I have no inclination about doing an article on the Giants and Kickers/Punters, so this will be the end of this series, but we'll probably have a lot more draft stuff leading up to Christmas in May.
Appearances would suggest the Giants are set at corner and safety. and any drafted CB or S this year would mean cutting someone they might not want to cut. However, Prince Amukamara will be a free agent next year as will Rolle, so it won't be a shock if they do draft a cb or a safety or both, next month.
The Giants have generally liked big corners who can play press, and man. Prince is like that, T2 was like that, Corey Webster was like that. You get the picture. The problem with drafting press/man corners has been teaching them how to play zone defense.
The Parcells Giants were able to play a very frustrating Cover-2 all the livelong day. This is because Bill Belichick can teach anyone off the street how to play good NFL zone defense in about 15minutes. It's really amazing.
When he left, the Giants lost that ability and haven't regained it. In the Coughlin era, especially there has been a hold in the intermediate middle of our zone -- and I don't know if that's the safety's fault or the Mike's fault, but if Jason Witten makes it to the Hall of Fame, he should thank that hole in his speech. I'm joking about it now, but it has put me on edge during the actual games.
So the Giants like these big guys and the hitch is teaching them zone. I remember a game against the Eagles in 2007 when a lot of the regulars were dinged up, so it was left to, I think Sam Madison and Aaron Ross to play corner, with Michael Johnson and Craig Dahl playing safety. It could have been a nightmare, but those 4 guys played immaculate cover 2 and the Giants won. Craig Dahl's knees then blew up, and Johnson got hurt, too, but man could the play zone!
But I digress. I fully expect the Giants to take a big, athletic corner at some point in the draft, though I would be somewhat shocked if they took one in the first.
This particular draft -- as far as cb's are concerned -- is shallow at the top, but then gets really interesting in the middle rounds. The first round guys seem to be Justin Gilbert, who also adds dynamic specials value, Darquez Denard, Kyle Fuller, and maybe Bradley Roby, there have also been some injured guys mentioned in the first round mix, but I wouldn't pick them in the first, even if I thought we needed a cb, which we don't right now.
Gilbert, Fuller, and Roby are good players and intriguing, but will cost a high pick, so I don't expect them. Denard is controversial, but intriguing. I'm concerned that his hips are tight for a smooth transition from backpedal to forward running in coverage. Thus, he uses his hands on receivers to get his feet organized. That could create a rain of flags at the next level. He's also got short arms. But I think his success in the NFL will be determined by the team he goes to (more so than many more versatile guys). For example, if Belichick gets him, he'll have a terrific career. If a team that relies heavily on man gets him, he could draw too many penalties.
Oh, and another side point about Belichick, he is a master at teaching pass interference and there must be some sort of deal between he and the refs that it won't be called. Go check out Super Bowl 46 and those old Pats/Colts playoff games to see what I'm talking about. Not saying they do this, but one of the easiest ways to fix a football game is to let one team interfere, while making the other team play properly.
So anyway, I think the Giants will take a big corner, hopefully with good hips and feet, but maybe on day 3. As soon as they pick him, check his three cone. Also, there are some small school guys who could be interesting like Kendall James of Maine. He's got small hands, but NFL numbers everywhere else. The Giants have been going with big corners for awhile, and Seattle's success with them will surely reinforce their bias. And Holsey is going to have a though time making the team unless he really picks it up.
Onto safeties. The Giants have had interesting luck with safeties. They spent a first on Kenny Phillips and he looked great, before having his knees blow up and his career ruined. Then they took another big safety, Chad Jones, a really intriguing Football/Baseball athlete out of LSU, who was tragically injured in an auto accident then never made it back. Then they took Tyler Sash, a scrappy little safety from Iowa who's AA just didn't translate.
Where they finally got lucky was with Will Hill. When he's not suspended for pot, which is now legal in many places, he's better than the whole lot of them, and the best Giant safety to come along in years.
Will Hill should be the new model the Giants use for drafting safeties. Now, I'm not saying they should only go after spleef monsters, but they should look for guys who are better players than prospects. Hill has good size and was a prized recruit in HS, but he's not some athletic freak. He just knows how to play football and make football plays. He's got great instincts.
Last year, they took Cooper Taylor, who is even bigger, but, before getting injured, he really looked like he had some ideas out there. It will be interesting to see what happens with him. They also re-signed Stevie Brown who has a nose for the football, if not for anything else in the playbook, and Antrelle is at his best when not asked to do too much.
I think safety is on the verge of being loaded for us, mostly thanks to Rolle, Hill and Taylor, so there is room for one more guy if we come across a BPA S at some point, though I really don't expect us do spend a first on a safety. After the pick, I want to see Will Hill like instincts on tape from whoever it is.
Ha Ha Clinton Dix is the player most mentioned as being in our window at 12. I don't think we'll take him, though we do love Alabama guys and have been wanting to take one most years.
So that wraps up our positional talks. We'll get into some other stuff in the coming days. The Giants need a BIG DRAFT.