Grading the New York Giants Draft


The New York Giants are a team that always claims that they just take the best player available on their board, but for the first time clearly rang true this year as the Giants drafted players who were considered good values with each of their picks.

With each team we’ve graded the picks one by one in one post, but for the Giants I took an extended pick by pick breakdown over the past few weeks, you can click on the links to get the in-depth breakdown, but here I’ll give you the grade I assigned for each pick and a quick summary.

But first quickly about my grading system, which is not all that complex. I do not believe in drafting for needs and assign very little value for needs, but I do consider it a bit. An average value pick starts as a C, and I’ll consider adding plus or minuses to the grade if the player fits a need and/or the system. So for instance if you’re picking 100th in the draft and you get anywhere from the 95th best player to the 110th or so best player that’s pretty good, but really average value. If you’re picking 100th overall and you get the 70th best player on the board that’s exceptional value and an A pick. If it also fills a need it’s an A+. That’s really a meandering way for me to get across that I really, really focus on the value of the pick and don’t worry about much else.

1st Round pick Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

Grade A+

Quick Summary:  He was the Best player available on my personal big board and the only one of the top three BPA that didn’t have  issues (Jimmy Smith with the character concerns, though perhaps overblown; and Da’Quan Bowers with the knee issue). On top of that,  Cornerbacks was a criminally under-publicized need for the New York Giants. They have atrocious cornerback depth. Terrell Thomas and Corey Webster are pretty good, but not great cornerbacks in the N.F.L. and Aaron Ross is talented, but has struggled  since 2008 with copious nagging injuries and ineffective play. Beyond that, the Giants had so little faith in their cornerbacks that they refused to get out of their three safety specialty set. Amukamara will change that instantly. He also has the versatility the Giants crave (and desperately need) out of their cornerbacks and can play off-zone, bump and run and even some hybrid safety. A big problem for the Giants could be that Webster and Thomas don’t mesh great with a scheme that infuses a lot of cover 2 principles, Amukamara is better suited to play zone coverage than the top Giants Cornerbacks are.

2nd Round pick Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina

Grade B+

Quick Summary

I know his talent suggest this pick should be an A (and this is also another New York Giants need because starting DT Barry Coefield seems like a lock to be let go via free agency) pick because he was clearly drafted 20 places or better than his big board value suggests he should have been drafted; (and the Giants have said he was a top 15 talent on their big board), but I still have questions. He’s a very talented player, but disappears in some games and doesn’t have elite production (4 sacks and 42 tackles in 2009…) and it’s not because he was the only good player on the Tar Heels defense. North Carolina had a lot of talented defensive players. I’m not as concerned with his transgressions, but I upgraded the grade a bit because he’s going into a good situation, where he probably won’t face many double teams because of the surrounding talent on the Giants defensive line.

3rd round pick Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy State

Grade: A

Quick Summary:

If you were to break down the Giants biggest need into one word that would heading into the draft could have been “speed”. The Giants get abused by the Eagles because they can’t match their speed, Jernigan is one step closer to that goal of adding total team speed. Another three words that could describe the Giants from last year could be “atrocious special teams”, and Jernigan should be the front-runner to return kicks and punts next year. This pick makes even more sense with the likelihood that Domenik Hixon will be released and that Steve Smith might start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. 

4th round pick James Brewer, OT, Indiana

Grade A-

Quick Summary:

In retrospect this grade could be lower. Brewer was again great value, which is something I focus on, but he’s not without his issues. He has great size, but he has an injury history and there were better players available there, even though he fills a position of need for the Giants (offensive line depth and the eventual future replacement for Kareem Mackenzie on the right side). Still a very, very solid pick.

6th round pick: Greg Jones, LB, Michigan State

Grade A+

Quick Summary

Another player that was high on our big board that was available at this point in the draft. Jones has tremendous college production and plays the position of the biggest need for the New York Giants (linebacker). Like Jernigan, Jones is expected to help out on special teams. The Giants had one of the worst coverage units in the league last year, Jones should help rectify that a bit.

6th round pick: Tyler Sash, S, Iowa

Grade A

Quick Summary

Co-editor, Sayre, a Broncos fan called this pick “The best pick in the draft” based on where he was drafted (both the round and the team he went to). Sash is the antithesis of what the Giants got with Chad Jones last year, who was a special kind of athlete. Sash is not a special athlete, but he is a very productive college player. Sash also seems like a good fit for the Giants 3rd safety they use to play in the box and help out a bit in the passing game. Sash also is going to be used in heavy zone-coverage schematics as well, which fits him better than man on man where he can be exposed because of his limited N.F.L. athleticism.  

6th round pick: Jacquian Williams, LB, USF

Grade: C-

Quick Summary

The deeper this draft went the more it became clear that if the Giants were addressing any need it was the need to improve the special teams. Williams is a speedy player who can really cover the passer, but he is very raw and is likely to only play special teams with the Giants this year. He’s also not a lock to even make the roster. Now, the Giants were very interested in him and thought highly of him because they had a lot of contact with him leading up to the draft and found him through their study on JPP (he went to the same JUCO college as well as played with Jason Pierre Paul at USF). Still, this s below average (C) value but that’s ok at this point in the draft where teams should be just looking to fill niches and it’s usually unheard of to get players like Sash and Greg Jones in the 6th round.

7th Round Pick Da’rel Scott, RB, Maryland

Grade A

Quick Summary

This pick could have been an A+ if Scott didn’t have injury issues and fumbling problems. As you can see from our big board I thought very highly of him. (Ignore the publishing date, I copy and pasted all of our 2011 NFL Draft features into old posts so that I could archive them), as he made our top 100 big board. His upside is tremendous and his production was excellent in college (compare his numbers to Javhid Best’s numbers). He ran for over 5.0 yards per carry the past three seasons, can catch the football, has kick return ability and is just a very good player. I think at worst he could be Bernard Scott of the Bengals/Mike Goodson of the Panthers at the upside he could be Felix Jones of the Cowboys. One of the best players (and the only one drafted) available at that point and fills a position of need for the Giants as a third running back and potential return man. He is the fastest running back in this class and weighs 211 pounds.  Great pick.

Overall Grade.

Yes, I am a Giants fan, but No, I’m not a Giants homer, but yes, I do give Reese the benefit of the doubt. If that makes sense. I ripped the Giants after last year’s draft (I only liked two picks: Chad Jones and Petrus), I have been very critical of many of the Giants free agent signings (didn’t understand the Canty/Bernard additions. Understood, but was underwhelmed with Keith Bulluck ) but this draft was better than the “ideal” and realistic scenario I gave the Giants before the draft.

(Jimmy Smith, Christian Ballard, Clint Boling, Shane Vereen, Jaiqwan Jarrett, Jah Reid, Henry Hynoski, Demarcus Van Dyke, Jake Kirkpatrick)

And this draft would have been an exceptional draft on any 43 defensive team. Who can argue that the Giants did not get exceptional value in this draft? Amukamara was a top 10 talent on 80 percent of big board. Austin was often mocked into the back end of round one. Jernigan was a 2nd-3rd round player. Brewer a 2-4th round value. Greg Jones a 4th round value. Sash a 3rd round to 6th round value. Scott a 5-7th round value. And Jacquian Williams was someone no one talked about ever, but all in all not looking at it through a Giants lens the value here is exceptional, and for a guy who grades on player value and ignores needs (for example see how much I ripped the Dolphins draft), I truly believe this was one of the three best drafts in this class.

Thoughts? Leave your comments.

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