Giants boast solid group of draftees: Day 1

TGI draft expert Jim Sabo breaks down each of New York's seven draft picks. In this article, Jim covers day one of the Giants' draft.

    Round One – Mathias Kiwanuka DE Boston College

    OVERALL LOOK – Kiwanuka is a player who did not distinguish himself in the postseason. He wasn't bad, but had he performed better, particularly at the Senior Bowl, he would have been a higher pick in the first round. His Combine performance was good. There were 28 defensive ends that worked at the Combine and by our measuring system he ranked 5th out of 28. He was below average in the vertical jump, which is an indication of a lack of leg strength. He ran a 4.74 forty at 266 pounds, which is good. He had 17 reps at 225 pounds, which is not good. The average for defensive ends was 25. His 10-yard speed was not as quick as it should have been. His agility drills were good. He had a successful career at B.C. as a pass rusher. As potential goes, he is one of the more highly regarded pure pass rushers in the draft. They will have to find a way to fit him in. Perhaps they can line him up at linebacker in pass rush situations. If so, with DEs Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck, they would have some real firepower. 

    OURLADS' TAKE – We were excited and pleased when they traded down with Pittsburgh in Round One. Our excitement turned to dismay when their pick at 32 was announced. We were disappointed that the pick was a defensive end. We like the player; we don't like the position. When they signed LaVar Arrington it put them in a position to fill other holes on their depth chart. They could have gone in any number of directions like DT, WR, CB, LB, OT or RB, but they chose to draft into their strongest position. It is true Strahan will not play forever, we understand that, but for a team that wants to make a run this season, another defensive end does not seem to fit what they are trying to do. He definitely needs to get stronger. If he does, he could turn out to be a good pick down the road. In a lot of ways Kiwi was similar to Corey Webster. Both had productive careers, but senior year injuries limited their play and caused them to slide. Giants brass said they would find a way to play Kiwi; we will see how that works out. 

    PROS – At the Senior Bowl, he reminded us of Jason Taylor. He has the same kind of body. Hopefully, he will become that type of player. Our first impressions were favorable although he didn't do as much later in the week. He has long arms and he comes off the ball with good lean. He has a great backside burst and he can really close from behind the line to stop a run; he's got some jets. He has a good spin move to beat blockers to the inside. He is agile and he shows basketball-like graceful movements. He usually draws a double team.

    CONS – While he has flashed big-time skills, he doesn't do those kinds of things enough. He can get shut down a fair amount too. Consistency is an issue for him. In terms of pure talent, Kiwi was among the cream of the defensive end crop in this draft, he just didn't show it enough. He struggles to make plays run right at him. He needs to get stronger or he will be a detriment defending the run. He has to work to play low and bend his knees because he is so tall. He also needs to improve his hand strength.

    REACH, STEAL, NEED or VALUE – Definitely this is a value pick. Don't get us wrong, we like the player. There was a time when he was considered a top 15 pick. He could have gone higher than he did, but they got him with the last pick of the first round. We had him as our second highest rated pure defensive end behind Mario Williams. That represents value.

    PASSED OVER TALENT – There was a lot of great talent on the board at 32 at other need positions. There were four worthy linebackers – DeMeco Ryans (Texans), D'Quell Jackson (Browns), Rocky McIntosh (Redskins) and Thomas Howard (Raiders). WR Chad Jackson (Patriots) was there, as was CB Jimmy Williams (Falcons) and OT Winston Justice (Eagles). All these players are nearly equal in value to Kiwi. Any of them may have a more immediate impact, but Kiwi may pay off down the road.

    Round Two – Sinorice Moss WR Miami

    OVERALL LOOK – They needed to add a WR, and he's a good one. Tim Carter was re-signed but he has not been reliable. Once again, all the powers that be proclaimed that Moss was the highest rated receiver on their value board. We don't deny that is true, but we question whether he should have been. Santonio Holmes (Steelers) and Chad Jackson (Patriots) should have been higher. He's plenty fast, running a 4.39 at the Combine. More importantly, he is lightning quick. He is short (5-8), but he has some bulk to him (185). Hopefully he will hold up in the NFL.

    OURLADS' TAKE – While many thought Moss was a first round talent, we did not share that opinion. He's very small and not nearly as good as his brother, Santana, was when he entered the draft. We understand what the Giants are trying to do with this pick. They want him to provide a downfield threat to complement Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer. His coaches at the University of Miami admitted their biggest mistake was not finding ways to get him the ball. That will be the challenge for Giants' coaches, to design ways to get him involved. If they do, he could be an immediate contributor. Without a plan, he will be a wasted pick. He will certainly provide quickness. Moss caught our eye at the Senior Bowl week. He was better at coming out of his breaks than any receiver there. He was excellent at cutting and accelerating. He also did a good job coming back for the ball. We saw that he was able to get separation on post patterns as he easily pulled away from defenders. Because he has such a good burst he should be very effective in gadget plays like the end around. Although he caught the ball well as a receiver, he struggled fielding punts. Perhaps he's not the return prospect he needs to be. His size works against him, but he has enough going for him to be a factor at the next level. He could be just what the doctor ordered for this offense.

    PROS – Quickness is Moss' game. He is an explosive space player with the ability to separate from corners. He does a great job of cutting because he is able to drop his center of gravity and that allows him to cut on a dime. Corners have to respect his speed and quickness. He flashes quickness in and out of his breaks. He is a good leaper and will go up after the ball. 

    CONS – At times, Moss will cradle the ball against his body instead of snagging it with his hands. He is also known to round off his cuts, which isn't good. He has somewhat inconsistent hands. He is not as polished or skilled as his brother or Roscoe Parrish (Bills). He has had a number of nicks including concussions, hamstrings, and knee and ankle problems. He is a limited blocker. 

    REACH, STEAL, NEED or VALUE – The selection of Moss fills two categories. He is a value pick, but he is also a need pick as they wanted to get a more reliable receiver than Tim Carter. It's hard to tell how long the relationship between Burress and Coughlin will remain on the positive side. Time will tell how Moss works out, but it's difficult to knock this pick. They may have hit on a big-time player who will add another dimension to their offense.

    PASSED OVER TALENT – There is only one player who was on the board at this pick we would have taken and that is WR Greg Jennings from Western Michigan. We believe Jennings is going to be a very good receiver. He has much better size and his speed is good. We think Jennings can at some point become a number one receiver, more than a complementary type like Moss.

    Round Three – Gerris Wilkinson LB Georgia Tech

    OVERALL LOOK – When they signed LaVar Arrington, it allowed them to change their focus away from a first round linebacker. We saw what happened last year when injuries decimated the LB unit and they did not have ample reserves. In Wilkinson his key trait is versatility. He can play all three LB positions. In time he may be able to challenge for a starting spot, but initially he will contribute as a special teamer and a backup. At the Combine, he showed good athletic ability. He ranked third among all inside linebackers. At 6-3, 233, he was excellent at both the vertical and broad jumps showing great leg explosion. His 4.69 forty time was good. He was outstanding in his 10-yard speed. His 1.56 was the fastest of all LBs. That speed is important to measure short area flow. He did 19 reps, which was below the LB average of 23. He did not do well in his agility drills. This indicates he has very good straight-line speed but lacks in change of direction. Unless he improves in this area, he may have difficulty. When paired against all LBs at the Combine, including outside LBs, he was well above average. 

    OURLADS' TAKE – We had him as our third rated inside linebacker behind D'Quell Jackson (Browns) and Abdul Hodge (Packers). We like the idea of another LB; they cannot afford to have another disaster like last year. He could be another Georgia Tech LB who has faults in college, but gets better in the pros like Daryl Smith (Jaguars) and Keyaron Fox (Chiefs). He's obviously displayed versatility, but let's hope he turns out to be better than their last versatile LBs Nick Greisen and Kevin Lewis. We think he should. 

    PROS – Wilkinson was a three-year starter at Georgia Tech and a leader. He plays with a good base and he uses leverage well. He has sideline-to-sideline speed with the speed to run a ball carrier down from behind. He understands and takes good angles. He has the size to hold up against the run. He has a nose for the ball and he can dart through traffic. He is a solid tackler. He can be disruptive in pass defense as he has good awareness. He has long arms and he can drive on the ball. He has the speed to cover a TE and has good hands.

    CONS – The biggest problem he will have is change of direction. He may be a straight-line player. He can get caught up in the flow of a play and it will cause him to overrun plays because he is unable to gather himself and redirect.

    REACH, STEAL, NEED or VALUE – Wilkinson in Round Three was a value pick. We like his upside. He needs to work on one aspect of his game and that is agility. With proper coaching he can become a solid NFL player. He was a good pick.

    PASSED OVER TALENT – There was still some good talent on the board when the Giants took Wilkinson with the next to last pick of Round Three. G Max Jean-Gillis (Eagles), S Calvin Lowry (Titans) and DT Gabe Watson (Cardinals) were all worthy of strong consideration, but frankly they made the right pick in Wilkinson.


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