Giants' Draft – Good, but not Spectacular

What's your first impression of the Giants' draft? Unless you are the biggest Giants' optimist in the world, and I know a few of you out there who are, your impression is probably a lot like mine. It wasn't spectacular, but it was good. For the most part it filled needs with decent players.

We can see several of the eight players making the team and contributing in some capacity this year. We thought there was one questionable early pick, a reach if you will, and a lot of second-day projects who may turn into suspects or real prospects. Keep in mind that no team appeared to do great on the second day. It was that kind of draft. Let's go through each of the picks and we'll give you our thoughts.

1. Aaron Ross, CB, Texas – The selection of Ross filled an obvious need at corner and it was a very good value pick. Most of the league personnel guys we spoke to had him rated as the second-best corner in the draft, behind Darrelle Revis (Jets) and ahead of Leon Hall (Bengals). Athletically he is above average. At the combine we rated him as the seventh-best athlete out of 29 corners who worked at Indy. He has good height, weight and speed at 6-1, 193 and 4.49 in the 40. More importantly his agility drills were very good. Those drills are an indication of quickness and change of direction, which are essential for a corner.

A slight negative is that he is somewhat over-aged since he will be 25 at the start of the season. Ross is competitive. He will tackle and he has good ball skills, which will set him apart from most of the Giants' defensive backs. Of some concern is that he really only started for Texas for one year. Going into the season, he was their second-best corner behind Tarell Brown. Brown got into a whole bunch of off-field problems and Ross seized the opportunity and had a big year. He is not a "shut-down" corner, but we aren't sure there are many of those in captivity. Ross will get beat. Sometimes we wonder about his focus. He is very personable, and sometimes we worry about those types of guys. Overall, we like the pick. We can see him as a starter before too long.

2. Steve Smith, WR, USC – At USC, Smith was overshadowed by Dwayne Jarrett. Jarrett got most of the press, but Smith was a force to be reckoned with in his own right. He was productive and competitive. Reese scored again with a good value pick. There were personnel men we know who believed Smith could have been a first-round pick with the talent he possesses. We like the fact that he is ahead of most rookie receivers because he was well-schooled in USC's passing offense. He is an ascending player and we believe the best is yet to come for him. A WR pick was needed because of the uncertainty surrounding Amani Toomer as he returns from knee surgery. He could and should be Toomer's eventual replacement.

Athletically, he is well above average. At the combine he was 6-0, 197, and he ran a 4.46 in the 40. He placed seventh out of 45 WRs who worked at the combine. He reminds us of Keary Colbert, who also came out of USC as the second receiver (behind Mike Williams). Smith is a faster version of Colbert, who had a great rookie season, but was slowed in his second year. Smith has quick feet and very good hands. He will catch in a crowd and is not afraid to go across the middle. He will make the tough catch. We like this pick also. It filled a need with a talented player.

3. Jay Alford, DT, Penn State – Except that he is a local kid from Orange, NJ and he went to Penn State, this is the pick that left us scratching our head. Truthfully, we aren't crazy about this pick. Our first thought was that he was picked about two rounds too early. We understand they are looking for another DT as William Joseph, unless he has a miraculous resurgence, is probably not long for the team. We saw an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by Bon McGinn, who was lamenting the Packers third-round pick, WR James Jones. He polled six personnel people asking, "What one player caught them most by surprise by being selected in the first three rounds?" Two of the six votes went to Alford.

Alford is a productive inside pass rusher. He is much better against the pass than against the run. He needs to firm up his body and get stronger. He had a poor performance at the combine. We had him graded 17th out of 19 DTs athletically. He is 6-3, 304 and he ran a 5.2 at Indy. He was at the bottom of his group in all speed and agility events. What was particularly disturbing is that his 10-yard speed, which marks explosion, was poor. At this point he is a one-gap player. So, we see him as being a situational pass rusher until he improves his strength. We obviously have our doubts about this pick.

4. Zak DeOssie, LB, Brown – The Beachball's son is now a Giant. That was the nickname Bill Parcells gave to Zak's father, Steve. The nickname had to do with his shape and the multiple colors Steve turned after working out hard. If young DeOssie has half the heart, desire and work ethic his old man did, he will be a success and a fan favorite. Zak is a much better athlete than Pop ever was. At the combine, he was 6-5, 250 and he ran a 4.6 40. That is a great size/speed ratio for an LB. His 10-yard speed was among the best – also very helpful for a LB. All of his agility drills were strong as well. He's tall and he is versatile. He can play either strong or weak side, but we believe strong side is his best fit. He needs to improve his strength. He was productive at the Ivy League level. We've seen him be effective in zone coverage. He needs to work on taking on blocks better and he's not quite as physical as you would like him to be. There is no doubt he has the ability to be better than his father. He's also a blue-collar guy. He is a developing long-snapper as well. We like this pick because he fills a need and he is good value for where he was selected.

5. Kevin Boss, TE, Western Oregon – They needed a backup TE to replace Visanthe Shiancoe and they reached into the small-school world and plucked Kevin Boss from Western Oregon. We don't mean to insinuate that Boss was a reach because he isn't. He is good value in round five. This wasn't a great TE draft, but Boss was one of the few decent prospects. He is raw, no doubt, but he is someone to work with and who better to teach him than Mike Pope? He has excellent size at 6-7, 252. He ran a 4.8 at the combine, which is a little slower than you would like for a TE, but it is sufficient for how we see him being used. We had him graded as the fourth-best athlete out of the 17 TEs who worked at the combine. At Western Oregon he was the classic big fish in a small pond. He has the frame to add more muscle mass and weight. He has above-average hands. Right now he is a better receiver than a blocker, but we believe he will improve in that area as he gains more upper and lower body strength. We like this pick. He is a good prospect. We see him helping as a blocker and as a receiver in the short and intermediate zones. The hope for the Giants is that he will become the next Dan Campbell.

6. Adam Koets, OT, Oregon State – Adam Koets is the latest piece added to the left tackle puzzle. It all started with the curious release of Luke Petitgout. Who will protect Eli Manning's blind side as well as be a force in the running game? Will it be David Diehl? He's played left tackle briefly with limited success. Will it be Guy Whimper? They say he's making progress. Will it be a rookie Adam Koets? Will it be one of a handful of undrafted college free agents, like Gabe Hall from Texas Tech, they signed after the draft? Will it be someone who is not currently on the team who might come in a trade? At any rate we find it somewhat strange they waited until the sixth round to address this need.

In Adam Koets they got our eighth-rated tackle in a weak tackle draft. Koets has a reputation of having talent, but not investing the effort to be better than he is. Some have called him lazy. If Pat Flaherty can get to him they might have something. For a guy who is 6-5, 298, he has very good athletic ability. At Indy he ran a 5.0 40, which is a good time for an OL. We had Koets graded as the eighth-most athletic lineman out of 43 who worked at the combine. So clearly there is something to work with. He's more of a finesse player than a smash-mouth mauler. He has good feet, which is also a good sign. He is very good pulling and blocking on the move and he bends his knees well. Clearly he could have gone higher than the sixth round had he put more effort into his game. Perhaps playing for pay will inspire him to be the player he can be.

7A. Michael Johnson, S, Arizona – Michael Johnson appears to be the type of player where you should throw away the stop watch and agility drills and just look at how he plays the game. Athletically, he's not very good. We had him rated 20th out of 23 safeties at the combine. Teams that are slaves to the clock would never draft a player like him, but we think he is worthy of a seventh-round pick. At Indy he ran a 4.67, which is not a good time for a safety. He does have very good size at 6-3, 205. He was below average in all events except one. His 10-yard speed was very good. So if you're looking for something to justify this pick athletically, it's that he has that short area burst and quickness.

On tape, he is a fluid player with decent range. He only started one year but he was durable and tough. His has good ball skills, which puts him in front of most Giants DBs. He needs work on his back-pedal and turn techniques. He will require vast amounts of good coaching, but we see a player who could be helpful on special teams. It might take a while before he becomes a starter – if that time even ever comes.

7B. Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Marshall – Athletically, Bradshaw is an average RB. He ran a 4.6 40, which is OK since Bradshaw appears to have quick feet. His 20-yard shuttle, which is a measure of quickness, was exceptional. Again we were somewhat disappointed to see they waited until the seventh round to get a change-of-pace back to go along with Brandon Jacobs and Reuben Droughns. Bradshaw could possibly be that back even though he's not small (5-10, 200). He is a talented guy with some character issues. He should have gone higher based on his talent, but there were teams who took him off their boards. He was kicked out of Virginia and enrolled at Marshall. He is a natural runner, but he's very raw. He's worth a seventh-round pick, but if he takes an early misstep it's bye-bye baby. He should be the classic example of keeping a player on a short leash.

So how would we rate Jerry Reese's first draft? We think it's good. It's not the kind of draft to jump up and get excited about, but at the same time it was solid. They filled some needs. With the exception of Jay Alford in round three we thought they got value for each of their picks and that's all we can ask. Now, they need for several of these guys to come through. One last point we want to make is that this team had more holes than they had picks. Frankly, we are concerned about the coming season. If Manning doesn't progress (by the way getting Chris Palmer to work with him was an excellent move), then this team could struggle like they did when they finished last season. Every new year should bring optimism. But with this team it's difficult to be too optimistic going into the season.

The Giants Beat Top Stories