By Curt Macysyn
Good thing for the New York Giants that they do not play in the English Premier League, or else they might be a candidate for relegation to the second tier. This year’s fiasco that has surrounded Big Blue, almost since OTAs began in the spring, should be alarming for a number of reasons.
Almost since the end of last year, New York has been swimming upstream due to a roster composition that was not stout enough to withstand the rigors of an NFL season, and general manager Jerry Reese has compiled a draft record that shows he does not “walk the talk” when it comes to acquiring ready-made talent for the new NFL.
In the old NFL, players usually would serve an apprenticeship in order to acclimate to the professional game, but that is no longer the case. College systems have become increasingly sophisticated, therefore players are able to contribute right away as rookies. The point being, when your roster needs an upgrade, the team can certainly focus on players who can contribute right away, rather than “projects” who need further seasoning.
Contributors: CB Prince Amukamara (1st), LB Jacquian Williams (6th)
Busts: DT Marvin Austin (2nd), OT James Brewer (4th)
Washouts: LB Greg Jones (6th), S Tyler Sash (7th), Da’Rel Scott (7th)
TBD: WR Jerrel Jernigan (3rd)
The 2011 NFL draft amounts to a standard draft in the Jerry Reese-era, full of risk, with not much reward. Amukamara has become a solid draft pick for the team, but it seems like his draft position (19th) was pretty accurate, meaning that New York got what they should have gotten at that position. Marvin Austin has NFL talent, but the questions about his work ethic became the reality for the G-men who cut him last year. The TBD grade on Jerrel Jernigan is very generous, given the fact that he is a third round draft pick, who barely played before getting injured. Reese does not lose points for late round washouts: Jones, Sash and Scott, nor does he gain any bonus points for their selections either. Reese cannot shrug his shoulders about fourth round pick James Brewer, because the transitional picks (3rd, 4th, 5th rounds) are where a general manager should earn his money. One solid starter and one below average starter is all the Giants show for the 2011 draft class. GRADE: D
Incomplete: David Wilson (1st)
Contributors: Rueben Randle (2nd), Markus Kuhn (7th)
Busts: Jayron Hosley (3rd), Adrien Robinson (4th)
Washouts: Matt McCants (5th)
TBD: Brandon Mosley (4th)
Overall, the entire draft class appears to be an inferior one, with Andrew Luck and Luke Kuechly being the only true impact players. The Giants selection of running back David Wilson cannot be rounded criticized, but also was not entirely a stroke of bad luck either, as Wilson was undoutedly a work in progress. A lot of teams have to be disappointed with their first round selections that year which included Morris Claiborne (Dallas), Mark Barron (Tampa Bay) and Brandon Weeden (Browns). Several players drafted after Wilson could have helped the Giants immediately, including tackle Mitchell Schwartz (brother of Geoff), defensive end Andre Branch, or a trio of linebackers that includes Mychal Kendricks (Philadelphia), Bobby Wagner (Seattle) and Lavonte David (Tampa Bay). Ironically, the Giants’ division rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles, had a stellar 2012 draft, picking up Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, Vinny Curry, Nick Foles, Brandon Boykin and Bryce Brown. Contrary to popular belief, Rueben Randle does not represent a steal in the second round, in fact given his draft position, more should be expected from him. Once again, a TBD grade on Brandon Mosley is being generous, but Reese gets points for the Markus Kuhn draft pick, but not enough to raise the grade on another mediocre effort. GRADE: C
Contributors: Justin Pugh (1st), Johnathan Hankins (2nd), Damontre Moore (3rd)
Washouts: Eric Herman (6th)
Incomplete: Cooper Taylor (5th), Michael Cox (7th)
TBD: Ryan Nassib (4th)
The Giants appear to have gotten suitable value for their first round selection, Justin Pugh, who had played very well until recently. The selection of Johnathan Hankins may eventually pan out very well for the G-men, so Reese gets points for his selection. Both represent solid picks, but nothing that will turn this draft class into anything special. The selection of Damontre Moore highlights the problems with Reese’s drafts. Moore was at one time considered a first round talent, but slid to Big Blue in the third round. New York did need help in the pass rush, but the knock on Moore was his overall strength to play a down lineman position, and that concern has come to fruition (Don’t they read the reports?). Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell does not trust Moore against the run, so has become almost a pinch hitter in the defensive line rotation, as evidenced in the final drive against the Dallas Cowboys. The jury is still out on quarterback Ryan Nassib, but Reese can be critcized for moving up to draft a player who was never going to come in and contribute immediately, When you swing and miss as much as Reese has, you should want more pitches to swing at, not less. If the Giants had not seen so many injuries at the running back position, would Michael Cox have seen the field? And safety Cooper Tylor cannot stay on the field, after a injury plagued rookie season, he ended up on injured reserve this preseason and was lost for the year. GRADE: C+
Contributors: Odell Beckham, Jr. (1st), Weston Richburg (2nd), Andre Williams (4th), Devon Kennard (5th)
TBD: Jay Bromley (3rd), Nat Behre (5th), Bennett Jackson (6th)
When your first round draft pick turns out to be as dynamic as Odell Beckham is, then invariably, your draft will be rated highly. Following up Beckham with Weston Richburg signified a bit of common sense on the part of the Giants’ draft team. Both players are expected to be long term contributors for the G-men. Common sense left the room by the third round, as New York reached for Syracuse defensive tackle Jay Bromley, when Auburn running back Tre Mason was available. The Giants need speed, especially at the skill positions, and after losing David Wilson. Andre Williams is definitely an NFL player, but how long will he last trying to go through defenders instead of around them? Mason would have been a nice compliment to Rashad Jenning, instead New York may have started the season with the slowest backfield in the NFL with Jennings, Williams, Peyton Hillis and Michael Cox. Safety Nat Behre has not seen the field much, even with the inconsistency at his position, and cornerback Bennett Jackson ended up on the pratice squad. Linebacker Devon Kennard looks like good value for his draft position, but will he ever become an impact player? GRADE: B
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Curt Macysyn has been covering the New York Football Giants for the past two seasons for Examiner.com. Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Curt has followed and covered the New York Metropolitan sports scene for 35 years. He attended Seton Hall Prep School in South Orange, NJ and is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick. His work can be found on Examiner.com.