by Sy’56, New Era Scouting
April 20, 2010
The perception among many resides around the concept that the New York Giants offense is set for both the present and future. However the Giants are good, not great, across the board on this side of the ball. While the offensive talent is not as strong at the top in comparison with the defensive prospects, there will be opportunity for Reese to upgrade the team speed and play-making ability on an offense that, at times, appears to be a step behind the rest of the league. The Giants will look at the offensive line, tight end, running back, and possibly even the wide receiver positions this weekend.
1 – Russell Okung – Oklahoma State – 91
2 – Bryan Bulaga – Iowa – 88
3 – Trent Williams – Oklahoma – 85
Top Mid Round Value
Kyle Calloway – Iowa
Chris Scott – Tennessee
After a very strong offensive tackle group in 2009, 2010 brings the draft another solid crop of athletes to the top two rounds. Okung graded out higher than any of the tackles from last year’s crop, and I think he is going to be the next Chris Samuels for the Redskins. Similar player that fits in well with what Shanahan wants out of his left tackle. I’ve seen him absolutely dominate as a run blocker, sending defenders flying on to their backs. He has the elite feet that are light and sound. Bulaga was up and down for me, but he is a young athlete that showed flashes of dominance against some of his toughest competition. Outstanding knee bend and NFL ready technique from top to bottom could warrant a #15 selection if he is there. He plays with the low center of gravity that the Giants like in their offensive linemen. Trent Williams was a name I had high expectations for because I was higher on Phil Loadholt (2nd round pick in 2009) than anyone I talked to at this time last year. However the people I respect most told me that Williams will be the better pro player, and his 2009 campaign that would finally get him on the left side would prove it. He did not meet my expectations but he is a legit first round talent. Is he an option at #15? Yes, but I believe there will be better players at positions of greater need.
Despite the top notch economic contribution of David Diehl at left tackle, I do not believe he is the answer for the long term there. William Beatty will receive his opportunity, but he did not give me the amount of confidence I want in Eli’s blind side protector. There may very well be the proper value available for this position at #15, and Reese should bite if it is there. The offensive line must return to the dominant form we saw in 2008 if the Giants want to remain a consistent contender. While they can survive with that is on the roster, they should look to locate the best value spot to add depth both inside and out.
I saw a lot of Iowa football in 2009, and their right tackle Kyle Calloway stood out to me each time. He is a very long athlete that has light feet, natural knee bend, and strong hands. While he could play the left side because of his tool set, he is a nice middle round target that could supply the proper depth at right tackle behind the oft-injured McKenzie. Chris Scott was an unexpected addition to the South’s Senior Bowl roster, and he performed very well in each practice and in the game. He played all over the line, mostly at left tackle, within the fastest conference in college football and performed well there too. I want a lineman (offense and defense) that plays well with his hands. Scott exerts massive pop from his bear paws and controls his man play in and play out. A poor man’s Phil Loadholt here that could be a quick impact player if needed.
1 – Maurkice Pouncey – Florida – 89
2 – Mike Iupati – Idaho – 85
3 – John Jerry – Ole Miss – 80
Top Mid-Round Value
Zane Beadles – Utah
Thomas Austin – Clemson
The grade that I placed on Pouncey will raise a few eyebrows I suspect, but I am confident in saying he is going to be one of the top linemen to come out of this class. We have seen the bigger nose tackles in the league maul Shaun O’Hara to a point where the Giants interior rushing attack turns in to a non-factor. Pouncey is a big body that moves well and one of the top performance’s I’ve seen out of him came against Terrence Cody. He responds to the top competition very well and he brings one of the meanest attitudes in to the trenches every week. Iupati’s stock soared sky high following the Senior Bowl week, mainly because that was the first time the national audience really watched him. Sure he is fun to watch and when he is on technique-wise, he obliterates 300+ pounders with ease. But there is a lot of work that needs to be done with him. Sheer power only gets you so far in the NFL. He would not present the proper value at #15 overall, but if the Giants find themselves somewhere in the 20’s, he could be the pick. Jerry is a guy I liked on tape, and loved in person down at the Senior Bowl. Great body and he is a tremendous athlete that carries 320+ pounds with comfort. He plays with natural nee bend and is capable of delivering a Leonard Davis type punch at the point of attack. He should be there in the 2nd, possibly even in the 3rd and I would take him at either spot.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to the interior portion of the Giants offensive line. Will Diehl eventually make the move back inside? How much to O’Hara and Seubert have left in the tank? No matter what, the Giants have room for one or two rookies in there. Ideally they can grab a guy that projects at both center and guard if need be. Adam Koets and Kevin Boothe as the backups can easily be upgraded with mid round selections and as I said before, the offensive line is not something you want to gamble on. I would gladly sacrifice the possibility of selecting a play-maker for a top notch blocker up front. Reese needs to keep this unit strong and deep because without that, it won’t matter how good your play-makers are.
Beadles is a versatile guy that I did not give a lot of attention to until late in the season. He played left tackle at Utah and was 1st team all MWC in 2008 and 2009. I think his future resides inside, and it is a spot where he performed well at in Mobile. Very good drive blocker that plays low and quick, just how the Giants like them. If the Giants are looking to add depth, I want a guy that can play across the line. Beadles has experience inside and out, and he would provide the security that the Giants do not exactly have. Austin is another versatile option, but not on the outside. He played center in 2008, winning 1st team all ACC honors and was a 2nd team all ACC guy as a guard in 2009. C.J. Spiller raves about his leadership inside, very smart player that can provide the Giants with the eventual replacement to O’Hara. Something they may need sooner than most want to believe.
1 – Dez Bryant – Oklahoma State – 89
2 – Golden Tate – Notre Dame – 84
3 – Demaryius Thomas – Georgia Tech – 83
Top Mid Round Value
Jordan Shipley – Texas
Freddie Barnes – Bowling Green
We are starting to see rookie wide receivers make that early impact more and more with each season that passes. Dez Bryant, despite not playing for the majority of the 2009 season because of a suspension, is going to enter the league as one of the most NFL ready receivers I have seen in a long time. He is built like a young Terrell Owens and I love his ability on game day. He is a tough, physical receiver that shows the deep speed. Excellent tracker of the football that is at his best near the end zone. The Giants seem to have a strong unit already in place at WR, but selecting Bryant could prove to give Manning a legit #1 receiver. I did not give Tate a ton of attention during the season, but luckily I got to watch 4 of his games on tape after he declared for the draft. He does everything you want a receiver to do, especially in the Giants scheme. A big time threat with the ball in his hands, Tate could bring that much needed play-making ability to New York if the Giants can make a move up or down in to the 20’s. I’ve spoken at great length already when it comes to Thomas. His upside his higher than any of the other receivers in this class. If he can fully get over this foot injury, he will need a year to learn the nuances of an NFL offense. He ran a limited route tree at Georgia Tech and he is coming off a broken foot, which only slows down his much needed progression. While he is a risk, Thomas has the ability to be a special player.
A quick glance at the roster and one could easily believe that there is zero chance we see Reese going after a receiver early in the draft. While they can win with what they’ve got, they still lack a true #1 threat that consistently demands double teams. If the proper value presents itself anywhere in the draft, Reese should look to add another body in there. Hixon and Manningham are far from sure-things, and in today’s NFL you need at least three quality receivers. This is a pretty average group across the board, but if there is one thing I think the Giants offense could use more of, it is yard-after-catch ability. Nicks showed flashes, but grabbing a receiver that can do a lot after he makes the catch would give this offense a different look, something they have not had in quite some time.
Shipley, despite being one of the more productive receivers on one of the best teams in the nation over the past few years is a guy that is being overlooked. He plays with outstanding game speed, as I’ve seen him run away from numerous speedy defensive backs. He is a bigger version of Wes Welker. Having him and Steve Smith roam the underneath and intermediate route tree will give Manning a ton of confidence as well as open up lanes down the field for Nicks and Manningham. He will be a 3rd or 4th round consideration for me. Freddie Barnes, yet another highly productive receiver (155 catches in 2009 alone) impressed me in his week of practice at the Shrine Bowl. Literally catches everything within reach and he is one of the most route-savvy receiver’s I’ve ever seen. He lacks the speed of the Giants own Steve Smith, but he can be a similar player to him right away. Projected as a 7th round/FA type, Reese should give him a serious look if their draft class is WR-less late.
1 – Rob Gronkowsi – Arizona – 84
2 – Logan Paulsen – UCLA – 77
3 – Jermaine Gresham – Oklahoma – 76
Top Mid Round Value
Garrett Graham – Wisconsin
Logan Paulsen – UCLA
Not a very strong group of balanced tight ends that can do it all here. However the class has a good amount of guys that can really block, or really move well and create mismatches in space as receiving threats. With that said, Gronkowski is one of the more complete tight ends I’ve scouted. He missed all of 2009 with a back injury that needs to be investigated but the games I have been able to watch from 2008 were very impressive. Tremendous drive blocker with a pair of big, soft hands. He will be a first round pick but the fit is not here with the Giants. Every year I have at least one guy that I have a much higher grade on than anyone out there. This year? Logan Paulsen from UCLA. He was used in a tight end rotation at UCLA that hindered his ability to show his skill, but I am confident he can be a big time threat at the next level. He is the best blocker in the group, and he has shown surprising athletic ability with the ball in his hands. NFL-ready body. NFL-ready technique. NFL-ready mentality. I’ll discuss him more in the final tight end paragraph. Gresham needed to have outstanding workouts for me to put him in to the first round tier because the notes I had on him from 2008 were merely average. He lacks the top tier athleticism I want in a receiver, but also does not play with the physicality one should at his size. He will likely be off the board before I feel the value is right for him as a Giants draft pick.
Kevin Boss is the present and future at the tight end position, and this is a spot that does not give a notion of big time need. But in a system where the team asks a lot out of the backups, there could be better depth. I was not a fan of the Travis Beckum selection in 2009 and while he deserves a shot to be a difference maker, he is not a guy that I would base draft day decisions around. The talent the Giants have competing for the third spot is less than appealing. There are some outstanding late round blockers that could fit in well here, and I expect Reese to go after one of them.
I got to see a lot of Garrett Graham in 2009 and to be honest, I feel he is entering the league as a more attractive player than Beckum was coming out. Very good catcher of the football that shows high effort each play. He needs to add bul so he can compete as an in-line blocker, but he showed surprising ability to lock on to a defensive lineman and take him out of a play. Chris Cooley type here. And back to Paulsen, a guy that may not even be drafted. I watched him completely dominate both Tyson Alualu and Everson Griffen at the point of attack. He plays low and strong, showing tremendous lower-half flexibility. He was always found locked on to this defender he was assigned to, keeping his feet chopping and playing through the whistle. As a receiver, he has a few long plays to his name that show his sneaky speed and efficient route running. On top of that, he does not just move a pile forward, he carries it a la Bavaro. He is going to be one of the top late round steals in this class and he fits in perfectly with what the Giants need at the position.
1 – C.J. Spiller – Clemson – 88
2 – Ryan Mathews – Fresno State – 81
3 – Jahvid Best – California – 78
Top Mid Round Value
LeGarrette Blount – Oregon
Deji Karim – Southern Illinois
From day one I have been a huge supporter of selecting C.J. Spiller should he fall in to the Giants lap at 15. I don’t see it happening because of the league wide desire for speed and versatility, arguably Spiller’s top two traits, but it is still a possibility. Giving him 8-10 carries, 4-5 passes, and a return responsibilities early on would give the Giants another dimension on this team that they have not had since Barber’s early days. He is a tough, hard nosed kid that plays through pain and pours his heart out on to the field. That mentality with that talent, it just does not get much better than that. Mathews is one of the safer bets in this class because of the skill set he brings to the table. He is the best inside runner in this draft, and his ability to rip off the big run in key situations is not something that should not go overlooked. Does not fit the value for the Giants in round one however. Jahvid Best is a hard guy to figure out, but the potential reward here is enormous. His speed and explosion is in that Chris Johnson tier, but he shows no ability to break tackles and that is the number one thing I look for in a back. Because of that, he is a 2nd or 3rd round option for the Giants but will likely be off the board before then.
I feel there is a greater need than most want to believe at the running back spot on the Giants roster. If there is one aspect of the offense I have soured on, it is the lack of speed and receiving ability coming out of the backfield. Jacobs is what he is, a mauler that can wear down defenses but has major issues staying on the field. Bradshaw is a gutsy runner that can handle 10-15 carries per game. Danny Ware and Andre Brown are unproven but show the ability to add more power to an already strong rushing attack. However none of those guys are players that really run away from defenses. None of those guys can come out of the backfield and give you the receiving skill set that Barber left with. Adding a speed dimension to the backfield would balance out the slow footed offense and put more points on the board for a team that is a bit behind the curve in that realm in comparison with the league’s elite.
When it comes to Blount, I have to be honest and say I’ve only seen two game tapes. One of which was his horrid performance at Boise State. However what I saw out of him down in Mobile was enough for me to believe that he has legit first round talent. The character concerns are noted, but its not like he has been in and out of rehab or spending years in jail. He has a temper issue, and he plays like it. I want that on the Giants. He has surprising speed in the open field, not just a bruiser inside. He also blocks better than any back in this class by a wide margin. I could see the value for him in the 4th round and I think he will be there. I discussed Deji Karim with you guys last week I believe, and he finished with a grade just under Jahvid Best. Very fast runner with excellent short area burst. Has the NFL-ready bulk to his body. I’d like to see him come here and compete with the guys at the bottom of the depth chart and simply let the best man win.