by Tommy Lawlor – ScoutsNotebook.com
NEW YORK GIANTS
1 – DE Jason Pierre-Paul – USF
2 – DT Linval Joseph – East Carolina
3 – S Chad Jones – LSU
4 – ILB Phillip Dillard – Nebraska
5 – OG Mitch Petrus – Arkansas
6 – LB Adrian Tracy – William & Mary
7 – P Matt Dodge – East Carolina
In the past I’ve had some friends who joked with me that I should be a Giants fan because of how much GM Jerry Reese and I seem to think alike. I normally love his draft picks. This year Jerry and I were not on the same page. Instead of loading up on talented, high character, productive Seniors Reese became more of a gambler. His first 3 picks were all underclassmen. There were character questions about a couple of guys. The players are talented, but this just didn’t feel like a normal Giants class to me.
They started by taking DE Jason Pierre-Paul in the 1st round. He played for one year at USF after transferring from a JC. Jason was good enough to win a starting job and become an impact player. He led the team with 16.5 TFLs (6.5 sacks). He flashed all kinds of athletic ability and potential. Jason is very raw. He’ll have a lot to learn in the next couple of years. Several teams had concerns about JPP. A few took him off the draft board for character issues. The other question is if he’s got the focus and work ethic to become a great player at the next level. You won’t beat NFL tackles with just athletic ability. If Jason listens to his coaches and a guy like Justin Tuck, he could develop into a terrific pass rusher. The Giants pass rush deserted them for a lot of 2009. They only finished with 32 sacks. Osi and Tuck were the leading sackers and they both disappeared down the stretch. Injuries were part of the problem, but the bottom line is that opposing QBs had plenty of time to throw.
The Giants weren’t happy with their DT play either and that led them to select Linval Joseph in the 2nd round. He was a good player for East Carolina, but wasn’t known by the average football fan. Joseph is one of those guys that goes from off the radar to sought after prospect. He came out after his Junior year so people hadn’t been talking about him all year. Once scouts started to evaluate him they found a lot to like. Joseph had good workouts and that helped him. He is big at 6’4, 328, but has the right kind of build. He is muscular and has natural bulk. He isn’t tubby. Joseph didn’t have great production. He had 13 TFLs in ’09, which is solid. The problem is that he tended to make plays against the weakest opponents (8 of the TFLs in games against Rice, Tulsa, SMU, UAB, and Appalachian State). He is another raw prospect. He used his size and power to overwhelm blockers, but needs a lot of technique work. He’s got a ton of potential because he’s big and athletic. I thought he was ideally a 3rd rounder, but I don’t fault the Giants for taking him in the 2nd. If you like the kid and think he’s coachable, that’s a reasonable risk because of his upside.
The Giants went for another underclassmen when they took S Chad Jones from LSU in the 3rd round. He was just involved in a bad car accident and is in bad shape right now. He suffered major injuries to one of his legs. His agent says he’ll recover, but we’ll have to wait and see if he’s able to make it back to the football field and play at a high level. I loved the pick. The Giants secondary was dreadful last year, especially the Safeties. They have Kenny Phillips on the mend. We’ll see if he’s able to make it back. They signed Antrell Rolle and I liked that move. Chad was going to be a real good insurance policy. Now the Giants have to wait and see what happens. The first focus is obviously on Jones health from a general standpoint. Our best wishes are with him and his family in the recovery process.
NY needed help at MLB and took Nebraska’s Phillip Dillard in the 4th round. Mixed feelings on this pick. The Giants had to let go of Antonio Pierce. He had the injury situation which scared them, but also was really slowing down. When facing the Cowboys speedy offense and the Eagles explosive passing attack you need speed in the middle of the D. Dillard (6’0, 245) is a good inside run-stuffer, but he only runs in the 4.6-4.7 range. He’s a very limited athlete. That’s based on his Combine workout as well as what I saw on game tape. I like him as a backup and STer, but I don’t know if he’s ideally the guy you want pushing Jonathan Goff for the starting MLB spot. I do like Dillard. He had a good Senior season and there is a place for him in the NFL. I just wish he was coming in to back up a more established MLB.
The Giants took OG Mitch Petrus in the 5th round. He had a good career at Arkansas and has very good athletic ability. He fits the Giants offense well. Petrus is a gifted run blocker. He showed his strength at the Combine when he did 45 reps. Petrus has the kind of build that the Giants seem to like in their OGs, 6’3, 310. My only real problem with Mitch is that he missed the 2008 season due to grades. I don’t think he’s dumb so that leaves lazy/sloppy as the reason. O-linemen have to know the playbook inside out so they can adjust to complicated blitz schemes. Petrus better have left his poor work/study habits in the past. He was good value as a 5th round pick.
NY went for a talented project in the 6th round when they took Adrian Tracy from William & Mary. I like this pick quite a lot. Tracy played DE for Bill & Mary, but he projects to LB in the NFL. He lacks the strength/bulk to play DE in the NFL. He is 6’3, 248. That’s a good LB build and his game should translate well to the new position. He is agile and plays well on the move. He has a very good motor. Tracy was extremely productive in college. Finished his career with 62.5 TFLs, an amazing total. The Giants are planning to play him at SLB. If he can show any kind of coverage skills I think he can make it in the league at least as a role player and STer.
The final pick went for P Matt Dodge from East Carolina. Jeff Feagles is finally done. The horror, the horror. What will the NFL do without Philadelphia Feagles? Back to Dodge. He is 6’1, 224. He finished 2nd in the nation with an average of 45.81 yards per punt. He didn’t have to deal with tricky winds in college, but if the new stadium is anything like the last he’ll have some very interesting days in his future.
Reese took a few boom or bust types. If enough of them pan out, he’ll look pretty smart. I just don’t think the Giants needed those kinds of players to get by the Cowboys and Eagles. We’ll see…