some athletic ability.  We think he can develop into something for us in a year or so.

MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:

Coughlin: Robert Henderson is a guy that we brought in and visited.  Manningham, as you know, was here, Henderson was here.  We spent time with these guys and we really felt good about Henderson.  We had him graded in a position on our board where in this last round it was a guy of value that we felt would help us because of the ability, again, to rush the passer, to be a strong guy who could play end, and also could maybe slide inside on third down in the pass situation.


 Rookie Free Agent Scouting Reports

WR D.J. Hall, Alabama (6-2, 195lbs, 4.60)
Four-year starter.  Productive, Hall finished the 2007 season with 67 receptions for 1,005 yards and 6 touchdowns.  He caught 13 passes in one game against Tennessee.  Hall combines excellent size and athleticism.  He plays faster than he times and can separate and get deep.  Not physical, he has some issues with press coverage.  He needs to improve his route running.  Hall adjusts well to the football and has good hands.  Elusive after the catch.  He makes plays in the clutch.  Hall has a reputation for not being a great worker.  Gives a good effort as a blocker.

TE Eric Butler, Mississippi State (6-3, 255lbs, 4.76)
In 2007, Butler played in 13 games with five starts and had eight receptions for 71 yards.  In four years at Mississippi State, Butler caught 50 passes for 635 yards and eight touchdowns.

OC Glenn “Digger” Bujnoch, Cincinnati (6-5, 285lbs, 5.17)
Bujnoch has experience at both tackle spots.  He lacks the ideal height and arm length to play tackle in the pros.  He is a good athlete.  Bujnoch obviously needs to get bigger and stronger.  He struggles with power.  Bujnoch is more of a finesse player than mauler.  He is a better pass blocker than run blocker.  Quick and understands angles.  Good intangibles – smart and hardworking.

OG Andrew Bain, Miami (6-3, 344lbs, 5.13)
Bain started all 13 games as a junior but was only a part-time starter his senior season.  He has very good size, but lacks athleticism and agility.  He does not get a lot of movement in his run blocks.  Bain struggles blocking in space at times.  Plays hard.  Could project to center.

OG Carnell Stewart, LSU (6-5, 311lbs, 5.22) - Waived 5/9/2008
Stewart is a converted defensive lineman who was moved the offensive line in 2006.  Started 14 games at right tackle in 2007.  Stewart has very good size, but looks stiff and not very agile.  Very raw.

OT Dylan Thiry, Northwestern (6-8, 315lbs, 5.37)
Three-year started at left tackle, but most likely projects to right tackle in the pros.  Thiry has very good height and growth potential.  Lacks ideal athleticism.

DE Wallace Gilberry, Alabama (6-3, 267lbs, 4.97)
Gilberry started all 13 games in 2007 and finished the season with 80 tackles, 27 tackles for a loss, and 10 sacks.  He ranked third nationally in tackles for a loss.  Gilberry is a good run defender and tackler who sometimes struggles to get off blocks.  He plays faster than his 40-time.  Quick and fluid.  He needs to get stronger.  Good intangibles – plays hard and hustles.  Gilberry struggled at the Senior Bowl.  “Wallace is a really good pass-rusher,” said Nick Saban, Wallace’s college coach.  “He’s very athletic, he can run pretty good for his size, he’s big enough.  You always take speed and power.  He makes a lot of plays because of his quickness and his athleticism, and he’s going to be able to make a significant impact because of what he brings in certain downs.”

DE Antonio Reynolds, Tennessee (6-3, 270lbs, 4.85) - Waived 5/14/2008
Reynolds played all 14 games at right defensive end in 2007, finishing with 31 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, and 3 sacks.  Reynolds has good size and long arms.  Reynolds is a decent athlete with some quickness and agility to his game, but he is not overly fast.  Reynolds is a better run defender than pass rusher.  Flashes power, but he needs to get stronger.  Inconsistent.  His effort and passion for the game have been questioned.  He has been labeled an underachiever.

DE Alex Morrow, USC (6-6, 270lbs, 4.76)
In 2007, Morrow was a backup defensive end and special teams player at USC.  In 13 games, he finished the season with 5 tackles and 2 sacks.

DT Ogemdi Nwagbuo, Michigan State (6-4, 290, 5.15)
Nwagbuo played in 13 games in 2007, starting 12 at nose tackle, and finished the season with 31 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, and 1 fumble recovery.  Nwagbuo has decent size and the frame to get bigger.  Strong, he can push the pocket.  Nwagbuo flashes quickness, but he not overly athletic or fast.  He does not provide much of a pass rush.  Smart.  Very raw, he did not play football until his senior year in high school.  Nwagbuo needs a lot of technique work.

DT Josh Muse, Louisiana Tech (6-3, 315lbs) - Waived 5/12/2008
In 2007, Muse started all 12 games at defensive tackle and finished the season with 47 tackles, 8 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble.  He was named second team All-WAC.

DT Nate Robinson, Akron (6-3, 315lbs, 5.11)
Robinson transferred to Akron from Rutgers after he was released from the team for an undisclosed team violation.  He started 6-of-10 games at nose tackle in 2007, finishing the year with 26 tackles, 5 tackles for a loss, and 2 sacks.  Robinson missed time due to ankle and shoulder injuries.  Robinson is well built and powerful.  He is stout and can hold his ground in run defense.  Not overly quick or explosive.  His work ethic, competitiveness, commitment to the game, and intensity have been questioned.  Robinson has been labeled an underachiever.  He had offers from the Chiefs and Dolphins after the draft as well.

S Nehemiah Warrick, Michigan State (6-1, 208lbs, 4.57)
Two-year starter.  Warrick finished the 2007 season with 61 tackles.  Warrick combines good size and athleticism.  He is quick, agile, and strong.  Warrick has decent speed, but plays with a hesitation in his game that makes him look slower at times.  Physical, tough, and competitive.  He is a much better run defender than pass defender.  Warrick is not overly instinctive in pass defense and struggles at times in coverage.  He does not make plays on the football in the air.

S Miguel Scott, North Carolina State (6-0, 203lbs, 4.42) - Waived 6/20/2008
Scott was a three-year starter at safety for North Carolina State.  In 2007, he was credited with 43 tackles and one interception.

S Terrance Stringer, Tuskegee (6-3, 213)
In 2007, Stringer finished the season with 41 tackles and 3 pass breakups.

P/PK Owen Tolson, Army (6-2, 199, 5.05) - Waived 5/12/2008
In 2007, Tolson was 8-of-15 on field goal attempts (53 percent) and averaged 45 yards per punt on 73 punts (26 punts downed inside the 20 and a net average of 36.5 yards per punt).  Tolson has a strong leg.  “I spoke to the (Giants’) kicking coach, and I will have the opportunity to compete for a starting kickoff spot, and will backup Feagles,” said Tolson.  “He is there for another year, but I will have the opportunity to learn from him and take over the starting role when he retires.  I will be practicing my kickoffs and field goals immediately and look forward to competing for a starting job this fall.  If all else fails, I want to at least be on the practice squad.”  Tolson also received interest from the Cowboys, Steelers, and Lions.


 Eric’s Take on the 2008 Draft

I’m going to start this draft review with the same EXACT statement that I made at this time last year:

Let’s get this out of the way up front – there isn’t a man or woman alive on this planet who can accurately predict how the Giants fared in the 2007 NFL Draft (obviously now the 2008 NFL Draft).  That will be determined on the playing field and we probably won’t really have a good idea how the Giants actually did until 10 years have passed.  What we are all doing right now – especially fans like myself – are talking out of our asses.  Even the so-called “experts” at ESPN and The NFL Network can’t agree on how the Giants did.  The former thinks the Giants did poorly; the latter thinks the Giants did well.  The personnel departments of NFL teams would also probably have much varied opinions.

But talking about the draft is fun.  Many of us enjoy the speculation and analysis leading up to Draft Day, watching the draft unfold on Draft Weekend, and then critiquing how each team fared, especially the Giants. So here are my thoughts on how I think the Giants did.

So here is my take on the Giants and the 2008 NFL Draft:

If you read my 2008 Giants Draft Needs article, you know that the positions of need that I identified were defensive back, linebacker, and wide receiver.  And those are exactly the positions the Giants addressed.

It is very interesting to note that four of the Giants first five selections were on the back seven of the defense, and the first two selections were in the secondary.  To me, that’s very telling.  It suggests that the Giants’ organization saw their primary needs as defensive and in spots other than the defensive line.

As for the specific picks themselves, I think the Giants got very good value almost across the board.  Keep in mind that the Giants drafted at the end of each round.  So the first-round pick was a borderline second-round pick.  The second-round pick was a borderline third-round pick.  If you take that into consideration, the Giants picks look even better.

Safety Kenny Phillips was not a glamorous pick, but it was a very solid selection that addressed the Giants’ #1 need area.  Widely regarded by most as the best safety in the draft, Phillips combines very good size and athleticism.  It’s tough to find a safety with his size who can play man coverage.  Indeed, Phillips has some experience playing corner.  That will serve the Giants well against the athletic tight ends in the NFC East.  It is also tough to find a safety who is equally adept at defending the run and the pass, and Phillips is good at both.  The knock on him?  He doesn’t make many plays on the football – only seven career interceptions at Miami despite starting there three years.  He also is not a “light-you-up” hitter like Sean Taylor was.  That said, Phillips was asked to do a lot at Miami and he may end up being a better pro when his responsibilities are more clearly defined on an already strong defense.  He is a good kid too.  It may not be a stretch to say that Phillips has the tools to become the Giants’ best safety in decades.

I like the selection of Terrell Thomas more than most.  I saw cornerback as an area of need despite the emergence of Aaron Ross and Corey Webster.  Thomas has very good size (he looks even bigger than his listed size) and athleticism.  He has really long arms and plays a physical, aggressive game with receivers at the line.  In my view, he looks like the prototypical press corner.  He’s the kind of guy you match up against a big receiver like Terrell Owens – but not against a quick water bug receiver like a Santana Moss.  The big questions on him are his health (he has had shoulder and knee injuries in his past) and speed.  Regarding the former, Thomas did not miss a game in 2006 and 2007.  He’s a tough guy.  Regarding the latter, that remains to be seen but the Giants believe he is plenty fast enough (he did time at 4.45 – a very good time).

Also keep this is mind, Phillips and Thomas are big defensive backs.  So are Corey Webster, James Butler, Michael Johnson, and Sammy Knight.  Aaron Ross has decent size.  The Giants have put together a secondary with a lot of size that can knock people around.

Mario Manningham wasn’t on my draft board because of his character issues (drugs).  But I did not expect him to last to the bottom of the third round.  At that point, it is worth the risk for the defending Super Bowl champions to take a shot at a guy who has the ability to become a dangerous starting receiver in the NFL.  We’re talking about a pick that was almost a 4th rounder.  It’s a good situation for Manningham.  He doesn’t need to come in right away and excel.  He can learn from guys like Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer about what it takes to be a professional football player.  Of course, the big issue is the marijuana use.  The NFL will test him and if he continues to smoke and gets caught, he will get suspended.  The guy who really needs to have a heart-to-heart talk with him is David Tyree, who had similar issues until he cleaned up his life.  As for his talent, my only concern with him is his size.  He is tall enough, but he has to add muscle and bulk without reducing his speed and quickness.  If he can do that, Manningham has the ability to replace Toomer as the starting flanker in a year or two.  One gets the sneaky suspicion that we will be hearing “Manning to Manningham” for a long time.

Both linebacker selections in the ensuing two picks were very solid selections.  Not only did they address a need (albeit not as large as some assumed), but they were both good value picks.  Many had expected Bryan Kehl and Jonathan Goff to be drafted earlier.  Indeed, the Giants told Kehl they would draft him in the third round, but backed off when Manningham slid.  The Giants then traded up seven spots in the fourth round to ensure that they got Kehl.  Kehl has ideal character and intelligence.  On top of that, he’s a good football player.  He has the athletic ability to be a three-down linebacker.  He can play the run and cover.  It will be interesting to see what kind of blitzer he is in Steve Spagnuolo’s defense.  The Giants think he can play both outside spots.

As for Goff, the Giants are looking at him as a middle linebacker, but he probably has the ability to play on the strongside as well.  He’s a big, physical run defender.  Like Kehl, he is really smart.  There are conflicting reports over his overall athletic ability and his ability to drop into coverage.  Some say he is stiff and struggles in man coverage.  We shall see.  When you take into account the fact that the Giants already have Gerris Wilkinson and Zak DeOssie on the roster, the Giants have some very good young talent at linebacker now.  That said, I wouldn’t assume that Goff will beat out Chase Blackburn.  Goff is not guaranteed a roster spot and he could run into a numbers game.

The drafting of Andre’ Woodson most likely spells doom for Anthony Wright and Jared Lorenzen.  The Giants will only keep three quarterbacks.  David Carr will likely be one and Woodson the other unless one or both completely flop in training camp and the preseason.  The Giants heavily scouted quarterbacks in advance of the draft so I don’t completely buy the line the Giants are using that Woodson represented “too much value to pass up”.  I do think he was an excellent value pick at the bottom of the sixth round, but I think the Giants wanted to come out of this draft with a quarterback.  Woodson will be under contract with the Giants for the next four years before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.  Hopefully, by that time – and after providing 2-3 years of quality back-up service – the Giants can trade him for a high pick.  Keep in mind Carr will likely leave in free agency in 2009.

I could find very little information on 6th rounder Robert Henderson.  But the Giants know defensive ends so I am intrigued to see him.  The Giants say he is raw but has the ability to play both inside and outside (like Justin Tuck).  However, he’s going to have fight like crazy to make this team.

Overall, I am very pleased with this group.  There were no picks that caused me to go, “What the hell?!”  I think the Giants significantly upgraded themselves in the secondary, at linebacker, and at wide receiver.  The only position that makes me a tad nervous is defensive tackle.  It’s not that I don’t like Fred Robbins, Barry Cofield, and Jay Alford, but there isn’t much depth at this position for training camp and the preseason.  If someone gets hurt, the Giants will be in trouble.  It’s too bad that Manny Wright didn’t work out.

Share Button
Print Friendly

Eric Kennedy

Founder and owner of BigBlueInteractive.com, which is now entering its 20th season.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.