Mar 182004
 
Poor Drafting by the New York Giants Leads to Mediocrity

Despite the presence of free agency, the core of NFL teams remains those players selected in the annual NFL Draft. Teams that do not draft well, usually perform poorly. The reverse is also true.

The problem for the Giants is that their drafting history since the late 1980’s has been abysmal. Ernie Accorsi took over for George Young as General Manager in 1998. Jerry Reese became the Director of Player Personnel in 2002, taking over for Marv Sunderland, who in turn replaced Tom Boisture. The Giants have continued to add new scouts in recent years. But their draft record has not improved.

Let’s look at the Giants’ draft record by round since 1998, when Accorsi became general manager:

First Round:

  • 1998: S Shaun Williams – Disappointing pick who has not played up to his ability. Makes too many mental mistakes.
  • 1999: OT Luke Petitgout – Solid number one selection who has played better than those prospects predicted to do better than him. Quality starter.
  • 2000: HB Ron Dayne – Back-up halfback who has not impressed. 2004 may be his last chance with the Giants.
  • 2001: CB Will Allen – Very good selection who is developing into one of the better corners in the NFL. Quality starter.
  • 2002: TE Jeremy Shockey – Best draft selection by the Giants in the Accorsi-era. An impact player.
  • 2003: DT William Joseph – A non-factor his rookie year. The jury remains out on him.

Summary: The first round has not been too bad for Accorsi. Petitgout, Allen, and Shockey were solid selections. The pick that hurt the most was Ron Dayne. All six picks currently remain with the team.

Second Round:

  • 1998: WR Joe Jurevicius – Never really developed as hoped in New York. Now plays for Tampa Bay.
  • 1999: HB Joe Montgomery – A complete bust.
  • 2000: DT Cornelius Griffin – A promising talent who never really elevated his game after his rookie season. Now plays for the Redskins.
  • 2001: Traded for a 3rd and 4th round pick.
  • 2002: WR Tim Carter – Fast, athletic receiver who has proven to be injury-prone. No impact to-date.
  • 2003: DE Osi Umenyiora – Flashed promise as a two-way defensive end his rookie season.

Summary: The second round has not been kind to Accorsi and the Giants. Only Carter and Umenyiora remain on the roster. The selection of Montgomery was terrible. If Carter doesn’t compete for a starting job soon, this will turn into an even weaker effort.

Third Round:

  • 1998: WR Brian Alford – A complete bust. The Giants gave up their #4 pick to trade up for him too.
  • 1999: TE Dan Campbell – A solid selection. One of the better blocking tight ends in football. Unfortunately, he now plays for the Cowboys.
  • 2000: WR Ron Dixon – A promising talent who never really developed as hoped. Most likely is done with the Giants.
  • 2001: CB Will Peterson – A very talented, but injury-prone player. Quality starter.
  • 2002: OT Jeff Hatch – A complete bust.
  • 2003: TE Visanthe Shiancoe – Has the ability, but must continue to develop and cut down on the mental mistakes.

Summary: The best selection was clearly Peterson. Campbell was a solid pick as well. The jury remains out on Shiancoe. But Alford, Dixon, and Hatch were big mistakes. Batting .500 or lower in the third round is not good.

Fourth Round:

  • 1998: Used in trade for WR Brian Alford, a bust.
  • 1999: HB Sean Bennett – A complete bust.
  • 2000: LB Brandon Short – Solid 2-down linebacker. Decent starter. Not likely to return to the Giants.
  • 2001: DE Cedric Scott – A complete bust.
  • 2001: QB Jesse Palmer – Has not impressed at all, likely a bust.
  • 2002: Traded away to move up to obtain TE Jeremy Shockey.
  • 2003: CB Rod Babers – A complete bust; didn’t even make it out of training camp.

Summary: Horrible, horrible, horrible. Bennett, Scott, Palmer, Babers??? Yuck! Only Short was a solid selection. In all likelihood, there will be NO fourth round picks from the last six drafts on the 2004 roster. That’s disgusting!

Fifth Round:

  • 1998: OT Toby Myles – A complete bust.
  • 1999: OT Mike Rosenthal – Journeyman starter who now plays with the Vikings.
  • 2000: CB Ralph Brown – A fluid, but slow corner who now plays with the Redskins.
  • 2001: PK John Markham – A complete bust, the Giants never even scouted the guy.
  • 2001: WR Jonathan Carter – Flashed some ability, but was waived. Now plays for the Jets. Showed some promise there before tearing up his knee.
  • 2002: LB Nick Greisen – A back-up who has yet to challenge for starting playing time.
  • 2003: OG David Diehl – Promising guard who may even be able to play right tackle. Quality selection.

Summary: Once again, a joke. Aside from Diehl, no one from this group has even challenged for starting time. Only Diehl and Greisen remain on the current roster.

Sixth Round:

  • 1998: TE Todd Pollack – A complete bust.
  • 1999: S Lyle West – Stuck around for a couple of years as a special teams player.
  • 1999: CB Andre Weathers – A knee injury prematurely ended his chances.
  • 2000: LB Dhani Jones – Two-year unimpressive starter who now plays with the Eagles.
  • 2001: Pick traded.
  • 2002: LB Wesly Mallard – Has not impressed at all.
  • 2003: WR Willie Ponder – The jury remains out.
  • 2003: CB Frank Walker – Flashed promise in 2003; needs to cut down on mental mistakes and become a tougher player.
  • 2003: WR David Tyree – Quality special teams player; future clouded by drug issues.

Summary: The 2003 Draft could improve the outlook here, but that depends on the development of Ponder, Walker, and Tyree. The remaining five selections were unimpressive – and only Mallard remains on the roster. Where are the late round gems?

Seventh Round:

  • 1998: OC Ben Fricke – A complete bust in New York; survived as a reserve in Dallas.
  • 1999: DT Ryan Hale – Played a couple of seasons with the Giants, but did not produce.
  • 1999: LB O.J. Childress – A complete bust.
  • 2000: DE Jeremiah Parker – A criminal convicted of beating his child.
  • 2001: DT Ross Kolodziej – See Ryan Hale.
  • 2002: WR Daryl Jones – A complete bust.
  • 2002: LB Quincy Monk – A reserve linebacker; hasn’t impressed to-date.
  • 2003: S Charles Drake – A complete bust.
  • 2003: OC Wayne Lucier – Looks the part; flashes ability. Could end up being a steal.
  • 2003: WR Kevin Walter – A complete bust.

Summary: The only players remaining from the 10 picks are Lucier and Monk. Again, where are the late-round finds?

OVERALL SUMMARY: Unless the Giants draft better in rounds 2-7, they will be hard pressed to compete in the NFC East, let alone for an NFL Championship. There have been far too many wasted picks with premium selections in rounds 2-4. The fourth around in particular has been abysmal for the Giants. But the second and third rounds are not far behind. The latter rounds (5-7) has produced very few credible players, even back-ups or role players. Most are no longer on the team.

Wonder why the Giants are mediocre? Look no farther than the NFL Draft.

Mar 162004
 
The Outsider’s Report: Special Off-Season Regime Change Edition

By BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Daniel in MI

Well, it’s another off-season, and with it has come regime change at Giants Stadium. For those of us in the pseudo media, it’s been time to turn your head and Coughlin. For media with a more traditional approach involving techniques like interviewing or research, this type of turnover can be problematic as the contacts you had are gone. Luckily, our more holistic, post-modern, pre-future, traction/friction approach doesn’t involve “note-taking” or “access” or “information.” But rest assured that although much of The Outsider’s Report (TOSR) may be apocryphal, if not wildly inaccurate, it does score over the pedestrian news media in two important ways: 1) it’s free; and 2) it works out only with free weights not wimpy machines.

The big score for any reporter has been new Head Coach Tom Coughlin. He’s spoken to the media almost as little as he’s spoken to the players. Being as well known as TOSR is, we were allotted 0 minutes. But, being resourceful, that doesn’t stop us from quoting him or at least putting down something we think he would have said, which is as close as most newspapers come anyway.

When we didn’t meet with him, we pretended to ask him about the key to turning the Giants team around. He said, “The key to winning is just one thing: running the football and stopping the run. And winning the turnover battle. And not making mistakes. And being tough And being strong. And discipline. And getting the right guys. And conditioning. And desire. And some other stuff. And focusing on that one thing.”

Having clarified his philosophy, we asked him about rumors that some players might not want to come play for a known disciplinarian. He scoffed, “I ask only that players are not afraid to work, and that they are 100% focused on winning. Anyone like that will be fine – just come to work ready to pay attention in meetings. Ready to sit up straight and put your feet on the floor. Ready to tuck in your shirts and pull up your socks. Ready to ensure that when you tie your cleats, you double not them, and the loops are exactly the same size. Ready to make sure the tooth indentations in your mouth guard are uniform in depth. Ready to alphabetize your equipment in your locker. I like to check that. Sometimes, after I leave at night, I return to the stadium because I forget if I checked and I want to be sure. Follow those rules, and 132,331 others I’ve outlined in this five volume Team Preparation Manual I created in my year off (and please note that rule 17,334 is keep the Manual in it’s official hand-knitted manual cozy) and we’ll get along fine. And, if it doesn’t distract from these rules, we’ll win.” Coach Coughlin – disciplinarian, and likely undiagnosed Obsessive-Compulsive.

Apart from the HC position, there is going to be a lot of change on the roster this year. For one thing, the LBs are all going to be new. Perhaps the biggest departure was MLB Mike Barrow. We caught up with GM Ernie Accorsi to ask him about letting one of his most successful FA pickups go. “It was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make this week. We really wanted to keep him, but with the salary cap, you just can’t keep a guy whose salary prohibits you from doing something you really want to do: like get another middle linebacker. Which reminds me of everything everyone else ever said. Back when I was…” At that point we hit him with a lamp and fled. Barrow himself was surprised, but his faith appeared to be critical to getting through this, “They said they really wanted me back at 60% discount, and I know that the Lord will put me where he wants me. But, I’m sure that the Lord didn’t want me to take no 60% pay cut. The Lord had more like 10% in mind, with some compensatory roster bonus. Amen.”

The players who are staying with the Giants are extremely excited about the new coaching staff and new systems. We caught up with QB Kerry Collins to get his take on the new staff and new offense. “I’m really excited about it,” Kerry said somberly. “I don’t know what it is, or how it will work, but I’m sure it will be an exciting challenge.” We asked him how the coaches explained it. “Well, they haven’t, because I haven’t actually spoken with them. From what I read, we’re going to run, and play action, and I think I heard something about rolling me out. Why, what are you hearing? Did they say anything to you? If you see them in the cafeteria, pass them this note. Tell them I like them, but only if they like me first. Ask them to check a box on the note to say if they like me or not. Ohmigod!”

Perhaps they haven’t had time to talk because the Giants staff have been busying using FA to try and upgrade the defense, signing linebackers Carlos Emmons and Barrett Green. However, some of the most important moves made so far involve the offensive line, where the Giants have added much needed talent by blockbuster signings like Shaun O’Hara and Barry Stokes. Our sources in the league can’t stop talking about these two. Here’s just a sampling of what they said. One NFC East Personnel Director raved, “JJ Stokes! The Giants got him?! Oh, Barry Stokes. Whew.” Another exclaimed, “They’re NFL players? Both of them? Are you sure?” And still another gushed, “Shaun O’Hara, Shaun O’Hara. Is he that equipment guy in Chicago? No? Hot Lips’ first husband on M*A*S*H? No? Then I have no clue who you’re talking about.” But those enthusiastic endorsements are nothing to the fans’ collective, “Oh. Ok.”

For his part, Stokes was stoked to be here. “I’m very excited to be here. And, as is apparently required as per the First Media Meeting Manual Coach Coughlin gave me, I will say the following: Ahem, ‘I am not afraid of hard work. I just want to win. I am sure that this coaching staff is committed to winning and that is part of the reason I chose to come here. Now stop talking and end the press conference.’ Oh, I guess I wasn’t supposed to say that last part.”

Lastly, we were lucky enough to corner our new Defensive Coordinator Tim Lewis, who came to us straight off a very successful termination with the Steelers. We asked about the possibility fans are wondering about: moving to the 3-4 defense. “We’re not going to go to a 3-4. We’re going to play a 4-3, but we’re going to do it in such a way that we have 3 guys up front, and they’ll be backed up by 4 guys. We’ll switch it around, and keep the defense guessing, give them a lot of looks. But, we’re definitely a 4-3 except for how we align our players and assign responsibilities on the defense.”

So, there you have it. We’re only into March, and already you can feel the excitement building. The team is putting the disappointment of last year’s 4-12 season behind them, and preparing for another one. And, we’d will finish as per Coach Coughlin’s Manual For Media by saying, “the Giants are going to focus on winning, and as long as they want to work hard everything will be fine. This is the best of all possible worlds.”

Stay tuned for our special “Blown Draft” edition!