by Eric from BigBlueInteractive.com
2010 NFL Draft Pick Scouting Reports
1st Round – DE Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida, 6-5, 270lbs, 4.73
SCOUTING REPORT: Junior entry. Pierre-Paul was born to Haitian immigrants and he did not begin playing football until his junior year in high school. A junior college transfer, due to academic woes, he could not play at South Florida until 2009. He played at the College of the Canyons in 2007 as a freshman and Fort Scott Community College in 2008 as a sophomore. Pierre-Paul was very sought after by major schools in 2009 and chose South Florida, where he only started seven games. Pierre-Paul is athletic freak with fine size. He is tall with long arms and legs. Pierre-Paul has an amazing first step and closing burst. Fast and quick, he runs like an athletic linebacker, and looks good playing in space. He also has tremendous balance and agility for a defensive end. Pierre-Paul plays with natural leverage. He is an explosive, penetrating, disruptive player who spends a lot of time in the opposition’s backfield. He makes a lot of big plays and plays hard. Pierre-Paul will chase plays down from behind. Good hitter, but he needs to play more under control as he fails to break down at times when he has the quarterback dead to rights. Very raw and he has a lot to learn in terms of technique and discipline, but he has probably the biggest upside of any player in the draft. Pierre-Paul has the frame to get bigger and he does need work in the weight room. Some say he is a boom-or-bust prospect, but he has been favorably compared to Jevon Kearse and Simeon Rice. He is a far better pass rusher than run defender, but Pierre-Paul has the physical ability to be an exceptional sack-artist.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:
Q: This guy, what’d you like about him? A lot of the scouts said he’s a real hit or miss kind of player.
A: Well, you hear guys on TV say that. I don’t think you hear many scouts saying that. There’s a lot to like about him. He’s one of those guys where he has a lot of things you can’t teach. He’s a rare, gifted, talented kid. He is just uncommon, I think that’s a good word to use to describe his skill set. He’s long, fast, athletic, he has a great motor. We’re excited about having him and we are going to put him right into the mix with our three, four defensive ends, including Tollefson. We’re not trading Osi, so you don’t even have to ask that question. I know that is on everybody’s mind and we’re not trading Osi. We’re excited about having the defensive ends that we have. He’s a great pass rusher, and we like to pass in this league as we all know. This guy is really going to do a tremendous job coming in to help us rush the passer. We will also be helped on special teams with his speed and his length. We will always need some type of kick blocker and stuff in that respect as a special teamer.
Q: How about the fact that he didn’t have a lot of high level college experience?
A: You take that into consideration, but he played well in a big league this past season. We think the guy has the biggest upside out of any player in the draft. Any player in the draft. That’s how we really feel about this guy. We think that the sky is the limit. Robert Nunn and Perry Fewell are really excited about this player.
Q: How much input does Perry have in the process?
A: Well, our scouts have the most input. They go out and they know these guys. They have watched him for a couple of years. They know all the background so they are our number one source of information. Marc Ross and his staff, our coaches go out and do some work. They go to the pro days and they go to the combine. The coaches have input on it as well. Everybody in the room felt good about him, and that’s what we try and do. We want everyone to feel good about the pick and everyone is excited about him.
Q: What are these things he has that you can’t teach him?
A: The length, number one. He’s 6’4″, 270 lbs. The speed that he has and the long arms he possesses, the athletic ability that he has. Those kinds of things just come naturally raw, oozing with talent and the motor that he has. All those kind of things he has, you know, it’s hard to find a package like that. He has some freakish athletic skills that we’re excited about trying to hone and get him on a good path toward workouts.
Q: You say he has a good motor, is he a play-to-play kind of player?
A: Yeah, he has a great motor and plays hard. I have no problem with that at all, he motors.
Q: Do you think he’s similar to Jevon Kearse coming out?
A: Length-wise, he’s built similar to Jevon Kearse so yeah that’s a good comparison. The body type he has that’s kind of stringy looking. You rarely see guys with that kind of length and that type of body type. He does have a body type like Kearse, yeah.
Q: As the first round progressed and the 15th pick came closer, was it easy to pick him?
A: This was an easy pick for us. This was an easy pick for us. Obviously we have guys that we thought might be in our window. Again, when you pick in the middle of the round it’s really tough to target guys. We felt like he could be one of the guys there. We’re excited about him. If you pick in the top seven or eight, or bottom seven or eight, you can really target a player. Being right in the middle, guys come off the board all over the place. You’re really not sure. It got close with this guy, and obviously they were a lot of good players picked before him. We were very happy to see he was still up there.
Q: Was there any player you were really holding your breath on?
A: No, we don’t hold our breath on anybody. We just look for good players.
Q: How about on him, that another team might take him?
A: Not really. We don’t hold our breath on anybody. We felt like there were some good players on the board two or three picks away from ours that we liked. We knew we were going to get a good player right there.
Q: How close did you come to moving up or down?
A: You know, we always keep our options open. I can’t say we were close to moving up or down.
Q: We talk about this guy as a pass rusher, can Pierre-Paul play the run?
A: He can play the run. He can play the run, the pass; he has the whole package. We think that he has the entire package as a defensive end. Perry Fewell thinks he has good promise.
Q: Do you think he has the temperament and the maturity after limited time at the top level?
A: All the psychological elements were there. All of the interviews were good. We brought him in, on one of his visits here, and we wanted to find out everything about him. We don’t have any reservations about this player.
Q: You used the word ‘raw’…is he going to ease in this year or is he a contender to play?
A: When you pick a guy in the first round, you expect him to come in and play. We expect him to come in, and obviously, we like guys to come in and to play on special teams and we think he can do that. We expect him to get into the rotation pretty quickly.
Q: You mentioned not trading Osi before we could…are you worried about his reaction?
Q: Will you talk to him about that?
A: Osi and I have talked. Osi knows that he is going to be here. Osi knows we are not looking to shop him. He knows he is going to be a Giant in the fall and he is looking forward to that.
Q: Did any teams try to get him, maybe for a bargain deal?
A: Well, there is always chatter in the media about what we’re doing and what we’re not doing. This time of year, there is so much false information flying around out there. We did get a couple calls. They were like, ‘Are you really serious about that?’ So, we did get some calls. We are not looking to shop Osi in any kind of way.
Q: At the point you picked him, was he your value board choice?
A: Let me just tell you that this guy was high on our board, okay. He was high on our board.
Q: Did you identify defensive end as a need?
A: We identified this player.
Q: So it wasn’t by position?
A: No. Our value board isn’t by position. It is about who the best players are for us that we think are in the first row. He was high in our first row.
Q: His height and weight is what right now?
A: At the combine he was 6’4.6″, 270 pounds.
Q: Does he have the frame to put on more?
A: He could be bigger, yeah. He is a lean 270 pounds so he can be a much bigger man.
Q: Do you think you will use him the way you used Tuck in his first year, playing all four positions?
A: We like that. That’s what we look for. We look for guys who have versatility and can play inside and outside. Guys who can play special teams. We target that kind of thing so we expect him to play all over the place.
Q: Rolando McClain went early to the Raiders…were you surprised by that? How high was he on your board?
A: Well, not really. Nothing surprises me. You should never be surprised by anything that happens in the draft. He is a good football player and I’m not surprised he went that early, no.
Q: Do you think middle linebacker is a priority going into tomorrow?
A: We are looking for good players.
Q: You said this was an easy pick but you used most of the ten minutes:
A: You know, we looked to see if there was a possibility of something else happening. We talked, and then talked to him on the phone for a while. We made sure he was okay, healthy, and ready to go. So we took our time.
Q: After giving up 427 points last year, do you think defense is a number one need?
A: I think we can do better all over our football team. Our offense can do better, our special teams can do better, our defense can be better. We can’t target anything. We win together and lose together. I don’t think the defense is the only reason we went 8-8 last year. I’m the reason, the head coach is the reason, the players are the reason. Everyone is the reason. We win together and lose together.
Q: You brought J.P.P. here on a visit, did you put him on the board to see about his football knowledge?
A: We put him on the board and we were satisfied with what we thought he is capable of. We did our work on him, we did.
Q: Is he the best back flipper on the defense?
A: Hmm…maybe so, probably. I don’t know.
Q: The other day you said you weren’t going to pick a gymnast…
A: Yeah, well, I’m not interested in that. He’s a good football player who can do flips, I guess. That’s a good thing, too.
Reese: Jason Pierre-Paul, we talked about him. We think he can be a dynamic defensive end for us. Huge upside and we think he can be a really good player.
MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS:
Q: Media tends to use words like riser/late riser. Was this a guy that was a riser? Did he make his way up as this process wore on?
A: In our eyes?
Q: Or did you identify him early?
A: He was a guy that during the season when I went to South Florida because I had four senior guys – where you put the tape on and you say, “Wow, who is the world is this guy?” Because you don’t know anything about him; he just got there. But he makes you take notice because he is jumping off the film. So of course you track him though the year. He was just a junior but the way he was playing it was a very strong indication that the guy was going to come out. So, no, he wasn’t a late riser for us. We had big grades on him throughout the year.
Q: Is it more difficult to grade a guy like this who has had a limited amount of playing experience?
A: Well, if you just base it off of when he played, it is very easy to grade the guy because he tremendous. And then you go, and just like any player that is my job – to scout these guys and dig deep and find out whatever – all players have strengths and weaknesses, red flags. It is our job to dig deep and feel comfortable with those and research them so that we know they are a good fit for us.
Q: Did the defensive coordinator, Perry Fewell, sort of come to you and say, “This is what I am looking for.”
A: No, not at all. We go through the process. We meet for weeks and our scouts write reports all year and we stack the board based on the best players. Of course, Coach and I will talk a lot but, no, the coordinators or the position coaches don’t come and say that.
Q: Given his limited playing time, how much actually did you guys put in terms of time to scout him? How many games did you see; how many films did you look at? And was there one that really stuck out and you said, “Hey, this guy would be great for us.”
A: Well, I have probably seen every game he has played this year. Our scouts, the way I have them do it, we have three scouts that do that area, they break down different parts of the season and do it. Of course the coaches get involved. Every game – Florida State – he jumps out on tape every game he played.
Q: You have three very good pass rushers – defensive ends. Is he like any of them – a body type like Kiwanuka?
A: He is rangy like Mathias in that kind of height. But when you see this guy – this guy is a freak of nature, really, some of the stuff that he can do and the way he looks. He is just a different guy. He has done things that I haven’t seen in scouting – in games – that I just haven’t seen.
Q: Like what?
A: Combination of the length and power and speed – just running though people and rag dolling tackles. He is just a different breed of athlete.
Q: Did he play against any tackles or linemen that were rated high? Because that is how you judge him, I would assume?
A: When you watch any position you try to grab the best match-up. I was at the Rutgers game – that was referenced earlier and of course watched the tape several times. He lined up on Anthony (Davis). They went head to head maybe 15 times and actually contacted each other seven times. And he did fairly well. So that was probably the best competition that he had even though they weren’t the whole game up against each other.
Q: You guys are obviously comfortable with this pick. But is it tough to get comfortable with a guy who has such a limited body of major college work?
A: Of course you would like all guys to be fifth-year seniors or four-year starters and producers and all of that kind of stuff. But that is why you do the research. That is why we have the scouts and these guys that take a lot of pride in their job to make sure we get this thing right. And I take a lot of pride in what I do. And I wanted to make sure that we were totally comfortable with this guy.
Q: Is there athleticism or are the technical skills there right now?
A: No, when he learns how to really play, it is going to be “watch out.” Because he does some things just naturally just playing – in your back yard just going. And when he really learns - when he gets his coaching and he keeps growing and developing like we think he will, he is going to be tremendous.
Q: Does this put a little pressure on your coaching staff – to get him where he needs to be?
A: How do you think I am going to answer that? Yes, of course. That is why you do it. With good teams you have to have that bond between the scouting staff and the coaches and that trust with one another with any player you take to hope that the kids do develop. They all are not ready made; they have to get better.
Q: How much did (George) Selvie, on the other side, how much did that benefit him?
A: We will talk about Selvie later. This kid is a great player. Selvie – not much; not much. This kid helped Selvie.
Q: Then how do you know he won’t – two years ago people were talking about Selvie kind of how there were talking about Jason PP now. How do you know he is not going to be another Selvie?
A: They are totally different players; totally different skill set; totally different athletic ability. The media was talking about Selvie – the guy had a tremendous sophomore year. He had 15 sacks or so. But his production has gone down and that is where you evaluate their skill set; their athletic ability; the height, weight, speed, the quickness, the strength, those things.
Q: There is a lot said about his ‘up side’ and when you look at a guy a lot of times you have to weigh potential against what you think you can get out of him right away. How much did potential kind of outweigh what you can get right away in looking at this guy for long term?
A: If he was a bad player and we were just basing it on potential, then you don’t make the pick. But this guy is a very, very good player; tremendous player, an impact player who we still see with tons of upside, probably the most upside in the draft. But it is not like we are saying, “Man, we are hoping.” We see it. The guy does tremendous things on the field. And he is a good player that we are hoping still gets a lot better.
Q: How much more weight can he carry on that frame?
A: This guy can be 280 easy, easy. He has almost 35 inch arms, tall, long legs, easy.
Q: Did you give the recommendation for Coach to go see him personally?
A: Of course I set it up to recommend to him that we should go see this group at South Florida. They had other good players, too, that we needed to see. So it was a good trip.
MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:
Coughlin: With our 15th pick we took Jason Pierre-Paul. We had an opportunity to investigate him quite thoroughly. We traveled down to South Florida for his pro day. We brought him in just prior to the draft and spent extra time with him with regard to that. Much has been said about his one-year stay at South Florida. But that is fine. That speculation is fine. He is a very, very talented young guy who is very healthy, who tests out in all categories very well; long arms, rushes the passer very well. He has played down inside on the guard. He gives you a nice mixture in combination of people utilized in pass rush combinations. I think he can play the run. He has played on both sides – left and right defensive end. He has done that. He is very well thought of by the coaching staff. His position coach was retained and we did have a chance to spend quite a considerable amount of time with him. He had a lot of very nice things to say this young guy. He comes from a very humble background. Interesting introduction to the sport – his high school coach got him to play in a playoff game when he was a junior in high school. He hadn’t played football – he was a basketball player. That started his career and of course his senior year in high school he became a football player. The rest is well documented. But this is a very, very talented young man with outstanding upside. It gives us tremendous flexibility in terms of the number of people that we have in our pass rush rotation. We expect that he will come in here and learn well. It will be an opportunity for him to spend a lot of time on the football – the playbook aspect of the game – probably something that he hasn’t had the opportunity to do in his short number of years that he has played the game. So it will be a very important part for him when he reports out here to our rookie camp first and then in mid-May.
Q: What did his college coach say?
A: That he is a very eager young man; eager to learn, obviously doesn’t have a great wealth of background in this sport but when you watch him play right away he certainly knows enough to adjust and maneuver on the field because he does. His pass rush arsenal includes inside moves and outside moves, a spin move. So he was very thorough in his description of this young guy and what he said is backed up by the tape.
Q: Did you get the impression that he can pick things up quickly?
A: I did. And according to all of the tests, that part of it is not an issue. The first thing that happens, as I have said many times before, is that the play book terminology is Chinese. It is something that they have to learn to understand what the terminology is. And that is the biggest problem for a young guy learning a new system. He has learned a new system each and ever year. But I think that he won’t have a problem with the learning part of it; some of which you will have some obvious inexperience, you will have some things that he is asked to do that he has never done before. But as I said, he has played down inside, he has played both left and right defensive end.
Q: At number 15, it is a relatively high pick; a little more of a risk/reward kind of pick?
A: Yeah, but I think one of the things that we all did was, as you looked at the grades that were given to this guy, he was substantially graded. All of his tests came through and verified exactly where he was taken in terms of not only his ability but his off the field – his medical and all of those kinds of things. And we felt that as the round unfolded that here was clearly a guy who had outstanding grades, who was the highest graded guy on board when we took him. And I think you could find something about a lot of people. Some of the players that went before him seemed to have some aspect of their game which is questionable. So I don’t think there is any greater risk here than another guy – a young guy who is very, very talented, who has tremendous upside, who we are looking forward to working with.
Q: When he played against Rutgers this year his name wasn’t called a lot in that game. Did you guys watch the film of that game?
A: Yeah, we saw it, sure. Although it wasn’t called a lot, am I wrong in saying there were two sacks in the game? Florida State, he had two sacks. So he may not have had his name called – maybe they didn’t know how to say his name. It is that P-P thing, you know what I mean?
Q: You have a lot of defensive ends now.
A: That is a good thing.
Q: Exactly. Some of them though have said things about wanting to start and not being really happy. With so many of them, do you have a delicate balancing act now?
A: Go play; let’s play the game. Let’s get on the field. Everybody has a chance to play. Everybody is going to contribute. It is a long season. We didn’t rush the passer very well last year, so let’s get back to playing football and rushing the passer and stopping the run and doing those kinds of things. And let’s go back to what we did a couple of years ago. And we didn’t do a whole lot of talking; we played. And I think that is something that we can do. We have had an outstanding offseason. With all of these defensive ends that are here, they are working hard. And we certainly would like to think that we have added to that group of young men who are good people and good football players. We have had success when we had depth and let’s work at that aspect of it again.
Q: When you have a new coordinator like Perry Fewell, do you go to him and say, “Okay, when we get this guy, how are we going to use him? Do you see if it is on his agenda?
A: His agenda is my agenda. That is how the discussions will go. Have we talked about how this particular player will be used? Not yet, but we will when we approach the mini-camp and beyond.
MEDIA Q&A WITH PLAYER:
Pierre-Paul: I’m glad I’m a Giant. I was nervous at one point, I felt like I wasn’t going to get picked and then I got a call from the New York Giants. Drew (Rosenhaus) said it might be the New York Giants and it was. I was surprised because I visited a lot of teams and I didn’t know who was going to pick me. I’m just glad I got picked. Now I get to come in, settle down and become a great football player.
Q: Jason, what was it like last night after the pick? Were you able to even sleep afterwards?
A: I was pretty excited, but I got some rest. You know, I slept good. I knew where I was going.
Q: When did you get a sense that the Giants wanted you…did Coach Coughlin say anything on his visit to Tampa?
A: I found out when I came up for my visit.
Q: Well, what happened? What did they say that made you felt like it was a good fit?
A: They asked me a lot of questions. They asked me why I was on the football field. I got a pretty good vibe from it. That is basically it.
Q: Do you feel you can have an immediate impact when you start playing for the Giants?
A: Whatever they want me to do, I will do, you know. I’m ready to learn. I’m ready to be up front with them, basically.
Q: Have you heard from any of your new teammates yet?
A: I haven’t heard from any of my teammates yet. I’m still waiting for it.
Q: Jason, when are you going to come up here?
A: I’ll be up next Thursday.
Q: Jason, the Giants already have a lot of defensive ends as you know. How do you think you’ll fit in and do you think you’ll be able to get playing time with all the defensive ends there?
A: I know they have a lot of defensive ends. I’m ready to learn from them, you know. I’m ready for them to teach me (how) the whole process goes because they have been there and they know the defense. I’m ready to learn and help.
Q: You had a late start to the sport of football…can you tell us how that happened in high school?
A: My coach came in and got me. He dragged me into football. It was a pretty good gift, you know. I had just played basketball at first.
Q: How come he had to drag you, did you not want to play at first?
A: Nah, I wanted to play basketball. I had never played so I didn’t know what was going on. I was basically a basketball player and that was it.
Q: Did you like football immediately or did it grow on you over time?
A: It grew on me. It grew on me, you know. At first, I didn’t like it, at first. I didn’t really too much understand everything when I started to understand everything it grew on me.
Q: At what point did that change and at what point did you start to like football?
A: When I started to know what I was doing, I came around.
Q: Jerry Reese said that you’re ‘still very raw’, what percentage do you think is instincts and what part is from technical knowledge?
A: When I’m on the field, I do know what I’m doing. Otherwise I wouldn’t be on the field, you know. I don’t consider myself raw because I know what I’m doing. For the last three years, every where I went, they called me raw. At times they may call me raw but in the future they will see that I know what I’m doing. I don’t concern myself with that (being called raw). I’m still early in the process of learning, I guess.
Q: Obviously it worked out for you being a first round pick, what made you come out of college a year early?
A: Because I asked Coach Leavitt what he thought and he said he’d be selfish to tell me I need to stay. I felt like I had a good year at South Florida. The defensive coordinator said you had a great year, you should enter the draft, and I listened to him so that’s why I entered the draft. I also had the NFL system evaluate me before I declared and compared with other defensive ends, they came back with a 1st or 2nd round grade. So, now I’m here.
Q: Did you do any basketball stuff here for your visit, anything for Coach Coughlin?
A: I did not.
Q: What do you bring to a team? How good do you think you are at pass rushing?
A: I’m a very good pass rusher. Actually, I’m a great pass rusher. Pass rushing is just one of the things I can do though. I feel I can become better and better at that, and I want to come up to New York and hopefully become a better football player.
Q: The Giants coaches have called you a ‘freaky athlete’…do you think you have a physical advantage on the field?
A: I think that and I can say I am. I just think so when I’m on the field. I guess I am, I don’t know.
Q: Do you feel bigger, faster, and stronger than everyone else when you’re on the field?
A: Sometimes. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I feel like being faster doesn’t help, you know? It’s basically about what you do on the football field.
Q: Do you think that sometimes people don’t give you credit for actually being a football player and they just look at you as a freakish athlete?
A: No. I don’t really feel that way at all.
Q: You are joining a group of defensive ends that might not look kindly on a first round draft pick come into their position. Do you have a plan on dealing with that?
A: Not really. I’m going to come in and do what I have to. I can’t really say anything about that. Whatever the coaches need me to do, I’ll do, you know. Basically, if they need to do something, I’ll look at the coaches and see what they want me to do. Then, I’ll go all out. I’ll do what they want.
2nd Round – DT Linval Joseph, East Carolina, 6-4, 319lbs, 5.13
SCOUTING REPORT: Junior entry. Joseph has excellent size and has the long arms that teams crave in linemen. Very strong, Joseph bench-pressed 225 pounds 39 times at the NFL Combine. Stout – he can hold his ground against the double-team. Joseph does need to keep his pad level down more consistently. Strong tackler. Joseph is a good athlete for his size with fine quickness. He runs well for a big man. Joseph can push the pocket as a pass rusher, but needs to expand his pass-rush repertoire. Solid character. Joseph needs to improve his stamina and be more consistently competitive. He is raw and needs technique work, but he has a big upside. Very versatile – Joseph has the tools to play either defensive tackle position (1- or 3-technique) in the 4-3, or even nose tackle or defensive end (5-technique) in the 3-4.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:
Reese: Ok guys. Linval Joseph. Defensive Tackle, East Carolina. Gigantic Man. That’s where I can start with him. He’s a big human being. He’s powerful inside and a run stuffer. Push the pocket back toward the quarterback. Strong kid with a lot of upside for him as well. I’ll take any questions.
Q: You saying something about the defense with the first two picks?
A: We want to get better with our defense. We had a lot of points scored on us last fall. We are trying to upgrade our defense. We are trying to upgrade the entire football team, but we feel good about these past two picks, our first and second round picks.
Q: Do you see him as a nose tackle or will he play somewhere else on the line?
A: Yeah, he’s versatile. He can play the nose, he can play a three, he can play a three technique, he can play anywhere inside.
Q: There were questions about his pass rushing skills and some injury concerns…what are his strengths?
A: His strength is that he is a big man. He is a powerful force on a pass play. He doesn’t get pushed back an awful lot from the line of scrimmage and he holds his ground. He cleans up the lanes for the linebackers. I wouldn’t call him a pass rusher but he is disruptive. He can push the pocket and push the offensive linemen back in the quarterback’s lap. As far as his health concerns, we have no problem with his health concerns. We developed that stuff and don’t see anything as far as his health is concerned.
Q: After last year and the defensive line was brought down with injuries, are you more comfortable with the numbers and depth you have now?
A: Well, good. It is a good problem for us to have. We like to create competition at every position so we should see some good competition on our defensive line. Again, you’ve got to have some big people in this league. We play a lot of teams that have big offensive linemen like Dallas and Philadelphia and the Redskins. They have big offensive linemen and you have to match those guys.
Q: Is this a need pick as opposed to a value board pick?
A: No, it’s a value and a need pick. You know, he was in a good spot for us and we see a lot of value in this pick as well. We got a little bit of both from this guy.
Q: Did the round transpire as you expected?
A: I think you start to see a lot of guys pick a lot of need. We have our charts of who we think needs what. So, we kind of match up pretty good moving forward. We look at people and see what their need is. Sometimes you can’t always see what the needs are and teams reach for a guy. So, a couple guys came off a little differently than we had exactly on our boards. It is really not a need.
Q: Did the separation of a night keep the second round cooler or calmer?
A: No, I don’t think there is a big difference between starting at noon and starting at six. I don’t think there is anything different.
Q: With teams panicking, did you guys have a lot of discussion and find a need for middle linebacker?
A: We are looking for good players. If we can find a good linebacker, we will draft him. But, we feel good about the players that we drafted. A defensive end and a defensive tackle. Two really good football players.
Q: Did you discuss linebackers specifically? Were they in the conversation as well?
A: There were several positions we talked about, yeah.
Q: Is Jay Alford doing well in his recovery?
A: He is going to 100%. We’re looking forward for Jay to get back. Jay is one of those guys who can pass rush from the inside. He has that motor and quickness that you have to have when you play inside. He is working hard and we expect him to be 100%.
Q: He’s not slow in his recovery at all?
A: Not at all.
Q: Is this guy more of a Barry Cofield type player?
A: Well, this guy is a big anchor. He is a load inside and it’s hard to push this man back. He is kind of like one of those guys who is a presence and is like a human post. He’ll give the linebackers a chance to run to the ball and he will block the inside.
Q: What do your picks say about the defense?
A: It says we picked two good football players and we are adding some depth to our defensive line. There will be a lot of competition at the defensive front. You can never have enough good people inside. So, we have some depth right now, which can go quickly with a 16 game season. For right now, it looks pretty good.
Q: Does it say that the linebacker performance is predicated by the guys who are playing up front?
A: Well, that has a lot to do with it. If you have some big, good space eaters and block eaters up front, the linebackers can make a lot more plays. It sure helps if you have some guys who can pick up a lot more blocks. The linemen who help the linebackers can cut off the forward movement of the ball so you hope it helps.
Q: One of the scouting services had Joseph as a late riser…
A: I don’t think he was a late riser. Some people had him in the bottom of the first round. I don’t consider him a late riser. He is a junior and I think he has a huge upside for a young kid. The sky is the limit for him.
Q: With Canty playing over the nose, do you think Joseph comes in here and gives you more flexibility?
A: I think this guy is more of a nose. Chris can play inside and outside and he can play the three. We like linemen who give us a lot of flexibility. We picked two guys who can give us a lot of flexibility.
Q: I meant if he comes in and plays over the nose, does that give you more flexibility with Canty?
A: Yeah. I think Chris can play out in the three more. This kid is an anchor. They probably won’t try and let a three penetrate.
Q: Was he the highest rated player at the time of your pick? Does that carry forward? What if in the third round a defensive linemen is the highest player?
A: Well, if it is another defensive linemen, then we would consider it. You can’t play with 20 defensive linemen. We are cognizant of how many defensive linemen we do have. We are not over the limit yet.
Q: Then you go to need?
A: Well we go to good players. Again, we never try to get just need picks. We try and get a combination of both. I say this all the time, we stress that and try to do that. Sometimes we can and sometimes we can’t. Again, you can’t have 20 defensive linemen. Unless you have them go both ways, like you used to, Dave.
Q: So at what point do you have to consider need over value?
A: Yeah, I mean, need and value. It’s a combination of both thoughts. We continue to look for good football players, and that’s what is most important. We look for good football players. We are cognizant of what people consider our needs and what we consider to be our needs. Most importantly, is good football players.
Q: Do you agree that linebacker is an obvious need?
A: We are trying to create depth everywhere. Everywhere. All over the defense, all over the offense. Right now, we only have two picks and we picked two defensive linemen.
Q: Without identifying them, do you have obvious needs?
A: We have needs to get football players. Thanks guys.
Reese: Linval Joseph is a big, powerful, point of attack defensive tackle. He gives us a big anchor inside and we talked about him.
MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:
Coughlin: Jerry (Reese) was just here and spoke to you about Linval Joseph. I will just tell you this, for another youngster, three-year player, he was 319 at his pro day, he ran 4.97, vertical jump 31.5 inches, he had a 20-yard shuttle that was very, very good under 4.7. He is an athletic young player, very strong – 39 reps on the bench. Stays down, very quick, you see a lot of athleticism and quickness in his play. You see more in terms of the tackles and the assists. He does have the ability to walk the offensive guard back. He doesn’t have a lot of production in the sack game. He does have thrown for losses, tackles for loss, pressures on the quarterback. A big, strong defensive tackle that can play on the center or as a three-technique, and a young guy, again, that we can work with.
Q: Is that why he is so impressive, he looks like he has a knack to get beyond the line of scrimmage.
A: I think he has outstanding quickness and power, obviously. When he stays down, keeps his pads down, he is very difficult to keep from penetrating. He is a penetrator.
Q: He is a nose?
A: No, he can be either way. When you watch him play on collegiate film you will see that he has played on the guard a lot.
Q: The last guy that was that big and could move that fast that you had here was Fred Robbins last year. Does he remind you at of him?
A: I think Fred is probably a little taller than Linval is, but the same kind of initial quickness – yeah.
Q: When you had Fred doing that kind of stuff for you, what did it do for your defense – when he was really healthy, before that knee thing and was able to get that quick push?
A: What we were able to do was to penetrate and of course to keep people off the linebacker level. No one was being pushed back into the linebacker depth. That is what has to be re-established again – keep some people clean so they can go to the ballcarrier.
Q: Speaking of linebacker, do you think you need to address that position quickly?
A: Well, we will see. It would be great if need and the valuation were at the same level – high. And we have a few more picks to make so we will see.
Q: Your first two picks haven’t come from big conferences. Any concern?
A: That is all taken into consideration when you put the grade on the player. I think there is some level of comp or number of years of service, however you want to say it, that may have been responsible for a tick or two being held back. But it still allowed the player to have an outstanding grade.
Q: Are you not surprised your first two picks were defensive players.
A: Am I surprised? Of course not.
Q: You are not surprised? This kind of makes sense?
A: I’m a part of the (process) – thank you.
Q: Did you speak with Skip Holtz about Linval?
A: Yes. We were at South Florida when Skip had taken that job.
Q: Can you share anything that he said?
A: About what I have just said – a real quality kid, first one in the weight room, shuts the lights out, hard worker.
Q: Since you have been here, has the Giants’ philosophy been to look at Combine numbers as one of the more important evaluations?
A: It has always been – it is a part of it. It has always been a part of the total picture. By itself? No, of course not. They always have to go on the field and play. But all of the factors – the interviews, the Combine, the Combine numbers, the speed, the height, weight speed, the medical – they are all put together to give you a final grade on the player.
Q: Did you have this guy in for a visit?
A: No. We were at his workout, sure. He had a very good workout, by the way. He had lost some weight and I think he was 328 at the Combine and probably 319 at his workout.
Q: Where would you like him to be?
A: Big, strong and as powerful as he can be. Whatever the weight is where he runs the fastest and is the strongest.
Q: How are you liking your defensive line now?
A: We are coming; we are coming. Get some of these guys that are here healthy and competitive again; that is a good thing.
Q: Does this kid have the explosion to split doubles?
A: (East Carolina) had a pretty good defensive front now. They did, they had some nice looking… But he has that ability, yes. As I said, if his pads stay down, it is very difficult to move him because of his strength. If he gets up a little bit – we all have issues.
MEDIA Q&A WITH PLAYER:
Q: Linval, you come to a team that last year many thought had the deepest defensive line in the league. What do you think you can bring here?
A: First off, I can bring a big body. I’m ready to do anything. Whether it’s being outside and being explosive. I just want to help the team out anyway I can.
Q: Where are you more comfortable as far as positioning…over center or moving you out?
A: Man, it’s crazy. I can play inside or outside. I like to stop the run. I like to hit the running back, I don’t why. I just like to hit the running back. So, I like to play inside. I feel comfortable inside. But I also like getting outside and trying to hit the quarterback.
Q: After your freshman year, you woke up and lost the weight, what was your motivation there?
A: I don’t know. When I had the weight up, I was fine. It just got to a point where I was like this is disgusting. It’s hard for me to breathe, and it’s hard for me to tie my shoe. It was just too much. I guess when I got hurt and had back surgery that freshman year, I got tunnel vision. I saw that a lot of people don’t really care about me because I was in the hospital and three people called me. That’s when I really got tunnel vision and started caring about life and everything.
Q: What were you in the hospital for?
A: I had minor back surgery.
Q: Out of your whole entire team, only three people called you?
A: My mom, my coach came to see me, and a girl. I mean people called me but few people came to see me and try to support me to see if I was okay. It wasn’t a lot of people. Ever since then, I figured out my real friends from my fake friends. I just had tunnel vision, and I knew what I want to do and I knew what I had to do to do it.
Q: Sounds like loyalty is a very important thing to you. How important is it for you to pay the Giants back for them picking you and how are you going to do it?
A: By being a dominant player and helping them win games. Hopefully, we will win the Super Bowl and win playoff games. I just want to help them any way that I can.
Q: Did you have any idea the Giants were interested in you?
A: It’s hard to say because there were a lot of different teams. I don’t know. When I was at my pro day, and one of the scouts came up to me, I told him my story again. I had a feeling there that ‘Man, I’d really like to go to the Giants.’ Today, I played Madden and I play with the Giants. My brother had it. It’s crazy how everything came around this way and the Giants picked me. We were talking about them yesterday, and talking about them today. I played with them on the video game, and then they picked me. It’s crazy.
Q: Did they call and say ‘Hey, sit tight, we are going to pick you if you’re there?’
A: Yes. They called me a couple of picks earlier. It was crazy. I was excited and I was shocked. I didn’t know what to do. We talked for about 10-15 minutes and it was the best feeling of my life.
Q: Who called you?
A: Oh my god…who called me? So many people called me.
Q: Coach Coughlin? Jerry Reese? Who was it?
A: Hmm…which coach? I really can’t tell you off the top of my head?
Q: What else did you do today besides play Madden?
A: I got up this morning and went to the gym and worked out. I did some cardio. Came home, helped my mom around the house. Bought some supplies for the fish fry. I played a couple games and got ready. I pretty much got ready for the draft. Had a little party and I hoped for the best.
Q: You guys having a fish fry right now?
A: Right now they’re outside having a nice big fish fry.
Q: They going to leave you anything?
A: I already had my share.
Q: Do you see yourself as a nose or as a three technique?
A: I don’t know where I see myself right now until next week. Right now I’m ready to play the nose or the three, wherever I’m needed. Wherever I can help in or whatever position, I’m ready. I can play both so I’m ready for the opportunity.
Q: Tom said what impressed him was that you dropped 10 pounds between the combine and your pro day. What weight do you feel the most comfortable playing at?
A: Right now, I’m 315. I’m a strong and fast 315 and I can last for a long, long time at 315. But between 315 and 325, I feel pretty solid right there. 315 is where I like to be at.
Q: At 315, you’re not compromising any of your size and strength advantage?
A: At 315, I’m perfect. I’m strong at 315. When I get smaller than 315, I drop off a little bit strength wise. When I get down to 310 or 305, I’m not as strong as I’d be at 315 or a little heavier.
Q: The Giants a few years back went to the Super Bowl and the defensive line was an important part of that…did you follow that at all?
A: Actually I did. Michael Strahan on the sideline said ‘One more series, one more drive, we get the ball back and win this game.’ That’s what they did. They got the ball back and pretty much won the game.
Q: Were you rooting for the Giants?
A: Actually I was.
Q: You didn’t happen to watch them at the end of last season, did you?
A: At the end of last season, no not really. I was pretty busy.
Q: They only gave up 85 points in the last two games…
A: Oh man. Hopefully I can help with that.
3rd Round – S Chad Jones, LSU, 6-2, 221lbs, 4.59
SCOUTING REPORT: Junior entry. Jones has excellent size for a safety. He is a very good athlete – surprisingly fluid and agile for his size with nice quickness and decent range. Jones is a big hitter who can intimidate receivers. He is sometimes inconsistent in run support. Solid tackler. Jones needs to get stronger. There are conflicting scouting reports on his instincts against the pass. He has experience in both man and zone coverage. Jones is a good special teams player who has returned punts. Some have questioned his devotion to football since he also played baseball. Jones has the tools and has a big upside.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:
Reese: Athletic, big safety who gives us some depth at the safety position. He has some special teams ability. We think he has a big upside as well.
MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS:
Q: What did you like about him?
A: Chad is a young, versatile player. He is a safety who plays in the box, and they play him deep. He returns punts. I don’t know if you guys know but he plays baseball, too. This kid has a nice, versatile skill set of things that he can do. He’s a big kid…221 pounds, 6’2″. He can run and he’s strong. He plays baseball so he hasn’t had a lot of offseason football training but we’re looking forward to what he can do in full-time football.
Q: He sounds like a nickel back, does he have cover skills?
A: Yeah, the kid is an athlete. He may have some of the best pure hands in the draft, out of any position. You can really see this kid’s baseball skills like hand-eye coordination catching the football. He can really catch it.
Q: I thought I saw that he was projected a little higher maybe…were you surprised he was still there?
A: I don’t know, man. The mock drafts had that I’m sure but we thought there was a chance that he could go a little earlier because of his skills. We are happy to get him when we did.
Q: You talk about him returning punts…is that something he can do at this level?
A: Yes. The way he catches it. At LSU, they had a couple guys but when they needed a safe return, they put him back there to secure catches. He had a 93-yard touchdown against Mississippi State. He can move with it, too. Our special teams coaches are excited. He’s done other things on special teams. He’s been the gunner, he’s been a personal protector on the punt so he has done other things on special teams.
Q: By not having full-time football training, is he missing some size and some strength?
A: He was 221 at the combine and was 225 at his pro day. He could be about 230 with some full time training. He is still not developed in his upper body and his chest. Obviously, with some baseball stuff, you don’t want to get too bulky and big. He could probably carry 230 easily, he might not want to be that big. With weight training, he’ll get more up there.
Q: He almost sounds linebacker size?
A: Yeah. The way they play linebackers nowadays, he is bigger than some of these linebackers who are barely six feet and 220 pounds.
Q: Is that something you guys thought about…moving him there?
A: Nah, he is strictly a safety.
Q: Strong or free safety?
A: He can do both. The way we use our guys, they have to be able to do a little bit of everything. And he fits right in with that. Because that is the way they used him there. You see him up in the box like a linebacker, sometimes you see him back deep playing cover two and single-high stuff.
Q: Sounds like he could be a good nickel linebacker?
A: He could be a good nickel safety, yeah.
Q: Are his cover skills as good as his tackling skills right now?
A: He shows you a little bit of everything. He is an explosive hitter. When he gets down in the box he is a big strong man, 221 pounds down in there. Sometimes during the year he played even higher than that. So he can do a little bit of both. I can’t really say one instead of the other right now.
Q: How would you compare him to a guy like Taylor Mays?
A: Taylor is probably more straight-line fast. This kid is a little more instinctive and athletic in his change of direction. Ball skills – definitely this kid is much better.
Q: When you were looking at him over time, was there ever any question of whether he was going to choose football over baseball?
A: He pitched on – they won a national championship a couple of years ago and he pitched and he was an outfielder. And that is definitely a concern. You have to figure that out with all baseball players. But he is fully committed to football. He sees himself as a football player. He is passionate about football. I think he is one of those kids that that could really could play ping pong or pool, he has that kind of skill set that whatever he picks up he will be good at. And I think that is what it was with baseball.
Q: With the philosophy here being value/need, the first three rounds not picking a linebacker, was that because the need isn’t what we perceive it to be – that you needed one in the first three rounds? Or was it more because value for linebackers was not there?
A: I’m sure Jerry and Coach answered that a lot. But when I set the board up I set it up by value and then we pick from there. Of course, if we have need picks in the same value range, then we talk about that. But what we have done so far is that we have value picks.
Q: This is the third guy that you have gotten that has come out of college early. Do you sort of have to tilt your equation in scouting a guy like that?
A: When you are scouting a junior?
Q: Yes, if he is coming out.
A: No, you may have to do a little more digging. You actually may do more work on juniors than the seniors because during the year with the seniors you have a few scouts that are in there. And then when the juniors come out you are almost more intensely going after the information and trying to find out just to make sure. But historically the juniors are the better players. You are identifying them. They are showing up on tape anyway so you are kind of looking at them throughout.
Q: The way your scouting system works, how many guys actually saw him play live?
A: Saw him play a live game or practice? Well, we have three scouts that do that area. I go down there. The coaches have seen him at the Combine.
Q: But in actual games does that mean that four of your saw him play?
A: I didn’t actually see him in a game. I saw him in practice, his pro day. Games are good to see but practices sometimes are just as good as a game look. LSU is one of the better teams where they have intense practices and you can see all of the skills that you need to see in a practice setting. We watch tape of all of the games.
Q: How would you rate the middle linebacker class in this draft? Is it not that strong?
A: I wouldn’t say that. Obviously McClain and then there may have been a big drop off. I don’t want to say it was weak but for us we didn’t have a lot of guys at high value there.
Q: For someone to excel in the SEC because that competition is so high it says a lot about his athletic ability.
A: Yeah, whenever you take a guy from the SEC you always – that is the best of the best. If you are good in the SEC, that is where the best athletes are and that is the way we look at it. So we are excited about that.
Q: Did you ever draft a closer?
Q: That said, how do you project a kid from a East Carolina or even South Florida when you know the best athletes come out of the SEC? How do you make that projection? How do you rate a kid in terms of that type of competition?
A: You try to watch them against a better competition. Doing this and getting a data base of what a powerful guy looks like compared to powerful guys in the SEC. Is this guy more powerful? His individual skill set comparing it to other people at his position which will carry over no matter who he is playing against – his speed, the quickness, the intelligence. Whatever their individual skill set is, you just try to compare it from doing this for so long.
MEDIA Q&A WITH PLAYER:
Q: Were you excited to learn your fate and come here?
A: Oh yeah. It’s a great place. I love that I went to a team where I have a guy on the team that I’m kind of familiar with. That has helped me out a lot with Corey Webster being on the team, especially since he’s a defensive back. Hopefully, he will show me the ropes and show me how to be a New York Giant.
Q: How well do you know Corey? Have you heard from him?
A: I haven’t talked to him in these last couple days, but I know him really good. I almost try and talk to him three days a week. We have a good relationship going.
Q: Was it a tough decision to stay with football and abandon the baseball career?
A: Not when I weighed out my options, you know. The number one thing is what I love more; what I would love to do more in my life. I chose football, so it wasn’t that bad of a decision. It wasn’t that hard of a decision. I know I made the right one.
Q: You think you could have made it in baseball?
A: You know, it’s a little bit slower game with a longer process. Yeah, I believe I have the tools to make it to the big show. I believe I had the tools to make it.
Q: Can you still throw a 91 mph fastball?
A: Yeah, I can still throw it. That’s what I average, 89-91 or 92. I could bump it up there pretty high to 95.
Q: Sounds like you like the game of football better…is that accurate, and why?
A: Yeah, that’s definitely accurate. Football games are much more exciting, and the fan bases are much better, you know. I like the commotion going and I like the excitement. There is so much more excitement on the football field. I just love the atmosphere, and that just fits me.
Q: Do you think because you played two sports that you’re a little behind in football now?
A: I wouldn’t say behind, but I didn’t get as much football maybe that I think would make me a better player. I think now that I’m focusing on football year round, I think you’re going to see the best of me. I feel that the best is yet to come. I think I had some good games at LSU and I had some strong points. But I think there is so much more to see what I have.
Q: How much did you talk to David Merritt, the Giants’ safeties coach?
A: Well, I took a visit out there, and me and him got along really good. He put me up on the board and taught me a few things. Honestly, I impressed him enough for him to want me on his staff, the defensive back staff. We had a few good conversations, and things worked out good between me and him.
Q: What impressions did you get of Merritt as a person and a coach?
A: First thing, when I got there, I knew that he knew what he was talking about. He was telling me about defensive schemes and he taught me so many things in such little time. There is so much more I can learn from him, you know. I feel that he’s a great teacher, and I think as a man he has a great character. So you have kind of like a role model and you want those type of guys around you, especially when you are trying to work to get somewhere.
Q: You think you can be an NFL punt returner?
A: I definitely can. I believe I definitely can. I have secure hands with the ball, so I definitely want the special teams coaches to put me out there. I hope things work well.
Q: When you played baseball, did you limit your size? Can you get bigger now as a football player?
A: No, I actually think I actually got bigger during baseball season. I was a pitcher, and I didn’t really do much running because I was in shape from football. I was basically one of the best players when it comes to conditioning wise on the team. I kind of blew up during baseball as a pitcher because I only pitched once a week. I would pitch 2-3 innings as a closer, and at night time they would actually give you a box of pizza. Sometimes we would have five games a week, so I’d get five boxes of pizza. It kind of sat on my stomach, without me doing much exercise or running, and I blew up. When I got back to football, the weight cut really quick because it was all extra and I didn’t need it on my body.
Q: Why’d you quit baseball? They gave you pizza.
A: Yeah, I know. They gave me pizza. I had the good life. I just felt that football was where I wanted to be. I had been playing that since I was four or five years old. I grew up in a football family. That’s just how it is.
Q: Do they actually know how to make pizza in Louisiana?
A: Yeah man. They got all that down, you know.
Q: Have you ever been to New York?
A: Other then when I came up on my visit, no. I didn’t really get to see much of the city. I hear it’s amazing. I just can’t wait to get out there for football, you know. I can’t wait to get out there.
Q: You said you are from a football family…did you put in a good word for your brother (LSU DE Rahim Alem) when you came on your visit?
A: When I went to the New York Giants on my visit, I talked about him. With me being close enough to my brother, I tried to say everything that I could about him to the Giants and all the teams I visited. I definitely put in a good word for him. Hopefully, in the next few hours, they will pull the trigger and bring my brother up there, too.
4th Round – LB Phillip Dillard, Nebraska, 6-0, 245lbs, 4.73
SCOUTING REPORT: Dillard lacks ideal height but he is a strong, well-built player with decent athleticism. He runs well, but lacks ideal speed, agility, and range. Instinctive, tough, and physical. He is tough against the run at the point-of-attack. Dillard is a good hitter and solid tackler, though he needs to break down more consistently in space. He also is a little stiff in coverage, but solid in that department. Smart and a good leader.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:
Reese: The new guy is Phillip Dillard, middle linebacker from Nebraska. Phillip is a rugged inside linebacker, tough, instinctive, smart, hard-hitting inside middle linebacker. We had him targeted for a while and we are happy he was still up there in the fourth round for us. We talked about him a little bit earlier but there were some more guys up there who we thought had the value that, at the time, was better. So, we rolled the dice and we came out with the guy we wanted at middle linebacker. We feel like he can come in and start competing right away for that job with some of the guys we already have.
Q: Dillard’s not the biggest linebacker, but is he big side-to-side?
A: Well yeah, he’s rangy and he’s smart. He can play in coverage. He is 6 foot 245 pounds. He’s not tall but he’s 245 pounds so right now he is probably the biggest linebacker on the team besides Sintim, just trying to think of our linebackers here. Maybe Jon Goff, he’s probably a little bit bigger. Heavier, I should say.
Q: I heard he played weakside…
A: He played in the middle. Middle linebacker.
Q: I thought he started at weakside…
A: He might have played some weakside but most of the time, he played in the middle.
Q: What makes you think this fourth rounder can come in and compete for the starting job as a rookie?
A: Well, we are going to put him in there and give him a chance with the rest of the guys. That’s what makes me think that. He’s going to have to earn the job just like the other guys we have here. We have some unproven guys so we are going to throw them all in the till and see who gives us the best shot to win games.
Q: Did you talk to the Pelini’s and his linebacker coach? Did he give you some type of advice or frame of reference?
A: We talk to all of their coaches. Our scouts have good relationships and they go in there in the fall all the time. They endorsed this guy and they think he is going to be a really good player. We brought him in for one of the visits we had with them and our linebackers coach really liked on the board what he saw and brought to the table. He thought that he could be a smart, tough inside linebacker that we’ve been looking for, and we’ll see.
Q: He butted heads with some of the staff there, do you have concerns about that?
A: Well, we researched all that as well. Again, that happens sometimes with players and staffs, and he did everything to get back in their good graces. They endorse him to the fullest right now, so we don’t have any problems with that.
MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS:
Q: Talk about Dillard…
A: Phillip is a high energy, fast kind of player. He is a little on the short side but the guy is 245 pounds. He’s thick, and we expect him to play in the middle and compete for that job there. He’s a smart kid and he’s really been a tough worker there at Nebraska so we are excited about him.
Q: Did he play middle, weakside?
A: He played middle and WIL. He played both.
Q: He’s an interesting guy. We asked him how much he was helped by having Suh in front of him and he said that his coach was telling scouts that he helped Suh out as well.
A: Any time you have Suh in front, you know. He did, he did help the kid. I’m glad Phil tried to take some but he was lining things up and made a lot of the calls. I’m sure that’s what he was really referring to because he set the defense, called the fronts, and all that stuff.
Q: If he has to step in, is he capable of doing that here?
A: We have spoken to the defensive coordinator and everything. He’s another kid we had on the visit and we put on the board. He did a great job with that.
Q: You mentioned yesterday that there is a gap from the top linebackers from the next group, was Dillard in the next group?
A: Yeah, we had him in that next group. We actually talked about him at three (third round) and there was some good discussion about it. We thought there was a chance that he’d be available and that Chad wouldn’t be, so we decided to go that route and hold our breath, and we got him. It was a restless night’s sleep but it was worth it.
Q: Was there then another guy? You were getting to the point where everyone thought you needed to take a middle linebacker at some point?
A: We had some other guys later, but not really at that range where we took him. We weren’t going to force anything. We don’t do that and I know we come down here and say it, but we’re not going to force it. When you force players and you think it’s a need and then you get burned, and then don’t play anyway, then you have a bad pick. We were going to wait for the right person at the right time and we feel strongly that Phillip is that guy.
Q: Do you think that was the plan if you didn’t get McClain, that Dillard was the next plan?
A: Yeah, he was in that group when we would meet and talk about those things and set up scenarios. He was part of that scenario where if we don’t get a guy here in the top tier group then this guy will look good in that third and fourth round range.
MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:
Coughlin: Phillip Dillard is a linebacker that really fit a need and had the grade at that particular time in the fourth round for us to take him. The scouts were very impressed. There were some outstanding conversations. Jim Herrmann talked to the coaches at Nebraska. The scouts had an opportunity to watch the career of Dillard there and the way that he performed in his last year in terms of being an outstanding special teams player – a guy who had the ability to play coverage but also was physical, has the size, weighs about 245 pounds. So we feel like he can stand in there against the run. So we look forward to bringing him in as well.
MEDIA Q&A WITH PLAYER:
Q: Your reaction to going to a team that has a dire need for a middle linebacker. I assume that has to be better for you than going somewhere with an established starter, right?
A: Oh, it is, definitely. I am ecstatic. When my name went across the screen, I knew what their needs were and after going down there on my visit I was like, “Wow, everything just fell into place.” It is amazing.
Q: It seems like they brought you in for a visit and maybe had some other conversations. Did you think they were a real possibility for you here?
A: Yeah, I did think they were a possibility. Talking to the coaches and the new defensive coordinator there – they were doing everything, they watched the film, they knew everything. They told me what my strengths and my weaknesses were. And they were accurate. I was like, “They were obviously watching the film.” And the Giants are a great organization. So I don’t think they would bring anyone here just to learn. I was ecstatic just to go on the visit. I knew there was a possibility and a chance and I’m glad it worked out the way that it did.
Q: How high did you expect to go and what did people tell you that may have led you to believe you could drop?
A: I was expecting to go like second or third. No one told me anything that would have expected me to drop. That is just the way the draft works. Every year things never go the way they are supposed to or planned. So I just had to sit there and wait for my name to be called. And it did.
Q: Just reading some stuff up on you recently – the injuries and having to earn the starting job back, it sounds like it was a tumultuous college career that kind of ended on the upswing there. What led you to maybe turn things around? Or what was it about your situation that allowed you to kind of regroup there?
A: It wasn’t really about turning things around. My mom had passed during that January. And I told her that I was going to do something that would honor the family and stay out of trouble and do the right thing. So all I had to do was work and not complain and not moan, knock the attitude, show great character, be happy, and not be a cancer in the locker room. And not be mad because things don’t go my way because that is just how life goes. Things don’t always go your way so I am going to have to work through that to be a man. And that is what I did and it worked out for the best.
Q: Do you think having gone through that makes you better prepared than the average prospect?
A: I wouldn’t say it makes me better prepared. Just the things I went through and the things and the knowledge that the coaching staff and everything that Nebraska as of me, yeah, I do have kind of a lead on and going through a lot. Everyone has a story to tell and everyone has a different story. But I do know that I am ready to make the transition and this is something that I have waited for a long time that I have worked for and I can’t wait to get it started.
Q: You played other positions at Nebraska – outside, weakside, middle. Is middle your best position? What kind of middle linebacker are you?
A: I can play middle or outside. Both I am great in the middle, too. I am great between the tackles. I always stay square. I never cross over. I am very physical and if you watch my film at times I might not get a play because I’m running downhill as I’m trying to knock out the pulling linemen because he is a threat to me, and I just love contact. I love being physical and aggressive. And my mental aspect is that I love to be in control of the checks and make the checks. And if you look at our defense, I made all of the checks from blitzes to checking high coverages, to checking man coverages and telling our corners or safeties or dimes what they are going to do and what check to make. That is just something that I love to do. I love to lead and have that on my shoulders, the quarterback of the defense. And if I get that responsibility, I am going to handle it with care.
Q: You did that this year from the weakside?
A: I did it this year from the MIKE because we were mostly in dime and nickel because of our conference. But even when I played WILL playing base, sometimes I would still make the checks and I would still make calls. I have to check blitzes though.
Q: You sound very much like Antonio Pierce. Have you followed his career?
A: Yeah, I have. And that is another thing that I knew. I know that he left, and that he is off the team. So I knew that it would be a good possibility and a good fit for me. And I mean it’s a great organization, the Giants organization is great. All you hear is good things about how they take care of their players and they respect the players and everything. I’m stuttering right now and I never stutter.
Q: How much did Bo Pelini prepare you for this draft and what pointers has he given you knowing that he has been an NFL linebacker coach before?
A: If he wasn’t my coach, I don’t think I would be in this position right now – and Coach Eckler and Coach Carl (Pelini, defensive coordinator). It is the whole mindset of everything that he has taught me. Like he will come into our meetings and give me the pointer and say, “What would you do here? What check would you make here? What do see about this offense.” And you have to know it and you have to say it. He won’t get mad, he would just go, “No, there is another thing.” There are always certain possible plays they can do from each formation. But the knowledge of the game that he has instilled in me is beyond reason.
Q: You obviously know there is an opportunity here. Do you expect that you will come in and win the starting job?
A: No, I don’t expect it. I expect to come in and make an impact on the team regardless of what they ask me to do. Whether it is to play special teams, learn the playbook, master the playbook, get the playbook down, then earn a spot, that is what I am willing to do. I just want to be a part of the team. I want to make an impact on the team. And I want to help this team go to a Super Bowl because I know that is the ultimate goal.
Q: I’m sure by now you know how the scouting process works, and I’m sure you have heard this before, people mention the fact that you played behind Suh and say, “Oh, that probably led to his production.” I’m guessing that you don’t agree. So if I said that to you, how would you counter that?
A: He is a great player; he is a phenomenal player – one of the best that I have seen in years. The thing I was always talking about is Coach Bo and Coach Carl told some of the scouts that if I wasn’t behind him that he wouldn’t have made a couple of plays because they had to game plan for me, too. And that I hadn’t expected them to say because everything I say is always, “Well, he is a great player and that whole D-line is and the secondary behind me is great. So I have to be great, I have to play great in order to not let my teammates down.” So that is how it started. I have to play up to their level to not let them down. So he is phenomenal player. But everything that Coach Bo and his staff taught me made me a good player.
Q: Am I hearing this correctly, you are questioning the second overall pick?
A: No, I didn’t say that – never. That man is a monster. He is a busy man, and he deserves all of the credit. I just help out; I just help out.
Q: You have no residuals from the ACL?
A: No, after I tore it I went through the rehab and I haven’t hurt it since. I don’t know the injury I got was just a freak accident. Someone pushed me on kickoff and I was going the other way and they pushed me opposite way and it popped. But no, it has been great ever since.
Q: It sounds like you are a real good film study guy. So what do you think the biggest adjustment is going to be as you try to compete for a job in the NFL?
A: Now that I don’t have to worry about classes. I get to watch film even more. So I’m just going to go in there and I’m going to be in there with the coaches, be on his ears and I will probably get on his nerves. “Coach, what do I do here?” I want to know everything, I want to know the in’s and out’s of everybody that we play, and then go to me watching the film and then me being able to pick out the offensive linemen’s stance – is it full; is too high, is it buzzsaw, is he standing on his feet when he backpeddles. Just everything. I watch for every little thing. I really watch film because I love giving a heads up on the players. It makes it look like I’m doing good out there but really I’m just doing my research and I’m playing off of it.
5th Round – OG Mitch Petrus, Arkansas, 6-3, 307lbs, 5.35
SCOUTING REPORT: Petrus is a versatile player who has played some tight end and fullback. Petrus is a tough, competitive, blue-collar-type who lacks ideal size. He plays hard, works to finish, and has a bit of a mean streak. Petrus is a good athlete. Petrus is extremely adept at pulling and engaging defenders at the second level – he adjusts well on the move. Though he is super strong (benched-pressed 225 pounds 45 times at the Combine), Petrus is more of position-blocker than mauler – he does not show that type of strength on the playing field. He does play with good leverage. Adding more bulk and getting stronger in his legs could help his power game. Petrus is a solid pass blocker due to his fine footwork and agility. But he needs to improve his hand technique and adding bulk may help him better against the bull rush. Because of his position switches and missing the 2008 season due to academic problems, Petrus is still raw and has an upside. He could project to center.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:
Reese: Mitch Petrus is the guard from Arkansas: tough, rugged, in-your-face guard. That’s what this guy is. He is hard-nosed, aggressive. He can pull and do all the things we ask our guards to do. This guy has a vicious nature about him, and we like his skill set for what we do with our guards…We think that the guard can go in and compete right away because he has a vicious nature about him. He wants to come in and compete right away. He’s a strong, strong kid. We think we have improved defensively, and the guard will create competition at the guard spot.
MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS:
Q: Regarding Petrus jumping around – tight end, fullback – how much did that hurt his development?
A: It may have helped some, just having some versatility and having a different mindset with the different positions on the field. But he is a guy that is going to attack it from day one. When we called him he was excited. He is ready to go right now. If we told him to walk up here right now, he would be here ready to practice. So that is the kind of guy that he is.
MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:
Coughlin: Petrus, the offensive guard – powerful, the guy that set the stage with the outstanding number of reps out at Indianapolis; a strong, physical player; a guy who gives us some added depth inside. He was the right pick at that time for us as well.
6th Round – LB Adrian Tracy, William & Mary, 6-2, 248lbs, 4.76
SCOUTING REPORT: Tracy played defensive end in college but projects to linebacker in the pros. He has top intangibles – team captain, smart, hard worker, and a non-stop motor. Tracy has good size for linebacker and is a good athlete. Instinctive – he was a very productive college football player at a low level of competition. The big question is can he make the conversion to linebacker?
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:
Reese: Adrian Tracy is from William & Mary, we are going to play him at outside linebacker on the strong side. He’s a projection. He was a defensive end and he had a bunch of sacks out there. We worked him out as a SAM linebacker and we think he can project to a SAM. He is a really good athlete, really smart kid and big kid. We think he has upside to project to a SAM linebacker and give us some depth at that position as well.
Q: With Tracy, wondering if he adjusted well to linebacker drills, did you see that?
A: Yeah, that’s one of the things that was, because they are guys who are projections. He had his hand on the ground most of the time when he was at school there. At his workout, there were a lot of people at his workout. One of our scouts was there and he really worked out well at his workout as a linebacker. The movement skills that you have to have at that position. He did a good job and we think he can project. If you think back, he kind of has a body type like Reggie Torbor, who we had here for a few years back. We think he is a little bit better athlete than Reggie Torbor was. Reggie was a defensive end at Auburn, too.
MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS:
Q: Where are you on this Tracy kid as far as how quickly you think he can adjust?
A: We are real excited because he is a smart kid, obviously, going to William and Mary. Another guy we had in here. We researched extensively down there and he was probably the best note taker we had when we put him on the board of all the guys we had up in our visit. Very conscientious kid. When we interviewed him, the guy shows he is very bright and we have no problems with that whatsoever. We think he’ll pick it up really fast.
MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:
Coughlin: Tracy – we just had people that continued to speak about how highly they felt about his ability. Even though he played with his hand on the ground a great deal of the time, the projection was to linebacker. He played linebacker in the all-star games and there wasn’t any question on the part of the scouts that had seen him play that he could play from a stand-up position and be a linebacker at this level. So that is how that came about.
7th Round – P Matt Dodge, East Carolina, 6-1, 224lbs, 5.1
SCOUTING REPORT: In 2009, Dodge ranked second in the country in punting average – 45.8 yards per punt. Dodge has a very strong leg and gets good hang time on his punts. He also demonstrates good directional punting skills – 24 kicks downed inside the 20-yard line in 2009. Dodge can kickoff too, averaging 61.6 yards a kickoff in 2009 with six touchbacks.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE:
Reese: The last guy we just drafted was Matt Dodge, a punter from East Carolina. Big legged, powerful, I mean this guy can hit some moon shots. There are some inconsistencies which most young punters have that we feel like he can come in and our special teams coaches can get him on the right track. I think he can be a good punter for us. He will be in the mix competing for that job.
Q: With Dodge, can he kick off, too?
A: Dodge can kick off, but I wouldn’t call him a kickoff guy now. Our coaches think he can get better as a kickoff guy so we end up having some versatility in that way. He is not a holder though, so that’s something he would have to learn. He does not hold for his college team. He does have some experience as a kickoff man.
MEDIA Q&A WITH DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS:
Q: The punter…strong leg, weak leg? Obviously you guys think he has a strong leg:
A: Yeah, strong leg. When you see him, he’s not a typical punter looking guy. He’s muscular and 224 pounds. You’ll think he’s a safety when you see him walk up because he’s real jacked up. He loves to lift with his other teammates and stuff, and he’s an intense kid. He has a strong leg and we like those big guys. We don’t want those scrawny punters that can’t last a whole season so he has a lot of developmental qualities to him.
Q: Those reports that say he didn’t have a strong leg?
A: He didn’t have any of those. We didn’t have any, maybe some other ones in the league. We thought the kid had a strong leg.
Q: It also said he doesn’t mind going downfield and trying to make a tackle…
A: Yes. That’s what I’m saying. It’s the way the kid looks. He wants to be a football player. He kicks off and punts. So we love that. He wants to be a football player as either a kicker or punter.
MEDIA Q&A WITH HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN:
Coughlin: We felt like that we would go ahead and not pass on this punter who was one of the two people that we felt were draft-worthy in this particular draft.
QB Dominic Randolph, Holy Cross, 6-3, 223lbs, 5.00 (WAIVED)
Randolph played at a lower level of competition. He lacks ideal height but he is well-built. Good intangibles – smart, competitive, and a leader. Randolph sees the field well and makes good decisions on where to throw the ball. Accurate short thrower, but he lacks arm strength. Randolph needs to get rid of the ball more quickly.
QB Riley Skinner, Wake Forest, 6-1, 200lbs, 4.95
Skinner lack ideal height and arm strength, which hurts his game. Skinner reads defense well, makes good decisions, has a quick release, and is an accurate quarterback. He has very good intangibles – he is smart and a leader.
WR Tim Brown, Rutgers, 5-8, 165lbs, 4.45
Brown is a tiny slot receiver who has good speed and very good quickness. He runs good routes, gets open, adjusts well to the football, and has good hands. Brown is tough for his size. He is dangerous with the football in his hands. Brown has experience as a kickoff returner but he is not explosively fast.
WR Duke Calhoun, Memphis, 6-4, 205lbs, 4.50
Calhoun led Memphis in receiving yards (923), receptions (68), receiving touchdowns (5), and in average yards per reception (13.6).
WR Victor Cruz, Massachusetts, 6-1, 200lbs, 4.47
Cruz has a nice combination of size and quickness. However, he is not field fast and struggles at times to create separation from cornerbacks. Cruz runs good routes, adjusts well to the football, and has solid hands. Tough, he will catch over the middle, but he is not terribly elusive after the catch. Productive, he finished his collegiate career with 131 catches for 1,958 yards. Cruz has experience in the return game.
TE Jake Ballard, Ohio State, 6-6, 256lbs, 4.90
Ballard is a tall tight end who has the frame to add more bulk. He is a good run blocker. Ballard has solid hands, but he is not much of an athlete. Thus, he is limited as a pass receiving threat. He is a lumberer, lacking speed and quickness.
OC/OG Jimmy Cordle, Ohio State, 6-4, 297lbs, 5.12
Cordle is a versatile lineman who has played four different offensive line positions. He projects be to inside at guard or center. However, he really struggled with shotgun snaps in 2008. Cordle has good size. However, he is not very strong or athletic. Smart.
OG Dennis Landolt, Penn State, 6-4, 306lbs, 5.10
Versatile – Landolt played both tackle spots in college but projects to guard in the NFL. Landolt combines nice size, arm length, and athleticism. Smart, tough, and hardworking. While Landolt is physical, he is more of a position blocker than mauler. He needs to play with better leverage and get stronger. Landolt has good foot quickness and can pull and engage defenders at the second level.
DE Ayanga Okpokowuruk, Duke, 6-3, 250lbs, 4.85
Okpokowuruk lacks ideal size and the dynamic athletic skills usually needed for a smaller defensive lineman. Okpokowuruk needs to play with better leverage and shed blockers more quickly. He does play hard.
DT Nate Collins, Virginia, 6-2, 290lbs, 5.10
Collins lacks size. He is a decent athlete with some explosiveness, quickness, and range. Versatile – he has played both nose tackle and defensive end. He probably is best suited to 3-technique defensive tackle. Collins plays hard and is tough and instinctive. However, he lacks strength and power and can be overpowered at the point-of-attack. Collins did show well at the East-West Shrine Game practices.
LB Lee Campbell, Minnesota, 6-3, 246lbs, 4.84
Campbell is an experienced three-year starter. Blue-collar type. Campbell has excellent size, but is limited athletically. Top intangibles – tough, physical, aggressive, and competitive. He is a two-down, run-stuffing linebacker. Campbell lacks range but is strong between the tackles. While he is usually strong at the point of attack, he does need to shed blockers more consistently. His lack of athleticism shows up in space when attempting to tackle nimble athletes and in coverage.
LB Micah Johnson, Kentucky, 6-2, 258lbs, 4.84
Johnson has classic middle linebacker size. He is a strong run defender between the tackles. Instinctive and physical. There are questions about Johnson’s lack of speed, range, and agility in space. According to some scouting reports, Johnson can be exposed in pass coverage and when attempting to tackle quicker athletes in the open field. He is not much of a blitzer. Basically, Johnson appears best suited as a 2-down run defender. Johnson tore his MCL in Kentucky’s bowl game and that clearly affected his his draft prospects.
CB Leon Wright, Duke, 5-8, 181lbs, 4.40 (WAIVED)
Wright lacks ideal size but he has proven to be a consistent player with decent speed and quickness. He is aggressive tackler, but he needs to wrap up more securely.
CB Seth Williams, Richmond, 5-11, 185lbs, 4.49
S Michael Greco, Central Florida, 6-3, 217, 4.40
Greco is a former quarterback who switched to safety his senior season. Obviously he is very raw. He has an excellent combination of size and athletic ability.
Overall, I am pleased with this draft. However, in the interests of full disclosure, I must admit that I am usually very pleased after each Giants’ draft. If you read my draft preview article for the Giants, you saw that I listed my number one need for the team being defensive line (both defensive tackle and defensive end), followed by linebacker. My focus was completely on the front seven of the defense. And the Giants addressed the front seven with more than half their selections (4 of 7).
Jason Pierre-Paul, or “Flippy” as I call him, is not a popular selection among many Giants’ fans. On the surface, it is easy to see why. We’re talking about junior who started only seven games at South Florida. Before that, he was playing for such collegiate powerhouses as the College of the Canyons and Fort Scott Community College. Seriously, with the 15th player in the entire draft? How the heck can the Giants take such a player so high, with so little experience against serious competition?
What IS interesting with Pierre-Paul is that many former NFL coaches or personnel men who are now media analysts like the selection. Furthermore, Rich Eisen of The NFL Network said on the broadcast that the Giants “crushed” the Tennessee Titans who apparently targeted him. And Pierre-Paul was widely discussed in the local and national media as a possible pick for the Giants at #15. Thus, it does not appear the Giants “reached” or made a Thomas Lewis-like selection that had more informed experts left scratching their heads.
Say what you will, but the Giants and Titans know defensive linemen. Right or wrong, if you believe team Director of College Scouting Marc Ross, the Giants had “Flippy” rated as the sixth-best player in the entire draft. It is pretty apparent that the Giants wanted middle linebacker Rolando McClain, but the Giants would have had to give up at least their #2 draft pick to move up that far. That was not a serious option. McClain is good, but he’s not that good.
When I look at internet highlights/lowlights of Pierre-Paul, I see a tall, long-limbed, incredibly athletic player who disrupts – even on those plays where he did not finish because he missed the tackle because he did not break down completely, bringing himself under control. The latter should come with improved technique and experience. He can play on the right or left side and he is going to give tackles fits with his first step. He also seems to be a good kid and a hard worker. Some scouting reports say he struggles against the run. “He can play the run,” says General Manager Jerry Reese. “He can play the run, the pass; he has the whole package. We think that he has the entire package as a defensive end.”
But a defensive end? The Giants don’t need a defensive end you say. Again, as I said in my draft preview, I disagree. Justin Tuck has been injury prone. Osi Umenyiora was benched last year and we still don’t really know where his head is at. Mathias Kiwanuka is a nice player, but he has not proved to be a difference maker. And it is VERY likely that Kiwanuka (free agent) or Umenyiora (unhappy) will be ex-Giants in 2011. In addition, while it is certainly possible that all of these guys MAY have stellar seasons in 2010, it is also certainly possible that all will not (again). Or perhaps only one or two will. The Giants’ defensive scheme is predicated on having three or four excellent pass-rushing defensive linemen. In a 4-3, your best players need to be on the defensive line. It’s why many 4-3 teams, including the Giants and Eagles, do not tend to spend a lot of high draft picks on linebackers. Now if the Giants ran a 3-4, then you focus more on the linebackers. It would be great to do both, but you can’t.
So what to expect from Pierre-Paul in 2010? The odds are that he will be a very valuable reserve who sees a lot of playing time in the Giants’ “four aces” pass-rushing package that became so famous during the 2007 NFL Championship season. Pierre-Paul, Tuck, Kiwanuka, and Umenyiora all on the field together? Offensive lines are going to have problems with that if everyone is focused and healthy. Keep this in mind too when evaluating Pierre-Paul’s rookie season: former NFL team personnel man Mike Lombardi said on The NFL Network that defensive linemen usually take a year to adjust to the pro game. His comments were in reference to the two top defensive tackles in the draft (Suh and McCoy). So the odds are that Pierre-Paul won’t seriously contend for a starting job his rookie year. But I would not count out the possibility. With proper coaching, he may quickly become the best defensive end on the team.
OK, second-rounder Linval Joseph. This is easily my favorite pick. As long as I have been watching the Giants, they have not had this type of 325+ pound mountain inside. Sure, the Giants have had good tackles – Jim Burt, Erik Howard, Keith Hamilton, Fred Robbins, etc., but no one with this kind of combination of size, power, and athleticism. It’s why I was pushing hard for Dan Williams in the first round. I wanted a HUGE nose-tackle type to plug inside along with Chris Canty, potentially forming a massive wall to keep opposing linemen off the Giants’ linebackers. Reese seems to concur: “This guy is a big anchor. He is a load inside and it’s hard to push this man back. He is kind of like one of those guys who is a presence and is like a human post. He’ll give the linebackers a chance to run to the ball and he will block the inside…If you have some big, good space-eaters and block-eaters up front, the linebackers can make a lot more plays. It sure helps if you have some guys who can pick up a lot more blocks.”
Now why not someone like Terrence Cody (Alabama) instead? Well Cody is limited athletically. He’s really only a 3-4 nose-tackle type while Joseph can play nose or 3-technique in a 4-3. Why? Because Joseph has better movement skills. He’s a better athlete. Joseph’s pass rush is really only the bull rush, but he can disrupt and penetrate too with good quickness for his size. Honestly, I can see Joseph starting as a rookie.
I do not have a good feel for third-round safety Chad Jones. Most fans expected the Giants to take a safety at some point as (1) insurance for Kenny Phillips, (2) someone to groom for 2011 since Deon Grant was signed for only one season, and (3) possibly force Michael Johnson off the roster. Jones is a guy with a lot of upside. He has a super combination of size and athleticism. The big question with him is instincts. Is he a player? Some are more optimistic than others. We shall see. But he is now easily the biggest safety on the team – almost linebacker-like in size. And based on comments from Ross after the draft, it is clear that the Giants thought he was a better prospect than Taylor Mays (USC).
The Giants finally addressed the middle linebacker spot in the fourth round. Phillip Dillard, who the Giants also considered in the third round, is a very interesting prospect. First of all, he has ability. Dillard has a nice combination of size and athleticism. He can play the run and, while not a strong suit, can cover. Just as importantly, he appears Antonio Pierce-like in being a big part of the Nebraska defense in making defensive calls, diagnosing plays, and getting fellow defenders set properly before the snap. “I am great between the tackles,” says Dillard. “I always stay square…I just love contact. I love being physical and aggressive. And my mental aspect is that I love to be in control of the checks and make the checks. And if you look at our defense, I made all of the checks from blitzes to checking high coverages, to checking man coverages, and telling our corners or safeties or dimes what they are going to do and what check to make. That is just something that I love to do. I love to lead and have that on my shoulders, the quarterback of the defense. And if I get that responsibility, I am going to handle it with care.” If Dillard pans out to be a younger, bigger, more athletic Antonio Pierce, what a coup that would be! Dillard has a decent shot to start as rookie.
There is a lot of confusion by fans regarding OG Mitch Petrus, a great value pick for the Giants in the fifth round. Because Petrus benched the most reps at the Combine (225 pounds 45 times), many think he is a mauling, root-them-out run blocker. He is not. That strength of his does not translate to the playing field. He is more of a position blocker than mauler. It is because of his build and lack of natural power in his lower body. But Petrus is very good guard who fits the Giants’ system. He may be the best pulling guard in the entire draft. And Jerry Reese described him as “vicious” a couple of times. This guy loves the game and will likely become a fan favorite. There is a good chance that he the Giants’ new starting left guard in year or two. But don’t count out Rich Seubert, one of my favorite Giants, just yet.
The Giants took Adrian Tracy in the 6th round – a small school, DE-to-LB conversion project. Those are two big obstacles to overcome to make it in the NFL. The good news is that Tracy is big, athletic, and very smart and hardworking. “He kind of has a body type like Reggie Torbor,” said Reese. “We think he is a little bit better athlete than Reggie Torbor was.”
In the seventh round, the Giants selected a punter who many felt was the second best punter available. This decision to do this became obvious immediately after the draft when it was revealed that Jeff Feagles is probably retiring. Matt Dodge has a strong leg and apparently has some decent directional punting skills. He will compete with Jy Bond for the punting job in training camp. One would figure that Dodge has a good chance to earn the starting job as a rookie.
Summary: Much obviously depends on Pierre-Paul. But if he pans out, there is a reasonable chance that the Giants came out of this draft with five eventual starters: Pierre-Paul, Joseph, Dilliard, Petrus, and Dodge. Unless Phillips’ knee is permanently screwed up, Jones will be stuck behind him and Antrel Rolle, but provide excellent depth. Tracy is insurance/depth behind Clint Sintim.