Giants Hope to Benefit from Woodson's Fall

Andre' Woodson wasn't even expecting the Giants to have an opportunity to consider drafting him.

They had four quarterbacks under contract before the NFL Draft started April 26, including Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, another former No. 1 overall pick in David Carr and Woodson's comparably prolific predecessor at the University of Kentucky, Jared Lorenzen. This, Woodson assumed, wasn't a franchise likely to use a high draft pick on a quarterback.

Giants general manager Jerry Reese and head coach Tom Coughlin didn't think Woodson would become a Giant, either. They actually seemed stunned when Woodson was still available as the time came for them to make the first of their two sixth-round picks.

"This was just too good a pick for us to pass up," Coughlin said. "This is a guy that was rated highly on our board."

Draft experts thought Woodson was highly rated on most draft boards, while Woodson himself was sure he would be selected during the second round. Louisville's Brian Brohm and Michigan's Chad Henne went in the second round, but Woodson somehow lasted until overall pick No. 198. By then, 10 quarterbacks, including a Division I-AA signal-caller and two quarterbacks who played their college ball at separate San Diego schools had been chosen.

"I really don't know," Woodson said, "and I think a lot of people, to this day, don't really know why I dropped as much as I did."

The odd ordeal made the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Woodson thankful that he was drafted at all, but Woodson's bewilderment is understandable. He was a Heisman Trophy candidate and a surefire first-rounder through at least half of his senior year, in which he threw for 3,709 yards, an SEC-record 40 touchdown passes and only 11 interceptions. Woodson's freefall is even more puzzling when you consider he probably would've been chosen no later than the second round had he entered the draft following his junior season (3,515 yards, 31 touchdowns, seven interceptions).

"You definitely don't think when you have a career like that you're going to be dropped as much as I did," Woodson said. "But for some reason, I did drop and I just have to do a great job of being very positive and bouncing back. When I finally do get the opportunity, I have to be well prepared for it and showcase what I have."

A poor performance at the Senior Bowl is the experts' excuse for Woodson plummeting. But according to the consensus of scouts, he possesses a strong arm and athleticism, reads defenses well, stands tall in the pocket, demonstrates sound footwork, is a great game manager and has learned to stop telegraphing passes to primary receivers.

Woodson will obviously have plenty of time to improve, though Coughlin and Reese have to hope he develops faster than Woodson's friend Lorenzen, who is back to being a third-string quarterback approaching his fourth season with the team. Regardless, Reese doesn't expect to bring five quarterbacks to training camp. Anthony Wright, Manning's primary backup in 2007, could be the odd quarterback out.

"We like a lot of things about (Woodson)," Reese said. "He was very productive playing for Kentucky. He has the arm to make all of the throws. He is a pretty good athlete for that position. … So we are going to bring him along and see if he can challenge for (one of) our backup quarterback spots."


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