Monday, April 28, 2008

NY Giants 2008 Draft: Breaking Down the Picks

The Giants came into the 2008 NFL Draft with a game plan: Select players according to the grades on their meticulously-arranged draft board.

“We are conscious of what our need is,” General Manager Jerry Reese said. “But we are trying to find players first. That is first and foremost. We are trying to find good football players. And in the draft we look for value and need. I think most of these players give us both value and need."

With the 31st selection of the first round, the Giants drafted S Kenny Phillips from the University of Miami.

“We got nice value and we got a need position as well,” General Manager Jerry Reese said. “That’s what we like to do in the draft. We don’t want to reach for guys. We got what we wanted. We got need and value with this pick.”

The Giants then took Southern California corner back Terrell Thomas in the second round with the 63rd overall pick. In the third round the Giants drafted Michigan wide receiver Mario Manningham. Next came a pair of linebackers, Bryan Kehl of Brigham Young and Jonathan Goff of Vanderbilt. The Giants relinquished the first of their three sixth-round selections to move up seven spots in the fourth round to take Kehl. In the sixth round the Giants selected quarterback Andre’ Woodson of Kentucky and defensive end Robert Henderson of Southern Mississippi.

Here's a scouting report of the seven newest Giants:

Kenny Phillips, S, University of Miami (FL)
1st Round (31st overall), 6'2, 212 lbs

Strengths
Very good size and a solid frame. Excellent athleticism. Great timed speed (4.55) with a burst to close. Instincts and awareness are outstanding. Has fantastic range. Terrific hands and ball skills. Very physical and aggresssive. Solid tackler who will deliver the big hit. Does a very nice job in run support. Good leaping ability. He excels in both man and zone coverage. Team leader. Great program pedigree.
Weaknesses
Tends to over-pursue and bites on fakes. Still needs to work on his technique and footwork. Plays too high. Has trouble shedding blocks. Tries to evade contact at times. Has minor durability concerns. Did not have a great Junior season.
Final Verdict
Phillips is the next in a long line of great Hurricane safeties. He stepped into Miami's starting lineup as a true freshman and has been one of the top safeties in the nation ever since. He is a marvelous all-around player who has everything you look for in terms of both physical tools and intangibles. He should step right into the Giants starting lineup after the departure of Gibril Wilson. Phillips could easily be a top 10 safety relatively early in his NFL career.


Terrell Thomas, CB, University of Southern California
2nd Round (63rd overall), 6'1, 202 lbs

Strengths
Very good size with bulk and long arms. smooth and decent natural athlete. Is strong and physical. Nice hands and ball skills. Smart with excellent instincts and awareness. Comes up to support the run. Can blitz off the edge. Is a hard worker. Can play safety because of size.
Weaknesses
Timed speed is just average (4.49) and he lacks a burst. Isn't real fluid. Too aggressive at times and will bite on play fakes. Has a tough time matching up in man coverage. Has somewhat stiff hips. A marginal tackler. A bit of a tweener. Major durability issues.
Final Verdict
Thomas has great size and can be a potential safety as he started his USC career there. Has had 3 major surgeries (2 on shoulders) causing him to redshirt in '03 and miss all of the '05 season.
Will fit into Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnoulo's scheme as he can blitz off the edge and get after the quarterback. His best fit will likely come in the zone scheme.


Mario Manningham, WR, University of Michigan
3rd Round (95th overall), 5'11, 181 lbs

Strengths
Excellent speed with a burst. Very elusive in the open field. Great route runner who creates good separation. Excellent hand-eye coordination. Terrific body control and ball skills. Excellent leaping ability. True deep threat who can stretch the field vertically. Quick and agile. Very productive and consistent in college. Has a history of making a play when it matters. Offers some value as a return specialist.
Weaknesses
Undersized and lacks ideal bulk for a WR. Durability is a concern. Not very physical and needs to get stronger. Not real tough and doesn't work the middle of the field. Has trouble with being jammed at the line. Not much of a blocker. Has character issues (admitted smoking marijuana and was caught with a controlled substance as a Freshman).
Final Verdict
A smooth, polished wideout who has everything you look for except ideal size. A dynamic offensive weapon who should be an excellent pro as long as he can stay healthy and keep his head on straight. Will fit into the Giants offense as the 4th wideout and give Manning a legit vertical threat. Could potentially be the best route runner on the roster.


Bryan Kehl, OLB, Brigham Young University
4th Round (123rd overall), 6'2, 242 lbs

Strengths
Adequate size and bulk. Decent athleticism and good timed speed (4.68). Is active with nice range. Excellent instincts and awareness. Has a great motor and plays with a lot of energy. Does a nice job in space. Can hold his own in coverage. Hard worker. Capable of delivering a big hit. Smart and mature with premier intangibles.
Weaknesses
Has trouble shedding blocks. Just an average tackler. Can be too aggressive at times. Marginal pass rusher. He doesn't play with a nasty demeanor. A little over aged. May not have a lot of upside.
Final Verdict
Kehl is a decent all around player whose physical tools are passable and gets pushed over the top by doing all of the little things. He is probably not starting material but has a good shot to make the Giants roster as a backup or special teamer. He was drafted to replace the departed backup OLB Reggie Torbor.


Jonathan Goff, ILB, Vanderbilt University
5th Round (165th overall), 6'2, 245 lbs

Strengths
Has nice size and bulk. Good timed speed (4.63). Real tough and physical. Strong and powerful. Reliable tackler. Great instincts and awareness. Does a very good job of taking on and shedding blockers. He will hold his own in zone coverage. A hard worker and team leader with top notch intangibles. Extremely smart with a great football I.Q. Has a ton of experience against elite competition. Really productive.
Weaknesses
Not a top natural athlete. Looks stiff and doesn't necessarily play to his workout numbers. Has some trouble when trying to tackle in open space. Is not fluid in coverage and struggles if he has to match up man-to-man. Just an average pass rusher/blitzer. May just be a two down player in the NFL. Upside may be limited.
Final Verdict
Goff was an excellent college player. He has the potential to be a good two down linebacker but he could be potentially more. He will compete to fill the void of departed linebacker Kawika Mitchell.


Andre' Woodson, QB, University of Kentucky
6th Round (198th overall), 6'4, 227 lbs

Strengths
Has prototypical size and a solid frame. Has a very strong arm and can make all of the throws. Accurate passer. Good touch and timing. Makes good decisions for the most part and doesn't turn the ball over. Decent athlete who moves well in the pocket and can scramble. Is tough and durable. Will stand tall in the face of pressure. Excellent intangibles in terms of leadership and work ethic. Still improving and has considerable upside.
Weaknesses
May need to have the mechanics of his delivery refined. Will run hot and cold at times and needs to be more consistent. Can run a bit but won't be mistaken for Vince Young. Played out of the shotgun a lot. Has some issues when it comes to reading coverages. Has too much confidence in his arm strength. Puts too much air under some throws.
Final Verdict
Woodson has all of the physical tools you look for in a QB but is not close to being a finished product. He has the highest ceiling of any QB prospect but also a big basement. He was about the 5th best QB in the draft so the Giants got great value taking him late in the 6th round. He will immediately compete for a backup job with fellow Wildcat Jared Lorenzen, Anthony Wright, and David Carr.


Robert Henderson, DE, University of Southern Mississippi
6th Round (199th overall), 6'3, 278 lbs

Strengths
Very effective coming off the edge from the weakside. Decent speed for a player his size. Gets off the snap adequately. Has the balance and leg drive to hold firmly at the point of attack. Uses his rip and swim moves to split combo blocks. Long wingspan could pose problems for smaller qbs. Good lateral agility to make plays in pursuit.
Weaknesses
Struggles at times to defend vs. the run. Age (25) is a concern, along with his struggles retaining plays and digesting a playbook. Doesn't have quick accelaration for DE. Loses levarage at times because of his height. Can be easily fooled by misdirection. Doesn't play with much intensity and can disappear for long stretches.
Final Verdict
Henderson has decent size and speed and is also a good pass rusher. He dominated in an inferior conference (Conf-USA). Unfortunately he plays with an inconsistent motor and only has marginal football instincts.
Since this pick was in the last two rounds, it was worth a shot for the Giants. He could make the team in place of DE Dave Tollefson. Perhaps playing with guys like Strahan, Tuck and Umenyiora will have a positive impact on Henderson and teach him how to play the game the right way.

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