Apr 172014
 
 April 17, 2014  Posted by  Articles, The Draft
Joel Bitonio, Nevada Wolf Pack (February 20, 2014)

Joel Bitonio – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2014 NFL Draft Preview: Offensive Tackles

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

DISCLCAIMER:  I broke the OL previews in to two categories, guards/centers and tackles.  This can be difficult to organize because a few of these guys have the skill set to play different positions.  But keep in mind that versatility is part of their grade and I am grading these guys where I think they would best fit for NYG.

Current OT on the NYG Roster:

William Beatty – 29 – Signed through 2017

Justin Pugh – 24 – Signed through 2016

Charles Brown – 27 – Signed through 2014

Steven Baker – 26 – Signed through 2015

Tony Kropog – 28 – Signed through 2015

Where They Stand:

The Giants have a lot of question marks along the outside of the line.  However, the performance of Pugh throughout his rookie season was admirable to say the least.  He locked down the RT position and appears to already be the most reliable tackle this team has.  The question surrounding him is, does he stay at RT?  Or would NYG consider moving him over to the position he played in college, left tackle.  Part of that discussion revolves around the healthy of Beatty, who is recovering from a broken leg that could linger in to the summer.  Even if he does return healthy, has Beatty done enough to possess the most important position on this OL?  He is locked up long term but that can’t sway the coaches in to putting him back in the starting lineup.  He was a low level starter in 2013 and he could put a strict limit on how good this team can be.  Beyond the two starters, NYG has little-to-no long term promise.  Brown, Baker, and Kropog are replaceable right now.  They shouldn’t sway NYG from making any draft weekend decisions at this position.

Top 10 Grades:

1 – Greg Robinson – Auburn – 6’5/332: 84

2 – Jake Matthews – Texas A&M – 6’6/308: 83

3 – Taylor Lewan – Michigan – 6’7/309: 82

4 – Zach Martin – Notre Dame – 6’4/308: 81

5 – Joel Bitonio – Nevada – 6’4/302: 80

6 – Cyrus Kouandijo – Alabama – 6’7/322: 77

7 – Morgan Moses – Virginia – 6’6/314: 77

8 – Wesley Johnson – Vanderbilt – 6’5/297: 73

9 – Antonio Richardson – Tennessee – 6’6/336: 72

10 – Ju’waun James – Tennessee – 6’6/311: 72

Day One Target:

Greg Robinson – Auburn

I would put the chances of Robinson falling outside of the top 8 at less than 50%, but I think the view on him around the league is very mixed.  His top 5 potential didn’t really catch on until halfway through the college 2013 season, but scouts have been talking about him for a couple years now.  When looking for the “blue goose” left tackle prospect, Robinson is the kind of guy that coaches/GMs want.  He has the size and movement ability of the elite, once-every-three-or-four years guy.  My issue with him is there will be a lot of development and learning that needs to be done prior to him being put outside.  The Auburn scheme was VERY friendly to him, in that they ran the ball a ton and rarely asked him to play in a traditional pass blocking set up.  When it comes to how he fits in with NYG, I actually think he could be an elite guard.  Down the road he could make the move to left tackle, but that could take a year or two.  If Robinson somehow drops to NYG, they could have themselves an All-Pro caliber guard right away as well as a future left tackle.

Runner Up: Jake Matthews – Texas A&M

Day Two Target:

Joel Bitonio – Nevada

The more tape I have seen of Bitonio over the best two months, the more I believe he can be a very good starter in the NFL.  NYG needs to increase their power presence up front.  They simply need the blue collar guys that want to beat people up and drive them through the ground, which is the approach I see out of Bitonio every time I put his tape on.  There is some underrated athleticism to his game as well.  His feet are light, he can easily bend at the knees while keeping himself upright, and he has a pair of heavy hands.  Bitonio graded out as a first rounder for me, but I think he could be had in round 2.  He would provide some position-versatility for a unit that has questions across the board.  I am thinking NYG could have another Justin Pugh-type guy here, possibly even with more upside.

Runner Up: Morgan Moses – Virginia

Day Three Target:

Wesley Johnson – Vanderbilt

I’ve watched a lot of SEC football over the past few months.  One tackle stands out every time he is on the screen, and it is Johnson.  He won’t wow anyone with his movement or power, and he is a little undersized when it comes to his girth.  But Johnson was as productive as any offensive tackle in the conference outside of Matthews/Robinson.  There is some talk of him moving inside, but I don’t see why.  He outplayed Clowney and Ealy by a landslide.  He has 51 straights starts to his name, majority of which were at left tackle.  He is a guy that knows the game, works hard, and consistently does the little things right.  I think he can be a starter down the road once he adds some strength to his game.

Runner Up: Parker Graham – Oklahoma State

Most Overrated:

Billy Turner – North Dakota State

I think there are a lot of analysts that try too hard to label the diamond in the rough of a group from a small school.  Many have been all over Turner because of his size/movement combination.  But truth be told, Turner is a really bad lineman.  He has minimal use technique with poor footwork and light hands.  He is constantly chasing after pass rushers, rarely do you see him sit and anchor a position.  I’ve seen his name in some 2nd round talk, and I don’t think he is a guy you take before round 6.

Runner Up: Antonio Richardson

NYG Approach:

Like the guards/centers, there is instability at offensive tackle right now.  Pugh is solid, but I’ve never been a Beatty guy and last year almost shut the door on him.  He may be the starter though simply because there is nothing else on the roster than could upgrade the position.  I think his contract was very short-sighted and may have been one of the worst moves this front office has made in a long time.  Despite him being signed long term, I think NYG needs to address this position early on.  They can’t have any more repeats of what happened last year.  Their entire offense was dragged down to a lower level because of the poor play up front.  There will be an opportunity with one of their first three picks to bring in a nice value pick that could potentially contribute right away.  In this deep overall draft class, I think we are going to see a tackle drop way beyond his actual ranking.  NYG would be foolish to pass on him at that point.  This unit needs to get back to dominant, consistent, reliable football.  Their starting personnel and back ups can be replaced right now with some of these rookies. 

Share Button
Apr 152014
 
 April 15, 2014  Posted by  Articles, Roster Thoughts
Jerry Reese, New York Giants (February 22, 2014)

Jerry Reese at the NFL Combine – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NFL Draft Struggles Catching Up to Big Blue

Connor Hughes/Big Blue Interactive (Follow me on twitter: @92Hughes02)

On the outside, the frantic, fast-paced offseason that has descended upon East Rutherford has cleansed the pallet of most Giants’ fans. After two years of bargain buying, New York finally had the cap to spend, and spend they did.

Yet spending money this offseason wasn’t an option, rather a necessity. New York saw 21 unrestricted free agent contracts expire at the end of the season and two other players retire. Holes needed to be filled with the majority of these players not returning. With only seven draft picks, general manager Jerry Reese had his hand forced when it came to free agency.

But why? Where were the draftees that were meant to replace the wily veterans that had seen their skills diminish over the years? Where’s the replacement for Justin Tuck? David Baas? David Diehl?

New York’s spending-spree in the offseason is as a much a sign of draft dysfunction, as it is free agency-frenzy.

Since taking over as General Manager of the Giants in 2007, Jerry Reese has built two Super Bowl champions. Sure, he inherited some pieces from predecessor Ernie Accorsi (Eli Manning, Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck, Plaxico Burress), but smart first-round picks and key free-agent acquisitions helped construct a team that defeated the all-mighty New England Patriots not once, but twice, on the biggest of stages.

Nevertheless, what happened in the middle of each championship is what’s alarming. Since finishing 12-4 in 2008, a season that ended in the first round of the playoffs, New York has never been better than 10-6. There was an 8-8 season, two 9-7’s and last year’s disappointing 7-9 campaign. The Giants have not made the playoff four of the last five seasons. Whenever an injury hit, there were few capable players ready to step up.

When the Giants lost Kenny Phillips, he was replaced by C.C. Brown. When Plaxico Burress shot himself, there was no other reliable deep threat. There has been a revolving door at middle linebacker ever since Antonio Pierce was let go. As the line of David Diehl, Rich Seubert, Shaun O’Hara, Chris Snee, and Kareem McKenzie aged and faded, their replacements were often found lacking and depth was a major issue.

Reese has hit singles, doubles, triples and home runs in the first round of drafts. During their present or past time in blue, Aaron Ross, Kenny Phillips, Hakeem Nicks, Jason Pierre-Paul and Prince Amukamara have all experienced success and played critical roles on the team. The jury is still out on David Wilson and Justin Pugh.

But what of rounds two through seven? What of the draft picks that are meant to build depth? Contribute on special teams? Be groomed to start? How have they fared?

Since 2007, the Giants have made 46 selections after the first round. Excluding the last two draft classes, for belief they are still developing, that number decreases to 34. Of those 34 players, six are still on the Giants present roster. More damning is that of the 12 players drafted in the second and third rounds from 2007-2011, only three remain with the team.

There is one certainty in all of professional sports. His name is Father Time. As players fade or retire, it is those mid-to-late picks who are expected to fill in, plug the holes and make the loss of departed players more manageable. There is no guarantee that you’ll nab a Pro-Bowler, but a contributor is expected.

Who are those six non-first rounders drafted between 2007-2011? Designated long-snapper Zak DeOssie, wide receiver Mario Manningham, offensive tackle William Beatty, wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan, offensive lineman James Brewer and linebacker Jacquian Williams. The 28 other players drafted in rounds 2-7 during that time period are no longer New York Giants.

When injuries struck the established starters, where were those 28 players to help lessen the blow? Where was Chris Snee’s understudy? David Baas’? Will Beatty’s? Justin Tuck’s?

The Giants’ special teams have been one of the leagues worst over the last few seasons, coming to a glaring low this past year. The Giants allowed three touchdowns and 13.6 yards per punt return while only averaging 7.2 yards per return themselves. You don’t draft players in the first round to play special teams. Those players are selected later in the draft. The ineptitude in this area has led to such struggles; Tom Quinn can only take so much of the blame.

So as the Giants watched 21 contracts expire and two other players retire, creating 23 holes that needed to be filled…why was there no one waiting in the wings? No one waiting for a chance?

Some arguments can be made: Rueben Randle is there for Hakeem Nicks, Johnathan Hankins for Linval Joseph. Maybe Damontre Moore becomes a factor at defensive end. But there’s not much in-house help on the horizon.

Steve DeOssie is the only player that remains from the 2007 class, Mario Manningham from the 2008 class, Will Beatty from the 2009 class, and Jason Pierre-Paul from the 2010 class. Four drafts – four players left. And James Brewer is holding on for dear life from the “successful” 2011 class that has four players remaining.

Injuries have ruined some once-promising careers. Ahmad Bradshaw, Kevin Boss, Steve Smith, Terrell Thomas, and Kenny Phillips immediately come to mind. But mostly there has been simply poor drafting.

Reese is one of the best GM’s in the game, there is no denying that. When you hold up a hand with two gleaming Super Bowl rings on it, you earn that label. Reese knows exactly when to let go of a player (Jeremy Shockey, Steve Smith, Kenny Phillips) and is incredible and making sure not to over pay in free agency, although Baas can be considered an exception.

No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes, but having only eight players remain from 39 selections from 2007-11 (20.5 percent) is one of the reasons the team had 23 holes to fill this offseason.

As the Giants prepare for the offseason conditioning program, there may be even more questions than new faces.

Share Button
Apr 152014
 
 April 15, 2014  Posted by  Articles, The Draft
Travis Swanon, Arkansas Razorbacks (November 17, 2012)

Travis Swanson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2014 NFL Draft Preview: Guards and Centers

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

DISCLCAIMER:  I broke the OL previews in to two categories, guards/centers and tackles.  This can be difficult to organize because a few of these guys have the skill set to play different positions.  But keep in mind that versatility is part of their grade and I am grading these guys where I think they would best fit for NYG.

Current G/C on NYG Roster:

Geoff Schwartz – 28 – Signed through 2017

Chris Snee – 32 – Signed through 2014

John Jerry – 28 – Signed through 2014

James Brewer – 27 – Signed through 2014

Brandon Mosley – 26 – Signed through 2015

Stephen Goodin – 26 – Signed through 2014

Eric Herman – 25 – Signed through 2015

JD Walton – 27 – Signed through 2015

Dallas Reynolds – 30 – Signed through 2014

Where They Stand:

Not so long ago, the inside of the NYG offensive line was a major strength that paved the way for a powerful, reliable unit.  While they lacked the superstars, their presence was often overlooked by many, even fans.  Last season’s struggle on offense was largely because of poor performance inside.  The signing of Schwartz and hopeful resurgence of Snee could lead to the needed confidence of the starting pair of guards.  However the issue resides behind them on the depth chart and between them at the starting center spot.  JD Walton has some impressive tape attached to his name and I think he could be the guy in the middle, but there needs to be a better secondary option should his injuries arise or his level of play doesn’t return.  When it comes to the depth, NYG has a bunch of guys with limited upside.  It would be a major gamble to go in to the season with this current group.  They have enough bodies for sure, but is the quality there?  I don’t think so.

Top 10 Grades:

1 – David Yankey – Stanford – 6’6/315: 79

2 – Travis Swanson – Arkansas: 6’5/312: 78

3 – Cyril Richardson – Baylor – 6’5/329: 77

4 – Trai Turner – LSU – 6’3/310: 77

5 – Xavier Su’a-Filo – UCLA – 6’4/307: 77

6 – Gabe Jackson – Mississippi State – 6’3/336: 76

7 – Conor Boffeli – Iowa – 6’4/298: 76

8 – Dakota Dozier – Furman – 6’4/313: 76

9 – Gabe Ikard – Oklahoma – 6’4/304: 75

10 – Weston Richburg – Colorado State – 6’3/298: 74

Day One Target:

David Yankey – Stanford

Before I discuss Yankey, just know that I don’t have any guards or centers with a first round grade.  I would only support a selection here after a trade down in to the late 20s.  But that aside, I do really like Yankey for the Giants offense.  His versatility is a plus, as he played tackle and guard at a really high level.  Yankey’s greatest trait is his straight and run blocking.  He is a well-put-together 315 pounds with a strong base and heavy hands.  He was heading towards a first round grade late in the year, but I noticed a deficiency in his pass blocking on closer examination.  He struggles to keep his balance and his feet will get stagnant.  Yankey may not be the day one starter that I initially thought he would be, but the high ceiling is certainly there.  If he can be had, one way or another via trade, at the end of round 1, it may be worth it down the road.

Runner Up: Cyril Richardson

Day Two Target:

Travis Swanson – Arkansas

I have a much higher grade on Swanson than most.  Although he graded out as a 2nd rounder, I think he could be there for the Giants 3rd pick.  He is a huge body inside that moves exceptionally well at the second level against linebackers.  I am most impressed by his ability to neutralize pass rushers up the middle though.  That was a major problem for NYG this past year and I’m not so sure it has been solved.  Swanson could make a move to guard, as he showed the movement ability necessary to do so at the Senior Bowl.  If NYG wants to get bigger up front, Swanson would be the ideal center to bring in.

Runner Up: Trai Turner – LSU

Day Three Target:

Conor Boffeli – Iowa

I recently finished up my scouting of Boffeli; he almost slipped under the radar.  I was really impressed with his ability to both anchor his position against bigger defensive linemen as well as move in space in a zone blocking scheme.  His performance against Minnesota’s Rashede Hageman left an impression on me.  He is a blue collar guy that I think would have fit in perfectly with the NYG offensive line a few years ago when it was considered one of the best in football.  He is undersized and may need some extra time before he can be thrown in to the mix.  That said, I would want a guy like him developing behind the starters more so than Brewer or Mosley.

Runner Up: Trey Hopkins – G – Texas (74)

Most Overrated:

Marcus Martin – C – USC (66)

I’ve seen it in a few different places that Martin is being considered the top center in this class.  I didn’t see much of him during the season, but I have seen 4 games of his in the past two months.  I don’t see a guy that can handle the NFL speed or power.  He gets stood up way too easily and his feet are very heavy.  Martin is not an impact run blocker, but merely a guy that just tries to get in the way.  It worked at USC, but I think he’ll struggle to succeed that way in the league.  Poor center play can be exploited really fast.  I have him graded as a day three guy, round 5 or 6.

Runner Up: Jon Hilapio – Florida (52)

NYG Approach:

As I stated earlier, I don’t see a round one value with any of these guys.  By no means does that mean I am down on this group though, as I see a lot of potential value throughout the draft here.  NYG needs to bring in another interior guy from what I can see.  I understand they are trying to develop Mosley, Brewer, and Herman but I would be fine with one of them getting the boot after training camp if a rookie comes in a shows more upside.  The center position would be a main focus here if the value presents itself, as there talent there is questionable at best.  If NYG wants to get back to a quality rushing attack as well as keep Manning upright for the back nine of his career, the situation inside needs to be addressed.  Waiting too long could end up being a major limiting factor for this team.

Share Button
Apr 102014
 
 April 10, 2014  Posted by  Articles, The Draft
Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh Panthers (September 28, 2013)

Aaron Donald – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BBI New York Giants 2014 NFL Draft Preview: Defensive Tackles

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

Current Defensive Tackles on the NYG Roster:

Cullen Jenkins – 33 – Signed through 2015

Mike Patterson – 31 – Signed through 2014

Jonathan Hankins – 22 – Signed through 2016

Markus Kuhn – 28 – Signed through 2015

Where They Stand:

While the free agent acquisition period is not over yet, this appears to be the group that NYG will enter draft weekend with.  It’s a very thin group that will hold this team back as it currently stands.  Jenkins and Patterson are both overachieving, reliable veterans that can wear a few hats for their front.  While I wouldn’t call them difference makers, they are at the very least guys that can be counted on.  Hankins and Kuhn are the wildcards here, as they will be given the opportunity to fill the shoes of the departed Linval Joseph.  I don’t have confidence in either of them to be the guy that needs to be in there for 80%+ of the defensive snaps, making opponents game plan around them.  This group as a whole needs a fresh body or two that can contribute right away.

Top 10 Grades:

1 – Aaron Donald – Pittsburgh – 6’1/285: 85

2 – Rashede Hageman – Minnesota – 6’6/310: 80

3 – Stephon Tuitt – Notre Dame – 6’6/304: 79

4 – Brent Urban – Virginia – 6’7/295: 79

5 – DaQuan Jones – Penn State – 6’4/322:  78

6 – Timmy Jernigan – Florida State – 6’2/299: 78

7– Louis Nix III – Notre Dame – 6’2/331: 78

8 – Dominique Easley – Florida – 6’2/288: 76

9 – Taylor Hart – Oregon – 6’6/281: 76

10 – Kelcy Quarles – South Carolina – 6’4/297: 73

Day One Target:

Aaron Donald – Pittsburgh

I had a hard time accepting the fact that Donald was indeed one of the top players in the draft.  I usually want guys with size inside, guys with consistent power presence that cannot be moved.  But after watching almost 10+ games of Pittsburgh dating back to last year, I’m convinced Donald will be a star.  He is the pass rushing presence that NYG has lacked inside for a long time and I think he is a better run defender than most will give him credit for.  It’s easy to look at his size and say he can’t handle the physical power needed to anchor a position against the run.  But when I scout him, I see a guy that can not only maintain position, but push linemen back, get off their blocks, and chase down the ball carrier like a linebacker.  Donald will likely be my pick for NYG should be available at #12.

Runner Up: Rashede Hageman – Minnesota

Day Two Target:

Stephon Tuitt – Notre Dame

Tuitt could easily grade out as a first rounder if you go by is 2012 tape.  He’s had a few physical issues over the past year and I did factor them in to his grade.  Now with that said, I only have so much access to his medical information but from everyone I have spoken with and everything I have read, he should be at 100% by this summer.  Tuitt played outside in ND’s 3-4 front, but I think he can easily move inside and play a Chris Canty-type role in a 4-3.  He is enormous and very hard to move but also shows the short area quickness to beat blockers one on one.  He is certainly a matchup problem because he can beat you a few different ways.  If NYG ignores the defensive line in round one, Tuitt will likely be the guy I want in round two if he is still there.

Runner Up: DaQuan Jones – Penn State

Day Three Target:

Brent Urban – Virginia

Some view Urban as a 3-4 only player, but I disagree.  When looking for defensive linemen, I am always looking for versatility.  Urban can play outside in certain looks, even in a 4-3, but he can also play a three-technique role and control a couple inside gaps.  I’ve even seen him play the A gap and make a difference.  Urban plays a similar role and style as JJ Watt.  While I don’t think he has the same upside, Urban could be a day three steal and I think he’ll be available early round 4.  I love his ability to bend and pursue.  He uses his hands and long arms to control blockers and he can get off them consistently.  I can see him doing well here right away as a rotational defender and eventually becoming an every down difference maker because of his size, movement, and versatility.

Runner Up: Taylor Hart – Oregon

Most Overrated:

Anthony Johnson – LSU (59)

Johnson was one of the top recruits out of high school a few years ago, and rightfully so.  I can remember watching his first college game and thinking he would eventually be a top 5 lock.  But Johnson has failed to progress and if anything, he’s gone backwards since that first game.  He looks the part and he’ll deliver some bone jarring hits here and there, but he is a poor defender play-to-play.  He doesn’t anchor against single, straight blockers let alone double teams.  He can’t reach the QB consistently, and he doesn’t have a long enough lasting motor.  Nothing about his game is appealing to me, and I have him graded in the 7th/UDFA area.  I see some labeling him a possible 2nd round pick and I question if that is simply a result of him being a top tier recruit years ago.

Runner Up: Daniel McCullers – Tennessee (64)

NYG Approach:

When looking at what is currently on the roster, I can’t see how anybody can refute the enormous need for another able body inside.  NYG needs one of these rookies that can come in and contribute right away, and that’s not even accounting for any injuries to their current tackles.  While they have a couple of serviceable, able bodies in there, none of these guys will alter the game plan of any offense.  There is a severe lack of presence inside.  This is not a group that linebackers will want to play behind nor will they take pressure of the ends against the pass.  This class is a solid group of defensive tackles for days 1 and 2 of the draft and I am confident the right value will be there with one of their first three picks.  The sooner the better, as I would put the need for a DT right up there with the offensive line as the top targets for the weekend. 

Share Button
Apr 082014
 
 April 8, 2014  Posted by  Articles, The Draft
Chris Borland, Wisconsin Badgers (October 12, 2013)

Chris Borland – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BBI New York Giants 2014 NFL Draft Preview: Linebackers

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

*DISCLAIMER:  Grading linebackers is arguably the most difficult thing to do because of the different schemes and roles across the league.  These grades are purely based on NYG’s 4-3 front.  Some teams have a scheme that could use an edge rushing linebacker and grade him out very high while a team like NYG would view him as a middle rounder at best.  So please keep that in mind….

Current Linebackers on NYG Roster

Jon Beason – Signed through 2016

Spencer Paysinger – Signed through 2014

Jacquian Williams – Signed through 2014

Jameel McClain – Signed through 2015

Mark Herzlich – Signed through 2014

Allen Bradford – Signed through 2015

Spencer Adkins – Signed through 2014

Where They Stand:

The NYG front office and coaching staff has had their share of troubles over the years when trying to piece together their LB group via every avenue possible when it comes to play acquisition.  The Draft, free agency, trades, waiver wire, in-season street free agents – they’ve attacked it from everywhere.  Personally, I think this has been a below average group for years and there is a direct correlation between that and their extreme inconsistency on the defensive side of the ball.  While the passing era of football has forced teams to only play one or two linebackers at a time for a lot of plays, I still think the value of quality guys in the middle of the defense is vital.  Since I’ve been drafting for NYG in real time to compare years down the road, I’ve been calling for names like Curtis Lofton (2008), Sean Lee (2010), Mason Foster (2011), and Devonte Holloman (2013).  The impact of these guys against BOTH the run and pass is enormous and I am consistently noticing a lack talent at the position hurting this team every year.  The trade for Beason was a nice start, but this group is still starving for another talented player. 

Top 10 Grades:

CJ Mosley – Alabama – 6’2/234: 81

Chris Borland – Wisconsin – 6’0/248: 81

Khalil Mack – Buffalo – 6’3/251: 81

Anthony Barr – UCLA – 6’5/255: 80

Jordan Tripp – Montana – 6’3/234: 79

Ryan Shazier – Ohio State – 6’1/237: 77

Jordan Zumwalt – UCLA – 6’4/235: 75

Christian Kirksey – Iowa – 6’2/233: 74

Trevor Reilly – Utah – 6’5/245: 74

Yawin Smallwood – Connecticut – 6’2/246: 73

Day One Target:

CJ Mosley – Alabama

I should be a bit of an asterisk on this one because I don’t have any of these linebackers graded in the top 12 overall.  But should NYG trade back a bit, Mosley could come in to play.  This is a player that earned a first round grade, but I have been a little let down on his lack of progression the past few years.  I thought he was going to be a ‘special’ player that ended up with a grade above 90; however he never really took the next step.  Despite that, I still think highly of him and believe he is one of the safer bets to be a quality difference maker for a decade in the NFL.  Mosley is a guy that does it all physically but will also elevate the play of his teammates with his high on-field IQ.  Mosley is a great mover in tight spaces as well as in pursuit to the sidelines.  He is also one of the better coverage LBs in this class.  He fits in well with what they want to do with the NYG LBs and he would fill a major hole in this defense.  A true three down linebacker here.

Runner Up: Khalil Mack – Buffalo

Day Two Target:

Chris Borland – Wisconsin

I’ve been raving about Borland for over a year now and I’ve yet to take a step back.  He earned a legit first round grade on my board despite the lack of ideal size.  He is one of the most instinctive LBs I have ever seen and his ability to move in traffic is second to none.  Watch any Wisconsin game, against any kind of offense, against any level of speed and you will see #44 in the frame on almost every play.  Borland is a quality tackler and quality cover man.  He consistently beats blockers to a spot, putting himself in position to impact the play.  He lacks the physical gifts that some of these guys have at the position, but Borland will be a productive player no matter what.  He is a great value pick in round 2, and could be an option for end of round 1 if NYG ends up there via trade.

Runner Up: Ryan Shazier – Ohio State

Day Three Target:

Jordan Tripp – Montana

Tripp comes from a slightly lower level of college football, but he has shined against better competition in his limited opportunities.  He has the wiry frame, movement ability, and power presence that I saw out of Kiko Alonso last year.  He may not be on that level right away, but I think Tripp will eventually be that same kind of defender in the league.  He can fly all over the field, but also has the presence to take on linemen and deliver a violent jolt when taking on their blocks. 

Runner Up: Jordan Zumwalt – UCLA

Most Overrated: 

Kyle Van Noy – BYU (72)

Van Noy has one of the more productive resumes to look at when considering statistical compilation.  But I’ve seen him play almost 10 times and I notice a lack of consistent presence against blockers coming straight at him.  He doesn’t play strong enough at the point of attack; too often he is dancing around contact or even worse, giving up on plays.  His ability to pursue and rush the edge can get him drafted, but I don’t think he warrants anything within the top 4-5 rounds.  There is too much not to like here.

Runner Up: Shayne Skov (64)

NYG Approach:

As I previously stated, this defense needs an upgrade in talent at the LB group.  The addition and resigning of Beason decreased the level of importance a bit, but the issue is still there.  While the likes of Paysinger, Williams, and McClain can instill enough confidence to be a good-enough core at the start, there isn’t enough on the depth chart.  Injuries are inevitable and NYG is just one away here from having yet another year of LB liability.  There won’t be a player worth taking at #12 overall here, so I think they are looking at rounds 2-5 to bring in a quality rookie.  I would prefer one of those day two picks to be spent on one, but not to a point where the value isn’t matched up.  With that said, I think they can grab Borland in round 2, Tripp or Shazier in round 3, or even Zumwalt on day 3.  There can be a lot of debate on just how important this is, but I won’t budge on my stance.  The lack of talent and development at the LB position has held this team back more than most believe.

Share Button
Apr 032014
 
 April 3, 2014  Posted by  Articles, The Draft
Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State Cowboys (October 26, 2013)

Justin Gilbert – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BBI New York Giants 2014 NFL Draft Preview: Cornerbacks

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

Current CBs on the NYG Roster:

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – 28 – Signed through 2018

Prince Amukamara – 25 – Signed through 2014

Walter Thurmond – 27 – Signed through 2014

Trumaine McBride – 29 – Signed through 2015

Jayron Hosley – 24 – Signed through 2015

Zack Bowman – 30 – Signed through 2014

Charles James – 24 – Signed through 2014

Junior Mertile – 25 – Signed through 2014

Ross Weaver – 27 – Signed through 2015

Chaz Powell – 26 – Signed through 2015

Travis Howard – 25 – Signed through 2015

Where They Stand:

On paper, this is one of the best groups of CBs that NYG has had in recent memory.  The aggressive free agency signing of Rodgers-Cromartie was an impressive one for a front office that seems to usually error on the side of caution.  The addition of Thurmond may end up being the top signing of this offseason though.  He’s been a league-favorite of mine for a few years now and I think he will prove to be a difference maker right away.  Round out the top three with the upside of Amukamara and this secondary appears to have the makings of something really good.  The depth has a few question marks, as McBride/Hosley/Bowman all have their deficiencies, but what secondary in the league doesn’t find themselves in that position?  It seems NYG is scouring the street free agent market for a starter every year at some point in the season.  Reese appears to have really locked in a deep group at the position that will give them plenty of options should injuries arise.  This may be the most impressive group of a revamped defense.

Top 10 Grades:

1: Justin Gilbert – Oklahoma State – 6’0/202: 86

2: Jason Verrett – TCU – 5’10/189: 83

3: Kyle Fuller – Virginia Tech – 6’0/190: 82

4: Travis Carrie – Ohio – 6’0/206: 78

5: Aaron Colvin – Oklahoma – 5’11/177: 78

6: Phillip Gaines – Rice – 6’0/193: 78

7: Darqueze Dennard – Michigan State – 5’11/199: 77

8: Shaquille Richardson – Arizona – 6’0/194: 76

9: Brock Vereen – Minnesota – 6’0/199: 75

10: Nevin Lawson – Utah State – 5’10/190: 74

Day One Target:

Justin Gilbert – Oklahoma State

I would say there is a 50/50 chance Gilbert is available for NYG when they are on the clock at #12 overall.  I think he is widely considered the top corner in this class with his size/speed/agility/ball skills combination that isn’t matched by anyone in this class.  He had a dominant 2013 season and showed just how well rounded he can be now that he has put it all together.  Despite NYG beefing up their secondary via free agency, I think he should at least be a consideration for the slot.  In this era, a team may never have too many quality cornerbacks.  As I stated earlier, it seems as if NYG is looking for street free agents to be a part of the CB rotation on Sundays every year.  This is not a spot where you want to have questionable depth.  When you consider Rodgers-Cromartie is the only one that will definitely be around after 2014, a Gilbert selection makes sense.

Runner Up:

Jason Verrett – TCU

Day Two Target:

Kyle Fuller – Virginia Tech

I’m having hard time gauging where Fuller will land in this draft class, but I think he is a legit top 20 player.  His injuries are included in my grade, so I’m not ignoring them even though it appears they will not hamper him down the road at all.  Fuller was one of my favorite players to watch in 2013.  He is as aggressive as it gets against both the run and pass with elite movement ability and good awareness.  I love the toughness he brings to the table.  If he falls out of the first round, NYG should immediately consider him with their second pick.  He has quality-starting corner written all over him. 

Runner Up:

Aaron Colvin – Oklahoma

Day Three Target:

Travis Carrie – Ohio

I’ll venture to say most of you have never heard of my #4 overall CB.  That’s fair and from what I see out there, nobody has this kind of grade on him.  I’m fine with that because I don’t use the media’s perception as part of my grading process.  Carrie is a tall, well put together athlete that can move with anyone.  He has some of the best feet and hips you’ll find and enough speed to stick with speed receivers down the field.  He is a strong tackler that approaches that part of the game the right way.  Carrie may be my biggest diamond in the rough this year and I wouldn’t hesitate to take him on day three for one second.  He will be a player if he finds the right system that allows him to play bump and run coverage and attack the running game.  I am really looking forward to his career.

Runner Up:

BJ Lowery – Iowa

Most Overrated:

Bradley Roby – Ohio State

I want to like Roby because of his receiving ability and movement.  He is a top tier agility/speed guy that can catch the ball.  But every time I watch OSU tape, his lack of awareness and fluidity jumps off the screen.  When he is matched up against receivers that understand the mental side of the game and do the little things right, Roby gets exposed.  He loses a lot of his athleticism when tracking the deep ball as well.  His speed does not translate to the field and guys like that always bother me.

Runner Up:

Keith McGill – Utah

NYG Approach:

I’ve said it a few times that I am very confident this group of CBs can perform at a level that we haven’t seen here in quite some time.  Their top 3 corners can be as good as any in the league.  The depth behind them could be a lot worse when comparing depth charts from around the league, so I could see the case made for not addressing the position in the 2014 Draft.  I have a different view, however.  There are some interesting opportunities here to bring in a quality cover corner throughout the entire draft.  I would have to give a long, hard thought to Gilbert at #12 overall if he is there.  I understand he may not fill the biggest hole, or even the third biggest hole on this team right away, but cornerback is NOT a spot you want to ever be weak at.  It would be foolish to approach this as a “Cross that bridge when we get to it” type mindset.  Gilbert could have a spot on this roster right away that leads to contribution.  If he is passed on, I have a lot of different grades on this class when comparing to what I see out there.  There will be an opportunity in every round of day three for a great value grab.  I would say that should be the route taken if Gilbert is not the pick at #12 overall.

Share Button
Apr 022014
 
 April 2, 2014  Posted by  Articles, The Draft
Calvin Pryor, Louisville Cardinals (October 5, 2013)

Calvin Pryor – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BBI New York Giants 2014 NFL Draft Preview: Safety

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

Current Safeties on NYG Roster:

Antrel Rolle – Signed through 2015

Will Hill – Signed through 2015

Stevie Brown – Signed through 2015

Quintin Demps – Signed through 2015

Cooper Taylor – Signed through 2017

Where They Stand:

Upon initial glance, the safety group looks strong and deep for the 2014 season.  Rolle is one of the highest paid players on the team and even though his production hasn’t matched his cap number, his value goes deeper than what we see on the stat sheet.  He is the leader of the defense and comes to play every Sunday.  He is one of the more versatile and reliable players on this team.  Hill and Brown have both shown game breaking ability here and there.  They are aggressive players that are always around the action.  Both have concerns though.  Brown has the knee injury he will attempt to bounce back from and Hill has had his share of off-field issues.  Demps was a quality FA signing that can wear a few hats and Taylor showed promise as a special teamer in 2013.  This unit is strong for the current situation they are in, but we could be looking at an entirely different situation a year from now.  How much longer can NYG pay Rolle?  And are Brown/Hill capable of overcoming their respective problems?

Top 10 Draft Prospect Grades:

1 – Calvin Pryor III – Louisville – 5’11/207: 86

2 – Hasean Clinton-Dix – 6’1/208: 84

3 – Deone Bucannon – Washington State – 6’1/211: 81

4 – Dion Bailey – USC – 6’0/206: 78

5 – Terrence Brooks – Florida State – 5’11/198: 76

6 – Vinnie Sunseri – Alabama – 5’11/210: 74

7 – Marcus Trice – North Texas – 5’8/193: 73

8 – Shamiel Gary – Oklahoma State – 6’0/205: 73

9 – Ed Reynolds – Stanford – 6’1/207:  73

10 – CJ Barnett – Ohio State – 6’0/204: 72

Day One Target:

Calvin Pryor – Louisville

Pryor has been the top rated safety on my board since the early fall of 2013.  I saw him early two times and really liked his game.  He is such a well rounded player that makes the impact that some of the top safeties in the game can do.  Pryor is an angry missile from the secondary when defending the run.  His style is straddles the line of too-aggressive.  Pryor is a sound tackler that can be relied upon as the last line of defense in the open fiend, showing the ability to break down on the move and control his body enough to tackle an elusive runner.  In coverage, Pryor grades out as an above average defender, but lacks the elite movement ability.  He still gets his hand in on the action plenty, however.  There is a good chance Pryor will be the top graded player available when NYG is on the clock for me.  Even though the safety spot is not a vital position of need this season, he will still be a consideration.  He’s a reliable impact player that can change a defense.

Day Two Target:

Deone Bucannon – Washington State

Bucannon is the classic case of being a superb prospect coming from a poor defensive program.  Very few were able to see him play in 2013 from a general public perspective, but make no mistake about this player’s ‘special’ potential.  I’ll put his ability against the run up against anyone’s in this draft class.  He is a well built, explosive-in-short-spaces safety that can play in the box with the best of them.  He has consistently led that team in tackles with a career-high 114 in 2013 and has 15 career interceptions, including 6 this past season.  From the first time I saw this defense play, Bucannon always appears to be a pro football player matched up against kids.  He graded out as a 1st-round caliber prospect on my board and he would be a great value pick in round 2 or 3. 

Day Three Target:

Marcus Trice – North Texas

One of my favorite lesser-known prospects in the nation here.  Trice will fight the naysayers all day, every day because of his sub 5’10 listing.  The lack of size hurt his grade, but he still graded out as a borderline 3rd/4th rounder on my board.  Trice made an impact on every game I watched.  He is an enforcer that ball carriers fear but he can also play a deep cover 1 role, showing enough range to reach either sideline.  He anticipates the action well and gets his hands on a lot of passes.  Trice is a fun player to watch that will make his impact on a tea one way or another.  Sometimes I’ll overlook the meaurables when a player like this jumps off the tape as much as Trice did.  He is a spirited competitor that gets the most out of himself and others.  Day 3 will be when is start to consider this versatile defender for NYG.

Giants Approach:

I’ve put a lot of thought in to this, and admittedly am still struggling to come up with a clear cut answer on how to approach the safeties in this draft.  Overall, this group is below average when looking at my past grades.  Pryor and Clinton-Dix would help this defense; there is no doubt about it.  They are more talented than what is currently on the roster at the position with much more upside.  Their grades tell me they are worthy of the #12 overall pick, so those two facts should be enough to say yes to one of them if they are available, right?

Like most of you, I would rather wait on bringing in another young safety to this team.  One could make the case there is no room on the roster, and it would be a waste economically.  Although there is a little voice that says you don’t pass on high grades like this, especially considering the lack of stability at the position past this upcoming season.  In my ideal world, NYG passes on safety altogether in 2014 and reevaluates the position at this time next year.  You have to gamble on certain spots here and there and have faith that what currently resides on the roster will be good enough.

Share Button
Mar 282014
 
 March 28, 2014  Posted by  Articles, Features
Quintin Demps, Kansas City Chiefs (December 15, 2013)

Quintin Demps – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Driven by Faith, Giants’ Quintin Demps Much More Than an Athlete

A pen, a piece of paper and faith.

For every trial, tribulation, stress or struggle that has been thrown his way, Giants safety Quintin Demps always seemed to find himself retreating to a room with those two objects and one belief.

He’d sit there as long as it took, writing down whatever came to his mind in lyrical verses. It was his way to relieve stress. It started when he was growing up in San Antonio, Texas, followed him when he enrolled at Texas-El Paso and to each of his four stops in the National Football League.

Whenever stress caught up to the 28-year-old, that pen, paper and faith were always there to help him through whatever life had in store.

“I grew up with music and writing was always my way of venting,” Demps said in a phone interview. “It’s been a part of my life for decades. It’s how I express myself.”

Throughout his life, fans and onlookers have always known Demps as an athlete. During his time at Theodore Roosevelt High School, Demps was a star on the school’s track and football team.

As a junior, he led his team to a District Title while earning second team All-District 26-5A honors. As a senior, he was named as an All-District, an All-Greater San Antonio selection and All State Honorable Mention.

The accolades led to his enrollment at UTEP where the successes kept coming. In four years, Demps recorded 17 interceptions, the second most in school history, leading to his selection in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.

In his rookie year, Demps displayed game-breaking ability as a kick returner, averaging 25.3 yards a return. Defensively, he showed enough promise that Jim Johnson penciled him in as the team’s starting safety for the 2009 season.

Yet Demps’ time as a starter never materialized. He was beat out by Macho Harris for the starting spot and was cut in 2010. But during those three years, the safety took note of the team he saw twice each season.

“I always knew about the Giants,” Demps recalled. “They were a first class organization. We all knew that any given year they could make it to the Super Bowl.

“They’re a team that is all about business. Coughlin is a great leader and they were about winning, nothing else. That’s what I’m about, too.”

After being cut, Demps spent a brief stint with the Harford Colonials of the United Football League before being signed with the Texans midway through the 2010 season. He played two years in Houston before reuniting with Andy Reid in Kansas City last year.

In 2013, Demps excelled as a kick returner averaging 30.1 yards per return, but the season would be his last in Kansas City as the Chiefs elected not to resign Demps. Moments into free agency, it didn’t take long for his phone to light up.

“(The Giants) were one of the first teams to contact me, they called real quick,” Demps said. “There were about four teams that reached out, but I knew that any given year the Giants could make it to the Super Bowl.

“Going into free agency, I wanted to go to a team with a chance of winning a championship. I saw that with the Giants.”

Demps vows to bring leadership, play-making ability and experience to a Giants team in desperate need of help on special teams, along with a winning pedigree. In his seven-year career, Demps has never missed the playoffs.

But for everything Demps brings to a team, there’s more than what fans see on Sundays.

“I hated to be associated as just a football player,” Demps said. “That’s what I do and that’s part of who I am, but I really don’t put myself in that category.”

Music and faith have always joined football as the ‘Big 3’ that encompasses Demps’ life. While music and football came by themselves, his mother, Jacqueline, instilled faith.

Demps said his mother always made sure God found a way into her son’s life as she brought him up in the Catholic Church.

“She did a great job training me up in faith, it all started with her and the church,” Demps said. “My mother made sure God was a part of my life at a young age.”

In Demps’ mind, faith and music have always been one. While others rapped of topics including sex, drugs and women, Demps preferred his music involve religion, purpose and motivation.

It was this combination that led to Demps creating his record label, Purpose by Faith, in 2012. Demps says he hopes the label can create music for the masses. Presently, he’s working on a mix tape with a tentative release date later this year.

“A lot of guys in the locker room are clinging to it,” Demps said. “That’s been my biggest support group. People have always known me as just an athlete, but now they see I have some potential musically.”

Former teammates such as Eric Berry, Tamba Hali and Justin Forsett have all reached out to Demps about potential collaborations, but for now he’s just focused on getting his label off the ground.

Some of Demps’ music has been released on his Sound Cloud account, including his most recent track entitled, “My Conscience.”

“That’s the one that sticks out the most,” Demps said. “I’m trying to get my rhythm and flow, but I really like that one.”

While he continues producing his mix tape, Demps is beginning to shed the label of ‘Football Player.’ While the title has defined him since he began playing as a child, it hardly describes the man he’s grown up to be.

“I’m just a man walking with Jesus,” Demps said. “I’ve been very gifted in football, but I don’t really put myself in that category.

“I’m just a guy trying to be the best he can be at life.”

Connor Hughes/Big Blue Interactive
Follow me on twitter: @92Hughes02

Share Button
Mar 272014
 
 March 27, 2014  Posted by  Articles, Giant Thoughts
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (December 29, 2013)

NFL Bans Dunk Celebration – © USA TODAY Sports Images

No Fun League: NFL Bans Dunk Celebrations

It gets to the point where enough is enough.

Sure, the NFL had every right to rethink touchdown “celebrations” moments after Joe Horn removed a cell phone from underneath the goal post at the Super Dome 11 years ago. Yes…that was over a decade ago.

Sure, the NFL had every right to implement fines when players like Randy Moss mimicked mooning the crowd at Lambeau Field and ever right when others gathered in groups for unnecessary and extravagant antics.

But dunking? ….Really?

There comes a moment in time where the NFL needs to answer what exactly is being accomplished by removing a celebration such as the “Dunk?” What was the issue in the first place?

During his 18 years playing in the NFL, did one of Tony Gonzalez 111 career touchdowns (most of which ended in his signature dunk) ever strike an un-expecting ball boy on the top of his head, rendering him concussed?

Has Jimmy Graham, Antonio Gates or Drew Brees–all of which have turned to the one-handed slam in their careers–ever done any “harm” to the game while celebrating a “TD?”

No.

The NFL announced that for each “dunk,” the “dunking” team will be hit with a penalty, of which the severity is not yet known. Assuming it falls under the same category as other endzone celebrations, it’ll be a 15-yarder.

When the NFL implemented a five-yard penalty for “Delay of Game” following an inbounds spike, it was understandable. The bouncing ball had the potential to roll out of the way of officials causing the ever-precious time to slowly tick of the clock. As has been shown on countless occasions, those are seconds that could truly have an impact on the game.

But a dunk? When the clock is stopped? A players emotions running? A celebration that has been a part of the game for as long as I’ve been alive? I reiterate…

Really?

Players have taken to twitter and other social media outlets to voice their opinions. Goal-post-rattlers such as Jimmy Graham is predicting he’ll lead the league in penalties, Tony Gonzalez is stating he got out “just in time,” and others like the Giants Charles James, who has yet to score a touchdown in his career, tweeted the following:

Yeah…there was no need for that tweet to appear in red ink to sense the sarcasm filled in the young corner’s typing fingers.

Many consider the NFL arguably the most well run league in all of professional sports. The multi-billion dollar industry is at the heart of Americans and–aside from the red mark that is the concussion crisis–has been the focal point of what others strive to be.

Other Leagues have tried to duplicate “football.” Be it the XFL, AFL (Arena Football League), or CFL (Canadian Football League), yet none have mastered what the NFL has perfected.

So the question is simple, why?

While the NFL has imposed fines, suspensions and penalties over the years for offenses that have garnered backlash, there was still an answer, an understandable reason.

Safeties can no longer leap headfirst at wide outs for fear of player safety; running backs cannot lower their head for the same reason. But a dunk?

Really?

NFL vice president of officiating, Dean Blandino, released the following quote on the “Dan Patrick Show” Tuesday afternoon:

“We grandfathered in some, the Lambeau Leap and things like that. But dunking will come out (of the game). Using the ball as a prop or any object as a prop, whether that’s the goal post, the crossbar, that will come out and will be a foul next season.”

Ahh, just realized that I’ve forgotten to reference exactly what “NFL” stands for in the above paragraphs. I’ll clarify:

No Fun League.

Connor Hughes/Big Blue Interactive
Follow me on twitter: @92Hughes02

Share Button
Mar 072014
 
 March 7, 2014  Posted by  Articles, Roster Thoughts
Geoff Schwartz, Kansas City Chiefs (August 24, 2013)

Geoff Schwartz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2014 NFL Free Agency Preview: Whether some want to admit it or not, the New York Giants are rebuilding. It’s not a full-fledged rebuild because – assuming Eli Manning rebounds in 2014 – the Giants still have their franchise quarterback in place. But for the first time since the beginning of the Tom Coughlin era in 2004, this team has the feel of one that needs a major infusion of talent across the board. Personally, I do not think this will be a quick fix. Armed with only six draft picks (possibly another late pick when the compensatory picks are awarded), too much much needs to be done. But the Giants can be competitive in the unimpressive NFC East with a strong free agent signing period and draft.

Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that the Giants have never had this many of their own players not under contract. Not counting two who have retired (Brandon Jacobs and David Diehl), the Giants have 27 free agents. Twenty-five of those 27 will be unrestricted. Most will probably not return. It’s conceivable that the Giants may turn over half their roster. And it’s not just the numbers, but the stature of the players they have lost or will be losing. In addition to Diehl and Jacobs, Hakeem Nicks, Justin Tuck, Linval Joseph, Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, Terrell Thomas, and Kevin Boothe may all be gone. Tough decisions still need to be made on Chris Snee and David Baas.

This team will look far, far different in 2014. Things might get worse before they get better.

As for the New York Giants approach to free agency, General Manager Jerry Reese said at the NFL Combine:

The last couple of years it’s been a pretty saturated market. If there are guys you like and you have the money, you can go get them. But if you can hold your water there will probably be some guys available in the second and third wave (of free agency)…If you have the funds available to extend (your own) guys and tie them up, we’ve done that a lot in the past. We think right now it’s best to see what the market is and make our move from there.

Quarterback (Minimal Need): Whether you agree or not, Eli Manning is entrenched as the starter. Ryan Nassib must become the #2 in 2014, allowing the Giants to carry only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster again, or his selection in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL Draft looks more dubious. The Giants will re-sign Curtis Painter or add another quarterback for an additional arm in camp.

New York Giants Free Agents:

  • Curtis Painter (UFA)

Running Back (Major Need): The worst group of running backs in the NFL The only running backs on the Giants who are currently under contract or don’t have significant injury concerns are Michael Cox and Kendall Gaskins. Injury-prone Andre Brown is a free agent, and even if he is re-signed, how much can the Giants really rely on him? David Wilson’s future is still clouded with a career-threatening neck injury and inconsistent play on the football field. Who is the bell cow on offense? There is a very good chance that the Giants’ starting running back will be an unrestricted free agent signed from another team.

New York Giants Free Agents:

  • Andre Brown (UFA)
  • Peyton Hillis (UFA)
  • Da’Rel Scott (UFA – not tendered RFA)

UFA’s of Note:

  • RB Ben Tate, Houston Texans
  • RB Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders
  • RB Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
  • RB LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots
  • RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • RB Rashad Jennings, Oakland Raiders
  • RB Toby Gerhart, Minnesota Viking

Fullback (Minor Need): John Conner was impressive in his first season with the Giants as a lead blocker. He also flashed some receiving skills. Even if Henry Hynoski was not coming off of a couple of serious injuries, Conner may in fact be an upgrade.

New York Giants Free Agents:

  • Henry Hynoski (UFA – not tendered RFA)

Wide Receivers (Substantial Need): The Giants have Victor Cruz and then question marks. It is assumed Hakeem Nicks will leave in free agency. Much depends on the development of Rueben Randle and Jerrel Jernigan. Regardless, the Giants will need to add at least one quality wide receiver in free agency or the draft.

New York Giants Free Agents:

  • Hakeem Nicks (UFA)
  • Louis Murphy (UFA)

UFA’s of Note:

  • WR Eric Decker, Denver Broncos
  • WR Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks
  • WR Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
  • WR James Jones, Green Bay Packers
  • WR Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • WR Andre Roberts, Arizona Cardinals
  • WR Sidney Rice, Seattle Seahawks

Tight Ends (Major Need): The worst group of tight ends in the NFL. The Giant do not have a starting-caliber tight end on the roster unless the physically-talented Adrien Robinson and/or Larry Donnell come on like gangbusters. Brandon Myers was a disappointment, seems best suites as a role player, and probably won’t be back. Bear Pascoe is just a guy. Journeyman street free agent Daniel Fells may be the best of the bunch on the current roster.

New York Giants Free Agents:

  • Brandon Myers (UFA)
  • Bear Pascoe (UFA)

UFA’s of Note:

  • TE Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers
  • TE Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions
  • TE Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills

Offensive Line (Major Need): The worst offensive line in the NFL. The Giants currently have one starter who they can count on: Justin Pugh. The Giants may bring back over-priced and injury-prone Chris Snee and David Baas if both will agree to pay cuts. But even if they do remain, their lack of durability over the last few seasons is a major concern. In addition, Will Beatty is coming off of a poor season and a serious leg fracture in the season finale. Kevin Boothe is free agent and may not be back. David Diehl has thankfully retired. None of the back-ups inspire a great deal of confidence. Other than using stopgaps, the Giants need so much help here it is doubtful they will be able to address it all in one offseason.

New York Giants Free Agents:

  • Kevin Boothe (UFA)
  • Jim Cordle (UFA – not tendered RFA)
  • Dallas Reynolds (ERFA)

UFA’s of Note:

  • OT Eugene Monroe, Baltimore Ravens
  • OT Jared Veldheer, Oakland Raiders
  • OT Branden Albert, Kansas City Chiefs
  • OT Collins, Cincinnati Bengals
  • OT/OG Rodger Saffold, St. Louis Rams
  • OT Michael Oher, Baltimore Ravens
  • OT Zach Strief, New Orleans Saints
  • OG Jon Asamoah, Kansas City Chiefs
  • OG Geoff Schwartz, Kansas City Chiefs
  • OG Zane Beadles, Denver Broncos
  • OG Travelle Wharton, Carolina Panthers
  • OC Alex Mack, Cleveland Browns (Transition Tag)
  • OC Evan Dietrich-Smith, Green Bay Packers

Defensive Line (Potentially Substantial Need): The defensive line is the heart of a 4-3 defense. While much of the attention by Giants’ fans has been rightfully directed at the problems on offense, the defensive line continues to undergo a major transition. And it remains an open question as to whether the Giants can remain as strong here moving forward in 2014 and beyond. Much depends on whether Jason Pierre-Paul can rebound, and the overall talent and development of Damontre Moore and Johnathan Hankins. Mathias Kiwanuka is solid, but not a standout. It looks like the Giants are prepared to say good-bye to Linval Joseph, who many thought would be a long-term building block. Depth at defensive tackle could be a concern. If Justin Tuck’s NYG career is over, will the Giants get enough out of Moore and Kiwanuka to adequately replace him?

New York Giants Free Agents:

  • Justin Tuck (UFA)
  • Linval Joseph (UFA)
  • Mike Patterson (UFA)
  • Shaun Rogers (UFA)

UFA’s of Note:

  • DE Michael Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals
  • DE Lamarr Houston, Oakland Raiders
  • DE Michael Bennett, Seattle Seahawks
  • DE Everson Griffen, Minnesota Vikings
  • DE Jared Allen, Minnesota Vikings
  • DE Arthur Jones, Baltimore Ravens
  • DE/DT Red Bryant, Seattle Seahawks
  • DE Tyson Jackson, Kansas City Chiefs
  • DE Willie Young, Detroit Lions
  • DT Jason Hatcher, Dallas Cowboys
  • DT Henry Melton, Chicago Bears
  • DT B.J. Raji, Green Bay Packers
  • DT Randy Starks, Miami Dolphins
  • DT Pat Sims, Oakland Raiders
  • DT Clinton McDonald, Seattle Seahawks

Linebackers (Substantial Need): The only linebackers current under contract are Jacquian Williams, Allen Bradford, Marcus Dowtin, and Spencer Adkins. Spencer Paysinger, who was tendered as a restricted free agent, will likely be re-signed. Even if Jon Beason is re-signed, his significant injury history (Achilles, ACL-microfracture surgery) suggests having a solid reserve behind him. Unless Paysinger and Williams come on, the Giants still lack a consistent, play-maker outside.

New York Giants Free Agents:

  • Jon Beason (UFA)
  • Spencer Paysinger (RFA)
  • Keith Rivers (UFA)
  • Mark Herzlich (UFA – not tendered RFA)

UFA’s of Note:

  • LB Brandon Spikes, New England Patriots
  • LB Karlos Dansby, Arizona Cardinals
  • LB Daryl Smith, Baltimore Ravens
  • LB Perry Riley, Washington Redskins

Defensive Backs (Substantial Need): As long as Antrel Rolle (high cap figure) and Will Hill (off-the-field issues) are in the picture, the Giants are in much better shape at safety, especially if they can re-sign either Stevie Brown or Ryan Mundy. Also keep in mind that the team has high hopes for Cooper Taylor. The need is far greater at cornerback where Prince Amukamara is the only consistent, proven veteran. If he were to get hurt, the Giants would be in deep, deep trouble. The only cornerbacks currently under contract are Amukamara, Jayron Hosley, Charles James, and four practice squad players.

New York Giants Free Agents:

  • Trumaine McBride (UFA)
  • Terrell Thomas (UFA)
  • Corey Webster (UFA)
  • Aaron Ross (UFA)
  • Ryan Mundy (UFA)
  • Stevie Brown (UFA)

UFA’s of Note:

  • S Jairus Byrd, Buffalo Bills
  • S T.J. Ward, Cleveland Browns
  • S Malcolm Jenkins, New Orleans Saints
  • S Donte Whitner, San Francisco 49ers
  • S Louis Delmas, Detroit Lions
  • CB Alterraun Verner, Tennessee Titans
  • CB Aqib Talib, New England Patriots
  • CB Vontae Davis, Indianapolis Colts
  • CB Sam Shields, Green Bay Packers
  • CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Denver Broncos
  • CB Walter Thurmond, Seattle Seahawks

Kickers (Minor if Josh Brown is re-signed): Steve Weatherford is under contract. The Giants apparently would like to re-sign Josh Brown.

New York Giants Free Agents:

  • Josh Brown (UFA)

Notes:

UFA – Unrestricted Free Agent
RFA – Restricted Free Agent
ERFA – Exclusive Rights Free Agent

Share Button