Friday, April 24, 2009

Die Hard Draft Report and Giants Mock Draft

For all of you that don’t know, my favorite weekend of the entire year is NFL Draft weekend.  I have been studying the players in the NFL Draft year round for a few years now.  That being said, I don’t think I have ever seen a draft that is this difficult to predict. There are a lot of talented players in this years draft but only a few ELITE players.  The only two elite players in the draft in my mind are Aaron Curry and Michael Crabtree.  The offensive tackles that everyone is high on in this years draft are very solid but I don’t see any of them going to get to the level of a Joe Thomas type player. 

My top 5 players in this draft are as follows:

1.        Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest

Scouts are touting him as a MUCH better version of Patrick Willis, LB, 49ers.  If this is true, whichever team gets Curry, will be in position to have one of the premier LB’s for the next 15 years. 

2.        Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech

Unless you were under a rock during the college football season, you know how dynamic Michael Crabtree was for Texas Tech.  The ESPN Highlight regular is by far the most talented WR in the draft and could be on the level of pro bowl regulars, Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne and Steve Smith.

3.        Jason Smith, OT, Baylor

Jason Smith is a classic top OL draft that can potentially be a 10 year starting LT. Keyword “potentially”

 

4.        Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas

This is a surprising pick here. When you come across a defensive end who is an excellent pass rusher and also be able to stop the run with the best of them, you have to take a really hard look at that player.  Brian Orakpo has the ability to be a Justin Tuck type of player that possesses both qualities.  Other players likeEverette BrownDE from FSU and Robert Ayers, DE from Tennessee are pure pass rushers whose value is much lower than a defensive end that can rush the passer and stop the run. 

 

5.        B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College

B.J. Raji is a guy who has a limitless ceiling at DT.  He has the ability to become the next Albert Haynesworth.  The combination of speed and power that he possesses is something that doesn’t come around every year.  He was a very consistent starter at BC and can become a very destructive force on any defensive line.  He is a can’t miss prospect here. 

I do not have a QB in the top 5 this year because there is no clear cut top tier QB talent at the top of the draft.  Matt Stafford and Mark Sanchez have a ton of talent but they aren’t a Peyton Manning lock at the top.  I never take a QB at the beginning of the draft unless you are certain you are going to get a guy that has ALL of the tools coming into the draft.  The only players that I remember in recent memory of having all of the tools coming into the draft were Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer and Matt Ryan. 

I have been very conflicted on how I wanted the draft to play out for the Giants.  I originally was completely on board with drafting the best wide receiver available with the 29th overall pick. However, I believe that the Giants should pick the best player available with a few exceptions of course.  The Giants are set at QB and DE.  

Obviously, if the Giants trade their 1st round pick for Braylon Edwards, it will be an entirely different ball game but I think the Giants focus should be at Linebacker.  After a lot of time going back and forth I think one HUGE missing link to last years team was at linebacker.  Antonio Pierce might be the leader of the defense, but he is visibly starting to decline and lose a step on the field.  Outside of Pierce, and new addition Michael Boley, the Giants do not have solid viable options at the other LB spot.  Brian Kehl, Chase Blackburn, Gerris Wilkerson and Danny Clark, are average players at best at the moment.  The one player that intrigues me on the Giants is Jonathan Goff, because we don’t know how good he is because he missed almost all of last season.  Regardless, this area is extremely weak for the Giants and must be addressed very early in the draft.  With that said, there are a lot of real solid LB possibilities in the first round.  If the Giants get their hands on any of the top 3 USC LB’s, they will be set but there are no guarantees that any of the three will be available at our pick.  If they are all gone, my choice in the first round is James Laurinaitis.  Everyone seems to be shying away from him because draft experts think Laurinaitis has already reached his potential.  I say that’s ridiculous.  When you are a 3 time all American in college, a defensive captain for 3 years and the leader of a perennial power house during your entire career in college, you can sign me up any day of the week.  I think Laurinaitis’ ceiling can be at a Brian Urlacher level.  He might not be the fastest LB in the draft or the most athletic but he has a nose to the ball and he is a winner.

Die Hard’s Giants Mock Draft

1st round:

29th overall: James Laurinaites, LB, Ohio State

See above for the reason for this pick

2nd round:

45th overall: Louis Delmas, S, Western Michigan

Delmas is a great ball hawk and has a great eye for the ball.  The combination of Louis Delmas and Kenny Phillips at safety gives me a lot more comfort than the current starters on the team. The Giants have been lacking a guy who is always around the ball and also has great hands.  The last thing a Giants fan wants to see is another dropped interception.  Delmas will definitely help that problem.

If Delmas is already taken, I would go after William Moore, S, Missouri.  He has a ton of potential and is another player with fantastic hands for a safety.

60th overall: Brian Robiskie, WR, Ohio State

I love this pick right here.  He is not touted with the likes of Crabtree, Macklin, Heyward-Bey, or Nicks because he isn’t the most athletic or one of the fastest receivers in the draft.  He is a constant playmaker and might be the most reliable wide receiver in the draft.  He catches the ball every time you throw it his way, very similar to a current New York Giant in Steve Smith. He reminds me a lot of Anthony Gonzalez, wide receiver on the Indianapolis Colts. 

3rd round:

91st overall: Duke Robinson, OG, Oklahoma

Robinson is one of the top offensive guards in the entire draft and can provide much needed depth on the offensive line.

100th overall: Ramses Barden, WR, Cal Poly

This is my number one sleeper in the entire draft.  You can’t teach 6’6” and he can develop into a deadly weapon inside the “Green Zone.”  However, he is very raw and comes from a small school in Cal Poly but he has a very high ceiling.

4th round:

129th overall: Rashad Jennings, RB, Liberty

Rashad is another sleeper in this draft.  He played at a small school but was extremely productive and will provide great depth to the Giants running back core that lost Derrick Ward to free agency.

5th round:

151st overall: Jason Watkins, OT, Florida

Depth on the offensive line is needed with the current backups not as solid as we need them to be.  The Giants can’t expect the offensive line to stay healthy every game for many more years. 

164th overall: Ladarius Webb, CB, Nicholls State

2nd fastest 40 time at the combine for cornerbacks.  The Giants need depth at this position with Dockery in his walk year with the Giants. 

6th round:

200th overall: John Phillips, TE, Virginia

Giants don’t have much depth behind Kevin Boss and an upgrade here is low risk, high reward.

7th round:

238th overall: Graham Harrell, QB, Texas Tech

The Giants can use another QB to develop because it looks like Andre Woodson, needs many years to develop to become a serviceable QB in the NFL.  Harrell is a very smart QB with fantastic instincts but does he have the arm strength and the accuracy to become a solid backup in the NFL.

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