As with after every draft, we are left to pick up the pieces and scrutinize Jerry Reese, Marc Ross, Tom Coughlin and crew about what could have been and now, what is. The 2010 roster has begun to fall into shape, though there will be some further changes (possible veteran releases) and some very interesting training camp battles.
All Giants fans were giddy at the prospect of adding Sean Lee in Round 2, but the Joseph pick could also turn out to be golden as well. I am not offended with adding two prime-time pieces to the defensive line in Rounds 1 and 2 of this year’s draft. Anyone who watched this defense closely last year could see the need here (another nice pick given the uncertainty of Jay Alford’s return to full health coming off of knee surgery and with Barry Cofield coming into his free agent walk year).
Reviewing Draft Days 1 and 2:
The lack of a true starting middle linebacker selected in the first 3 rounds of the draft raises plenty of questions (and opens Jerry Reese and company up to a fair amount of criticism, especially considering that the Giants had their choice between Penn State’s Sean Lee and TCU’s Daryl Washington, but instead opted for a huge, powerful and versatile defensive tackle at pick no. 26, Linval Joseph. To be fair to Joseph, several teams had him as a potential late first round pick and he is a guy that was moving fast up draft boards.
Round 1: Jason Pierre-Paul: Raw, yes. A project, perhaps in every sense of the word. But, according to Marc Ross, who runs the Giants scouting/draft board, Pierre-Paul was their 6th highest rated player and the Giants were estatic to stay put at no. 15 and grab Pierre-Paul. Love this pick on several different levels. Pierre-Paul has the ability to the best pure pass-rusher out of this draft, the Osi situation is far from settled (though we believe John Mara and Jerry Reese, for now, when they say that there are no plans to move Osi), but Jerry had to hedge his bet and there is not a guy with more upside or star potential in this draft than Jason Pierre-Paul. If Pierre-Paul does nothing more than contribute on third down passing situations in year one (and shows the speed and athleticism off the edge as advertised), this pick becomes gold. After having a very difficult time getting to the quarterback in 2009, this pick makes sense for the now and the future.
Round 2: Linval Joseph: Yes, the name Joseph when associated with defensive tackles leaves all Giants fans with a bitter taste in their mouths, and rightfully so, Willie Jo out of Miami definitely tainted big blue, but Linval Joseph may just be the pillar in the middle of the defense that the Giants have been missing for some time (from the looks of it, this guy plays with power and a motor that reminds me of a former big hammer in the middle, Keith Hamilton). I like Jerry’s thinking, linebackers look a whole lot better and make many more plays when the defensive tackles are dominating the middle and taking up blockers at the line of scrimmage. While Giants brass still has high hopes for free agent addition Chris Canty (I am guessing Rock Bernard could be a goner now), the addition of Joseph give the Giants a true run stuffer and middle of the line presence not seen for some time.
Round 3: Chad Jones: After watching the secondary become decimated with injuries (most notably to star-in-the-making free safety Kenny Philips), Jones got the nod in the middle of Round 3. Jones is a great athlete, very fast, and will immediately compete for punt return duties, nice added value with this pick. Still, this pick is not an indictment, either way, as to Kenny Philips return to full health in 2010, but Jones give the Giants further depth and speed which was lacking. Incumbent safety Michael Johnson could be on his way out if Philips avoids the PUP (physically unable to perform list) to start the season. The safety position has been seriously upgraded this off-season with the signings of Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant and now with the addition of Chad Jones.
We will look closely at picks from Round 3-7 tomorrow and will give a more comprehensive look at this year’s crop of un-drafted free agent signings (which we like by the way) in tomorrow’s posting. Let’s hear your comments on the Giants draft.
Undrafted Free Agents Signings:
Ohio State TE Jake Ballard
Ohio State Offensive lineman Jim Cordle
Penn State OT (most likely converted to guard) Dennis Landolt (*Landolt received a signing bonus of $25,000 from the G-men, a little indication that he has a chance to stick and the Giants are pretty high on Landolt’s long-term potential)
Virginia DT Nate Collins: Surprised Collins went undrafted, he is a very quick and active defensive tackle, I can see Collins forcing his way onto the team’s final roster or, at worst, the practice squad, Collins is a guy to watch).
Minnesota LB Lee Campbell: Productive and steady, nice size/speed combo)
Umass WR Victor Cruz
Memphis WR Duke Calhoun (all-time leading receiver for the Tigers)
Duke DE Ayanga Okpokowuruk
Holy Cross QB Dom Randolph (a very good athlete, intriguing prospect who could be a nice developmental player)
Duke CB Leon Wright (looks like a Kevin Dockery clone, but with better ball skills)