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Why The Giants Will Not Take a Running Back in the First Round


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I was reading an interesting article from Great Blue North (that for the life of me I cannot find now) and it identified the two major strategies of winning football teams. The first is traditional smash mouth football style in which running backs pile up yards while stuffing the other team.....the second strategy is that of a wildly good passing game. And like it or not, the Giants are of the second strategy, although they also love keeping the opponent's QB on his back with an above average pass rushing defensive line.

 

In short: Eli + great WR's/TE's + great pass rushing DE's = Superbowl Contenders (a Strategy that's brought them 2 superbowls since Eli became quarterback). Without a first class QB, this strategy can't work.

 

Keep that in mind as I divert to point two:

 

A great article out of Cleveland as they decided on who they want in the first round. I won't post the whole thing, but I'll show one of their graphs and a few quips from the article.

 

Title of the article: "Is There No Place For Running Backs High in the Draft?"

 

The article basically outlines the decline in the importance of the running game and the increase in the winning percentages of passing games. Here's a few quips:

 

Here's the graph showing the change in strategies of NFL teams:

 

backstrendjpg_8de5ff75e56dde90.jpg

 

Here's a few quips from the article:

 

"Thirteen of the league's top 20 rushers last season played for teams that failed to reach the playoffs. Last season's Super Bowl teams -- the New York Giants and New England -- had no running backs among the top 20"

 

"Last season, the Giants ranked last in rushing yards gained as a percentage of total offense, and the Patriots ranked fourth from the bottom"

 

"Only eight of the last 20 Super Bowl opponents had 1,000-yard rushers. Of that total, only two of the last 10 Super Bowl teams had 1,000-yard running backs"

 

"The NFL's four top-scoring teams last year -- Detroit, Green Bay, New England and New Orleans -- ranked among the lowest in yards gained on the ground as a percentage of their total offense"

 

"The Patriots, Giants, Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers and Saints -- who have accounted for eight of the last nine Super Bowl champions -- haven't had a league-leading rusher in the last 30 years"

 

Here's the source if interested in the whole thing: http://www.cleveland...r_the_runn.html

 

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

 

My summarized thoughts are this:

 

The Giants want to burn their first pick on a WR or TE.....or a solid pass rushing DE. There is no way in hell the Giants will burn their first pick on a RB, absolutely no way. The only way they deviate from a WR/TE or DE is if someone like SS Mark Barron or OT Jonathan Martin falls through the cracks into their laps. And granted, if Trent Richardson fell to 32, I imagine the Giants would take him as he is a game changing RB....but he won't make it past pick 5, if that far.

 

As it stands, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if they took Chandler Jones or Coby Fleener or Stephen Hill with their first pick. Only 6 days away and getting exciting!

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Knowing the Giants, it wont be anything anyone expect.

 

Maybe a center.

 

Or a backup QB.

 

I have thought about giving the Giants Peter Konz C from Wisconsin, C's are harder to find then skill position players like WR,DE etc. I was not that impressed with Baas and his contract looks like this...

 

 

[x]

7/29/2011: Signed a five-year, $27.5 million contract. The deal contains $11.5 million guaranteed, including an $8.5 million signing bonus, all of Baas' first-year salary, and $2 million of his second-year salary. Annual $250,000 workout bonuses are available in years two through five. 2012: $3 million, 2013: $4.25 million, 2014: $4.75 million, 2015: $5 million, 2016: Free Agent

 

That's a ton of money for a guy who struggled with injuries, headaches and performance, he will also be 31.

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Nice article which supports not drafting a RB high in the first round which I agree with. We are the end of the first round I'm not sure if drafting a RB at that spot is a bad thing.

 

Bradshaw can't stay healthy.

Jacobs is gone.

DJ Ware scares Giants fans more than opponents.

Da'Rell Scott is as unproven as it gets on the roster.

Andre Brown is looking at an early 4 game suspension.

 

Now all those teams on the list do the exact opposite of what we do on offense. Lead with the rush to open up the passing game.

Good thing there are still RB's out there that are available at the right price if we don't get one in the draft.

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Nice article which supports not drafting a RB high in the first round which I agree with. We are the end of the first round I'm not sure if drafting a RB at that spot is a bad thing.

 

Bradshaw can't stay healthy.

Jacobs is gone.

DJ Ware scares Giants fans more than opponents.

Da'Rell Scott is as unproven as it gets on the roster.

Andre Brown is looking at an early 4 game suspension.

 

Now all those teams on the list do the exact opposite of what we do on offense. Lead with the rush to open up the passing game.

Good thing there are still RB's out there that are available at the right price if we don't get one in the draft.

 

There's several other factors that supports my theory that there's no way we take a RB in first round.

 

1) After Richardson....it's almost impossible to distinguish which RB is the best of the second tier RB's (of which there are at least a half dozen). Chris Polk, Isaiah Pead or Edwin Baker may end up being the best RB taken in the draft....or even Jonathan Grimes out of small school William and Mary. It's a crap shoot after Richardson is gone and there's too many more vital position players that will still be on the board. Heck....it's even a crapshoot on Richardson if history has anything to say about it.

 

2) College stats on RB's almost never come close to matching NFL stats. It's a completely different game at the next level because the spread offense that dominates the college game isn't used in the NFL.

 

3) Historically, Reese and TC have never taken a running back earlier than the 4th round (the one in which they took Jacobs). Jacobs was the ninth RB taken right after the Cowboys took Marian Barber. There were 3 RB's taken in the first round that year: Miami took Ronnie Brown (5-yr, 34 million) with the 2nd overall pick in the draft (now with the Eagles on a 1-year 1 million dollar contract)....the Bears took Cedric Benson with the 4th overall pick (5-yrs at 35 million)....Tampa Bay took Cadillac Williams (5-yr 31 million) with the 5th overall pick and for all practical purposes, was a bust and is now a backup for the Rams. In the second round, Arizona took J.J. Arrington (ended up the 3rd backup RB and after being passed around the NFL, now plays for the Las Vegas Locomotives....and Carolina took Eric Shelton who played 8 games for the Panthers garnering 36 total yds and after 2 years, is out of football, etc..................None of those teams who took RB's early had successful years and none of the backs are even as good as DJ Ware. But they cost their teams millions.

 

4) The running game is more or less a diversion to take pressure off the passing game. The Giants are not going to return to the old style of a smash mouth ground game....especially with a passing QB like ELI and an O-line built for protecting him rather than pushing holes open for a RB. Jacobs was right that the real problem with the ground game in New York was the O-line......wrong of him to say that, but what he said was true. To have a great running game, the line has to be built for the run.....and the Giants are already too far invested in the current strategy and O-line to rebuild the entire line and change strategies away from Eli's air game.

 

5) The Giants have a lot of money sewed up in Bradshaw already (18 million over 4 years) and if they take a RB in the first round, the new unproven RB will have at least as good a contract. I'm not sure the Giants want such a sizeable portion of their cap space eaten up with 2 running backs.

 

6) When the Giants do take a RB, more than likely he'll be chosen because of his better than average blocking ability and a resume that proves he can catch a football during screen plays.

 

7. Lastly) Da'Rel Scott is bigger and faster than Bradshaw and has spent a year intensely studying the playbook and learning the NFL system under the tutelage of Jacobs and Bradshaw. He understands that the NFL game is much different than the college game and is chomping at the bit for a chance to prove himself.

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There's several other factors that supports my theory that there's no way we take a RB in first round.

 

1) After Richardson....it's almost impossible to distinguish which RB is the best of the second tier RB's (of which there are at least a half dozen). Chris Polk, Isaiah Pead or Edwin Baker may end up being the best RB taken in the draft....or even Jonathan Grimes out of small school William and Mary. It's a crap shoot after Richardson is gone and there's too many more vital position players that will still be on the board. Heck....it's even a crapshoot on Richardson if history has anything to say about it.

 

I personally think Martin is the clear cut 2nd best rb in the draft.

 

2) College stats on RB's almost never come close to matching NFL stats. It's a completely different game at the next level because the spread offense that dominates the college game isn't used in the NFL.

 

2) Historically, Reese and TC have never taken a running back earlier than the 4th round (the one in which they took Jacobs). Jacobs was the ninth RB taken right after the Cowboys took Marian Barber. There were 3 RB's taken in the first round that year: Miami took Ronnie Brown (5-yr, 34 million) with the 2nd overall pick in the draft (now with the Eagles on a 1-year 1 million dollar contract)....the Bears took Cedric Benson with the 4th overall pick (5-yrs at 35 million)....Tampa Bay took Cadillac Williams (5-yr 31 million) with the 5th overall pick and for all practical purposes, was a bust and is now a backup for the Rams. In the second round, Arizona took J.J. Arrington (ended up the 3rd backup RB and after being passed around the NFL, now plays for the Las Vegas Locomotives....and Carolina took Eric Shelton who played 8 games for the Panthers garnering 36 total yds and after 2 years, is out of football, etc..................None of those teams who took RB's early had successful years and none of the backs are even as good as DJ Ware. But they cost their teams millions.

 

Historically TC came into the giants with the luxury of having one of the best rb's in the game and one of the best offensive weapons in giants history with Tiki. Then only needed someone to compliment tiki hence the jacobs pick.

 

3) The running game is more or less a diversion to take pressure off the passing game. The Giants are not going to return to the old style of a smash mouth ground game....especially with a passing QB like ELI and an O-line built for protecting him rather than pushing holes open for a RB. Jacobs was right that the real problem with the ground game in New York was the O-line......wrong of him to say that, but what he said was true. To have a great running game, the line has to be built for the run.....and the Giants are already too far invested in the current strategy and O-line to rebuild the entire line and change strategies away from Eli's air game.

 

I do agree that the bigger problem was the o-line, but we still only have one proven rb on the roster. if bradshaw goes down (which he seems to do) i would not be confident with ware and scott carrying the load.

 

4) The Giants have a lot of money sewed up in Bradshaw already (18 million over 4 years) and if they take a RB in the first round, the new unproven RB will have at least as good a contract. I'm not sure the Giants want such a sizeable portion of their cap space eaten up with 2 running backs.

 

I'm not sure why you think if we take a rb in the first round their contract will be 'at least' as good as bradshaw's. There is a rookie wage scale now, last year the saints took rb mark ingram 28th overall and his contract was for 4 years 7.41 million. less than half bradshaws.

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I personally think Martin is the clear cut 2nd best rb in the draft.

 

Same was said about Cedric Benson and "Cadillac" Williams and they went in the first five overall picks in the draft. "Clear-cut / Can't-miss" players who dominated the college game and went on to suck. In fact, those guys were far more touted than any of the RB's in this year's draft. Imagine.....3 RB's who absolutely dominated in college and taken in the first 5 picks of the draft.....all of them busts! That has got to get the attention of GM's and coaches.....at least you'd think!

 

Historically TC came into the giants with the luxury of having one of the best rb's in the game and one of the best offensive weapons in giants history with Tiki. Then only needed someone to compliment tiki hence the jacobs pick.

I don't believe Tiki was so much better then, than Bradshaw is now at this stage in his career. Like then, right now they only need someone to compliment Bradshaw and take off some of the pressure. The days of running backs carrying the team to victory are over for the Giants....well, as long as TC is still there.

 

I do agree that the bigger problem was the o-line, but we still only have one proven rb on the roster. if bradshaw goes down (which he seems to do) i would not be confident with ware and scott carrying the load.

You are assuming that drafting a college back is "proven". No college RB is proven in the NFL and the lists goes on forever of "sure thing - can't miss" RB's who folded like a cheap lawnchair once they got their millions and found out how different the NFL game is compared to the kids they played against in school. If we want a "proven" RB in case Bradshaw goes down, then we must go after a free agent with NFL experience, not a college kid who has never dealt with NFL defenses.

 

 

I'm not sure why you think if we take a rb in the first round their contract will be 'at least' as good as bradshaw's. There is a rookie wage scale now, last year the saints took rb mark ingram 28th overall and his contract was for 4 years 7.41 million. less than half bradshaws.

Here's the new rookie wage scale:

 

"Under the new plan, all first-round selections will now sign a four-year contract and have an option for the fifth year. It can get a little confusing if the team exercises the option for the fifth year. Players picked within the top 10 will be paid the average of the top 10 highest-paid players in that position. Picks 11-32 will be paid the average of the 3rd to 25th highest-paid players at their position".

 

You're right that the new wage scale prevents laying out tens of millions to an unproven player, but a first round pick still makes a ton of money for a kid who has never set foot in the NFL. Bradshaw is signed for 4 years at 18 million. If his backup makes 7 million for 4 years, that's 25 million wrapped up in one injury prone RB and one unproven RB with zero NFL experience.

 

I might be wrong in the end.....but I don't believe for a second that the Giants want to burn their first pick on a RB. They are too far invested in the air game and the strategy of "ELI + WRs/TE + pass rushing defense" to invest so heavily in a backup running back. Drafting a RB in the first round is tantamount to telling the world the team is looking to return the the "ground game first" strategy. That just doesn't seem to fit TC's style.

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Very good points made, and I normally agree that runningback should be a position deemphasized in the draft... but its such a need for the Giants, I'm sort of hopeful that this is the year that they finally try to get some talent at the position.

 

I'm coming around on Doug Martin. At 5'7" he's not a first round pick, but I'm concerned he's too good to last until pick 64. Right now I'm routing for a trade back out of #32 and pick whoever is remaining of Martin or David Wilson somewhere in the mid-2nd round.

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In agreement with BB25, I'm not too happy about our center position.. I do not hold the headaches issue against Baas but it's a bad condition that would keep him out of games and he's mediocre at best. This why I think we go OL in the first round and DE in the 2nd or in reverse if Jones is there at 32 and the Giants feel good about him. Building a solid OL gets our running game going and protects Eli by both good blocking and opening lanes fore the RBs.

 

I want the Giants to run the ball a bit more dominantly for those days when Eli struggles... not to mention a feared run game opens up the passing game.

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Same was said about Cedric Benson and "Cadillac" Williams and they went in the first five overall picks in the draft. "Clear-cut / Can't-miss" players who dominated the college game and went on to suck. In fact, those guys were far more touted than any of the RB's in this year's draft. Imagine.....3 RB's who absolutely dominated in college and taken in the first 5 picks of the draft.....all of them busts! That has got to get the attention of GM's and coaches.....at least you'd think!

 

 

I don't believe Tiki was so much better then, than Bradshaw is now at this stage in his career. Like then, right now they only need someone to compliment Bradshaw and take off some of the pressure. The days of running backs carrying the team to victory are over for the Giants....well, as long as TC is still there.

 

 

You are assuming that drafting a college back is "proven". No college RB is proven in the NFL and the lists goes on forever of "sure thing - can't miss" RB's who folded like a cheap lawnchair once they got their millions and found out how different the NFL game is compared to the kids they played against in school. If we want a "proven" RB in case Bradshaw goes down, then we must go after a free agent with NFL experience, not a college kid who has never dealt with NFL defenses.

 

 

 

Here's the new rookie wage scale:

 

"Under the new plan, all first-round selections will now sign a four-year contract and have an option for the fifth year. It can get a little confusing if the team exercises the option for the fifth year. Players picked within the top 10 will be paid the average of the top 10 highest-paid players in that position. Picks 11-32 will be paid the average of the 3rd to 25th highest-paid players at their position".

 

You're right that the new wage scale prevents laying out tens of millions to an unproven player, but a first round pick still makes a ton of money for a kid who has never set foot in the NFL. Bradshaw is signed for 4 years at 18 million. If his backup makes 7 million for 4 years, that's 25 million wrapped up in one injury prone RB and one unproven RB with zero NFL experience.

 

I might be wrong in the end.....but I don't believe for a second that the Giants want to burn their first pick on a RB. They are too far invested in the air game and the strategy of "ELI + WRs/TE + pass rushing defense" to invest so heavily in a backup running back. Drafting a RB in the first round is tantamount to telling the world the team is looking to return the the "ground game first" strategy. That just doesn't seem to fit TC's style.

 

Bleedin', you can say that about any position, any player in the draft. Nobody is proven. Not even Andrew Luck. Nobody is can't-miss. There are some that are perceived as closer to "can't miss" than others, and that's why they get a higher grade.

 

If you watch game tape and evaluate production, there is a clear cut top class of running backs. To me, they are: Trent Richardson, Doug Martin, David Wilson, and Lamar Miller. Isaiah Pead is borderline. Chris Polk is clearly not in the class of the other guys. But he does some things that translates better to the NFL game. It's true a player could come out of nowhere in this draft and be the best RB taken. Who knows, someone like LaMichael James who will probably go in the 3rd round, could put on a little more bulk and be the next Chris Johnson. But you have to go by the information that is available to you.

 

To me, the Giants are going to take the best non-QB player at 32. If that's Doug Martin, they won't hesitate to take him. Now, I understand we are a passing team now. But you still have to have balance, and even if you pass 60% of the time, that means your RB's have to carry a 40% load of the offense, and you always need a guy that can put the game away in the 4th quarter when you're protecting a lead. Because RB's are de-emphasized a bit, doesn't mean they aren't a critical position.

 

When the Saints won the Super Bowl a couple of years ago, they got a lot from their running game. And they almost weren't in the Super Bowl because the Vikings very nearly beat them in the NFCCG, an offense led by Adrian Peterson... of course, AP also lost that game for them. And we needed a competent running game to get to, and win the Super Bowl as well.

 

I don't think the Giants are going to pigeon-hole themselves by saying, "we're not taking a RB". I mocked Bobby Massie because I thought the Giants could still get Isaiah Pead at the end of the 2nd, where they would find it much more difficult to get a very good OT at 63 overall. But believe me, if they think Doug Martin or David Wilson is heads and shoulders better than Bobby Massie or whoever else is at that pick, and they aren't in love with RB options that might be available later, they won't hesitate to take a RB in the first.

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Bleedin', you can say that about any position, any player in the draft. Nobody is proven. Not even Andrew Luck. Nobody is can't-miss. There are some that are perceived as closer to "can't miss" than others, and that's why they get a higher grade.

 

If you watch game tape and evaluate production, there is a clear cut top class of running backs. To me, they are: Trent Richardson, Doug Martin, David Wilson, and Lamar Miller. Isaiah Pead is borderline. Chris Polk is clearly not in the class of the other guys. But he does some things that translates better to the NFL game. It's true a player could come out of nowhere in this draft and be the best RB taken. Who knows, someone like LaMichael James who will probably go in the 3rd round, could put on a little more bulk and be the next Chris Johnson. But you have to go by the information that is available to you.

 

To me, the Giants are going to take the best non-QB player at 32. If that's Doug Martin, they won't hesitate to take him. Now, I understand we are a passing team now. But you still have to have balance, and even if you pass 60% of the time, that means your RB's have to carry a 40% load of the offense, and you always need a guy that can put the game away in the 4th quarter when you're protecting a lead. Because RB's are de-emphasized a bit, doesn't mean they aren't a critical position.

 

When the Saints won the Super Bowl a couple of years ago, they got a lot from their running game. And they almost weren't in the Super Bowl because the Vikings very nearly beat them in the NFCCG, an offense led by Adrian Peterson... of course, AP also lost that game for them. And we needed a competent running game to get to, and win the Super Bowl as well.

 

I don't think the Giants are going to pigeon-hole themselves by saying, "we're not taking a RB". I mocked Bobby Massie because I thought the Giants could still get Isaiah Pead at the end of the 2nd, where they would find it much more difficult to get a very good OT at 63 overall. But believe me, if they think Doug Martin or David Wilson is heads and shoulders better than Bobby Massie or whoever else is at that pick, and they aren't in love with RB options that might be available later, they won't hesitate to take a RB in the first.

 

The Giants won the superbowl with one of the least productive ground games in the league (if not thee least). I don't see them panicking and thinking they need to change strategies.

 

The Giants will take a RB for sure, but I almost guarantee it won't be until the 4th round or later. First round will be determined entirely by who's left on the board and there will be stellar linemen (from both sides), some high end WR's, and possibly Coby Fleener or (the slimmest of possibilities) Mark Barron left. If Jonathon Martin is still on the board, I'd bet money the Giants would grab him even over Chandler Jones or Fleener. If both Jonathan Martin and Barron were on the board....it would be a toss up.

 

I kinda feel as if the Giants should consider trading down a few slots if Chandler Jones, Coby Fleener, Cordy Glenn, Jonathan Martin, are already off the board.

 

Regardless....I repeat, I trust Reese and TC and I think our scouts are among the very best in the business.

 

A good article from ESPN says that the Giants are among the very best at drafting in the past 3 years. I don't expect them to suddenly become bad at it. http://espn.go.com/b...g-best-drafters

 

If I was a gambling man putting actual money on who I thought would become the next Giant on Thursday night....I'd put my money on Chandler Jones.

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Well you are way optimistic about who is going to be there for us. I think it's highly doubtful that any of the guys you listed will be there for us at 32, with the possible exception of Fleener. And that's a big maybe. I think there's next to no chance that Jonathan Martin will be there, absolutely zero chance of Mark Barron being there, same goes for Cordy Glenn. And Chandler Jones, I feel, is going to be the third DE off the board, at latest.... not including Whitney Mercilus (who I think is the top 3-4 pass rushing linebacker in this draft, unless you consider Melvin Ingram an OLB). I think Jones goes before Courtney Upshaw, before Andre Branch, and has a 50-50 shot of going before Nick Perry. And if he's the 3rd DE off the board, he won't be there at 32, and I don't expect him to be.

 

Back to RB, remember we are picking one spot before the second round. Yes, it's a first round pick, but the least valuable one, and really you are considering early second round talents at that point for your pick. So, it's not like other years when we definitely wouldn't consider a RB at say 17 or 21 or whatever. Picking at 32 makes a RB much, much more of a possibility because that position group will almost assuredly be mostly untouched thus far, meaning there will be value at 32. That I am certain of. There will be players at 32 that will hold value at that spot. Doug Martin would be a solid choice at 32. David Wilson is a little riskier pick but I feel has a higher ceiling. Like I said, I think the pick is Bobby Massie, but wouldn't be surprised at all to see Doug Martin a Giant.

 

Remember, taking a RB at 32 doesn't indicate a change of strategy. Even a pass first offense has to have some balance and the threat of the run.

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One more thing... yeah the Giants won the Super Bowl with arguably the worst running games overall this season, but they ran more effectively towards the end of the season (coinciding with Boothe's move to LG, and Diehl back to LT), and they barely squeaked into the playoffs at 9-7. Let's not pretend that their early to mid-season struggles running the football wasn't a huge problem and part of the reason we lost games against some inferior teams.

 

If you think the Giants believe they don't want a successful running game and they'll just get by with roster fodder at RB I'd say you are probably crazy, and I really don't think TC or Gilbride would feel that way at all.

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I expect the Giants to be more interested in drafting a guy like the following. Not only has the Giants brought him in for a visit, but his college stats are almost indistinguishable from the top 4 or 5 backs. Also, he is the only RB that I've seen any scouting report call, "a tenacious pass defender" and is a "great receiver" (which has Giants written all over this kid). Most boards have him ranked between 8th and 12th. I highlighted in red, the things that impress me the most.

 

According to Mike Garafolo, the Giants brought in RB Cyrus Gray (Texas A&M) for a visit. This is a running back that is figured to go between the 3rd and 4th rounds.

 

Cyrus Gray

 

Bio: 5'10" 206 4.41 40 time

 

Career: 632 carries - 3251 yds rushing / 30 TDs - 5.1 yd avg per carry...........103 receptions - 776 yds receiving - 6 TDs

 

Scouting Report (National Football Post)

 

 

 

A compact back who carries a lot of girth/natural muscle tone through his frame. Does not look thin by any measure and possess the kind of frame that can handle a pounding. Runs with good forward lean, presses the line of scrimmage quickly and is quick to decipher information. Possesses good balance and body control in tight areas with the quickness to change directions, break a tackle and accelerate through contact. Creates a lot of yards after contact and can run through arm tackles inside.

 

Looks a little more explosive laterally when cutting off his right foot than his left and isn’t an overly dynamic make you miss athlete in space. Will get a but “weavey” off his left foot at times, especially on perimeter runs and will chop his feet in order to catch his balance. However, is patient setting up blocks, churns his legs through contact and accelerates well out of his breaks. Showcases good natural power when asked to fight for yards inside. Has a tendency to leave some yards on the field though, will try to bounce plays outside prematurely and not consistently take what the defense gives him. Has experience running from both I-formation sets and from the gun. Looks more natural with a full back in front of him where he has more time to decipher info and pick up speed. Plus, he’s more sudden/shifty attacking forward than standing flat-footed and having to make a defender miss. Demonstrates good cut back ability at the line and in space. Can put back-to-back cuts together off both feet inside and accelerates into daylight.

 

Possesses good straight-line speed, not elite. At times will bounce runs prematurely to the edge and has the initial burst to gain a step, but won’t consistently outpace angles in the NFL. However, on perimeter runs does a nice job keeping his pad level down when turning the corner, keeping his feet under him and exploding toward space, using his balance to side step defenders at full speed and break tackles in the process. Is a plus blocker for the position as well, keeps his pad level down, recognizes his target and generates a good snap into contact. Is also coordinated in the pass game, but isn’t going to be used in the slot to beat man. However, is a plus receiver in the screen game as he locates the ball quickly, squares his shoulders and will create.

 

Impression: An instinctive, well put together back with natural running skills inside. Isn’t ever going to be a cowbell back at the next level and isn’t overly dynamic in the open field. But can be productive in a two back system in the NFL.

 

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From KFFL:

 

Texas A&M running back Cyrus Gray is an all-around prospect and comes with far more positives than negatives. Gray rushed for 1,045 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2011. He gained 1,133 rushing yards and accounted for as many ground scores the year prior. Gray has racked up 65 total receptions and four aerial scores in the past two seasons.

 

Strengths

  • Good lower-body strength and leg drive (32 1/2-inch vertical)
  • Slashing, one-cut-and-go style with above-average vision - ideal for a zone-blocking scheme
  • Great receiver with the ability to run downfield routes
  • Extremely quick, precise footwork
  • Plus straight-line speed (4.41-second 40-yard dash)
  • Patient runner that follows his blockers well
  • Experienced, successful kickoff returner
  • Able to play three downs
  • Limited wear and tear
  • Tenacious pass protector
  • Elite intangibles - amazing work ethic and attitude - a coach's dream

Weaknesses

  • Lacks ideal size to take a bruising (5-foot-10 3/8, 206 pounds)
  • Mild injury concerns
  • Doesn't always turn the corner with efficiency - needs to plant and drive more often
  • Tends to dance too much behind the line
  • Not much of a breakaway threat

Expected draft placement

 

Gray should be viewed as a third- or fourth-round prospect. Expect him to come off the board no later than the early fifth, but he could go as soon as the beginning of the third round.

 

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I like the sounds of this guy! And he'd come a lot cheaper than a first rounder. The fact that he's durable, a workaholic, and a coaches dream sounds too good to be true.

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I have some stats for you, Bleedin'... not that I don't agree that RB is a position you have a good chance of finding a good value later in the draft... I just think that the premise of the article that not having a good RB or that you shouldn't really try to get a good RB if you want to win the Super Bowl... really, what was the premise of that article? It just seemed to suggest that good RB's aren't part of the formula for winning teams or at least Super Bowl teams. Here are some facts:

 

Out of the top 10 rushers in the NFL last year, 5 played for playoff teams:

 

Ray Rice, Arian Foster, Michael Turner, Frank Gore, and Willis McGahee. Both Rice and Gore were on the doorstep to the Super Bowl, and really, either one of those games could've gone the other way. In the Ravens' case, it really should have.

 

Rice was a 2nd round pick, Gore the first pick of the 3rd round. Out of the top 10 rushers last season, 7 were taken in the 2nd round or earlier, 4 of those were first rounders. Arian Foster was of course the lone undrafted gem.

 

Go back a year to 2010. Again, 4 of the top 10 rushers in the NFL were first rounders: Adrian Peterson, Steven Jackson, Chris Johnson, and Rashard Mendenhall. 2 more were 2nd rounders (Ray Rice, Jones-Drew), and Jamaal Charles was a 3rd rounder. The other three was Foster again, Michael Turner (5th round), and Ahmad Bradshaw.

 

Yeah you can hit in later rounds, but apparently NFL scouts are doing a pretty good job identifying the good ones, and most of the good ones are taken early. All this stuff means is that there are plenty of playoff teams with early round RB's, and yeah, they are kinda important to the success of their team. I think our running game this year was sporadic. When it was good, we won games, when it was bad, we lost some, and we won a couple. Yeah, I'd take a running back at 32 to help this team win more games, no problem.

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Durable? Didn't they say he's a bit of an injury concern? I looked at Cyrus Gray and I liked some of what I saw. I wasn't blown away. But certainly he could be a good value at the end of the third and who knows. Someone else mentioned Terrence Ganaway. I think he's a bigger back, with a similar running style than Gray, and Ganaway could be had even later.

 

By the way, I was going to ask you about players that were visiting the Giants, you've always been good in posting that kind of information here.

 

I certainly trust Reese to do make the right moves in the draft. He's earned that. Whether or not that means a RB in the first, second, or later, I don't know. I think Pead would be an awesome choice at the end of the 2nd, though. Of course, that's what I mocked to the Giants, so I'm going to go with that. :)

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Durable? Didn't they say he's a bit of an injury concern? I looked at Cyrus Gray and I liked some of what I saw. I wasn't blown away. But certainly he could be a good value at the end of the third and who knows. Someone else mentioned Terrence Ganaway. I think he's a bigger back, with a similar running style than Gray, and Ganaway could be had even later.

 

By the way, I was going to ask you about players that were visiting the Giants, you've always been good in posting that kind of information here.

 

I certainly trust Reese to do make the right moves in the draft. He's earned that. Whether or not that means a RB in the first, second, or later, I don't know. I think Pead would be an awesome choice at the end of the 2nd, though. Of course, that's what I mocked to the Giants, so I'm going to go with that. :)

Actually, I read that Gray was "durable", but didn't post every summary of him. The summary of him said that he played for 4 years without any major injuries and minor injuries didn't keep him out of games. I guess that's durable....certainly a lot better than coming off shoulder surgery, broken leg, or a torn ACL or missing part or all of a season due to injury. He is big boned, ruggedly built (especially in the legs) and very much in tip top shape and works hard to stay that way.

 

What I like about him is his superb work ethic, attitude....loves to block...and has great hands. I feel the Giants prefer a RB who is more of a blocker, receiver, and runner than a "one man show" trying to do it all himself. The Giants love Eli and want to protect him. Having a RB that can add another blocker during passes or take a dump off on a screen play helps Eli.

 

As far as visits go, a team can have up to 30 visits..... if history means anything, most of the Giants mid-drafted players in the past, were also visitors of the Giants before being drafted and Garaflo lists some of them in an article (Beckum, Barden, etc.). It's a good indicator of who they are looking at with serious intentions. However, I don't believe the Giants usually have visits from players they target in the first couple of rounds....perhaps trying to be deceptive there.

 

Anyway, here's the list of players that have made visits so far - there may be more, but I haven't read anything about them if they have. We have a glut of linebackers so I don't know why they are hosting so many more linebackers than any other position and I don't know why they waste two of their available visits on QB's that will never run the team - but what do I know?

 

Anyhow:

 

Matt Simms – QB from Tennessee

Austin Davis- QB from Southern Miss

 

Cyrus Gray -RB from Texans A&M

Michael Smith- RB from Utah State

 

Kendall Wright -WR from Baylor

Mohamed Sanu -WR from Rutgers

Rueben Randle – WR from LSU

Devon Wylie – WR from Fresno State

 

Jake Byrne -TE from Wisconsin

Adam Nissley -TE from Central Florida

Adrien Robinson- TE from Cincinnati

 

Donald Stephenson- OT from Oklahoma

James Carmon- OT/OG from Mississippi State

 

Ronnie Cameron- DT from Old Dominion

 

Josue Ortiz -DE from Harvard

 

Dont’a Hightower- LB from Alabama

Matt Broha -LB from Louisiana Tech

Ryan Davis -LB from Bethune-Cookman

Korey Toomer -LB from Idaho

Tahir Whitehead- LB from Temple

 

Omar Bolden -CB from Arizona State

 

Jerron McMillian- S from Maine

Matt Daniels -S from Duke

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Thanks Bleedin'. I haven't mentioned this before but in my draft study I really love Reuben Randle. I think he's going to be a star in the NFL, a big star. He's a guy that could sneak into the back end of the first round or go to the back end of the 2nd. I don't really see him getting into the 3rd at all, but I suppose the possibility exists. But he definitely won't last until our pick in the third. Realistically, I project him going at latest, within the first 10 picks of the 2nd round, which means we probably won't have a shot at him, unless we use our first on him. It's a shame, somebody is going to get one hell of a receiver in Reuben Randle. I like him more than Stephen Hill, Kendall Wright, or Mohamed Sanu.

 

If you are correct about the Giants waiting to pick up a running back until the mid rounds, then Mohamed Sanu could definitely be in play at the end of the second round for us. You have a lot of names their that I'm completely unaware of. I've done a pretty good deal of research on this draft but nowhere near what our great scouting department has done, obviously. They have definitely found some hidden gems who all of the pundits, gurus, and us sportswrathians have never even heard of, who they likely are hoping is sitting pretty for them at their spot where they want to pick them. There are several organizations in the NFL that does a hell of a job scouting and I think we are very near to the top of the class, I'm getting pretty excited for this draft class to revealed.

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Same was said about Cedric Benson and "Cadillac" Williams and they went in the first five overall picks in the draft. "Clear-cut / Can't-miss" players who dominated the college game and went on to suck. In fact, those guys were far more touted than any of the RB's in this year's draft. Imagine.....3 RB's who absolutely dominated in college and taken in the first 5 picks of the draft.....all of them busts! That has got to get the attention of GM's and coaches.....at least you'd think!

 

 

I don't believe Tiki was so much better then, than Bradshaw is now at this stage in his career. Like then, right now they only need someone to compliment Bradshaw and take off some of the pressure. The days of running backs carrying the team to victory are over for the Giants....well, as long as TC is still there.

 

 

You are assuming that drafting a college back is "proven". No college RB is proven in the NFL and the lists goes on forever of "sure thing - can't miss" RB's who folded like a cheap lawnchair once they got their millions and found out how different the NFL game is compared to the kids they played against in school. If we want a "proven" RB in case Bradshaw goes down, then we must go after a free agent with NFL experience, not a college kid who has never dealt with NFL defenses.

 

 

 

Here's the new rookie wage scale:

 

"Under the new plan, all first-round selections will now sign a four-year contract and have an option for the fifth year. It can get a little confusing if the team exercises the option for the fifth year. Players picked within the top 10 will be paid the average of the top 10 highest-paid players in that position. Picks 11-32 will be paid the average of the 3rd to 25th highest-paid players at their position".

 

You're right that the new wage scale prevents laying out tens of millions to an unproven player, but a first round pick still makes a ton of money for a kid who has never set foot in the NFL. Bradshaw is signed for 4 years at 18 million. If his backup makes 7 million for 4 years, that's 25 million wrapped up in one injury prone RB and one unproven RB with zero NFL experience.

 

I might be wrong in the end.....but I don't believe for a second that the Giants want to burn their first pick on a RB. They are too far invested in the air game and the strategy of "ELI + WRs/TE + pass rushing defense" to invest so heavily in a backup running back. Drafting a RB in the first round is tantamount to telling the world the team is looking to return the the "ground game first" strategy. That just doesn't seem to fit TC's style.

 

 

what in God's name is so different and inconceivable about paying 2 running backs? We've been overpaying Brandon Jacobs FOR YEARS while still paying Bradshaw!

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Thanks Bleedin'. I haven't mentioned this before but in my draft study I really love Reuben Randle. I think he's going to be a star in the NFL, a big star. He's a guy that could sneak into the back end of the first round or go to the back end of the 2nd. I don't really see him getting into the 3rd at all, but I suppose the possibility exists. But he definitely won't last until our pick in the third. Realistically, I project him going at latest, within the first 10 picks of the 2nd round, which means we probably won't have a shot at him, unless we use our first on him. It's a shame, somebody is going to get one hell of a receiver in Reuben Randle. I like him more than Stephen Hill, Kendall Wright, or Mohamed Sanu.

 

If you are correct about the Giants waiting to pick up a running back until the mid rounds, then Mohamed Sanu could definitely be in play at the end of the second round for us. You have a lot of names their that I'm completely unaware of. I've done a pretty good deal of research on this draft but nowhere near what our great scouting department has done, obviously. They have definitely found some hidden gems who all of the pundits, gurus, and us sportswrathians have never even heard of, who they likely are hoping is sitting pretty for them at their spot where they want to pick them. There are several organizations in the NFL that does a hell of a job scouting and I think we are very near to the top of the class, I'm getting pretty excited for this draft class to revealed.

 

I share your excitement. Every year I tell myself that draft day is just another day and nothing I do can effect the outcome so just sitback, pick up the paper the next day to see who we picked, and go on. But nope....every April the bug hits me and I become obsessed with the draft and here I am again, all psyched out over something I have no control over.

 

The only thing I think I can say for sure, is that if the Giants go defensive player in round 1, they'll go offensive in round 2....and vice versa. I suspect a WR (or TE), OL, DE, and RB with our first 4 picks. The only thing that will get me upset is if they draft a QB anywhere near the first 5 picks. That would really piss me right off.

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what in God's name is so different and inconceivable about paying 2 running backs? We've been overpaying Brandon Jacobs FOR YEARS while still paying Bradshaw!

 

Now that's a softball question.

 

Easy.....every year we are strapped down because of our cap space. Lucky for us, year after year, Eli restructures his contract just so we can have a little wiggle room. At the same time, other teams have 20 - 40 million in cap space and can pluck free agent cherries every spring if they so choose or pay their star players a better salary so they won't want to leave. We have all we can do to make room to pay the rookies we get in the draft. We lose great players to free agency because we don't have the cap space to keep them. We have star players like Osi who wants a salary comparable to lesser players, but we can't do anything about it because we are cap strapped.

 

So....with that in mind....we need to have our highest paid players in the positions that are vital to our strategy. And as I've pointed out in this thread a couple of times, our strategy is: Eli+Receiving+Pass rushing=success. It's a formula that has gotten the Giants two superbowl wins in the past 4 years. So do we really want to pay a large portion of our cap space on the running game and hence, lose DE's and WR's that helped us win a superbowl? Do we want to lose Kiwi and Osi next year to free agency because we can't afford them, but we have an improved ground game?

 

Drafting a RB in the first round means we are looking for a "feature back" (IMO), not a complimentary back to Bradshaw (which is what we need). A RB that goes in the first round is touted as a superstar before he ever gets to the NFL and he believes he is nothing other than that feature back. And we are among the throwingest teams in the NFL because this team is built around Eli. When we get a RB, it'll be because he can block (more protection for Eli) and catch passes (bail Eli out)....as well as carry the football to give Bradshaw a breather. He will be second fiddle unless an injury knocks Bradshaw out. A feature back wants lots of carries and isn't into stuff like blocking. A feature back throws hissy fits if the game doesn't revolve around him and he doesn't think he's getting enough show time. And we already have a feature back in Bradshaw. We don't need another feature back sulking on the bench. Remember the hard feelings Jacobs had once Bradshaw became the feature back? He sulked...was told to suck it up (which he did)....and was never the same as when he was the feature back. He was planning on leaving the Giants no matter what because he didn't want to play behind another RB....regardless of what you read in the papers. There was a bruised ego going on and our running game suffered for it.

 

I believe with all my heart that the Giants will use their first round pick (there most expensive pick) on a DE, a WR/TE, or an offensive lineman......all because it moves in the direction of our proven winning strategy (highlited above).

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Just to tweak you, Bleedin' :) :

 

http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/giants/boise_back_may_be_big_blue_target_k4zGybehMi7XrC2Y0DCm6L

 

 

 

 

 

Giants could target Boise State RB

 

By PAUL SCHWARTZ

Last Updated: 9:35 AM, April 22, 2012

Posted: 12:29 AM, April 22, 2012

 

 

How would the Eli Manning passing attack look if it was augmented by a Ray Rice clone running the ball down the throats of opposing defenses?

No, this isn’t an exercise in fantasy football daydreaming, it’s a real-life scenario that could play out Thursday night. The Giants, by virtue of their Super Bowl triumph, have the last pick (32nd overall) in the first round of the NFL Draft, and staring back at them when it’s time to select very well might be a player often likened to Rice, the Ravens’ compact and explosive running back.

“I feel like I have similar qualities to a Ray Rice,’’ Doug Martin told The Post. “Everybody compares me to him.’’

martin--300x300.jpg

AP

Doug Martin

It may be dangerous to make such claims, but in this case it hardly is a stretch. Martin was Boise State’s sparkplug back during a career that spawned some truly memorable highlights on that crazy blue field. As the program ascended, so too did Martin, a 5-foot-9, 223-pound dynamo almost universally hailed by scouts to become a rock-solid NFL player for years to come.

Last year, the only running back taken in the first round was Alabama’s Mark Ingram, and a repeat could arise Thursday night, with Ingram’s former Crimson Tide teammate, Trent Richardson, the only back assured of going in the opening round.

“People talk about the running back position being devalued in the NFL, how it’s a passing league and a team isn’t so quick to replace running backs,’’ Martin said. “It’s not what you want to hear, but we’ll see what happens in the draft.”

Martin is widely considered the second-best running back in the draft. He is strong, fast, muscular, able to break off long runs, find the end zone, and he has a polish to his game with an ability as a receiver out of the backfield. Plus, and NFL coaches will love this, he has a willingness and passion for pass-blocking.

Why a running back for the Giants? Brandon Jacobs signed with the 49ers, and the 150 rushing attempts he averaged the past two seasons must be replaced. The candidates on the roster are veteran D.J. Ware, second-year Da’Rel Scott (five NFL carries) and 2011 practice squad member Andre Brown, who if he makes the team will have to sit out the first four regular season games for violating the league’s drug policy.

Factor in that starter Ahmad Bradshaw missed four games last season with a stress fracture in his right foot and runs with screws in both feet to help stabilize the bones.

Martin, born in Oakland, Calif., and raised in Stockton, has no clue where he will end up. The last time the Giants took a running back in the first round was 2000, when they took Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne with the 11th overall pick. That didn’t work out so well, and general manager Jerry Reese may be inclined to add a back later in the draft. If he wants to instantly add a jolt of playmaking to the offense, though, Martin is the guy.

Scouts rave about Martin off the field, calling him “an asset to any team,’’ a “hungry competitor’’ and “an unselfish team player.” His character traits are impeccable, which certainly is a plus in the eyes of the Giants.

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS

NAME: Doug Martin

POSITION, SCHOOL: RB, Boise State

KEY STATS: 43 TDs in three seasons, 2,559 yards past two seasons

WHY GIANTS NEED HIM: Brandon Jacobs is gone from a mostly-anemic 2011 rushing attack that averaged league-worst 89.2 rushing yards per game.

paul.schwartz@nypost.com

 

 

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The reason we are up close to the cap is because we pay 2 running backs? Funny, I thought it was because we focus on resigning our own players, keep depth on the team at as many positions as possible, and already have key pieces in place that we will be paying big numbers to keep on the team. The teams with 20 million under the cap, don't. Hence, our ability to stay competitive and not enter full-fledged REBUILDING, what is what you are describing with your drafts and rants about being up close to the salary cap, like other playoff teams from last year somehow have 40 million in cap space.

 

Oh, and there's the fact we pay FOUR defensive ends starter money. But, no, it's the running back position that just DECIMATES our cap space.

 

Like I said, I could give you one of these articles for every position, including the position you seem to think we're going for. It's asinine to say one way or another what the Giants WON'T pick at #32, lmao! There's going to be first round talent at just about every position.

 

The only thing we know for sure that they won't pick is QB.

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