Before we get down to it, I will admit that the draft grades I am about to give might be a bit skewed as we all know that the Giants rookies in 2007, for the most part, played big roles down the stretch as part of the 2007 Super Bowl run. With that being said, these draft grades are evaluated on draft position and the expectations that come with it, and the overall production for each player.
Round 1 (No. 20) Aaron Ross CB
Ross has thus far had an up and down career; when healthy, Ross has been a major contributor, showing decent ball skills (3 interceptions in 2007 and in 2008) and has been a willing defender against the run. Ross is coming off of a disappointing 2009 campaign after only playing in 4 games (if Ross starts out 2010 with hammy issues, watch out, the masses will come calling for his head); 2010 is a big year for Ross as he will vie with Terrell Thomas for the starting cornerback job opposite of Corey Webster, either way, Ross figures to see significant playing time for the G-men. Grade: B
Round 2 (No. 19) Steve Smith WR
Wow, what a year for the third year wide receiver out of USC (Smith set a Giant single season record with 107 receptions in addition to 7 touchdowns and 1,220 yards). Smith has proven to be a gem; not the fastest or biggest guy, Smith is an excellent route runner, and is quick in and out of his breaks. Smith became Eli Manning’s go to guy on 3rd down and easily his most trusted target. Pay the man.
Round 3 (No. 18) Jay Alford DT
The jury is still out on Alford, who suffered a devastating knee injury during the preseason in 2009, ending up on injured reserve for the year. Alford has been a key player in the Giants defensive tackle rotation and has provided a nice pass rush and inside push when on the field. Alford’s recovery from knee surgery is huge for the G-men as he will be counted as DT Fred Robbins will not be resigned and the he will fit in nicely with Chris Canty and Barry Cofield (who likely will return).
Grade: B (I really want to give Alford a B+ because of his punishing sack of Tom Fabulous in the Super Bowl on the last Patriots drive, but due to the lost 2009 season, we’ll keep Jay at a B for now).
Round 4 (No. 17) Zak DeOssie LB
Drafted out of Brown, DeOssie has been a key contributor on special teams, but has not forced his way onto the field with the first team defensive unit. DeOssie likely will not develop past a valuable special teams performer/depth at linebacker.
Round 5 (No. 16) Kevin Boss TE
When Kevin Boss’ name was called in Rd. 5 of the 2007 draft, no one had heard of this small school prospect out of Western Oregon. With former 1st round pick Jeremy Shockey ahead of Boss on the depth chart, no one was expecting much from Boss. Boss has developed into a good blocker, has great hands, and is a legitimate threat in the red zone. Boss has totaled 13 touchdown receptions in three years compared to Shockey’s 6 touchdowns during that same period, oh, and this dude is as tough as they come. Score one for the G-men, Boss’ unexpected skill and development allowed the Giants to ship Shockey and his loud mouth to the Saints for two draft picks.
Round 6 (No. 15) Adam Koets OT
A reserve lineman out of Oregon State, the Giants hoped Koets would develop and become a valuable backup at the key tackle position. Koets still lacks the necessary bulk to be effective on the outside and in 2009, the Giants opted to try him at center with little success. Something tells me the G-men are likely to add an offensive lineman or two in this draft, making Koets’ roster spot iffy, at best.
Grade: C- (Koets gets that minus for all of those botched quarterback/center exchanges during the 2009 training camp).
Round 7 (No. 14) Michael Johnson SS
An afterthought in Rd. 7, this former University of Arizona wildcat has unexpectedly seen a ton of playing time since he was drafted (Johnson has a combined 31 starts over the last two years). While durable, Johnson is not the answer at safety, lacking ideal speed and also he is not the best tackler. Johnson’s ascension to starter unfortunately says more about the Giants lack of play makers at the safety position than it does about Johnson’s ability to hold down center field. Still, kudos to this former 7th round pick who has given the Giants decent production (Johnson looks and plays a lot better with a healthy Kenny Philips than without).
Round 7 (No. 40) Ahmad Bradshaw RB
Bradshaw saw his draft stock drop faster than a speeding bullet through the thigh (apologies to Plaxico, I couldn’t help but make the reference). Picked up with the 40th pick in the 7th round, Bradshaw has proven to be a true “steal” of the 2007 draft. Easily the Giants most explosive offensive player, Bradshaw plays a huge role as the change of pace back to the behemoth, Brandon Jacobs. While Ahmad has battled ankle and foot injuries throughout his career, he is a tough man in a small package and a true find for the G-men.
Grade: A+ (Teams do not find talent like Ahmad Bradshaw in the 7th round of the draft, Reese deserves a gold star for this one, or at least a box of Girl Scout cookies, I am thinking thin mints).
Overall, the 2007 Giants draft class has to be considered one of the better ones; it is not often that all drafted players made the final roster, let alone make major contributions to a Super Bowl winning team. Best yet, guys like Smith, Boss, and Bradshaw have all become integral parts of the Giants offense while Ross and Alford have shown flashes and are key contributors on defense. Let the 2010 draft haul be this good and Giants fans will again be making playoff reservations.