New York Giants: Rookie Review 2011 Brought Emergence of Victor Cruz, Jason Pierre Paul What Does 2012 Hold?

UDFA like Mark Herzlich and 6th and 7th round picks have been the "Rookie story" for the 2011 New York. Giants

The New York Giants are having a topsy turvy season which has seem them play great games against teams like the Patriots, Packers, and 49ers (for the most part in that game), but also fall victim to terribly played games against the Washington Redskins (twice) and the Seattle Seahawks (before they got any good). This leaves them in a precarious position. This weekend if they lose to the Jets they are with almost certainty out of the playoffs (unless the Eagles win this week and lose next week). If they lose they’ll have to turn their attention to free agency and the draft, with that in mind I sent some questions over to Big Blue View’s editor Ed Valentine to answer some questions.

My questions are in bold, Ed’s answers are in italics.

I hate to do this because I respect Tom Coughlin’s abilities, but I have to start here:

1). If the Giants miss the playoffs this year, again, after having a big lead and “destiny in their own hands” late in the season Tom Coughlin has to be fired, right? I don’t think anyone would can call Tom Coughlin a bad coach, but has this Giants team just had one too many disappointing performances in big moments to keep the status quo?

Well, I still think that remains to be seen. Today, the answer would be I think Coughlin would be fired. Based on how the last two games play out, that might change. The mystifying thing with the Giants is why they so often seem to lack effort and enthusiasm. It’s games like Sunday, where the Giants were very uninspired in a very big spot, that will get Coughlin fired more than missing the playoffs. They happen too often.

2). They say takes three years to evaluate a draft…how does the 2009 class look?

Not Jerry Reese’s best work. He has Hakeem Nicks and Will Beatty to show for that class, and really nothing else. Travis Beckum is a bust. Ramses Barden is still a relative unkown. Clint Sintim is a bust. There isn’t anything else.

3) In 2007 the Giants had a draft in which they acquired a lot of solid to good players, but no franchise cornerstones (after this year only Bradshaw and Zak DeOssie will remain if Aaron Ross is not resigned). In 2009, and 2010 it appears that the draft will be heavily front loaded with two potential future All-pro players (Nicks and Pierre Paul), but maybe not much else. Which is the better kind of draft to have…one with contributions from all rounds, but maybe not a great lasting impact or a draft that lands you an elite player at his position?

I think that is an interesting argument. It coincides with the question of whether or not you should trade draft picks and move up (which I believe you should almost never do) or if you should trade down and horde picks (which I believe you should do at every opportunity). You have to hit the home run once in a while, like the Giants did with Jason Pierre-Paul, but as the JPP pick proves you don’t always have to mortgage your future and get into the top 5 to get that done.

The NFL is a long season and a war of attrition. The only way you win at the end is by stockpiling tremendous depth. It’s always ‘next man up,’ and you can’t be picking guys off the street. You have to draft well, and that means getting multiple useful players out of each draft … especially getting some productive players at the bottom of your draft.

My take on that question would be what did you accmoplish in that short period, for instance many of the 2007 Giants rookies were instrumental in their Superbowl run, which makes it a really good draft no matter what happens with the players. Had Ahmad Bradshaw not broke free in Buffalo and the Giants miss the playoffs it would be a very disappointing draft to not have any long-term solutions on the team.

4). In these reviews I usually ask about the 2010 first round pick, but think I, and the rest of the league, already have our answer on Jason Pierre Paul. So what about Linval Joseph–how has he played?

Joseph is basically a rookie since he hardly played at all last year. I certainly see why the Giants like him — size, power, run-stuffing ability. Yet, like a lot of young players, he has been up and down. He’s had some terrific games, and yet in other games the Giants have been pushed around against the run, and he’s been part of that.

5). Prince Amukamara has missed much of the season but has been getting a lot of playing time as of late, how is he doing?
Amukamara is struggling, and I’ve seen people already refer to him as a “bust,” which I find entirely unfair. Here’s a kid who had no minicamps, no summer program, broke his foot his second training camp practice and did not return to the field until after the midpoint of the season. He’s not 100 percent physically and his learning curve right now is probably about where a rookie would normally be somewhere in the preseason. Yet, the Giants need him to play critical snaps in critical games. He has everything to be a terrific player, he’s just being asked to do more than he is ready to do right now.


I could not agree more with Ed Valentine on this one. Labeling Amukamara a bust is stupidity. Maybe he will become a bust, but so soon? Let’s give the guy a chance, he’s very talented and he’s not healthy right now.

6). The Giants first four round picks have barely played this year, but they have gotten significant contributions from their late round picks. Which of the 6th and 7th round players might have carved a niche for themselves as long term pieces of the New York Giants?

Well, the obvious answer is Jacquian Williams. He is a linebacker taken in the sixth round out of USF, as you know. He has gotten a ton of playing time this year and has shown promise. He is athletic, has the speed to cover and the aggressiveness to play the run. He makes a lot of mistakes, though, and has hurt the Giants a number of times this season.

7). How about the undrafted free agents, the Giants have three guys who have played a good amount (FB Henry Hyonski, and LB Spencer Paysinger and Mark Herzlich)

Hynoski is settling in at fullback and could be a fixture. Herzlich has an opportunity to eventually be the Giants middle linebacker, but we have to see how that position plays out. He is, in my mind, a superior player to 6th-round pick Greg Jones.

8). 2010 Undrafted Free Agent Victor Cruz is having a huge season…is he the real deal?

Yes. He is Eli Manning’s go-to target at this point. He runs great routes, competes for the ball, has good hands and enough speed. He drops too many balls, but I think he will continue to get better.

9). Based on how the Giants have played recently what are their biggest needs for the 2011 N.F.L. Season?

Well, if you are talking about 2011 they just to win a couple of games. For 2012 I hate to pinpoint ‘needs’ this far in advance. The Giants defense has been awful, and you could say linebacker. But, you could also say safety, defensive tackle or even defensive end depending on who stays and who goes. On offense, there is a need to get some young talent on the offensive line.


I’d like to thank Ed for letting me grilling him on the Giants draft. To say the Giants haven’t gotten an impact from their rookie draft class would be a gross undersatement. Their first four round picks have barely played this season, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything for the future, though.

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Tags: Jason Pierre-Paul Linval Joseph New York Giants Prince Amukamara Victor Cruz

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