New York Giants 1996 NFL Draft Review
FIRST ROUND — DE CEDRIC JONES, OKLAHOMA STATE (6-3, 275lbs, 4.65): The first four picks in the draft obviously did not go the way the Giants had hoped. Ideally, they wanted Kevin Hardy to slide to their pick. With WR Keyshawn Johnson, OLB Kevin Hardy, DE Simeon Rice, and OT Jonathan Ogden being selected before their pick, the Giants were left with a very difficult dilemma — take the next highest guy on their draft board, Cedric Jones, or trade down and pick up some extra picks. The only team rumored to be interested in trading with the Giants was the Miami Dolphins who had the 20th pick in the first round. Obviously, the Giants didn’t want to trade down that far in the draft. Also, one must factor into this equation that the Patriots (7th pick) and the Saints (11th pick) were rumored to be interested in drafting Cedric. If the Dolphins were the only team offering to make a deal, we would have kept the pick, but we would have selected DT Marcus Jones or WR Marvin Harrison. Cedric is a very good player, but defensive end isn’t a top need on this team in our opinion. Because of his size, Jones was the best COMPLETE defensive end available in this draft. Cedric is an excellent athlete and a superb pass rusher. He’s strong with excellent speed and quickness. During workouts before the draft, he was running the 40-yard dash in the 4.65 – 4.70 range — an outstanding time for a big defensive end. As a matter of fact, going into the 1995 college season, some considered Cedric Jones, and not Simeon Rice as the best defensive player in the country. In 1994, Cedric accrued 86 tackles and 14 sacks. In 1995, despite playing with a knee injury and missing two games because of the injury, Cedric picked up an additional 44 tackles and 11 sacks. Jones had surgery performed both on his knee and his left eye during this offseason (Cedric was legally blind out of that eye for all of his collegiate career), but both surgeries went well. Because of his size, Jones could probably be able to play both DE spots. Moreover, given his ability to slip blocks inside, Jones may well be used by the Giants in pass rush situations at DT. His negatives? Jones still needs more work in the weight room to add strength and size — the problem is that he doesn’t have the best work ethic in the world. He also needs to become more physical. Despite his size, he’s not a top run defender, though he is far better than most of the other defensive end prospects in this draft at defending the run. For those Giants’ fans who wanted Simeon Rice, they shouldn’t be too disappointed in the selection of Cedric Jones — there simply isn’t that much difference between these two players. We are somewhat disappointed because we felt there were more crying needs at DT and WR for the Giants. We doubt Cedric will make that much of an impact in 1996, but he is a high quality player and one of the very best defensive prospects in the entire draft.
SECOND ROUND — WR AMANI TOOMER, MICHIGAN (6-3, 195lbs, 4.40): With a number of quality players available at this selection, the Giants were again presented with a difficult decision. Guys who we were focusing on at this pick were WR’s Derrick Mayes and Amani Toomer and DT’s Bryant Mix and Shannon Brown. To us, the pick would have come down to Mayes or Mix, but Toomer is a good value pick. Amani has excellent size — something the Giants lack at WR. In addition, he is a speedster who can get deep. Like Cedric Jones, Toomer is another player who had a much better junior year than senior year. However, Amani was hurt somewhat by a change at QB with Todd Collins being drafted by Buffalo last year. In 1994, Amani caught 49 passes for 1,033 yards and five touchdowns. Last year, he caught 39 passes for 623 yards and five touchdowns. Toomer is a great athlete. Besides his speed, he can jump through the roof (40 inch vertical jump). He is fluid and has quick feet, but he needs to run better routes and set up defenders in a better fashion. Toomer is very talented, but he needs better consistency and intensity for a full 60 minutes each and every game day. The Giants have got to like the fact that he is an excellent blocker for the run. He’s also a good punt and kick returner. Toomer reminds us of former 1st rounder and current Ravens bust Derrick Alexander — let’s hope he plays much better than Derrick. He should become an instrumental part of the Giants’ offense this year. At the very least, this pick ought to make another Michigan alumni, Ty Wheatley, very happy.
THIRD ROUND — OT/OG ROMAN OBEN, LOUISVILLE (6-4, 300lbs, 5.05): A left tackle in college, Roman could project to guard. A very surprising and very un-Giant-like pick. We weren’t crazy about the pick with guys like DT’s Shannon Brown, HB Winslow Oliver, and WR’s Stepfret Williams and Terrell Owens still available. Roman is a diamond in the rough — a gamble on greatness in a part of the draft where the Giants normally go for much “safer” selections. After the latest college season, many considered Roman one of the very best offensive linemen available. However, he played very poorly in the all-star games and went from a sure first rounder to a third rounder. Roman has decent, but not great, size. For an offensive lineman, he is a fantastic athlete (as a matter of fact, the first three picks are well known for their athletic-ability). Roman is fast and quick. He has the long pro arms that pro teams covet and has extremely quick feet for pass protection. He has no trouble in pulling and leading on sweeps. Roman has all the tools to become a superior pass blocker and the explosiveness to become a good run blocker. HOWEVER, Oben is very raw and needs a lot of technique work — he’s a real project for OL coach Pete Mangurian. Moreover, Roman has questionable instincts for the game and needs to work far harder than he has in order to succeed. Boom-or-bust. OT/OG Ken Blackman would have been the safer pick if the Giants wanted to go after another OL. Nevertheless, if Roman plays up to his potential, the Giants might have come away with the steal of the draft; if he doesn’t, the Giants really blew this pick. Oben will not be a factor on the Giants’ roster this season.
FOURTH ROUND — QB DANNY KANELL, FLORIDA STATE (6-4, 222lbs, 4.95): Wow — another shocker! Danny Kanell is one of the better players available at QB this year, but that isn’t saying much in this draft and Kanell, though a decent prospect, is overrated by most people. Danny has the size that the Giants love in their QB’s. He played in a pro-style offense, is intelligent, and is a fine leader. His mechanics are very good — he has a quick, fluid release. Primarily known for his work in the short-to-medium-range game, Kanell does have enough arm strength to throw the deep out. However, he is not a strong deep thrower. Danny is also not known for his accuracy — sound familiar? He’s a streaky thrower who can be hot one moment and then cold the next. Usually courageous in the pocket, Kanell does sometimes make bad decisions when pressured by the pass rush. Impatient. Danny has the intelligence and just enough tools to succeed in the NFL, but he is not a sure thing. Another boom-or-bust pick. At the time, we were eyeing such prospects as WR’s Jermaine Lewis, Patrick Jeffers, and Mercury Hayes; DT’s Steve Martin, Orpheus Roye, and Jason Maniecki; and CB Fuzzy Lee. This pick sends a very strong message to Dave Brown. We also foresee some more problems between George Young (Danny Kanell) and Dan Reeves (Tommy Maddox). Kanell will not make much of an impact on this team in 1996, but he is a good developmental prospect who just might be the starting QB on the Giants in a few years.
SIXTH ROUND — MLB DOUG COLMAN, NEBRASKA (6-2, 252lbs, 4.77): We like this pick. Although he was only a part-time player in college, Colman has the type of size required by the Giants at MLB in their defensive scheme. Doug has good strength and plays the run well. He’s a hard worker, tough, and physical. He has decent speed but he is on the stiff side and may struggle in coverage. He’s not a wide-ranging performer. Colman should immediately help the Giants’ depth at MLB. This was a very poor year for linebackers, and Colman was one of the few that we had our eyes on.
SIXTH ROUND — OLB SCOTT GALYON, TENNESSEE (6-3, 235lbs, 4.70): Another linebacker who we liked a lot going into this weak LB-draft. Galyon is not big and has some trouble shedding blocks so we envision him on the weakside competing with Jessie Armstead and Marcus Buckley. Galyon has great intangibles — he’s intelligent, a hard worker, and a leader. A decent athlete, Scott has decent speed and quickness and plays with a lot of fire. Can cover. Broke his arm in the post-season so we do not know if he will be ready by training camp. With the additions of Colman and Galyon, the Giants have begun the process of rebuilding their LB corps with a couple of solid selections. Galyon is a former teammate of Ben Talley’s. He should immediately help out the depth situation at LB.
SEVENTH ROUND — CB CONRAD HAMILTON, EASTERN NEW MEXICO (5-10, 180lbs, 4.60): Usually, when a team gets down to the latter rounds of the draft, a team will select guys that most other teams don’t think that highly of, but the team has a conviction on. Thus, it is tough to argue with this selection because we doubt we have all the facts. However, there were a number of “quality” prospects still available at this pick who we liked a great deal: OG Rod Jones (why he slipped to the 7th round, we don’t know), WR Brice Hunter, S/CB Eric Smedley, and CB Fuzzy Lee (he must have run slow 40-times before the draft) were guys still high on our draft board. Many project Conrad Hamilton as a safety, but we see him as a CB. For a CB, Conrad has average size and speed, but he is a good athlete. He’s intelligent and is instinctive in defending the pass. Plus, he’s a tough run defender and a good hitter for his size. In 1995, he was awarded his conference’s Defensive Back of the Year Award and accrued 81 tackles, 16 passes defensed, 4 blocked kicks, and 2 interceptions. The problem with Conrad is that he is too small for safety, but he may be too slow for cornerback — we think he must have run a good 40-yard dash time for the Giants to take him. If so, he should help out the depth situation at CB right away.
ROOKIE FREE AGENT SIGNINGS:
P JOHN STONEHOUSE, USC (5-11, 228lbs): Played all four years at USC. Strong leg, but he lacks consistency and the directional-ability that Dan Reeves often looks for in his punters. A tough and big guy, he will make tackles on special teams. Averaged 43.6 yards per punt in 1995. Competition for Mike Horan in camp.
PK OLINDO MARE, SYRACUSE (5-11, 180lbs, 4.95): Like current Giants’ PK Brad Daluiso, Mare is known for his booming kick-offs. Lacks consistency as a field goal kicker, but he is improving. Considered by some to be the best rookie PK prospect available.
OG CHRIS KENNEDY, RUTGERS (6-4, 285lbs, 5.18): Tough guy and a hard worker. Understands the game. Smaller than ideal and not a great athlete. Most likely won’t make the final roster due to all the competition at guard (Lance Smith, Rob Zatechka, Scott Davis, Derek Allen, Ken Dammann and possibly Roman Oben and Ron Stone).
OC JASON STINSON, LOUISVILLE (6-3, 288lbs, 5.40): Another hard working, smart, and tough guy. Decent size and understands the game. Teammate of 3rd round pick, OT/OG Roman Oben, at Louisville. Not a great athlete — has poor quickness and is not a good movement player. Not likely to make the roster, but could be a developmental prospect. Giants need someone to eventually replace back-up OC/OG Adam Schreiber.
ROBERT WALKER, WEST VIRGINIA (5-11, 205lbs, 4.45): Superb speed and can catch the ball out of the backfield, but doesn’t have a lot of moves. Needs to improve as a blocker and he will fumble at times.
FB GEOFF GRENIER, OKLAHOMA STATE (6-0, 240lbs, 4.90): We have very limited information on this prospect.
WR KENYATTA SPARKS, SOUTHERN (5-9, 175lbs, 4.55): We have very limited information on this prospect.
WR KEVIN ALEXANDER, UTAH STATE (5-9, 175lbs, 4.45): Small, but he has very good hands. Speedy and quick. Needs a lot of work on his route running. Needs better concentration. Can help on special teams as a returner. Caught 92 passes for 1,400 yards and 6 TD’s in 1995.
WR GREG QUESADA, WASHINGTON (6-0, 185lbs): We have very limited information on this prospect.
DT BERNARD HOLSEY, DUKE (6-2, 275lbs, 4.88): We have very limited information on this prospect.
DT GRADY STRETZ, UCLA (6-4, 273lbs, 5.30): We have very limited information on this prospect.
DT DARNELL GILLIARD, TROY STATE (6-5, 290lbs): We have very limited information on this prospect.
DT RAMON OKOLI, MURRAY STATE (6-3, 305lbs, 5.24): A huge player with limited movement skills. More of a run-stopper than a pass rusher. Had 38 tackles and 4 sacks his senior year. Joel Buchsbaum thinks he might even be a prospect at guard.
MLB MOSES REGULAR, MISSOURI VALLEY (6-3, 270lbs): We have very limited information on this prospect.
CB/S MARK WASHINGTON, RUTGERS (5-9, 195lbs, 4.60): We have very limited information on this prospect.
CB TIM SENSLEY, SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA (5-9, 168lbs): We have very limited information on this prospect.
S MICAH PHILLIPS, USC (5-11, 195lbs, 4.60): We have very limited information on this prospect.
FS PERCY ELLSWORTH, VIRGINIA (6-3, 208lbs, 4.65): Great size and a good athlete. Doesn’t have a lot of speed or quickness. Needs to improve both as a hitter and a tackler.