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BigBlueInteractive.com 2002 NFL Draft Preview
Posted By Eric From BBI On September 17, 2007 @ 11:20 pm In | Comments Disabled
by Eric from BigBlueInteractive.com
INTRODUCTION: I don’t have the time or patience to prepare a guide on all the top prospects. The following is by no means a comprehensive list. These are players who have caught my eye and who I think might be a good fit for the Giants. So you will see some big names missing and others who you might wonder why I included. When the dust has settled from the draft and the rookie free agent signings, that is when I will create a comprehensive document on those new New York Giants.
I won’t cover cornerbacks, strong safeties, and running backs. The Giants aren’t likely to draft any high and may not draft any at all. If they do, I will cover it in my draft review.
QUARTERBACKS: The big question is do the Giants bring in another young arm or do they re-sign Jason Garrett. My guess is they will pursue the latter course, but General Ernie Accorsi may want to add another young talent.
Fresno State’s David Carr will go first to the Texans. Most people have Harrington rated as the clear-cut second best quarterback and he most likely will be long-gone by the time the Giants pick. He has a good, but not great arm. Fine intangibles – leader with fine worth ethic and very coachable. The guy who really intrigues me is Ramsey. He’s a pure pocket passer, but he stands in tough against the rush. Like Harrington, the intangibles are there (work ethic, leadership), but Ramsey is a tougher player and I like that in my quarterbacks. Strong arm.
FULLBACKS: My preference is for a Maurice Carthon or Charles Way-type blocking fullback, but there don’t seem to be any worth drafting this year who are that type of blocker. Perhaps the Giants can find another gem like Way who wasn’t supposed to be that good when they selected him out of Virginia. The problem with the various scouting reports is that one will tell you a guy is a good lead blocker while another says he’s not. This is one of those positions that I feel the “draft gurus” don’t really scout well. The Giants will probably draft or sign some little-known fullback who is a better blocker than the “name” prospects.
People are all over the place with Stackhouse. Some feel he is the best fullback in the draft; others have him far down on their list. He’s a big back who can run, catch, and block though he needs to play with his pads lower. Flashes as a blocker, but doesn’t always adjust well against a moving target. Bartholomew is a team player who works hard and plays well on special teams. Has good speed for a fullback too. However, he isn’t as strong a receiver as Stackhouse and, while he works hard at his blocking, he is no blaster. Martin is strictly a blocking-type fullback. Tough and physical. He can blast people out of the hole, but he doesn’t always hit them square. Needs to adjust and sustain better. Not a threat as a receiver or runner.
TIGHT ENDS: There are a lot of interesting receiving-type tight ends in this draft. Most are wanting as blockers, but a few are serviceable as two-way prospects. The key question is how much of a role is there in the Giants’ offense for a tight end who is not a very good blocker? Fans always want the receiving threat at tight end, but they don’t always pay attention to the negative ramifications of having a sub-standard blocking tight end. The power running game will suffer. If the Giants draft a receiving tight end high, as many speculate, then they need to adjust their offense accordingly. Look for even more finesse.
Shockey is the guy everyone has plugged in for the Giants so my guess is that someone will snag him before the Giants pick. He’s a big pass-receiving-type tight end who has the size potential to be more than an H-Back. Shockey is a good athlete who has good speed, runs good routes, adjusts well to the ball, and has good hands. The best part of his game is that he is a clutch player who wants the ball with the game on the line. Shockey is a better blocker than most give him credit for, but he is no blaster – more of a position-and-sustain-type blocker. Graham is smaller than Shockey and not quite as fast. Like Shockey, he’s more of a position blocker than move-them-out guy. As a receiver, he’s a good athlete who can get up the field and adjusts well to the ball. Has good hands and runs well after the catch.
Schobel has fine size and speed and is another prospect who is a better receiver than blocker, but he does work at his blocking. Not quite the athlete that Shockey and Graham are, nonetheless he runs good routes, adjusts well, and can yardage after the catch. Jolley is yet another receiving-type who probably is more of an H-Back than a true tight end. Good athlete who runs and catches the ball well. Position-type blocker who needs to sustain contact better. Peelle is an improving player known more for his receiving ability. Has good hands and a feel for the passing game. Works at his blocking, but he’s not a root-them-out-type of player.
Jones lacks ideal height, but he has a big frame and long arms and is one of the few tight ends in the draft who is known for his blocking. While he lacks the speed to get deep, he does have good hands and is a decent athlete. Banks is another prospect known more for his blocking ability. Really competitive and plays with a bit of a nasty streak. However, he’s not that athletic, fluid, or fast.
WIDE RECEIVERS: My sense is that the Giants are really only looking at the speed burners in this draft. Accorsi talks with open admiration about the ability of the Rams to hurt the opposition with their speed. There are a few players who I will mention who play faster than they time.
Stallworth looks the like cream of the crop. Very athletic with excellent quickness and speed. Runs good routes and gets deep. Runs well after the catch. Decent, but not great, hands. Lelie put up outstanding numbers in a conference not known for its defense. Like Stallworth, he is a very good athlete with excellent speed. Gets deep. Runs well after the catch. Needs route-running refinement and must play a more physical game. Has been nagged with a hamstring injury this off-season.
Gaffney and Reed are two players who play faster than their times. Gaffney is a very good athlete with excellent quickness. Very polished – reads coverages well and runs good routes. He probably will make the biggest impact as a receiver the soonest because of this. Has good hands, but he needs to be tougher going over the middle. Reed is a former running back who is improving at wide receiver with each game. He’s another excellent athlete with very good quickness. Tough and has excellent hands. Needs route-running refinement as he is still learning the position. Superb runner after the catch – runs more like a running back than receiver and breaks a lot of tackles.
Walker, Davis, and Carter are three prospects known for their great speed. Walker and Davis have excellent size/speed ratios. Both are more fast than quick. Walker needs work on his routes and is a bit inconsistent catching the ball. Davis lacks natural hands and needs route-running refinement, but he is a good runner after the catch. Gets deep. Carter has average size, but outstanding speed. Accelerates and gets deep. Needs work on running his routes and has so-so hands. The big plus with him is that he is an excellent special teams player – both as a kick returner and gunner.
Caldwell is a player similar to Ike Hilliard. Not a blazer, he is a good athlete with very good quickness. Very polished for a collegiate receiver – he should be able to make an impact right away as a third receiver. Has good hands and runs well after the catch. More of a complementary-type of receiver than feature guy.
Jones and Lockett lack size (especially Lockett), but both are interesting because of their speed. Jones is a guy who could really surprise. Was slowed by a knee injury last year and before that he was buried behind some top prospects. Has been compared to a “poor man’s Santana Moss”. Short, but well built. Good athlete with excellent speed and quickness. Runs good routes and runs well after the catch. Confident. Returns punts as well. I think Jones could be one of the steals of the draft. Lockett is so small than he will have to be a role player in the NFL. However, he is so fast and quick, that he could develop into an outstanding role player. Has so-so hands but he is an explosive returner.
OFFENSIVE TACKLES: Finding tackles who can both run and pass block at a high level is very difficult, especially for the all-important left tackle position. The Giants need to add a body to compete with Chris Bober. Bryant McKinnie of Miami and Mike Williams of Texas will be drafted before the Giants pick. Unfortunately, this doesn’t look like a very good draft for tackles.
If the Giants draft an offensive lineman in the first round, it most likely will be Jones. Jones is an athletic left tackle with quick feet, long arms, and good bulk. When he is on his game, he is both a fine pass and run blocker. Can also pull. Needs to improve his consistency. Pearson, another left tackle, lacks ideal athleticism and power, but he is a smart, hardworking competitor who gets the job done. Has decent feet and long arms which aid him in the pass blocking department – an area where he excels. Not a blaster as a run blocker, but he engages his man pretty well in a consistent fashion.
After Jones and Pearson, the talent level begins to fall off. Colombo is a very tall right tackle with some experience on the left side. Lacks ideal athleticism and quick feet. Because of his height, Colombo has problems at times gaining leverage as a run blocker. However, he is a tough, fiesty, competitive player who really works to sustain his block. Plays with an attitude. Can muscle and maul once he locks on. His tremendous height and long arms aid him as pass blocker, but he can have problems with outside quickness. Colombo would be a fine pick for the Giants in the second round if he lasts that long.
After Colombo, there is another drop off. Pitts lacks ideal height and therefore could project to guard. But he has good bulk and quick feet and has experience playing on the weakside. Pitts is an interesting prospect because he has come such a long way in a short time. He’s a former walk on who did not even play in high school. Needs a lot of technique work, but flashes very good ability as both a pass and run blocker. If he can learn to play with better leverage in a more consistent fashion and be a bit more aggressive, he could surprise. Rogers is a huge right tackle with decent athleticism. Has the ability to muscle and maul defenders as a run blocker, but he needs to play with better leverage at the next level. Has some problems at times with quickness as a pass blocker, but his size and long arms help him there. Once he locks on, it’s generally over. Needs more consistency and needs to play the game more aggressively than he does. Vollers is a tall right tackle who lacks ideal athleticism. Can muscle and maul, but like Colombo and Rogers, he needs to play with better leverage. When he does, he is a fine run blocker. As a pass blocker, outside quickness can give him problems but he does have long arms. Getting out of his stance quicker would help him, but he simply may lack initial quickness in his play.
OFFENSIVE GUARDS: There are quite a few interesting guards in this draft, but guards tend to slide. Getting a quality prospect to compete with Jason Whittle, Rich Seubert, and Mike Rosenthal would be wise.
Gurode has experience at both guard and center. Powerful player with long arms and fine athleticism. Outstanding run blocker who will punish a defender. Plays with an attitude. Can drive people off the line of scrimmage. Good feet and mobility – can pull and trap. Has the look of a future Pro Bowler. Simmons is shorter-than-ideal left tackle who projects to guard in the pros. Though he lacks height, Simmons combines good bulk and athleticism. Has very good feet which aid him as both a pass blocker. Can trap and pull. Tough, hardworking, and competitive. Can move defenders off the line of scrimmage and works to sustain his blocks.
The big question with Fonoti is his ability to pass block. Fonoti is a DOMINATING run blocker, but since Nebraska doesn’t pass much, he doesn’t have much experience with pro pass sets. Thus, this makes him a bit of a boom-or-bust-type of selection. Fonoti could end up being the best offensive lineman in this draft or he could really struggle in pass protection. Fonoti is a massive, powerful man who simply destroys defenders as a run blocker. Has the athleticism to be a good pass blocker, but needs a lot of technique work in this area. Not a top “move” guy who is real strong at pulling or engaging at the second level – thus I wonder if he fits the direction the Giants are going.
I actually could see Big Blue being more interested in guy like Heitmann. Heitmann lacks great size and strength, but he is a tough, savvy technician who has a feel for the game. A decent athlete with mobility who can pull and attack players at the second level, he is more suited to the more popular offensive schemes in the NFL today. Though Heitmann isn’t a power player, he is a good run blocker due to his fine initial quickness, leverage, and his ability to sustain. Solid pass blocker.
Metcalf played left tackle in college, but projects inside at the pro level. He is a big, powerful player with decent athleticism. Has fine initial quickness, but he needs to play with better leverage and overall technique. Plays too high at times. Flashes very good ability as both a run and pass blocker. Can generate movement at the line of scrimmage, but doesn’t sustain well. So-so puller. Has good feet to pass block. Inconsistent, but he has good tools to work with. Bibla lacks ideal power and athleticism, but he is the kind of guard that usually ends up making a team and being a decent player. Bibla is a smart, tough warrior who performs at an above average level in a consistent fashion. He has good initial quickness and plays with fine leverage as a run blocker, but he’s not a blaster. Physical. So-so puller. Lacks real quick feet and athleticism as a pass protector, but he generally keeps his man quiet.
CENTERS: If Jason Whittle indeed starts, the Giants don’t have a lot of depth behind Dusty Zeigler. Centers are tough to grade and you see a lot of guys who weren’t supposed to be good starting in the NFL; and a lot of guys who were supposed to be good out of the league.
Bentley is a prospect at both guard and center. Lacks classic size, but he is a quality run and pass blocker. Plays with an attitude and looks to hurt people. Physical. Has some pop and sustains well as a run blocker. Not a strong puller, but he can engage at the second level – a must for a center against a 4-3 defense. Quickness sometimes gives him problems as a pass protector, but he is sound against the bullrush. Fowler is a natural center who has a feel for the position. Lacks power, but he is an athlete with decent quickness. Plays with leverage and sustains as a run blocker. Engages well at the second level. Solid in pass protection. Needs to get stronger.
McKinney lacks ideal size and power, but he is a smart, savvy player with decent athleticism. Has a feel for the position. Has good initial quickness and plays with leverage when run blocking, but he doesn’t generate a lot of movement. Needs to get stronger. Engages well at the second level and can pull. Decent pass protector, but McKinney can have problems with power over his head. Peters is not a powerful player, but he is a blue collar, tough guy who plays with fine technique and intensity. Has decent mobility and can engage at the second level. Doesn’t get much movement in his run blocks and is only a so-so pass blocker.
DEFENSIVE ENDS: Much depends on what the Giants have in store for Michael Strahan. Does he have a future in New York? If not, the Giants need a lot of help at end. Kenny Holmes should improve in 2002, but he was a disappointment. Cedric Scott is unproven. This position has evolved in recent years. In the old days, you only looked at guys who were good run defenders first. If they could rush the passer too, that was gravy. Now everyone is looking for athletes who can run like linebackers. The game has changed. It’s less strength and power and more quickness and speed. Julius Peppers of the University of North Carolina will be selected before the Giants pick.
I think Bryan Thomas is one of the more interesting prospects in the draft and could go a lot higher than many believe. Thomas is a superb athlete who runs more like a linebacker than a defensive end, yet he has the frame to still add muscle and mass. Very fast and very quick. Good outside pass rusher with a burst. Needs to continue to get stronger and add bulk in order to play the run better. Also as a run defender, he needs to disengage quicker. Denney is a very tall, athletic end who can dominate an opponent when he plays with leverage. Competitive and instinctive. Sheds well in run defense. Good, but not great, pass rusher. Denney is one of those guys who I’m hoping the Giants draft.
Freeney is very short and that could cause him to slip. You don’t see many 6-1 starting defensive ends in the NFL. However, like Thomas, Freeney is a tremendous athlete who runs like a linebacker. Superb pass rusher with outstanding speed and quickness. Not as strong against the run – needs to disengage better.
Dennis Johnson an athletic end with good height who needs to add more strength and bulk. Has good initial quickness and uses his hands well. Plays with leverage against the run. Good pass rusher with a closing burst. Grant is an athletic end who lacks some height as well. Well built with good strength and long arms. Strong at the point-of-attack though he needs to disengage quicker. Has good speed as a pass rusher, but needs to play quicker at the snap.
DEFENSIVE TACKLES: The Giants don’t have a pressing need at defensive tackle though they would like greater depth. However, there are some really top notch tackles available in this draft. If one slips, I would be tempted to draft him and shift Cornelius Griffin out to end.
The big four are Sims, Bryant, Haynesworth, and Henderson. All four can stuff the run and rush the passer. None are expected to reach the Giants’ pick. But if one does, it would be VERY tempting to take that guy. Top defensive tackles are hard to find. Sims is a big, powerful, athletic player with fine intangibles. Works hard and is very competitive. Stout at the point of attack as a run defender and a good pass rusher. Bryant has the ability to play at either end or tackle. He’s got a great size/speed combination and is very athletic. Has good initial quickness and disengages from blocks well. Quick and disruptive – can rush the passer. Needs to be a bit more mentally tough. Haynesworth is a huge tackle with very good athleticism as well. Plays with fine quickness and leverage. Can dominate a game, but needs to work harder and play more consistently. Henderson is a very tall tackle who sometimes has problems playing with leverage because of his tremendous height. But when he does play with his pad level down, he can dominate an opponent. Hard worker. Has good quickness for someone so big and disengages well.
Weaver played end in college but projects to tackle for the pros. He lacks classic size but he is athletic for a tackle. Has decent quickness and plays with leverage. Physical. Great intangibles…works hard and fine leader. Can rush the passer, but he is not an explosive player. Freeman is a better athlete than player at this point, but has intriguing tools. Great size/speed combination. Has long arms and is athletic. Needs to play with better leverage. Needs to work harder.
Davis is another big tackle with good athletic ability. Has long arms and plays with power when he plays with good leverage. Needs to work harder, play quicker off of the snap, and play with leverage in a more consistent fashion. Has the ability to be a solid two-way tackle if he wants it badly enough. Bernard lacks ideal size, but he is very strong in the upper body and has decent quickness. Must disengage quicker against the run, but he has the ability to be disruptive. Above average pass rusher for a tackle. Bannan is a one-dimensional run stuffer who doesn’t get much of a pass rush. Plays hard and has fine instincts. Has some power and quickness to his game though he lacks some height. Physical.
LINEBACKERS: The Giants are solid with Mike Barrow and Brandon Short, but they need to find some bodies to compete with Dhani Jones on the weakside as well as improve overall depth. Jones has the athletic ability and temperament to succeed, but the Giants need some insurance. Unfortunately, this is not a very deep linebacker class. Don’t look for the Giants to draft Napoleon Harris – he’s a strongside linebacker who will be drafted in the first round. The Giants are looking for depth on the strongside – not a starter. The focus will be on continuing to improve overall athleticism and team speed on defense.
Rasheed has good height and is very athletic, but is a bit on the light side. Has played all three linebacker spots but projects to the weakside in the pros. Has good speed and quickness. Good intangibles – competitive, tough, and instinctive. Doesn’t take on big blockers that well but his athleticism makes him disruptive. Thomas is a middle linebacker who I project to the weakside. Lacks size, but he is very athletic with fine speed and quickness. Has fine intangibles – hardworking, competitive, and instinctive. Doesn’t take on big blockers well due to his lack of size, but he is disruptive. Has the tools to stand out in pass coverage, but needs more work there.
Thorton is a rapidly improving player. Lacks classic size, but he is an athlete with fine speed. Good intangibles – competitive and instinctive. Doesn’t take on big blockers all that well, but he is quick and disruptive. Good tackler and improving in coverage. Fisher is another weakside candidate. Lacks size, but he is athletic and instinctive. Good competitor. Has some explosiveness in his game. Doesn’t take on big blockers all that well, but he can play off blocks and make plays. Good hitter, but needs to become a more consistent tackler. Solid, but not great, in coverage.
Calmus lacks the speed that teams look for in linebackers in today’s game, but he is so darn productive that it is impossible to ignore him as a prospect. Has top intangibles – tough, instinctive, and competitive. A leader who works and plays 100 percent. However, he doesn’t take on blocks all that well on the strongside and isn’t as fast as you would like for the weakside. Is athletic – he just lacks good speed. Needs to improve in coverage. Leber is a strongside candidate. Has good size and is a decent athlete. Very good intangibles – hard working and smart. Can shed but isn’t real tough at the point of attack. Decent in coverage. Solid prospect, but not special.
FREE SAFETIES: With Shaun Williams moving to the strongside – his natural position – the Giants would like to add a young prospect to compete with Omar Stoutmire at free safety. Once again, look for the Giants to place a premium on speed.
Reed would be a perfect fit for the Giants, but he won’t likely last to their pick in the second round. Reed lacks ideal size, but he is an excellent athlete and play-maker. Tough, competitive, and instinctive. A leader. Can cover wide receivers in man coverage and has excellent speed for a safety. Has a feel for the passing game. Makes interceptions.
Thompson is built more like a strong safety than free safety, but his is a very good athlete for his size. He has good speed and has a feel for pass coverage. Makes plays and intercepts passes. Needs to tackle in a more consistent fashion and has an old neck injury that must be checked out. McGraw is a tall safety with good athleticism. Has very good speed and quick feet. Good intangibles – a competitive player and a leader. Not the play-maker Reed is, nevertheless, McGraw is very solid.
Williams is another player built more like a strong safety, but has the athletic ability to play at free safety. Has great speed for his size. Not real fluid however. Needs to tackle better. Flashes very good ability, but must improve his consistency. Hope lacks ideal speed, but he is a smart, savvy player with good overall athleticism. Needs to improve his tackling. Solid – makes plays. Curtis has good size and decent speed, but lacks some fluidity in his movements. Has good athleticism however and has some quickness. Good intangibles…team leader and a competitor. Has a feel for the passing game and is improving. Tackles pretty well.
And the New York Giants Select…
1st Round – WR Donte Stallworth, Tennessee: I don’t think the Giants are blowing smoke. They are too loose-lipped to do so. I think the guy they want is TE Jeremy Shockey, but I have a gut feeling that someone will trade up to snag him before the Giants pick. That means LT Levi Jones is their fallback guy and a lot of BBIers who want the Giants to address the offensive line will be pleased if that is the pick. There really aren’t many good left tackles in this draft. However, for some reason, my instincts tell me that Stallworth is going to fall farther than he should. Stallworth could turn out to be the best wide receiver the Giants have had since Homer Jones. The surprise pick could be a defensive lineman – especially if one of the four top defensive tackles slips.
2nd Round – DE Ryan Denney, BYU: Denney is one of my favorite players in this draft as I would envision a future defensive line of Cedric Scott, Cornelius Griffin, Keith Hamilton, and Denney if Strahan departs and Kenny Holmes doesn’t come on. Defensive ends Bryan Thomas and Dwight Freeney could slip. Of course, much depends on who the Giants actually do pick in the first round. If they don’t take Levi Jones, then taking an offensive lineman here (Marc Colombo, Kendall Simmons) would make sense. If they don’t take a wide receiver, they could look at guys such as Andre Davis or Javon Walker. A linebacker like Saleem Rasheed or David Thorton would make sense too.
3rd Round – LB David Thorton, North Carolina: The Giants need to address the defense with an infusion of youth. The Redskins and Cowboys have gotten a lot better on that side of the ball this offseason and New York hasn’t spent enough premium picks in this area. I could see the Giants going tight end here (Matt Schobel, Justin Peele), offensive line (Eric Heitmann, Chester Pitts), or wide receiver if they didn’t take one in round one (Tim Carter, Reche Caldwell). This might be a spot where the Giants look at a safety such as Jon McGraw.
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