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A Few Draft Thoughts

I think about football way too much (I mean, jeez, I write a Thoughts and Musings column every week.) And ask any of my friends; all I think about in my free time is football. Football strategy, and in particular, the draft. So let me just lay out a few draft thoughts on this Draft Eve.

-I think that the Vikings really want to trade out at 3. I think they probably want a corner, but they don’t want to take one at 3. But no one seems to be taking the bait.

-Would the Jets think about trading up (perhaps to 3) for Richardson? I think they’ll explore, and it’ll depend on what they have to give up. But adding Richardson would finally give them an elite runner (Shonn Greene isn’t elite), and would go back to when Thomas Jones was helping them go to the AFC Championship game.

-I’ve talked about this before, but I think Bruce Irvin could be awesome. He’ll be used in a simple, get up the field role and get 10-12 sacks.

-I think there are so many defensive innovations, but my favorite one is the “Leo” concept, used in Seattle. From Doug Farrar:

In short, the idea is to give a 3-4 look upfront, with a linebacker or stand-up defensive end crashing the edge. “It’s a position that can take on different sizes and shapes, but it is a spot – a little bit of a hybrid position – that is kind of a linebacker, kind of a defensive end. We picture it as a speed-oriented guy,” Carroll recently told the team’s official website

Basically, it’s a 43 with 34 concepts. I really like it. You have a great 5 tech to hold the edge. And then you let a guy loop inside the “A’ gap. There’s a nice little hole there to get after the passer. I actually think the Giants could use this. Justin Tuck could really hold the edge, as could Chris Canty (who as a 3-4 end in Dallas). I think you could have a line of Tuck, Canty and Joseph, and have someone like JPP loop in, or Kiwanuka loop in. Someone like Melvin Ingram, in this draft, could excel like that.

-I think the pass rush class is really good, and I’m on the record loving Nick Perry. I love his speed and I think he’s developing moves, especially a spin move, that could be deadly. I don’t like Whitney Mercilus, because I think most of his sacks are on effort, which is fine, but I want my first rounder to have outstanding athletic talent. I think someone like Andre Branch has a lot of upside either as a linebacker or as an end. I think Chandler Jones, who is flying up boards, has some JPP like qualities to him.

-I think that the Giants should really draft an outside receiver. Chris Givens of Wake Forest could be that guy. I actually love Alshon Jeffery, but I don’t know if the Giants take him. There have been some rumblings about maybe Reuben Randle, who has gotten Hakeem Nicks comparisons. He’s interesting. Stephen Hill has also been connected, and he certainly has interesting skills. Mohammed Sanu of Rutgers could be that guy, too.

-I think that if Courtney Upshaw were to somehow fall to 32 (which I think is unlikely, but I guess it’s possible), the Giants should run up to the podium. I absolutely love Upshaw. You can use him anywhere. I think he fits best as a 4-3 end, who can use power to get in the backfield. I think he can be used standing up, in a sort of “Leo” role as we discussed above.

-I love guys with versatility. That’s why Melvin Ingram is so intriguing. He can play DE, 3 tech, OLB, even MLB.

-Let’s make sure we understand what a 3 tech is. Use this diagram:

So a 3 tech lines up out the outside shoulder of the guard. That allows him to explode upfield.

-I think the Giants have a good chance of drafting a QB. Austin Davis of Southern Miss has been connected to them. They tried with Andre Woodson and Rhett Bomar, didn’t work out. Not sure if Davis is the best option (I think actually taking a more highly rated guy, maybe Nick Foles of Arizona, could be interesting), but I think the idea is sound.

-I’ve been really high on Vick Ballard throughout this whole process, and I think as a short yardage, inside back only, he has potential. But I hope I’ve been clear: I don’t see him as a starting back. He is not a 25 carry back. He is what he is: a short yardage, between the tackles back. And I think he can excel in that role. But as an every down back, I’m not sure.

-I think if you’re looking for a mid round every down back, maybe Michael Smith from Utah State, or Tauren Poole from Tennessee, or Edwin “Rock” Baker from Michigan State. There are guys, but it depends on what you want. Do you know how Bradshaw is going to hold up as an every down back? What about Da’Rel Scott? There are questions, and maybe an every down back type could be better.

-I think that I’m very excited about the draft. I love it. Every year. I’m so fascinated by the whole process, of scouting players, analyzing them, watching the tape, etc. I’ve always been amazed by it, and this year is no different. Cannot wait.

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4 Responses to “A Few Draft Thoughts”

  1. jeremy P. says:

    Fuchs, you’ve mentioned on countless occasions you would be willing to draft a reciever in the first round if it was the right guy. But I’m no so sold we need one.

    I realize he’s been hurt two years running, but Hixon, going back to 2008, was an excellent number 2 wide-receiver, especially on the outside. Why waste a pick on a number two receiver while we have one just sitting here already on the roster. I know the injury concerns are relevant but I can’t stomach wasting a pick so early — maybe in the second or third rounds, though I would prefer a TE ahead of a receiver because more mismatches are created from that position ask the 2005 Giants with Shockey or the Saints just last year.

    I strongly feel the further from the ball you are on the field the more irrelevant you become — obvious exceptions being pass rusher (either it be 3-4 OLB or 4-3 DE) and offensive Tackle.

    Defense is the safest pick in the first round. Especially when we lose so many over the course of the year and the new NFL rules geared to benefit offenses plus teams evolving towards more spread offenses. I lost count of how many defensive guys we’ve lost this past season — the Giants can have enough of them.

    The Rivers acquisition forces me to think (my favorite Giant) Osi will be traded forcing Kiwi back to the line. My prediction: J. Williams will be a full time starter this upcoming season.

    I value your opinion, so Thoughts or rebuttals? (an open invitation to everyone)

  2. Big Daddy says:

    There are some very good hybrid smaller type DE/LB type players in this draft. That goes back an earlier article I wrote about how the college game is sending unprepared linebackers into the NFL. These player have talent and are athletic but are not suited for the NFL. So what does a good coach do? He makes his defense suited for the talent available. That is what Pete Carroll is doing.

    I prefer to base my defense on the talent that I have and not what a lot of coaches do by trying to force a player into a position they are not suited for. So Carroll as Fewell and Belichick are all doing system changes to fit their talent.

    I also would prefer to draft players that fit the system. Fewell runs a pretty basic Tampa 2 from what I see but has had to make adjustments because of the poor linebacker play. I would rather have a true 4-3 linebacker than run a system because you do not have the proper players. It’s also something Belichick has had to do because he misses some of the players he has had before who fit his defense perfectly.

    That is why I suspect Reese is going to draft a true linebacker to fit the 4-3 Tampa 2 defense Fewell prefers to run. That with the acquisition of Rivers and the linebackers on the roster already will allow the trading of Osi and Kiwi returning to his more natural DE position. I also think Reese is looking for a true NFL DE, 6’4 and about 265 pounds with some speed that can play the RDE and move JPP to a more natural LDE which means Tucks becomes a backup. Tuck being a backup would take wear and tear off him so maybe his injury issues will not be as constant. Kiwi can be a wild card and play a LB/DE position with a 4 man line, therefore becoming a 5th lineman, talk about confusing blocking assignments.

    The more talent the more a defensive coordinator can do to match these complex offenses. But the basic talent structure should be not based on hyrid players but on system fits.

    System fits for the Giants are linebackers with some speed around 6’1′-6’3″ 240-245 pounds. Bigger linebackers just do not have the agility and quickness to play Fewell’s defense. That’s why I just think Nigel Bradham is a perfect fit. That’s why Kiwi’s transformation to linebacker has not been a big successin this system.

    So I look for Reese to target a DE and LB that are system fits. Coples, Mercilus, Chandler, Branch and Cam Johnson head that list of defensive ends and are probably on Reese’s board above other players who might be a better player but not a system fit. Same for linebackers, if Reese does draft one I expect them to fit the system size parameters. Nigel Bradham is the best of them, but there are a few others, although not many in this draft.

  3. Jason says:

    Am hearing Melvin Ingram is going to slip to the early 20s ? The Giants should definitively trade up if this is the case . He is the ideal player we need .

  4. Chris says:

    Dont”a Hightower would be my pick if he falls to the giants. He could play the middle or the strong side. He is big at 260+ lbs and is pretty fast. We need a big LB because some how we have become full of athletic weak side LB’s if Kiwi moves to the line, which is perfect for a tampa 2. He was never taken off the field on third down at Alabama, and this is his second year removed from major knee surgery. As we have seen with KP it takes 2 years to come back to form after knee surgery. He would be the most athletic middle LB the giants have had for decades. I think he would be a perfect fit for the present and the future. Williams is our WLB of the future and hopefully Rivers will be our SLB and Hightower can man the middle. That would be the best LB core I have seen for the last 20 years sporting giants blue.

    As far as Tuck being a back up, I do not see that happening. Not because of pride but because he is that good, and he is only 29. I promise you by the end of the year you will be eating those words. He will have over 12 sacks and we may actually have a better D line then when Strahan was around. I cant wait to see JPP, a healthy Tuck, and Linval pushing the pocket making Olines look stupid. Go Giants.

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