New York Giants 2001 NFL Draft Review

FIRST ROUND – CB Will Allen, 5-10, 195lbs, 4.40, Syracuse: A few of the New York/New Jersey beat writers who cover the Giants predicted this. Somehow they got wind of the fact that the Giants were talking trade with a few teams in an effort to move up and select Will Allen before the run on cornerbacks occurred. This feared run did in fact occur. Nate Clements was taken right before the Giants picked and soon after Willie Middlebrooks and Jamar Fletcher were selected. In addition, Fred Smoot was likely off the Giants’ draft board due to his involvement with drugs. But Allen did not come cheaply, he cost the Giants’ first round, third, and sixth round picks (all which came near the very bottom of each round).

So what did the Giants get in Will Allen? Well they got the fastest of the top-rated cornerbacks available. The strength of Allen’s game is speed and quickness. This gives him the ability to lock up on a speedster one-on-one as well as recover quickly when he does make a mistake. Very smooth in terms of his agility and a very good leaper. Allen has an explosiveness in his play. He can change directions quickly and can burst toward the ball. Allen has improving instincts, but he doesn’t make as many plays on the ball as he should given his tremendous physical talent. However, this is an aspect of his game that may develop with more experience and solid pro coaching. He also needs to improve his bump-and-run coverage (right now he does better when backed off of the line) and be more physical in general. So-so run defender – he needs to tackle in a more consistent fashion. Returns kick-offs. Allen started the last three years at Syracuse (he was their nickel corner as a freshman). He excelled at the Senior Bowl practices where he showed he could cover the best wide receiver prospects in the country.

Allen has a tremendous upside due to his superb speed and quickness. The big question on him is how much can he improve his ability to make plays on the football. He should develop into a quality starting corner and a very good complement to the bigger, less agile Jason Sehorn. This will give the Giants’ defense a better ability to match-up with opposing offenses. Also keep in mind, this pick very much best represents the desire of the franchise to continue to increase overall team speed. Allen is one of the fastest football players on the planet.

THIRD ROUND – CB William Peterson, 6-0, 197lbs, 4.50, Western Illinois: When the Giants’ second round selection arrived, Ernie “the Trademeister” Accorsi decided to move once again – this time trading down with the Lions. In return for the Giants’ second round pick near the bottom of the round, the Giants picked up Detroit’s 3rd and 4th round selections. Long-time readers of BigBlueInteractive know I’m a big fan of trading down and picking up more picks. At the same time, however, there were some very interesting prospects who the Giants’ decided to pass on, including DT Shaun Rogers of Texas.

When the Giants finally did pick with Detroits’ 3rd round pick, they made a VERY interesting selection of a guy who I thought wouldn’t even be on their draft board. CB William Peterson is quite possibly a 1st round talent and the only reason he lasted as long as he did in the draft was concern about some alleged off-the-field issues he had earlier in his college career.

Peterson was a highly sought after high school All-American. He started as a true freshman at the University of Michigan in 1997 and performed well. Peterson is a big corner with fine athleticism. He has good speed and quickness. He’s an aggressive and physical player. Peterson is a complete cornerback. He can play aggressive bump-and-run coverage or play zone with equal facility and he is a fine defender against the run to boot. Just as importantly, he plays the game with the type of confidence and belief in himself that the very good corners all possess.

The downside on Peterson was that his alleged off-the-field problems at Michigan forced him to leave school and sit out the 1999 season. Williams was supposedly suspended for arguing with a coach at Michigan. He was accused of stealing money from the purse of a stripper in December 1998 (the charges were later dropped). In April 1999, a car that he was riding in was pulled over by police. The driver, a Michigan teammate, was charged with possession of marijuana and had his license suspended. Peterson was placed on probation. “Bad decisions made by a young guy going into college,” Peterson said. “That part of my life is over. I’ve been learning from those things ever since. You have to pay the consequences at times. You have to move on. I have no criminal record as result. I’m surprised I went as low as I did. I feel I can compete with (Will Allen) to be a starter. Had I stayed at Michigan, I believe I would have been the first cornerback taken in the draft.” Peterson transferred to Youngstown State, but left school without playing in a dispute over defensive philosophy. He sat out 1999 before going to Division I-AA Western Illinois. “(The problems) have been all resolved,” said Jim Fassel. “I met with the young man and the one thing I had to determine is whether all that is behind this guy. I talked with him about how I run this program and how this team is, and I was impressed with the guy…I felt like I was getting the straight line from him and we can deal with that. We understand that he had some issues but we think they won’t be repeating themselves. Sometimes kids make bad judgments.”

Usually, the Giants don’t consider drafting a guy like Peterson this high, but they must of felt (1) that he has matured and is now a more responsible person, and/or (2) the fact that he is a lower pick justifies the risk. If Peterson has turned his life around, William could prove to be a major steal. He is as talented as any cornerback in the draft and could quite possibly end up being a better player than even the Giants’ first round selection. “We did a lot of research on him, and basically we had him rated as a first-round talent,” said Ernie Accorsi. “We made the trade and still were able to get him.”

FOURTH ROUND – DE Cedric Scott, 6-5, 280lbs, 4.82, Southern Mississippi: Scott was an outstanding value selection where the Giants drafted him. Many felt he was a second round value and a guy with first round tools. Physically, Scott has what teams are looking for. He was one of the few defensive ends in this draft with great size. He also has the long arms that teams crave in offensive and defensive linemen. Cedric is a good athlete too with fine speed and quickness for one so large. He’s a bit on the stiff side. Right now he is a better pass rusher than run defender, but he has the tools to excel at both. He needs to play with better leverage and play off blockers quicker against the run. When he plays with the proper technique, he shows the ability to be a strong at the point of attack. As a pass rusher, he flashes good power and outside quickness, but he does get pushed wide of the pocket a bit too much. He needs add a good inside counter move to his pass rush arsenal. Flashes explosivness, but at times he is a bit late off the ball as well and this can hamper his rush as well. Scott knocks down a lot of passes at the line of scrimmage due to his height and long arms.

Scott is improving and has a big upside. He has experience playing both on the strongside and weakside. He has the ability to be a complete, two-way starter in this league. Cedric impressed at the Senior Bowl practices against the nation’s best offensive linemen in both the one-on-one drills as well as the 11-on-11 scrimmages.

FOURTH ROUND – QB Jesse Palmer, 6-2, 230lbs, 4.80, Florida: Interesting pick in that it must mean the Giants have decided to finally give up on Mike Cherry. With Jason Garrett nearing the end of the line, in a year or two, Palmer could quickly find himself as the primary back-up quarterback on the Giants. And Palmer does have the tools to eventually contend for a starting job if Kerry Collins were to regress for whatever reason.

Palmer is a bit shorter than ideal, but he has good size and a strong arm (can throw the deep out). Has a quick release. Has the toughness and poise one looks for in a quarterback; he will stand tough in the pocket and take a hit. Played at a top, perennial winning college program with high expectations. Knows what it is like to have pressure on his shoulders. Hard worker. Shows better accuracy in the short-to-intermediate range; needs to improve his deep passing accuracy. Forces some throws. Like most young quarterbacks, he birddogs his primary receiver a bit too much. Has decent mobility, but he doesn’t usually look to run. Jesse is a much better passer when throwing from inside the pocket.

Jesse’s biggest negative has been his inconsistency. One week he would look great and the next he would not look sharp at all. But with Jim Fassel and Sean Payton working with him on his technique and with no pressure to play right away, Jesse could develop into a good quarterback in a couple of years.

FIFTH ROUND – PK/P John Markham, 6-1, 210, Vanderbilt: I was somewhat surprised with this selection as the Giants already have two young placekickers under contract. Markham was not one of the kickers at the top of the “draft experts” listings. He’s a big kicker with a strong leg. John has the ability to drive the ball with both height and distance on kick-offs. He has experience as a punter as well.

FIFTH ROUND – WR Jonathan Carter, 6-0, 180lbs, 4.38, Troy State: I thought the Giants would take another speedster at wide receiver in this draft. Carter is similar to Ron Dixon last year in that he is an incredibly fast and quick ball player. Indeed, he is one of the fastest football players on the planet. He also has a similar build – tall and thin. He is raw however and will take some time to learn how to run routes at the pro level. Has some problems against aggressive bump-and-run coverage – needs to get stronger. Jonathan also lacks natural hands and will drop some passes. Very dangerous kick returner.

Carter is raw, but he really improved his game last season. If he can learn to run routes and read coverages quickly enough, he will provide the Giants with another down-the-field deep threat. At the very least, he should become a real weapon as a returner.

SEVENTH ROUND – DT/DE Ross Kolodziej, 6-2, 290lbs, 4.85, Wisconsin: Kolodziej is a bit of a DT/DE ‘tweener who is probably best suited as a reserve defensive tackle, but who could also help out outside if need be. Has great intangibles – hardworking, competitive, and tough. Plays hard all the time. Lacks height, but he has decent bulk and athletic ability. Flashes short-area quickness. Has good speed, but he is not sudden or explosive; lacks an outside pass rush burst. Strong and he plays with good leverage. Better run defender than pass rusher. Can hold at the point of attack, but needs to shed quicker – Kolodziej gets tied up too much. His production has not matched his potential, but Ross could develop into a solid DT/DE reserve similar to the role Bernard Holsey use to play on the team before he signed with the Colts.

Rookie Free Agent Signings

FB/HB Adam Wright, 6-1, 235lbs, 4.80, Nebraska-Omaha: Played tailback in college, but the Giants will most likely try to convert him to fullback. Starred as ball carrier at the Division II level, but doesn’t have much experience as a blocker or receiver. As a senior, Wright posted a career-high 1,417 yards on 255 carries and 10 touchdowns in 10 starts.

WR Pat Woodcock, 5-9, 166lbs, 4.45, Syracuse: Speedy, but very small prospect. Inconsistent hands. As a senior, Woodcock started every game, leading the team with a career-high 29 receptions for 453 yards (15.6 avg) and a pair of touchdowns. Returned 11 kickoffs for 217 yards (19.7 average).

TE Marcellus Rivers, 6-5, 246lbs, 4.82, Oklahoma State: Rivers is more of an H-Back prospect than a true tight end as he is a much better receiver than blocker. He has good height, but Rivers must add more bulk and a lot more strength. He is a good athlete and has above average speed and quickness. Can get down the seam. Gets open and has good hands (though he needs to concentrate better). Hardly a factor as a blocker. Not known as a hard worker, but he has the potential to surprise if he starts taking football more seriously.

TE Brady McDonnell, 6-3, 268lbs, 4.70, Colorado: Played mostly on the defensive line at college, but has some experience at tight end. Work out at tight end with teams before the draft and that looks like the place where the Giants will use him in camp. Hardworking competitor with decent athleticism for his size. Not real quick or fast. Can catch. Doesn’t have much experience at tight end. A projection and those normally don’t work out very well.

OT Rich Seubert, 6-5, 295lbs, 5.10, Western Illinois: I have little information on this prospect.

OT Terrence Sykes, 6-6, 270lbs, Louisiana Tech: I have little information on this prospect.

OG Ray Redziniak, 6-3, 300lbs, 5.44, Illinois: Redziniak was a quality free agent signing and a guy who has a decent chance to make the team. In fact, it’s a bit surprising that he wasn’t drafted. Smart, hardworking, physical, aggressive, competitor who likes to punish his opponent. Understands the game. Decent run blocker – gets good leverage and works to sustain. A bit limited athletically, but he can handle the short pull. Decent pass blocker though his lack of top athleticism can hurt him there at times. Two-time team captain – which tells you about his leadership skills.

OG Josh Warner, 6-6, 305lbs, SUNY – Brockport Transferred to Brockport from Penn State. Fine combination of size and athleticism. Has not given up a sack in three years. It’s a big jump from SUNY to the pros.

DE Matt Layow, 6-4, 244, Kentucky: In 2000, Layow compiled 44 tackles (38 solo), 12 for losses of 48 yards, five sacks and three fumble recoveries.

DT Lance Legree, 6-1, 285lbs, 5.22, Notre Dame: In 2000, Legree started 11 games and finished with 50 tackles (25 solo), including six for a loss and two sacks.

MLB Jerry Phillips, 5-11, 240lbs, 4.61, Tulane: In 2000, Phillips recorded a team-high 104 tackles (65 solo), two sacks and four pass defensed in 10 starts.

WLB Kevin Rollins, 6-0, 231lbs, 4.65, Toledo: Former defensive end. In 2000, Rollins was named All-Mid American Conference second-team selection as a senior for the second-straight year. Led the team with a career-high 96 tackles (56 solo) and nine sacks. Intercepted three passes along with a fumble recovery and three forced fumbles. Lacks ideal size, but Rollins is a very smart and athletic player. Aggressive and instinctive. Makes plays. Needs a lot of work in coverage. Lacks some lateral quickness (more of a straight-line athlete). Needs to disengage better from blocks on running plays.

WLB, Clayton White, 5-11, 225lbs, 4.70, North Carolina State: Small linebacker who plays with a lot of fire. Physical and tough. Good hitter and tackler and does well in coverage – has some experience at safety. Has problems in run defense due to his size. Very good special teams player.

SLB Josh Stamer, 6-2, 220lbs, 4.70, South Dakota: Played strongside linebacker in college, but he may not have the size to hold up at that position at the pro level. Needs to get bigger. Hustle and chases. Needs to disengage from blocks in a better fashion. Good athlete who can rush the passer. Improving. Needs a lot of technique work in coverage.

S Emile White, 6-0, 220lbs, 4.65, Houston: Good-sized prospect with some experience at cornerback. Good athlete with fine speed. Lacks some lateral agility – more of a straight-line athlete. Will hit, but inconsistent tackler. Needs better conditioning and focus.

FS Delvin Jones, 6-0, 196lbs, 4.6, Minnesota: Tough competitor who played hurt most of 2000 with injuries to his right hamstring and right shoulder. Has average size and decent speed. Needs to make more plays on the ball against the pass. Big hitter who does well on special teams.

FS DeWayne Pattmon, 6-0, 185lbs, 4.70, Michigan: Three-year starter at a major college program. Last season, Pattmon was All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention by coaches and the media.