Players do improve greatly with age/experience providing they have the athletic/mental ability to do so, but they also get hurt, lose form and fail to take 'the next step' and that is why it's so important to watch them play during their senior years (or junior years in some cases) rather than work off of ‘old' information.
To commence the Draft coverage, I will provide an overview at each position on players I've seen this year or viewed numerous times previously then come back to write updates as I trawl through the tapes to grade them having watched enough games to satisfy myself of their abilities (or lack of them!).
Look for each position over the coming weeks starting with the Defensive Line followed by LB, OL and so forth. You'll have to be patient though as a combination of work and semblance of a social life doesn't leave much ‘spare' time for tape reviews and article writing!
With regards to the Giants personnel, while our defensive woes were so clearly highlighted in the post-season, we also have needs offensively - perceived or actual - that won't be clearly defined until decisions have been made prior to Free Agency as to who to re-sign (or try to), who to ask to take a pay cut (or release) and who to try and sign away from other teams. The answers to those questions will present themselves in the near future…
Drafting 25th overall, the Giants aren't in position to ‘target' any one player or even position because too much could happen prior to our choice being presented to the Commissioner at the podium. As last year, I'm therefore advocating the policy of 'Best player/athlete available at an impact position of need', especially on the first day of the draft. I just don't expect to come out with a player who will have the quite same impact as TE Jeremy Shockey did… That said, I do believe it is possible to grab a player at a ‘prime need' position who can step straight in and upgrade play at the spot, the positive effect rubbing off elsewhere around them to double the impact.
With the likelihood that the Giants will be compensated for the free agent losses last off-season with at least one first day choice there is also the very real possibility that the Giants could trade up, even in the 1st round. Ernie ‘The Trader' Accorsi has done it the last two years after all and made very sound first choices so why not go for the hat-trick and move up for someone the team really likes instead of settling for a lesser prospect?
After that, I think we may see the draft ran slightly differently this year with Marv Sutherland back out scouting rather than running the Giants draft. Can Pro Personnel Director Dave Gettleman do a better job of procuring talent, especially on the second day of the draft? Let's hope so.
As always, because my name is the one listed at the top of the article, it will ALWAYS be my opinion expressed unless I'm making reference to someone else's thoughts i.e. Mel Kiper or Joel Buschbaum (RIP Joel, Draftnik's the world over will miss you) and then it will be clearly stated as such.
Where 'numbers' are concerned i.e. the weights/times used for players, I'm using facts as confirmed by Senior Bowl weigh in/height checks (estimates for speed until the combine as these cannot be verified) and the same goes with playing numbers i.e. yards rushing, etc but for the most part what you will read is what I see - at least what I think I see - and my thoughts on those players.
Here's hoping the 2003 draft turns out to be a good one for Giants fans with sound choices, solid prospects and some depth added to the roster as we ‘tune up' for another Super Bowl run.