NFC East draft recaps: Giants add a group of athletic kids that need more polish

Well, it jumped up a notch in the comment section of the Cowboys draft recap yesterday.  I mean… that really escalated quickly.  It was so much fun, that I’m almost tempted to bash the crap out of the Giants’ draft, but unfortunately, I liked what they did.  Stupid Giants ruining my fun.  Let’s get right to it:

David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech, First Round, 32nd overall

Did the Giants really want this guy?  Jerry Reese says that he was the 2nd rated RB on the Giants’ board.  I don’t believe him.  For full disclosure, I don’t have any inside information that would lead me to make such a bold proclamation as to say Reese is lying.  In other words, I fully acknowledge that my reasoning for calling BS is absolutely nothing more than speculation and perhaps a little imagination, but here’s what I wrote immediately after they made the pick:

(First the facts):

  • Tampa traded up ahead of the Giants to 31.
  • Tampa drafted Boise St. RB Doug Martin, a player that was unanimously more highly rated than Virginia Tech RB David Wilson.
  • The Giants, unlike pretty much every other team in the first round, used up the entire allotted time to make their pick.
  • They Giants then chose Wilson.

OK, now here’s what I think may have happened:

  • The Giants wanted to pick Martin.
  • He got snagged from under their clutches.
  • They tried to trade out.
  • They didn’t find any suitors.
  • They settled on Wilson.

OK, so here’s my official follow up analysis:  “So what?”

I think I like Wilson better than Doug Martin.  First, for a guy his size, he runs very hard.  He’ll put his head down and will not shy away from contact. Couple that with outstanding burst through the hole, sharp cutbacks, great speed, and as my buddy Kunal noted in his roundup of the Giants’ draft, he’s a lot like LeSean McCoy in many ways.

Here are the big differences.  In LeSean McCoy’s three year NFL career, he has 5 fumbles.  That’s excellent.  He is also a very good pass blocker, and a weapon in the passing game.

This won't fly under Tom Coughlin.

Wilson will need to work on his pass protection and receiving ability, but the real red flag is that in his last season at VT, David Wilson had 7 fumbles.  Not good.  Even more alarming, in my opinion, was his attitude about fumbling:

“I’m not going to think about it. Fumbles happen. If you think about it, it’s just going to get worse,” he said this week. “There’s no trend. It’s not like I’m holding the ball loose or anything. It’s just they punch it right out. There’s nothing I can do about it. It’s just hold the ball and run.”

Yikes.  Hate that part where he says “There’s nothing I can do about it.”

Still, Tom Coughlin and his staff have worked wonders curing RB’s of their tendency to put the ball on the turf, first with Tiki Barber, and then again with Ahmad Bradshaw.  If there’s a team in the NFL that has a track record of that kind of thing, it is definitely the Giants.  If some other team made this pick, I don’t think I’d be on board, but I like it for the Giants.

From a “need” perspective, the pick makes sense.  The Giants have nothing in the way of adequate depth at RB, and Ahmad Bradshaw has more nuts and bolts in his foot than Bob Vila has in his tool shed.  If I have one minor gripe, Cordy Glenn was somehow still on the board at 32.  I thought he could start from Day 1 for the Giants, whether that be at LG, or RT.

By the way, love the Giants reaction to the pick at Radio City Music Hall. “Who? David Wilson? Ah, screw it, we won the Super Bowl. High 5′s all around.”

Much more after the jump…

Rueben Randle, WR, LSU, Second Round, 63rd overall

Look out Ramses. There's a new speed/size guy in town.

Speed? Check. Size? 6’4, 210. OK, so size and speed are great and all, but it doesn’t mean jack if you’re not physical (See Ramses Barden).  Rueben Randle is.  This is an absolute steal at the back end of the 2nd round.  His production isn’t overly impressive (53 catches, 917 yards and 8 TD in 2011), but a lot of that was due in part to a somewhat of a weak passing attack at LSU. This is a really athletic kid that could become a special player.

I am, however, skeptical that he’ll be the #3 to start the season.  The Giants lost Mario Manningham to the 49ers, and it was looking like the Giants might have to roll with Ramses Barden, Jerrel Jernigan, or Domenik Hixon as their 3 this season.  I still believe that’s the case.  Randle comes from a caveman passing attack at LSU to a very precise one in NJ.  I think the Giants would be smart to try to ease him in slowly.

Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech, Third Round, 94th overall

Had 9 picks in 2010, but fell all the way to the back end of the 3rd round because he struggled in 2011, and then failed a drug test at the Combine.  Seriously, how dumb do you have to be to fail a drug test at the freaking COMBINEMel Kiper reviewed all the potential Virginia Tech draftees:

“I loved Hosley a couple years ago when he was making all those plays, all those interceptions,” Kiper said. “This year, he looked like to me something was just missing with his game. He was beaten. The awareness, the instincts at his position you didn’t see that you did two years ago.”

Kiper said Hosley’s size (5-10, 175 pounds) will work against him to a certain extent, but the bigger drawback was that he simply wasn’t as good in coverage last year.

“[That] was something that was the reason he was so highly regarded going in,” Kiper said.

He pegs Hosley as a possible second round pick but added that he thinks third round is more likely.

The Giants are hoping they can get the kid that played so well in 2010. Anyway, good value here for the G Men.

Also, I already posted this but will do so again.  Here’s a great article on the NFL Draft by Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi, who gives Hosley a mention in his “the weed guy isn’t so bad” section:

DRAFT THE WEED GUY

Let's get blunted, son.

Every year, there are players who fall dramatically in the pre-draft process because they’ve been caught smoking weed. A short list of those guys includes Warren Sapp, Randy Moss, Percy Harvin and Aaron Hernandez. Guys who punch women or drive pickup trucks into old folks’ homes: bad investments. Guys who smoke dope in college? Well, that’s basically every single person in America.

I’m not going to say smoking weed is good for your health, but when it comes to football, I’d much rather have my rocked-up 270-pound monster stoned, giggling and watching cartoons than drunk, belligerent, and stumbling toward his car in the parking lot of an Atlanta strip club.

This year, it seems crazy that Notre Dame wideout Michael Floyd, who has three alcohol-related arrests in his past, is being talked about as a top-10 pick, while ass-kicking North Alabama (and former Florida) corner Janoris Jenkins, who has three weed incidents, is being talked about as someone who might be undraftable.

Jenkins is the big weed bargain in this draft, but Virginia Tech’s super-fast corner Jayron Hosley is another. Both of those guys can really play and I’ll bet they both become excellent pros – for a while, anyway. A third case, Arizona linebacker and Ray Lewis wannabe Vontaze Burfict, I wouldn’t touch. Not because of a failed drug test, though, but just because he sucks. Oh, and because he tried to rehab his image by giving an interview to Sports Illustrated – while chilling in Las Vegas.

Adrien Robinson, TE, Cincinnati, Fourth Round, 127th overall

His 4-year career at Cincinnati: 29 catches, 434 yards, 5 TD.  I’ll say here what I said about the Cowboys’ selection of the equally unproductive TE James Hanna:

I hope he can block.

Except in this case… He can!  Back in March, when Martellus Bennett was first visiting with the Giants, I really liked the idea of him in NJ:

I’ve been poking fun at Marty B for years now, but I actually REALLY like the fit for him with the Giants, and to be perfectly honest, I hadn’t thought of it.  The Giants LOVE using an extra offensive tackle for max protect, and while Bennett’s receiving numbers are rather comical, I’ll give credit where it’s due… He can block.  Bennett is not a #1 TE that is going to catch 40+ balls over the course of the season.  Repeat… Bennett is not a #1 TE.  But I think he’d be great as a role player with the Giants, specifically as an extra blocker in  the jumbo package, assuming he wasn’t serious about the comments he made about wanting to be the #1 guy.

I think that’s also a role that could suit Robinson.  Bennett is only with the Giants on a one-year deal.

Brandon Mosley, OT, Auburn, Fourth Round, 131st overall

Matt McCants, OT, AUB, Sixth Round, 201st overall

Matt McCants attended the Sr Bowl this year, which I covered for 4 days down in Mobile, AL.  He might be among maybe 10 players (if that) that I didn’t take a single note on.  Oops.  That’s not to say he played poorly (he would have been mentioned if I had noticed poor play).  I guess I wish I had paid a little closer attention to him.  Oh well.  Anyway, both players will serve as depth, which the Giants don’t have much of at the tackle position.  In fact, the Giants don’t really even have an adequate starter at RT, as David Diehl was one of the worst starting offensive linemen in the league last year.

Mosley is excellent value in the 4th.  Nice value for the Giants here. Mosley played a wide variety of positions before coming to Auburn.  According to my boy Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz, Mosley is an athletic convert to OT:

Interesting background.  2-year starter at OT after coming over from (Junior College), where he split time at DE and TE. Was a TE/LB in high school.  Auburn was his first time on the OL and he did a very good job considering that.  Not a polished player, as you would imagine, but has good size and is a natural athlete.

More good stuff on Mosley from Tommy here.

Side note on McCants: He’s one of my newest Twitter followers, ha.  Pretty good chance he’ll follow you back if you follow him first, but if you’re interested in that kind of thing, you better do it fast before he has too many people following him, and vice versa.  So go follow him and see what happens.

Markus Kuhn, DT, North Carolina State, Seventh Round, 239th overall

Giants are pretty stacked at DT.  Throwing darts.

Positions that could be addressed, and did the Giants address them?

For this section, we’ll look back to what I wrote about each team in the mega-preview from last Thursday, and see if each team addressed each spot.

Preview: Tight End: Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum likely aren’t going to be ready to go when the 2012 season begins.  The team signed Martellus Bennett, a move that I actually liked despite Bennett’s chronic underachieving, but only to a one-year deal.  The Giants could look to draft a player that can be a long-term answer, although it’s a weak TE class.

Addressed? Drafted Adrien Robinson

How much longer can the Giants keep going back to David Diehl as one of their starting 5?

Preview: Right Tackle: Kareem McKenzie and Chris Snee, in my opinion, were the best tandem RG/RT in the NFL in 2010.  In 2011, the play of both players fell off dramatically, especially McKenzie’s.  The team told Kareem to find a new home (which he hasn’t done yet), and it appears that they plan on moving David Diehl over to RT.  Diehl was abysmal in 2011, and is in my opinion, a liability.  Major hole to fill here for the Giants.

Addressed? Not this season, but they might have something in either Mosley or McCants if the Giants can develop them.

Preview: Guard: I really like Kevin Boothe, but I like him in the exact role he played last season… a valuable backup at multiple positions along the line.  The Giants started the season will David Diehl at LG, and Diehl was a horror show.  When LT Will Beatty was lost for the season with an eye injury, Diehl kicked out from LG to LT, Boothe filled in at LG, and played far better than Diehl had.  At the time, I remember thinking “Hmmm… Diehl-Boothe-Baas is the trio protecting Eli’s blind side? The Giants are done.”  Oops.  I know a number of fans are high on Mitch Petrus, but I haven’t seen much to get fired up about when he has gotten opportunities.  I know I wouldn’t want to count on Petrus to start 16 games for me.  The Giants would be wise to find themselves a new LG and move Boothe back into the role where he’s the best fit.  Guard is a very deep position in this draft, and the Giants could have options in every round here.

Addressed? No.

Preview: #3 Wide Receiver: Mario Manningham is gone.  Do you trust the next guy to step up (something the Giants have had some luck with), or do you bring in outside help?  This year, the “next guy up” is either Ramses Barden or Jerrel Jernigan.  Again, very deep class at WR.  Extremely deep.  I’d be very surprised if the Giants didn’t find themselves a nice WR in Day 2 or 3.

Addressed? Yep.

Preview: #2 Running back: Brandon Jacobs is gone (rightfully).  Ahmad Bradshaw has foot issues, so a backup is pretty essential to the Giants.  I don’t believe Danny Ware is that guy, and I’m not sure the team trusts Da’Rel Scott just yet.  Andre Brown will start the year sitting at home for 4 weeks since after being busted for using PED’s – He probably won’t make the team.

Addressed? Yep.

Preview: Linebacker: Does it make sense to move Mathias Kiwanuka back to the DL rotation after Osi Umenyiora is gone?  I wonder if that’s how the team is thinking.  If so, they’ll need someone to groom behind him.  Otherwise, I kinda like the Giants rotation at LB, depending on whether or not newly acquired LB Keith Rivers is healthy.

Addressed? No.

Preview: Safety: The Giants probably have the best safety in the NFCE in Kenny Phillips, but I’m not exactly Antrel Rolle’s biggest fan at the other safety spot.  Extremely weak safety class this year… probably not an option.

Addressed? No.

Preview: Cornerback depth: I still think the Giants need help at CB.  Terrell Thomas is no sure thing, and once you get past Prince Amukamara, you’re looking at average depth.  Since Jerry Reese took over in 2007, the Giants have drafted 5 CB’s.  Two of them were in the first round (Amukamara, Aaron Ross), and one was a 2 (Terrell Thomas).

Addressed? Yes. Drafted Jayron Hosley.

Preview: Defensive tackle depth: Marvin Austin hasn’t played since 2009.  Is he a player or not?  I have no idea.  I doubt the Giants really know for sure either.  He’s their only legitimate depth at DT.  Need bodies.

Addressed? Yes. After I published the mega-preview, the Giants announced they signed Shaun Rogers the day of the first round.  They also drafted Markus Kuhn in the 7th round.

Preview: Defensive end: OK, not a need, but I think we all know they’re going to draft at least one, just because that’s what they do.

Addressed? Shocker! No DE this year.

Another strong draft for the Giants; just a bunch of supremely athletic kids in need of some refining, that could be spot contributors in Year 1, but impact players down the line.

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  11. Trueblue63 says:

    I think this is a very fair analysis of the Giants off season so far. Given that there always seems to be a player or two that pops out of depth to become a big contributor, starter and sometimes star, I’m wondering if you are considering a roster analysis that rates these relative unknowns.

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  14. ct17 says:

    The last pick of each night is one of the most tradeable picks in the draft. You take the full time. Same with the first pick of the second and third day.

    Reese admitted there were 5 players discussed at #32. One was Wilson. Another was Randle. The others all went “early” in the 2nd round. He also admitted that some of the picks before them were high on their board.

    Martin is a perfect fit for the Giants. But Giants draft athletic freaks in the first. Martin is the kind of guy they look for in the 4th round. Bradshaw was a 7th.

    1. BBI says:

      Glenn was also mentioned.

    2. Trueblue63 says:

      JR/TC also mentioned that they did get calls about 32. But they were teams that hoped they wanted to trade out and would settle for under value. They obviously liked Wilson more than trading back.

      I’ll add, the teams FO probably has between 2 and 4 times the information we have. Even the on air sources at NFL Net and BSPN are at a tremendous info deficit. That said, my draft pundits didn’t rate Martin significantly higher than Wilson, so it’s easy to see how a pro GM with more info could have them reversed on their board. I guess the best proof is Bruce Irvin. The Hawks may have reached, but after the fact the Jets and Niners also seemed to have him as a 1st rounder.

  15. the maroon bird says:

    As a Virginia tech fan I have seen Wilson and Hosley play a lot. Wilson has amazing balance which is why he has the fumbling problem. Also when Wilson runs he is always trying to go for the big play or the extra yardage. This leaves the ball vulnerable which is why the ball hit the turf so much. Hosley is a different story in 2010 he was one of the leaders in the NCAA in interceptons and did great on punt returns and Wilson does well on kick returns see Georgia Tech 2010. Hosley was hurt this year but I can’t exactly remember what his injury was. Hosley was also targeted less and the QB threw to Kyle Fuller (spoiler alert Fuller is going to be a great DB coming out in the next couple of years).

  16. NYG_slater says:

    nice analysis. I agree with most of it. I’ll just add a couple things as a giants fan:

    1) Like the upside of wilson vs martin. If they can fix the fumbling and teach him to pass protect (never asked him to do so at VT) I think he’s a bigger play-maker because he’s more athletic, explosive and has better balance compared to martin. However, the fumbling problem scares me for two reasons. First, that quote is just ridiculous on Wilson’s part. Ultimately, it won’t matter because Coughlin won’t buy his BS– Wilson either fixes it or he won’t play. Nevertheless, that kinda attitude/logic is flawed. Secondly, assuming they do get him to keep it high and tight it may influence his running style. He’s short and barely has 30” arms. I watched a few games of his, and he keeps his arms pretty far away from his body. This lets him shrug off or regain his balance on quite a lot of hits that would ground a similar RB of his stature. I’m a little concerned that changing his arm positioning might affect his balance/body control and limit his YAC ( he had 990 yards of YAC last year! 250+ more than Richardson). His astounding YAC number is also due to the fact that hates to go down, and sometimes he fumbles when left vulnerable after initial contact trying to regain his balance. Time will tell if this is a future problem.

    2) Love the value of Randle at the end of the 2nd. But he’s not a manningham replacement. he has a totally different skillset. Manningham was a burner who ran alot of deep fades and used his speed and acceleration as tools to seperate. Randle has decent speed, but uses his physical size and excellent body control to beat corners. Like you mentioned, I think they are going to have to use Randle differently, atleast next year till he develops his game more.

    3) As for hosley, you covered it pretty much all of it. Love the fact that he’s known as a ballhawk. The giants needed one on defense.

    4) Robinson’s probably my favorite pick. Just because I’m really excited to see what Pope can do with him. Every year there’s that “Reese pick”, a guy that they probably over drafted because of his physical measurables’ and potential, but is pretty raw or may change positions. (ie adrian tracy, clint sintim, J williams) I think mike pope has a better shot into developing Robinson than bill sheridan did with sintim, or herrmann with tracy.

    5) dunno a whole lot about mosley, and practically nothing about McCants. So I’m worried about protecting Eli next year. He’s an iron-man and our King, but we gotta protect him better. Hopefully, the lack of action means reese has faith in Brewer for RT. Because Diehl is a known quantity. Pretty bad.

    1. deg0ey says:

      Your comments on Wilson are probably quite reasonable – the NFL player profile on him lists similar concerns:

      “Wilson relied heavily on his athletic ability in college and runs with a very unconventional style that could get him in trouble at the next level against top athletes. He will allow his pad level to get high when changing directions downfield, and he will get caught off guard with that style at the next level.”

      Incidentally, the profile on Shady said pretty much the same thing:

      “Invites turnovers by running with the ball very loosely. Doesn’t always switch the ball to the outside hand. Runs out of control at times. Some of those cutbacks will not work against the speed of NFL defences.”

      Obviously there are no guarantees at this stage, and the comments that he made aren’t what you want to hear, but if McCoy can get to where he is at the moment then there’s no reason Wilson can’t if he puts the work in. As an Eagles fan, though, I really hope he doesn’t ;-)

  17. celebrate says:

    Rueben Randle 2 catches in two games against Bama ,while being held in check by Dre Kirkpatrick but tthe G- men can just count there rings atleast they got more than the Skins and Eagles.

    1. ct17 says:

      If you watched those games, you’d realize two catches was a real accomplishment. I would not be surprised if they were all screens. In the bowl game, LSU did not even have 100 total yards.

      The Giants staff basically trashed the LSU QBs in their press conferences on Randle.

    2. Trueblue63 says:

      Randle isn’t expected to be field ready, he has to go to grad school first, Mara U.

  18. Steve D. says:

    YOU JUST DON”T LIKE THE GIANTS DRAFT BECUZ YOU ARE A HATER … Oh wait you liked the Giants draft? It must be because you hate the Cowboys so much that you want to make their fans feel bad by saying the Giants drafted well. That is much more likely than you providing your actual opinions on what you liked and did not like for each team.

  19. ArthuroMolenda says:

    I like the speed we added to the team. I like the fact that we adressed needs.

    I still dont’ get the way we’re handling the OL though.

    1. BBI says:

      Giants don’t expect rookie contributions. They like developmental prospects because they feel they have a good enough roster already.

      The OL is especially this way. The coaches NEVER play rookies. Ever. Unless injuries, of course. They redshirt their guys and ease their way in. It works too. Will Beatty only allowed 2.5 sacks this year in 10 games. Had a freak injury. David Baas had neck issues, but played exceptionally well in the playoffs when he was 100%. He was stonewalling Vince Wilfork.

      David Diehl is legitimately terrible, yes, but even he was playing with a broken hand. Chris Snee battled with concussions this year. Kareem McKenzie was terrible, so he’s gone. We’ve been grooming James Brewer for the RT job, and he’ll split snaps with Diehl. Hopefully he’ll win the job. Mosley will be groomed as depth at RT and G, eventually taking over for somebody in the coming years. Mitch Petrus is primed to take over the LG position. He was good in limited opportunities last year. Matt McCants is a developmental LT in case we don’t re-sign Will Beatty after next year.

      1. ArthuroMolenda says:

        All OL play injured, it’s not just a Giants thing …

        From I have (or haven’t …) seen last season, neither Petrus nor Brewer can be expected to contribute significantly in 2012.
        Beatty was solid, but he’s a 2nd rounder – my point.

        We’ll see.

        1. brisulph says:

          All o-line does not have that ridiculous range of injuries, most of it right from the get go.

        2. BBI says:

          Petrus didn’t even give up too many pressures when he played last year. Brewer was a rookie.

          Had Mosley been a 2nd round pick, would you have felt better?

          1. ArthuroMolenda says:

            Why would drafting Mosley in the 2nd be any better ?

            Small sample, ok, but Reese “late round projects” haven’t really worked out, have they ?

            1. BBI says:

              Nobody’s late round projects work out well. I’d say out of 16 late round guys drafted, Reese has been able to find 6 or so good players. That’s actually a higher percentage than the vast majority of the league.

              My point re: 2nd round Mosley was that higher round players will still see the bench. Just the way it works. It’s pretty easy to see what they are doing with the OL. You draft players to develop them and play them as time goes on.

              Last year was an anomaly because Beatty (who had a great year) was injured, Diehl had a broken hand, Baas had neck issues, Snee had concussions, and McKenzie went from being one the best RT in football to probably the worst. Nobody can anticipate that precipitous of a drop.

              1. Trueblue63 says:

                No one can anticipate that kind of drop …

                I don’t think the team was that surprised. But as a loose rule, teams that expect to compete for a title, don’t like to change more than one slot on the OL. The continuity is so important, that you’ld like to only switch out one player. The Giants made three changes, 2 new players (Baas and Beatty) and one new position (Diehl). I doubt they even considered more change.

                This year with Beatty coming back, Baas having a year in the system, and either Petrus or Boothe having had extended play time at LG, breaking in a new RT should be easier. The OL a should be better just based on familiarity.

  20. Immynimmy says:

    I think it would have been a better idea if instead of Randle they grabbed Dwayne Allen (Best combo of a pass blocker and pure pass catching TE in the TE class this year) and drafted Greg Childs, Juron Criner, Tommy Streeter, or even Marvin McNutt instead of Adrien Robinson to replace not drafting Randle

    1. BBI says:

      That would’ve worked, but the thinking here is not only BPA, but positional value. WR >>> TE. The Giants had a 1st round grade on Randle, so it was cake to decide on taking him.

      Also, they love their TE coach, and as Mike Mayock described Robinson…”he’s a lump of clay”, who already knows how to block and that’s really all the Giants want. They want someone who can block, and is willing to learn how to become a pass catcher. Did it with Ballard.

      Also, no way to know if any of those WRs would be available later, so just went with BPA.

      1. deg0ey says:

        Yeah, can’t really criticise that pick at all; Randle looks like he’s gonna be a beast, especially if defences try to focus on stopping Nicks and Cruz…

    2. Trueblue63 says:

      Your way works on the upside (ie everything works out), but on the downside it’s very risky. That’s just not how JR has approached the draft. Allen’s a fine player, but when you have a chance to get what you perceive as first round talent at 63, you grab it and worry about TE later.

      From my observations, they’d rather have more good players and figure out how to get them on the field (Kiwi recently, Seubert, Snee, Diehl (all G’s in 07)) than just fill slots.

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