New York Giants

Giants NFL Team Column
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2009 NFL Draft Review

28 April 2009

A Summary of the 2009 NFL Draft

Best to be Lucky AND Good

I turn on the TV after a long day’s battle in the real estate wars and can still hear the echoes of boos cascading from the mezzanine and upper balcony of Radio City Music Hall in Midtown Manhattan. Seems that some of the Jets’ fans (J-E-T-S…Jets, Jets, Jets!) are unhappy with the package they surrendered for the privilege of moving up to draft Southern Cal QB Mark Sanchez. Jet fans. Is there anyone more obnoxious? Oh, right--Cowboy fans. And Charger fans. And of course Eagle fans. Actually, I shouldn’t say that about Eagle fans. One of my best friend’s is an Eagle fan. But then again, he didn’t return any of the calls I made to him today trying to get updates on the early picks. Forget it, Johnny. I retract my retraction. Eagle fans are the most obnoxious of all. But I digress…

As I mentioned in an earlier column, I’m worried that Hakeem Nicks (WR, North Carolina) won’t be around when the Giants pick at #29. He’s probably the best fit for New York after Michael Crabtree--and I don’t see GM Jerry Reese or Coach Tom Coughlin giving up what it would take to climb high enough to snag Crabtree. So what I’m really hoping to hear is that the G-men are moving up a bit to ensure getting Nicks, or have traded a pick or picks to Arizona for Anquan Boldin or to Cleveland for Braylon Edwards.

“With the 29th pick in the NFL Draft, the New York Giants select…Hakeem Nicks, wide receiver, North Carolina.”

Great. But how did that happen? Well, first of all, I was wrong. Apparently not everyone thought as highly of Nicks as did I and the Giants. Many of the New York media had soured on Nicks, citing his weight gain after a pre-draft injury as cause for concern, and guessed the Giants would take WR Darrius Heyward-Bey of Maryland instead. Ah, but they didn’t count on the twisted circuitry within the mind of Mr. Al Davis of Oakland, Ca. Davis could have had Crabtree at #7, but he could not resist the blazing (4.3, 40) speed of the hard-handed, inconsistent Bey who was, by consensus, no better than the fourth best WR in the draft. So a confluence of events began which ended with the player the Giants coveted most falling directly into their laps, in much the same way that Miami safety Kenny Phillips fell to them last year. Someone once said, “I’d rather be lucky than good.” Jerry Reese is both. If you see him walking up to your poker table, cash in your chips and go home. At 6-1, 210 lbs,, Nicks is not only big and physical but has great hands and is a polished route runner, and should make an immediate impact at the Meadowlands.

With their two picks in the 2nd round, New York selects OLB Clint Sintim (Virginia) at #45 and LT William Beatty (Uconn) at #60.

Sintim, 6-3, 245 lbs., had 27 sacks in 49 games in the ACC, with 20 of those coming in his junior and senior years. He will fit nicely into their passing rushing rotation, which is getting scary deep.

Beatty is an imposing 6-6, 307 lbs. physical specimen with long arms, and a frame that looks like it can easily carry another 15-30 lbs. He looks like the player who will allow LT David Diehl to move back to his natural guard position in a year or two. Hopefully, the Guy Whimper experiment is over.

Round 3 brings more offensive depth to the team including their most intriguing pick of the weekend.

Trading spots with the Eagles (for a fifth rounder) New York moves up to #85 and selects the closest thing they can find in the draft to recently departed Plaxico Burress. Ramses Barden, WR (Cal-Poly) is 6-6, 229 lbs. Watching his highlight reel, you can’t help but feel sorry for the comparatively tiny DBs trying in vain to keep the football out of his hands, (and Barden out of the end zone). Barden made several of this year’s ‘sleeper’ lists and it was no secret that the Giants were looking at him. And while no one confuses the Great West Conference with the NFL, (nor the weather in San Luis Obispo with the weather in New Jersey), his physical attributes are such that on potential alone, there is a chance that this may turn out to be one of the steals of the 2009 Draft. And another inside straight for Reese & Co.

Pick #100 brings Travis Beckum, (6-3, 243 lbs.), an athletic and highly productive pass catching tight end out of Wisconsin. As part of a rotation with Kevin Boss or as a bookend in two tight ends sets, Beckum will be a big target for QB Eli Manning and a matchup nightmare for defenses and should be a definite upgrade in passing situations over current TE’s Darcy Johnson and Michael Matthews, one of whom he will likely replace on the active roster.

After stockpiling their defense with free agent signing in the off season, the Giants have clearly targeted offensive players in the draft. That makes 5 picks in the first 3 rounds, and 4 new weapons for Eli and Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride. And more to come.

With their 4th round pick, (#129 overall), the Giants select RB Andre Brown (NC State). Listed at 6-0, 224 lbs., Brown is a faster (4.37 40), version of RB Danny Ware (6-0, 225 lbs.; 4.57 40) who mostly rode the bench last year as a backup for New York’s “Earth, Wind & Fire” trio of running backs, (Jacobs, Ward & Bradshaw), despite being their most productive runner in the 2008 preseason. Brown is primarily a slashing, north/south runner who can catch the ball and who was rated as high as #3 among this years draft-eligible running backs. A steal.

In round 5, with pick #151, Big Blue tabs QB Rhett Bomar, a 6-2, 214 lbs., strong-armed QB out of Sam Houston State. Despite some off-field issues, Bomar was considered by many to be the 5th rated QB in the draft, after West Virginia’s Patrick White. Hold on…

Allow me to pause here for just a minute. How does Reese pull this stuff off? Talk about patience. Talk about smarts. Talk about the guts of a burglar. He seems to know exactly how long he can wait for the players he wants. He moves up when he needs to and sits back calmly when he doesn’t. New York gets the 3rd (or 4th, whatever) running back in the entire draft with the 129th pick in the 4th round. They pick up the 5th best QB at #151, in the 5th round. By comparison, do you know what Oakland’s Al Davis did back in the 2nd round? In between the Giants hauling in the 6th highest rated OLB (Sintim: rated 48th overall), and the 6th (or 7th) rated offensive tackle (Beatty; rated 38th overall)? I’ll tell you what he did.

“With the 47th pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders select…(drum roll, please)…Michael Mitchell, safety, University of Ohio.”

Michael who? Out of where? Did he mean Ohio State? (No, he didn’t). Michael Mitchell? I’d never heard of him. Most of ESPN’s analysts didn’t know he was either They didn’t even have a video clip of him. Mel Kiper knew who he was. He had him projected as an undrafted free agent. CBS Sports’ NFL Draft Scout (.com) had a much higher opinion of Michael. They saw him as the 7th best SS in the draft. #204 overall. But he was the 1st safety off the board, thanks to Big Al. I swear, I don’t know how my son (the Raider fan) can take it any more. I don’t think he can. As for me, just let me say--to paraphrase Joe DiMaggio:

“I’d like to thank the good lord for making me a (Giants fan).”

And not a Raider fan.

The Giants finished their business this draft weekend by selecting two CB’s in the 6th and 7th rounds; DeAndre White, 5-10½, 198 lbs., (New Mexico) at #200, and Stoney Woodson, 5-11, 190 lbs., (South Carolina) at #238. As is usually the case with late selections, both are considered projects. Wright is not particularly strong; Woodson not particularly fast. I’d say that neither one has a good shot at making a roster as deep as the Giants’ but I’ll bite my tongue instead. In the last two rounds of 2007, New York selected T Adam Koets; S Michael Johnson; and RB Ahmad Bradshaw. All three contributed to the Giants Super Bowl run. So let me just say this instead:

“I’d like to thank the good lord, etc…”

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