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Draft Talk: Giants Roundtable

Jesse Bartolis here, your host telling you we’re bringing the roundtable back now for draft coverage.

With me, as always are: Fuchs, Andrew, and Mark Piccuci. (just to make it blatantly obvious the colors the names are in are them speaking. All questions and any type in black font derives from me.

I’m kind of the self-proclaimed resident draft-junkie so I’ve been doing most of the draft talk, but these guys love the draft too so let’s see what they have to say.

Let’s start of with the basics to see how our guests feel about the draft in general.

In general, what is your drafting strategy. Is it BPA, is it needs?

I am a fan of the best player available personally.  If they feel that someone is by far the best player on the board I feel you take that person.  I feel that if you are drafting by need you sometime take a reach on someone hoping they fill the void.

In general, best player available. Ideally, the best player available fits a need, but that’s rare. By getting BPA, you’re getting players who can help right away, and that’s what you want from a draft.

Well, as a philosophy I think it always comes back to Best Player Available and the reason why is because the needs player available may not have the experience, speed, character – WHATEVER it is that makes up what it takes to fit into your system.  However — the BPA is of course the player you’ve already done the homework on whether you need them or not. You’re fully aware of how they can help your program, you have isolated their strengths and weaknesses, and have decided they are the BEST for your system.  In my mind at least, a pre-meditated need gets trumped by pure talent every time. The thing you hope for is of course, both talent and need is filled by one choice.

I think we’re all in agreement here. Now the key is what constitues Best Player Available.

To me, Best Player Available means that you take the player you think will have the greatest impact at the N.F.L. Almost regardless of position. The almost qualifier being quarterbacks. There’s only one QB who you want playing regularly, which is different than every other position (besides kicker and punter). So if you havea  YOUNG franchise QB then you don’t take another possible one. If you’re the Packers and you have a aging Brett Favre you do. If you’re the Cardinals with an aging Kurt Warner you do. Otherwise, don’t.

Who is your number one absolute realistic target for the Giants at #15?

I think it’s Rolando McClain. He may get taken by Denver, maybe Miami. But, he should be available. I know we have differences of opinions on him, but he’s the only MIKE backer who can step in on Day 1 and start. I know he may be a bit slow on tape, but he’s a playmaker, and that’s what you need from that position. I’m not sold on Goff starting, and it’s looking less likely that the G-Men will make a run for Kirk Morrison. Enter McClain.

The purest talent and need for the Giants expressed in one impressive package.  The guy is incredible actually.  Watch this (links to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miJwMCgaxKo)

I honestly see the Giants landing Rolando Mclain with the 15th pick.  With Miami signing Dansby I see McLain falling into the Giants lap at 15.

Again this is a pretty big consensus among the others, but for me and I know there are a lot of disagreements with this I still feel C.J. Spiller if available is the way to go. And he also fills a need. A pass catcher out of the backfiel, a return man, and another running back.

Who is the one player in this draft you’d trade up for (say for a #1 this year and another #1 or something)?

If I had access to Kenny Phillips’ chart and I knew he was not going to make it back, then I’d think long and hard about it because I don’t inherently like the idea of giving up #1 picks… but if I had to then I say Eric Berry, the best young safety out there bar none
.

I would go up and get Eric Berry.  I am not confident that Kenny Phillips will be back at full strength and I feel that safety is becoming one of the most crucial positions in football with spread offenses and pass catching tight ends.  I would not be upset if the Giants land a top grade safety with the 15th pick either.

Eric Berry. I know we signed Antrel Rolle, and we have Kenny Phillips, but outside of the two defensive tackles (Suh, McCoy) Berry is the best player in the draft. If he slides to seven, I trade up, no questions asked

Again here I differ from the rest. I think THE only player I’d trade up for that could realistically fall past 5 is DT Gerald McCoy. Rams go Bradford and Lions go Okung and McCoy could fall past the other teams.

I really like Gearld McCoy. Great penetrator good motor. I’d move up for him, and him only (becuase Suh won’t make it to six).

How would you grade last year’s draft?
So far I would rate it a B- but with room for improvement.  Hakeem Nicks is going to be a stud, Beatty will be a solid addition to the line, Sintim will get his shot this year and the rest of the draft didn’t see much time or isn’t on the roster.  I hope to see more of Barden this year.

Well, if Coughlin and his coaches play their cards right it has the potential to be the greatest top 4 picks the Giants have ever made.   Nicks is already a star, but Sintim COULD have an incredible 2010 if he stays healthy and they figure out how to use him.  Beatty is not a sexy pick, but he’s done well to give depth on the OLine, and Ramses Barden could develop into a MAJOR weapon.  The jury is out on Beckum — he’s not a prototypical Giants TE but he might add a real spark to a more pass heavy offense in coming years, but my stock is invested in Kevin Boss right now so I can’t commit anything to Beckum. And I think Andre Brown is an interesting prospect but his injury may have seriously damaged his career as a running back.
Pretty good. Nicks, Beatty, and Sintim are going to be studs. Nicks already is. Beatty is the left tackle of the future. Sintim should start at outside linebacker this season. I’m still anxious to see how “Red Zone” Ramses Barden turns out. They barely used him last year, and I think it’s hard to get a full grasp of the draft until he steps on the field.

Giants got some bad bounces last year. I really think/thought Andre Brown was a steal in the fourth round. I thought he had a good chance at being a very good N.F.L. back, but I’m not sure now. He had a pretty bad injury last year. If he bounces back he could be a complete back. Good catching the ball out of the backfield, good pass protector, good size and speed. The only problem with him was that in college he was injury prone.

He ran a 4.49 40 at the combine, he reped 22 on the bench. Here is a scouting report last year from CBS sports

Compares To: FRED TAYLOR, New England — Brown will never be the high-yardage, productive runner Taylor was in his heydays, but both show a good combination of power and quickness as an inside runner. Brown is starting to develop nice receiving skills, but he does not have the loose hips to be effective on outside runs. Like Taylor, he is a bit of a medical risk. Fortunately, he has a lot of experience in a “running back by committee” set-up, as he has a few holes in his game to ever be considered a franchise back. He would be a nice replacement for Derrick Ward with the Giants.

Now if Brown and Kenny Phillips are going to be the same players the Giants are set at two more positions, but who knows.


 

Do you like picking at #15th overall….would you rather be higher lower (Discouting the season before)?
 It’s a weird spot. Right in the middle. I’d rather be lower, top 10. You’re going to have to pay more, but you’re going to get a better player. At 15, you’re hoping someone slides.
Tough call. I think at the bottom of the first round you don’t reach as much becuase the value differences are so much greater between the Best Player Available on your board and the player you need the most, not sure that’s the case at the top. I’d rather be lower (that also means you played better the year before)


The three biggest Giants needs are?

Linebacker, Safety, and Running Back in that order.  Here’s why…

MLB — Pierce is out and no replacement has stood out in my mind as an obvious replacement.  I think the Giants should have tested the waters for Dansby but I guess while reviewing the Arizona highlights they preferred what they saw in Rolle.  Fine I guess, but Safety simply dropped down to the #2 spot instead of #1.  But back to linebacker — Boley, Blackburn, Kehl, Goff, Clark, Sintim… who is it going to be in the middle calling the plays? If they draft McClain, i feel a whole lot better about the situation but if they don’t I’m going to say it’s between several guys that all bring little more than the status quo to the center of the defense.

Safety is #2 because its not looking good for Kenny Phillips with each day that goes by. He’s not running yet.  Yes it’s April — but after the Giants’ collapse last year I REFUSE to allow a guy to be in charge of the deep balls when he can’t even run 3 months before the start of camp.  I think the Giants need to either draft or sign a good free safety to shore up that need.

#3. If you asked me a month ago I would not have said running back, but all the posts on CJ Spiller got me thinking about the state of the running game. I don’t like Jacobs’ tendancy toward injury, and frankly the only guy that the Giants have on their roster who can consistently pound the ball is Bradshaw.  Ware hasn’t shown me anything, Johnson hasn’t played, Brown may not get it back from injury, and that leaves the draft to find the next Jacobs and Bradshaw who can step up and play with heart when asked and bleed blue when it’s over.  Spiller is not going to be available for the Giants #2 or #3 pick so I’m a little nervous about this position — it used to be the identity of the Giants… now its an ailment that has me concerned.


 

Well put.

let’s see some more from Mark.
More important guys who can fit your system…or guys who can play football?
 I am a fan of a football player.  I don’t care about 40 times, bench press reps or vertical leaps I want a guy who scraps and claws.  I want a guy who is a player and who isn’t afraid to get a little dirty.
Brandon Spikes folks, is a football player who tested very poorly. Jason Pierre Paul is a workout warrior. We’ll see what happens with these two players.

Who’s one late round target you think will be a success in the N.F.L that you want the Giants to take a shot at?

Jacoby Ford, WR, Clemson. He’s 5-8, but he runs a 4.28! You can’t teach that speed, and he can serve as a returner, deep threat. He’s been pretty productive at Clemson as well. His height will scare teams off, but he could be a steal.


That’s an interesting one. Jacoby Fords not a bad call at all. I think Round 5 this year might be a time you can steal a good player
.
Maybe if Pat Angerer falls down into round five he might be a very good spot starter and special teams player who might be more.  Maybe a Dejk Karim (RB Souther Illinois) in the 6th round. A Greg Hardy who is super talented with some questions late in the fifth round.

More important Big time athletic ability…or knowing how to play the game?

Well I think it depends on the position to an extent and I think it’s true that you cannot teach athletic ability, so at the outset that is important. For example, RB Chris Johnson of the Titans has incredible ability but will that necessarily translate into his ability delivering a Superbowl?  No.  Perhaps more important at the outset of your NFL career is one’s ability to be coached and learning how to play the game, and taking that with you through your professional career.   So I’m going with knowing how to play as being more important in the end. I’m going to cherry pick here to prove my point but stay with me.

Let’s take the most important position for example: QB…

JaMarcus Russell proves ability isn’t everything.  If you ask anyone who attended his pro day they’ll tell you that no one had ever seen a QB throw the ball like he did. 60 yard lasers pin point to the sidelines, incredible bombs one after another.  Now he’s a joke because he has no idea how the game is played in the NFL and is getting no help figuring it out…

Further proof from the other perspective — Eli Manning. Obviously not as naturally gifted as other QB’s in the league but he has learned the game, the offense, and what he needs to do to minimize mistakes and make big plays when it matters.  He’s learned how to lead his team, he knows what’s expected of him, and he consistently has delivered a good offense with last year proving he has improved to the point of being a top QB in the NFL.  He was completely open to being coached, and his intangibles made up for the tack of tangibles early in his career — and we all know he made his mistakes and looked extremely wobbly for the better part of his first 3 seasons. We know Eli was ultimately selected by the Giants because he had the ability to make those around him better, he had the ability to be a leader, and his coach-ability was off the charts.

So atleast for me — it’s better to be open to learning the game, your position, or ways to improve your performance. You can’t be taught big time ability, but you can certainly learn how to optimize what you have at every level if you’re willing to take the coach’s instruction.   Heading into the draft and with all the private workouts going on daily with the young rookies, ability to be coached and worked into the system for that reason is a huge part of the evaluation process.

The Giants have had a lot of success in the draft recently…who’s the bigger reason for that Tom coughlin of Jerry Reese? I mean is Jerry Reese picking great players or does Coughlin really know how to develop young talent?
 
I would have to give credit to both but if I had to pick one I would give the edge to Reese.  He has had a great eye for talent so far (at least draft picks, not sold on free agents yet) and the young fellas have contributed early.  I am hoping he finds a few more gems in a few weeks and solidifies the holes on the Giants roster.

Well that wraps up this latest edition of Giants Roundtable. I hope you enjoyed it and feel free to answer any of the questions presented to our table guests tonight in the comments.



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