Grading the Draft: NY Giants

Since the elevation of Ernie Acorsi to the general manager post, the Giants have not been an organization that keeps draft day secrets close to the vest. Quite to the contrary; they are one of the few franchises who constantly show their hands. It was quite easy to read where the franchise was focusing during the early rounds of the draft even before the event started on April 26th.

Round

Pick

Overall

Player

Pos

College

Notes

1

25

25

William Joseph

DT

Miami-Fl

 

2

24

56

Osi Umenyiora

DE

Troy St

 

3

27

91

Visanthe Shiancoe

TE

Morgan St

 

4

26

123

Rod Babers

CB

Texas

 

5

25

160

David Diehl

G

Illinois

 

6

26

199

Willie Ponder

WR

SE Missouri St

 

6

34

207

Frank Walker

CB

Tuskegee

Compensatory Selection

6

38

211

David Tyree

WR

Syracuse

Compensatory Selection

7

26

240

Charles Drake

S

Michigan

 

7

35

249

Wayne Lucier

C

Colorado

Compensatory Selection

7

41

255

Kevin Walter

WR

Eastern Michigan

Compensatory Selection

 

UDFA of Note: Clifton Washburn /DE/Citadel, Jeff Roeh l/G/Northwestern, Eddie Strong /OLB/Mississippi, David Thompson /DT/Ohio St

With Keith Hamilton entering the twilight of his career and former second round choice Cornelius Griffen not living up to expectations, the defensive line was a major priority for Big Blue in the draft.  Yet sitting in the 25th slot it would be a wait and see proposition  as the top players would be off the board when the Giants were on the clock.  Hence when William Joseph fell into their laps the decision was easy.  

Joseph is a classic "boom or bust" type selection. A prospect with terrific innate skills, the Hurricane lineman was considered a top five pick entering his senior campaign but unmercifully fell after mediocre play in 2002.  How talented is the athletic Joseph? After viewing the tapes of his freshman campaign during the summer of 2000 we honestly thought Joseph would be the talk of Miami the following season much more than his heralded teammate, Damion Lewis, but it was not to be.  Joseph looks like a world beater on one play then an egg beater the next snap.  For all the disruption he causes on the front line he is rather easily blocked out of the play by ordinary opponents on a consistent basis.  Prior to the draft we spoke with one of his Big East rivals, an offensive lineman taken in the later rounds of this draft who blocked Joseph the past three years.  Emphatically we were told Joseph consistently takes downs off.  If the leadership skills of Keith Hamilton, Michael Strahan or Michael Barrow rub off on Joseph he can be a special player otherwise he will be a classic underachiever.

In similar fashion the Giants picks in rounds two or three have "boom or bust" written on them, though the reasons are different.  

Osi Umenyiora is an athletic but inexperienced defensive end.  Possessing the classic size/speed numbers he was a disruptive force at Troy State and constantly made plays behind the line of scrimmage.  He's not big but has room to grow.  We think round two was a bit high for his services but that could be proven wrong if Umenyiora develops into the position and meets his upside potential.

Likewise Vishante Shiancoe offers the desired size/speed numbers scouts want in a tight end and generally does a little bit of everything well. Undeveloped in most all aspects of the game, Shiancoe was part of a running offense at Morgan State and played only eight games as a senior.  He is also a player we felt the Giants selected early, especially with the likes of Jeremy Shockey on the roster.

Rod Babers was good value in round four.  The diminutive corner offers excellent cover skills and should nicely fit in as a nickel back while helping out on special teams.  Babers also offers the possibility to be a spot starter should a first teamer go down with injury and fills a void after the team cut Jason Seahorn earlier in the year.

Fifth round pick Dave Diehl is not the greatest athlete rather a thinking man's blocker and someone that will stick on a Giants roster attempting to upgrade almost all the offensive line positions.  He could eventually move into a starting slot at guard.

Willie Ponder offers a nice sized target and the ability to fit in as the teams' fifth receiver while fellow sixth round pick Frank Walker is a big body in the secondary but a player that needs a lot of work.  Their final choice in the frame, David Tyree, is a well built, reliable receiver who has been a splendid special teams player in college, which gives him a real chance at the next level.

Again, the Giants had a trio of picks in round seven.  Charles Drake is a hard-hitting, intimidating safety who was drafted lower than expected because of injury yet has a good shot of making the final roster.  Likewise, Wayne Lucier suffered an ankle injury in December but in the end will be a value pick that offers inexpensive depth on the offensive line.  Kevin Walter is a king sized receiver with practice squad potential.

The Giants came away with a pair of solid rookie free agents.  Cliff Washburn played exceedingly well after putting on football pads for the first time in six years.  He's a tremendous athlete with a great amount of upside potential.  Offensive guard Jeff Roehl has neither the athleticism or upside of Washburn but rather plays a nasty brand of football and this "what you see is what you get"  prospect has a definite shot of making a final roster.

Looking at the total collection of players the Giants came away with throughout the weekend it appears obvious the players in the middle and late rounds were excellent value while the first day picks have outstanding questions.  Considering the fact the Giants drafted late in every frame you have to like what the organization did.

Tony Pauline
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