Grading the Giants’ 2014 Draft: Will these ‘clean’ guys help the Giants get down and dirty?

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

What I liked about this draft: They covered a lot of needs with quality young men who are mature enough to step right into NFL life. Favorite pick was center Weston Richburg in Round 2.

What I didn’t like about this draft: They whiffed on getting a big, pass-catching TE, an OT to push Will Beatty and reached in Round 3 with DT Jay Bromley.


USATSI_7904483_110579513_lowresWR Odell Beckham Jr.: I spoke with NBCSports’ Josh Norris before the draft and we talked mainly about Taylor Lewan, Zack Martin and Beckham. We liked all three and Josh expounded on the virtues of Beckham. He is a Hakeem Nicks-type that plays more like Victor Cruz. At the same time, Gil Brandt was saying that he thought Beckham could end up being the most productive WR to come out of this draft. That is not as crazy as it sounds, because the two wideouts taken in front of him — Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans — will be playing in offenses headed by young QBs, neither who has played a full season in this league.

Beckham will do several things for the Giants. He will line up in Nicks’ old spot and make play after play. He will push the newly-signed returners to the limit, if not take one of their jobs. His presence keeps Victor Cruz — in my opinion the best slot receiver in the game — in the slot, while taking the pressure off Rueben Randle on the other side.

Personally, I would have liked to have seen the Giants land OT Taylor Lewan, who went to the Titans the pick before the Giants took Beckham. He has an edge to him and would bring an intelligence and toughness to the Giants’ offense they haven’t had here in awhile. But, Beckham brings some positives too. I’ve never heard anyone say a player stretches the field “both ways” until this season when listening to the scouting reports on Beckham.

Grade: B+


C Weston Richburg: I was reminded this week that the center touches the ball before the QB on every play. He gets everyone lined up and sets the tone and timbre of the offensive line. All winter long, Giant fans were wondering what the plan was at center. They can wonder no more. The plan is this: Weston Richburg. I know they signed JD Walton this offseason, and by admission Jerry Reese said Walton was looking good at OTAs, but make no mistake — Richburg will be running the Giants’ O-Line before long.

He was the highest-rated center in this draft by many and the first one selected. I love this pick and no one can knock me off my pins about it. I think he is the best part of the Giants’ 2014 draft class.

Grade: A


DT Jay Bromley: There were at least three rounds worth of draftable DTs left when the Giants called Bromley and interrupted his Friday movie night. Even Bromley was taken aback when the Giants called. He was watching the film “Gravity” with his girlfriend when he picked up the phone and thought he was being punk’d. I thought I was being punk’d, too.

Bromley will not be asked to hold back all waters on the DL, but there were some better options at DT and other positions at Pick 74. Notre Dame’s Louis Nix and UNC’s Kareem Martin were still on the board. So was Miss State’s Donte Moncrief, a big, vertical receiver that will now catch passes from Andrew Luck in Indianapolis. Either way, Bromley is a leader and a hard-worker and that is what the Giants are willing to  sacrifice by prioritizing character over talent.

Grade: C


NCAA Football: Boston College at SyracuseRB Andre Williams: The Giants got the BC star in Round Four, and no one around me or whom I spoke with had a problem with the pick. Nobody really sees him as the feature back he was in college, but he will not turn down carries and will persistently pound away between the tackles as well as look to bust a long run. Much has been made of his lack of receiving skills, but the Giants will look to get him up to speed on that.  Williams was eyed by the Giants ahead of LSU’s Jeremy Hill, who many see as a star in the making.  I personally would have preferred Hill, but since the carries are going to be split between 3-4 backs here this season, there’s not much of a difference.

Tom Coughlin and the rest of the front office decided to go with the BC legacy pick and the cleaner player. Williams comes highly accompished as the Doak Walker winner and let us not forget, he led the nation in rushing, gaining 2177 yards while scoring 18 TDs. Nice job by the Giants here.

Grade: B


DB Nat Berhe: A bit of a surprise at the time, but not so much now that we know what the Giants were looking for in their draftees. Another team captain who is mature and understands the role he will play. He’s a bit smaller than you would like, but has a great motor and uses his intelligence to get by where his physical attribute come up short. He’s a box safety at this level because of his height and may not be able to cover receivers downfield. Not sure who’s spot he takes on the roster. Giants will likely use Berhe as a backup safety and in sub packages as well as hope he can develop into a special teamer as a gunner although he does not have a lot of experience on special teams. On the surface, Behre appears to be a more refined version of Jayron Hosely rather than a replacement foe Will Hill.

Grade: C+


LB Devon Kennard: Many were wondering when the Giants were going to address LB or DE in the draft. They did both with this pick in the fourth round. Kennard is another high-character, team captain that can play all three LB spots, DE and special teams. Another quality athlete coming out of the dumpster fire USC became in the wake of the the Lane Kiffin era. He is the son of former NFL offensive lineman Derek Kennard and will have no problem acclimating to the pro atmosphere.

NCAA Football: Utah State at Southern CaliforniaHis physical skill set is not what you would prefer for an NFL OLB and his pass rush game needs work, so he’s sizing up to be a STer at first. Consistent with the trend in this Giants’ draft class, but we’ll have to wait and see how the Giants plan to use him.

Grade: B


CB Bennett Jackson: A former WR that was converted to corner at Notre Dame. Considered a “long” corner at 6’0″, 195. Still developing as a defender but can play a role in special teams coverage and return teams. Also served as a team captain. The Giants are looking to catch lightning in a bottle here. With few roster spots available this summer, not sure if he makes the club. May end up as a practice squad player.

Grade: C


Overall Grade: B-

No TE, no OT and did little to help the pas rush. Yes, they covered several needs, but the team had fallen fallow in so many areas, one draft just wasn’t going to cover all the. Given the full-throttle effort by Jerry Reese in free agency, there are very few openings on the roster and the players selected in this draft – outside of the first two picks – are all at positions where the team employs a rotation.

Beckham and Richburg are projected to be starters but the rest look to be simply part-time players , STers and general depth. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but other teams in the league managed to fare much better in the draft than the Giants did this weekend.  They are bringing in quality human beings, and I respect that, but I can’t help thinking of the words of Leo Durocher (“Nice guys finish last”) and Vince Lombardi (“Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”)

 




39 comments
jaymanjay
jaymanjay

John I completely agree with your grade which is the same grade I gave B minus.

the positive was that they were able to probably get to starters in the first two rounds.

the negative is that they reached on Bromley on a 3rd round pick and even he was shocked he was picked that soon. you basically took a 5th rounder with a 3rd round pick. we also did not address the offense of line or tight end position nearly enough. at least two oLinemen needed to come out of this draft.

My redraft Based on who was available when the Giants select:

1. Zack Martin OT

2. Richburg C

3. Martavius Bryant WR

4. Kieth McGill CB

5. Bromley DT

5. Kennard Lb

6. Rb

drewc
drewc

John,  Off topic but how do you think the Tight end situation is going to play out?  Finley? internal option? another external option?

hashburry
hashburry

Still not sold on the talent of this O-line, particularly Beatty.  Hopefully, the changes to the offensive scheme will make things easier on them, instead of having to protect Eli for what seemed like an eternity on every play where it also seemed like his reads always included a 40 yard pass play that had to develop.

If this isn't a solid bounce back year, including a decent playoff run, I hope they scrap the old guard, including Eli and Reese.  But let's get to the season first, try to stay healthy for a change and hope SOMEBODY turns into an All Pro on this team.  Right now, it doesn't appear to have even one.

Skookaloop
Skookaloop

I. WR- Beckham

2. C- RichBurg

3. WR- Moncrief  6'2" 22Olb's, 4.36-40, SEC*******

4. RB- Williams

5. DT- Bromley

5c. OLB- Kennard

6. CB- Jackson

this Would have Been a TRADE-LESS,

BETTER DRAFT...

cole3244
cole3244

unless the new oc can convince eli that ball security is a priority the jints will have a problem and the d will be put in a precarious position more times than not. 

eli is our qb but he needs to step up and start making the intelligent play rather than the spectacular one, every pass doesn't have to result in a td or a long gain sometimes an incomplete or even a sack is preferable especially considering the interceptions eli is prone to over his career.


ball security alone will make the d and the team much better and its time someone on the staff gets that into eli's head before another season is wasted.

Skookaloop
Skookaloop

Mr.F--

Great Post.. Nice Break-Down....

You really NAILed IT.... 

1. WR- Beckham- It's a little weird that a WR smaller & Liter than CRUZ is the New FLANKER.... i think MacAdoo will use him as a Split End not a Flanker...

WR Beckham Ran the End around & WR option at LSU, i think we will see some of that here... BIG BLUE is a CHANGING !!!

2. C- RichBurg, A PULLing CENTER !!! i must agree 100%, the BEST PICK, Just watch the CSU Rams running attack and you will see RichBurg, Kick Slide behind the guard & tackle and cause MAYHEM at the Second Level... crushing LBer's and Blowing-Up Safeties.... i just think he needs to add about 10 pounds, but don't see that as a problem.

BTW, He made ALL the O-Line Calls and Blitz Pick-ups....

3. ????? WR D. Moncrief was the PICK HERE, a 6'2" 220lb SEC,  WR that is FASTER than WR Beckham... what was Jerry "REACH" thinking.....

4. RB- Williams GREAT PICK, He can run Between the TACKLES and can pick-up the BLITZ... All good with me...

5. ????? and Under Size Box Safety... a Complete Waste...

5c. OLB- Kennard.. I love this Pick.. USC is a LBer Factory.. A+ for a late 5th..

6. CB- Jackson... this kid can HIT !!! a pure Tackling Machine, he is also a Returner.. A+ for a 6th Round Pick....

urda83
urda83

Well it looks like we are going to have quite the competition for TE role.... Former Seahawk Kellen Davis, former Patriot Daniel Fells, Larry Donnell, former 4rth Round Pick (the once called JPP of Tight Ends) Adrien Robinson, and Undrafted Free Agent USC TE Xavier Grimble is what it comes down to.  I think Kellen Davis can be a sleeper this year and have a solid year.  Hopefully Adrien Robinson stays out of the trainers room and on the field and can finally live up to his potential.  The Giants did a smart move in signing TE Xavier Grimble.  He was never really given much of a chance in college at USC.  He may be someone that was overlooked...  

Michael Stewart
Michael Stewart

John,

Your grades for the Giants picks are very generous in deed. here's my debate regarding Jerry Reese's picks:

1. Beckham: If Reese truly felt that Beakham was their man, then why not trade back a few slots (15-20) for an extra pick and then select Beckham. if however, Beckham was choosen ahead of the Giants, they could have selected Benjamin and still had an extra draft pick (probably a 3rd rounder).

2. Richburg: Richburg is a solid center, however; the center position was probably the weakest in the draft as not one center was projected to go in the 1st round. Also, not one center was heads and shoulders rated so much higher than the other centers. This translate that Reese should have went for players like Tuitt, Niklas, Morgan, Kouandjio, Jernigan by trading back a few slots for an additional pick (most likely a 4th rounder) and could have still gotten Richburg 5-7 slots later or if not select Marcus Martin, Travis Swanson, Russell Bodine or even Bryan Stork through rounds 3-4.

3. Bromley: If Reese was focused on a DT in this round or the BPA in round 3, then why Bromley. He doesn't fall into any of the two scenarios. Bromley was rated 19th among DT where as Will Sutton (9th) and NIx (2nd) were still on the board. Also as you mentioned Kareem Martin and Donte Moncrief.

4. Williams: best pick for Reese in the draft

5A. Berhe: Giants needed a S and Berle is a good value for the 5th round.

5B. Kennard: Another solid pick for the 5th round

6. Jackson; not a quality pick as their were other prospects rated better still on the board such as  Daniel McCullers and Eric Pinkins

My overall grade is a C+ and I was being kind to Reese as he has displayed no creativity in this draft at all.. He could have easily have gotten 2 additional picks and still could have drafted the players mentioned above (Beckham and Richburg). This was arguably the deepest draft in many years and for Reese to not even be bold or adventurous is bad management. This year's draft could have been better for the Giants, however; the lack of thinking outside the box or lack of creativity by Reese hurt them. I can't see how anyone can praise Reese for his efforts. This was a subpar draft for Reese and Giants and once again, the Giants fall into the bottom tier (3 straight drafts) of draft grades.

rico
rico

"Personally, I would have liked to have seen the Giants land OT Taylor Lewan, who went to the Titans the pick before the Giants took Beckham"


How can you take a guy who already was off the board?



Michael Stewart
Michael Stewart

@jaymanjay your alternative draft is solid, however; in rounds 1 and 2 you could have traded back for an additional of 2 more picks (and most likely still got the players you mentioned in the 1st 2 rounds) in a very deep draft. Reese has no creativity and no imagination at all. He wasted a great opportunity to reload this team with talent.

spider43
spider43

@jaymanjay.....  Consider that we STILL could have picked a BETTER DT in McCullers from TN in the 5th or 6th round. McCullers wasn't picked until the 7th.   Pittsburgh got a STEAL, and that's a fact. MUCH better than Bromley.

SNYGiants
SNYGiants moderator

@drewc  It's hard to say, because we need to see ARob in full health getting 1st team reps so we can evaluate. They will throw their hat in the ring for Finley this summer, too.

spider43
spider43

@hashburry  ..... I would rather scrap Fewell and/or Coughlin first before scrapping Eli. I'm not a big Eli fan at all, but I also recognize we don't have a successor to him that is any good. Even if Freeman were decent, he's only here on a one year contract. I wouldn't trust Nassib to take over for the 2015 season.

SNYGiants
SNYGiants moderator

@Skookaloop  Agree 100%. Moncrief will be Luck's main man for years to come. He will be a monster.

drewc
drewc

@Skookaloop  You switch Martin for Beckham and that would be a very good draft.  

manchu
manchu

@Skookaloop

I cant argue with your point at all. that would have been a nice draft

Skookaloop
Skookaloop

@cole3244  

when 13 INT's where between 2 WR's, WR Nicks & WR Randle....

it's safe to say it's the WR's not being on the same Page as the QB, Unless YOU think ELI doesn't Know the PlayBook....

the INT's where caused by 3 things:

#1. a SUB-PAR, O-Line that changed GAME by GAME...

#2. Lack of a #2 WR, and ZERO RB's, when the D can Double Cruz EVERY PLAY, sometimes TRIPLE COVER him, and doesn't have to worry about a RUN Game... YOU become a 1 trick PONY...

#3. Plays being sent in Late... ELI didn't have TIME at the Line to SEE the DEFENSE.


SNYGiants
SNYGiants moderator

@urda83  Davis is a failry decent in-line TE. He can block and catch the ball ins goal line situations. The others are all unproven at this point. The Giants are not done filling out this roster and will try to get another veteran in house.

SNYGiants
SNYGiants moderator

@Michael Stewart  The conventional thinking at Radio City was that Jacksonville's taking of Bortles actually dropped Beckham TO the Giants at 12. He would have been gone shortly after had the Giants traded back. They would have lost him. 


Richburg is great pick because he fits the Giants new offenses perfectly. The Giants were doing cartwheels down Paterson Plank Road when he fell to them. New England apparently was poised to take him in Round One, but went with Easley instead.


I agree on Bromley. Williams, too. As for the others, who knows if any of them can even crack the roster. 



spider43
spider43

@Michael Stewart  .....  To be fair, the only thing I disagree with you about is Beckham. I agree we should have traded back, but where I disagree is that if we traded back too far, the Jets probably would have snagged Beckham by trading up ahead of us AFTER we traded back... or the Jets could have stayed where they were at #18 and picked Beckham if we traded back behind them.


Personally, I'm sure I'm going to LOVE having Beckham on this team. But I would have been willing to lose Beckham to someone else in order to acquire extra picks, only because this draft was so deep with very good, talented WR's who weren't too much different than Beckham (Matthews or Moncrief for example).  I agree with the school of thought that falling in love with individual players is generally not a good thing because it gives you less options in the long run. I would have been fine if the Giants had traded back and picked up an extra 2nd or 3rd round pick. If Beckham was lost, they could have just picked a comparable WR instead in the 2nd or 3rd round, and would have had an extra pick in one of those rounds to have addressed a different need that they ultimately did not fill in this draft (like a TE or DE).


When the Rams traded the #2 overall pick in 2012 (RG3), they received 4 draft picks in return. Do you know how many players they ultimately ended up receiving in that deal?  EIGHT.  They manipulated those picks into more picks, and those picks into future picks. It was a snowball or domino effect that resulted in EIGHT players being selected by the Rams over the course of 3 drafts. The 49ers did the same thing with the two 2nd round picks they received for QB Alex Smith from the Chiefs. They ended up with FOUR players, one of whom was veteran WR Stevie Johnson from Buffalo.


These teams understand the intrinsic value of draft picks, and how to manipulate a draft board and leverage their picks into more quality AND quantity to improve the talent level and depth on their respective teams. Reese doesn't get this concept.

SNYGiants
SNYGiants moderator

@rico  No kidding. I meant he was the pick all along until the team in from of them took him. 

drewc
drewc

@rico  Because you could of traded up.  The Titans were already set on the OL before drafting Lewan and didn't have many picks in the draft.  I wonder if Reese even picked up the phone to see if they would of traded that pick for additional pick later in the draft.

jaymanjay
jaymanjay

@spider43  your absolutely right but I was trying to through Reese a bone another throw away all his freaking picks.  However, if Reese came away with my redraft I think there would be a lot less complaints.  


He would setup the offensive line with two obvious upgrades and instant plug in guys.  Bryant fits the mold of that big fast WR to complement Cruz and give Eli who is not the most accurate passer a bigger target.  Kieth Mcgill was available at that point and would have been a steal based on grade.  


 My overall point is that Reese simply takes the guys he falls in love with with out regard to value and it simply hurts the team year after year.  Taking a guy in the 3rd round that you could have gotten in the 5th hurts the team plain and simple because thats another third round talent that is not on your roster.  This is a year in year out thing with Reese and I think eventual he is going to run out of super bowl fairy dust and get himself tossed soon enough.  If Eli gets hammered like he did this year and they miss the playoffs I will be shocked to see Reese and Tom return.  

spider43
spider43

@drewc @Skookaloop  .... I wasn't very high on Martin, and he too could have been had if we traded back from #12 just a few spots. But I agree with you that if we had Martin instead of Beckham, it would have been a good draft. But I think I prefer Beckham, and I think I would have preferred getting BOTH Beckham and Moncrief. I'm not sold on Randle, and I think Jernigan is just a "flash in the pan".

cole3244
cole3244

@Skookaloop excuses excuses, you always make excuses for eli and you have even posted moire than once that he is the best qb in the league when he isn't even the best qb in his family, third best actually.


he is our qb but he isn't even in the discussion as an elite one on his best day compared to the elites of today and yesterday, too continually blame others for the bad and give eli credit for the good is an example of your bias or lack of fb acumen or maybe a little bit of both.

Michael Stewart
Michael Stewart

@SNYGiants @Michael Stewart I understand your point. however; my suggestion is that this was a very deep draft at the WR position and if they indeed traded back and then lost out on Beckham, they would still have that extra pick (most likely a 3rd rounder) then they could select WR's such as Benjamin, Montcrief, Matthews, Bryant through rounds late 1st through 4

Michael Stewart
Michael Stewart

@spider43 @Michael Stewart if indeed the Giants did trade back and lose Beckham to possibly the Jets as you suggested. Then they still have at extra pick (most likely a 3rd) and then seek a WR through rounds 2-6 in a very deep WR draft. Montcrief, Bryant, Matthews or even Benjamin would have filled the need and that extra 3rd round pick another quality player added to the roster. The same concept should have been employed in round 2. Richburg is solid, but he is not heads and shoulders better than Marcus Martin, Travis Swanson or even Russell Bodine. Trade back a few slots for an additional pick and possibly still get Richburg or if not then 1 of the 3 others centers mentioned. Very deep draft and those extra 2 picks could have really helped the Giants.

Skookaloop
Skookaloop

@spider43 @Michael Stewart  

the 9er's Turned the QB Alex Smith to KC trade into 4 Players !!!!

REESE is just CLUELESS when it comes to the DRAFT... IT"S the BEST SOURCE of TALENT,

and he treats it like HIS OWN PERSONAL, petting ZOO....

spider43
spider43

@drewc....  If I had a house to bet, I would have bet the house that Reese did NOT call the Titans expressing a desire to trade up one spot. That would have exhibited "outside the box" thinking in terms of draft board manipulation. Reese does not possess that skill, except when it comes to drafting mediocre Syracuse QB's or reaching for Syracuse DT's.

drewc
drewc

@spider43 @drewc  I Agree with you there.  I wonder if Reese even checked with the Titans.  They really didn't need OL and didn't have many picks in the draft.   

spider43
spider43

@drewc....  We agree about Beatty. He is definitely a cause for concern. That is why I wanted Reese to trade up with the Titans to try to obtain Lewan.

drewc
drewc

@spider43  Fair enough.  I guess I'm more concerned with Beatty coming off a serious injury than Randle/Jernigan who have never lived up to their potential.  

Skookaloop
Skookaloop

@cole3244 @Skookaloop  

This is WHY ELI is the GREAT QB in the LEAGUE !!!

the Facts are:

#1. PATRIOTs are the BEST TEAM in the Last 15 Years..... Yes or NO ???

#2. Bill Bellichick Will be the GREATest FOOTBALL Coach of OUR TIME... Yes or NO ???

#3. Tom Brady is considered the 2nd GREATest QB of ALL TIME,

as of the March 2014 NFL Network Pole...

2nd ONLY to QB Joe Montana.....

-----------------

ELI  ENGINEERED a 4Q,

Time running out,

SUPERBOWL WINNING TD DRIVE,

against THOSE 18-0 Patriots....

...Just Luck you say........Kooool... just luck

4 seasons POST.......

ELI ENGINEERED a 4Q,

Time RUNNING out,

SUPER WINNING DRIVE,

by READing the Defense,

and understanding he has to go to Manningham,

Because CRUZ & NICKs are both being Double Teamed....

OUT THINKing & OUT PLAYing,

the GREATest FOOTBALL MIND of OUR TIME.... for a SECOND TIME !!!

.... So i ASK you ONLY these 2 Question's...

When ELI shakes Brady's Hand,

Who SMILEs Bigger ???

When ELI shakes BelliChicks Hand,

Who SMILEs Bigger ???

................walk offfffffffffffffff


spider43
spider43

@SNYGiants..... And this is exactly the reason why I have been so down on Reese the last few years. He doesn't seem to learn from past experience. He wanted Martin, he let Tampa scoop him up. He wants Lewan, he lets Tennessee get him instead. There has to be a point where you either become proactive and GET YOUR GUY, or you just keep "settling" for the leftovers.

SNYGiants
SNYGiants moderator

@drewc @spider43  I believe Lewan was the guy, just like Doug Martin was the guy. The Giants got beat to punch again.

drewc
drewc

@spider43  I think you are right.  Someone on here mentioned that when the NFL network showed the Giant's war room Coughlan looked upset.  I think Lewan was his guy and I think he has more concerns about Beatty than Reese.