Money Posted February 21, 2006 Share Posted February 21, 2006 02/20/06 Introduction What began as a promising season for our beloved New York Giants ended in a demoralizing disaster. As a result, fans are left with memories of an embarrassing playoff no-show and mandatory speculation regarding future events. Thus, it is officially that time of year ... the time of year where we can forget about last season and focus on improving the Giants, through both the draft and free agency. Both General Manager Ernie Accorsi and Head Coach Tom Coughlin have stipulated that the Giants primary offseason goals include improving team speed, getting younger, and getting healthier. Taking that into consideration, I have developed an offseason plan that I think, if implemented, will make the Giants one of the leading contenders for next year's Super Bowl. Improvement in the NFL is an elusive task. Take a look at the 2005 New York Jets. In 2004, they were one field goal away from advancing to the AFC Championship Game. The following offseason, they seemingly provided adequate replacements for departed players and they added veterans such as Jay Fiedler and Ty Law. The result? 4-12. This type of fluctuation in team success has become standard, thus placing added emphasis on constant self-evaluation and self-improvement. Therefore, in order to facilitate overall improvement for the Giants, I have organized and designed this model: 1. Identify/Discuss/Address Team Needs 2. Identify Returning Assets 3. Identify Departing Assets 4. Identify Free Agent Targets 5. Identify Free Agent Signings 6. Identify Draft Targets 7. Identify Draft Picks (i.e. Mock Draft) 8. Establish Ideal 53-Man Roster Before employing this strategy, it should be noted that my offseason plan is neither what exactly I think will happen, nor is it what exactly I want to happen. Indeed, my plan rests somewhere between those two extremes. Lastly, I referenced the date at the top of this post because this plan is subject to revision. A lot can happen between now and the free agency period: players re-sign, cap casualties, changing market values, etc. Similarly, a lot can happen between now and the draft: an individual player's stock can rise and fall, free agency alters team needs, trades, etc. In the Giants case, for example, Will Peterson's status certainly has major implications on both the draft and free agency. Bottom line, I reserve the right to apply moderate variations to this plan based on any unexpected turn of events. 1. Identify/Discuss/Address Team Needs Primary Needs Cornerback: As one of Will Allen's most dedicated supporters, I would like to see him re-sign with the Giants. However, because the supply of CBs will be scarce (especially if the Buffalo Bills place the Franchise Tag on Nate Clements), Allen's value will almost certainly be inflated. Although I believe there is a stronger chance he stays than most people realize, in the end I see him going to another team with deeper pockets. With Allen a probable departure, that leaves the Giants with Will Peterson, Corey Webster, Curtis Deloatch, and Frank Walker (RFA). Because of a back injury, there is a cloud of doubt surrounding Peterson's future in football. Both Webster and Deloatch are young and talented but inexperienced, while Walker's lack of discipline and football intelligence often compromises his impressive playmaking ability. Altogether, there is very little stability at this position, thus making it a primary need. I would like to see the Giants actively address this need through free agency, because rookie CBs are typically liabilities. Outside Linebacker: Similar to Allen, I anticipate Nick Greisen to walk via free agency. In recent weeks, he has made it abundantly clear that he wants to start and be paid starter's money. While Greisen was very good last year, the Giants have explicitly stated that they intend to improve team speed. With such a stated goal, I highly doubt they will invest significant money in Greisen. The careers of both Barrett Green and Carlos Emmons in New York have been characterized by injuries. Early in 2004, Green demonstrated both speed and playmaking ability, only to have his season derailed by a torn ACL. Complications from surgery ultimately prevented Green from contributing in 2005. After two years, the Giants have gotten very little return on their investment, and Green is scheduled to count $3.025 million against the 2006 cap. The Giants have two options ... 1.) cut Green (and save $1.37 million in cap space), or 2.) restructure his contract and give him another chance. I think the Giants go with option 2; since he is coming off serious injury, Green does not have any leverage in contract negotiations and will probably accept a pay cut in order to stay with the team. He is still young (turns 29 in October) and has shown that he can be a very solid player when he is on the field. Nonetheless, his injury history makes Weakside LB a need position. In Emmons's case, when he has not being missing games due to injury, he has been playing hurt. He will be 33 in September and he is set to count $4.00 million against the 2006 salary cap. His situation is similar to Green in that the Giants would be foolish to pay $4.00 million for a LB who cannot stay healthy. Either releasing him (doing so saves $1.00 million) or attempting to restructure his contract are the only reasonable courses of action. In my estimation, the Giants can keep either Green or Emmons, but they cannot keep both. Although they can save an extra $370,000 by cutting Green, I think it makes more sense to cut Emmons. Simply put, the Giants want to get younger and more athletic, and keeping Barrett Green instead of Carlos Emmons is more conducive to that goal than the alternative. Plus, I am confident in Reggie Torbor's ability to be a plus starter at Strongside LB. I expect Green to restructure, Emmons to be released, and OLB to be addressed in both free agency and the draft. Secondary Needs Safety: At this point, it is safe to say that Brent Alexander will either retire or be released. Although he has been a useful player at times, his glaring lack of speed makes him obvious choice to be replaced. Despite being the Giants most valuable rookie last season, I do not think that James Butler has the quickness or toughness to be the long-term solution at FS. He fits the role of special teamer/back-up/spot-starter/dime safety perfectly, which effectively makes Shaun Williams expendable. Releasing Williams, who has finished each of the last three seasons on IR, will create $3.00 million in cap space. I see both Williams and Alexander leaving, and I would like to see the Giants bring in both a veteran and a Day 1 draft pick to solidify the safety position. Right now, the only fixture is SS Gibril Wilson. Left Offensive Tackle: Because of age, injuries, and penalties, Luke Petitgout is not the long-term solution at LT. Contrary to popular belief, there is no chance that Petitgout gets cut. Why? Because there is no better alternative. No rookie or probable free agent will be better than Petitgout in 2006. If the Giants want to immediately improve their roster, downgrading a position as critical as LT is not the way to go. Even though Petitgout will be here next season, the Giants would be wise to investigate potential future replacements, however, I would prefer to see Bob Whitfield return in 2006 to be Petitgout's back-up. I do not want to see a rookie LT being forced into action when Petitgout inevitably gets injured. I feel that the Giants have the available resources to postpone their search for a new LT another season. Wide Receiver: Behind Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer, there exists a great deal of uncertainty. Tim Carter is a UFA, he has struggled with injuries throughout his pro career, and despite his world-class speed he has not materialized into a legitimate deep threat. Similar to Carter, my close personal friend Jamaar Taylor has been unable to stay healthy, which is unfortunate considering that he has flashed terrific ability when given a chance. After that, the WR position consists of David Tyree and Willie Ponder, both of which almost exclusively contribute on special teams. While Tyree has become an invaluable member of the Giants roster (and a Pro Bowler), Ponder was replaced at KR by Chad Morton. As a result, while Tyree's likelihood of being on next year's roster is the same as Tiki Barber's, I doubt that Ponder makes the final roster. Even Toomer's future is uncertain. Although he had a resurgent season in 2005, 2006 will probably be his last season in New York, unless he restructures his contract. He is set to count $6.375 million against this year's cap, $4.95 million in 2007, and $5.20 million in 2008. Even though I was one of few fans who stood by Amani following 2004, those amounts are too high for a WR of his quality and age. Therefore, finding a future replacement for Toomer is a priority. The Giants will be looking to add a WR who can bring both speed and durability to the position. I would prefer someone who can operate out of the slot and beat defenses after the catch. Such a player would be a fine compliment to Burress, Toomer, and Jeremy Shockey. Defensive Tackle: Negotiations to re-sign Kendrick Clancy have reached an impasse, and I appreciate that Ernie Accorsi will not overpay for marginal talent. If Clancy returns at a reasonable price, then I think he, William Joseph, Fred Robbins, Kenderick Allen, and Damane Duckett will make a credible DT unit in 2006. If he leaves via free agency, then the Giants would be wise to add another DT, either through free agency or the draft, to play the Under Tackle position. In the end, I think the Giants will play hardball with Clancy and bring him back at a reasonable price. Punter: I hope that Jeff Feagles elects to play another season instead of retiring. Since this is supposed to be a comprehensive offseason plan, I will assume that Feagles retires. So, the Giants will need to add another punter, preferably one that can hold for FG attempts. Obviously if Feagles decides not to retire, he will be our Punter next year. Quarterback: Eli Manning is the undisputed starter, but his back-ups leave much to be desired. Tim Hasselbeck is better suited to be a 3rd-string QB than a primary back-up, while Jared Lorenzen is a question mark, especially after declining to play in NFL Europe. I want the Giants to bring in another veteran QB to compete with Hasselbeck and Lorenzen for the back-up spot. 2. Identify Returning Assets *Giants 2006 Free Agent List* Key ERFA = Exclusive Rights Free Agent RFA = Restricted Free Agent UFA = Unrestricted Free Agent Re-sign: - Damane Duckett (ERFA -- tremendous size and ability) - Derrick Ward (ERFA -- decent back-up who is underrated, can return kicks, and contributes on special teams coverage units) - Kenderick Allen (RFA -- similar to Duckett, has played well during spot-duty) - Willie Ponder (RFA -- I say the Giants give him another chance, but I expect him to be among the final cuts) - Visanthe Shiancoe (RFA -- excellent blocker, underutilized in the passing game) - David Tyree (RFA -- needs no introduction) - Frank Walker (RFA -- one last chance under then new Secondary Coach, Pete Guinta) - Kendrick Clancy (UFA -- he is a good fit here and he wants to return ... make it happen) - Tim Hasselbeck (UFA -- decent back-up ... the Giants could do a lot worse than him) - Chad Morton (UFA -- sure-handed with big-play capability and valuable versatility ... should have improved speed and flexibility in '06 because he will be almost two years removed from ACL surgery) - Bob Whitfield (UFA -- veteran who filled in admirably at both LT and RT ... good insurance at the position .. guys like him are often difference in playoff teams and non-playoff teams) 3. Identify Departing Assets Release (Cap Impact) - Brent Alexander (+ $840,000 -- too old and slow ... might retire) - Carlos Emmons (+ $1.00 million -- Giants want to get younger, faster, and healthier, which makes him a possible cap casualty ... Torbor's ascension makes him expendable) - Shaun Williams (+ $3.00 million -- injuries, age, and cap relief all factor into this decision ... a no-brainer) Depart Via Free Agency - Will Allen (UFA -- scarcity of capable free agent CB's will over-inflate his price) - Terrell Buckley (UFA -- might be worth keeping...if it was 2001) - Tim Carter (UFA -- probably best for he and the Giants to part ways, but there may be a small chance he returns) - Mike Cloud (UFA -- depth at RB makes him the odd man out, although he probably will get invited to training camp) - Jay Foreman (UFA -- Giants can do a lot better than him) - Nick Greisen (UFA -- thanks but no thanks ... desire to start prices him out of the Giants range) - Lewis Kelly (UFA -- depth at interior OL [Jason Whittle, Rich Seubert] leaves no room for him) - Kevin Lewis (UFA -- probably returns to training camp, but again gets replaced by younger talent) - Roman Phifer (UFA -- simply does not fit into future plans) * It should be noted that I anticipate several of the aforementioned players to be invited to training camp (i.e. Cloud, Kelly, Lewis, possibly Foreman), but I do not expect any of them to make the final roster, which is why I listed them in this category. 4. Identify Free Agent Targets *The Red Zone's comprehensive list of 2006 NFL free agents* Although the Giants can clear up close to $5.00 million in cap space by releasing Alexander, Emmons, and Williams, they do not have the financial resources to make any major free agent signings comparable to last season. I expect their free agent approach similar to the approach they used in 2004, when they added several moderately priced veterans. That being said, it is important to consider that the competitive nature of the NFL places added pressure and responsibility on teams to find value where other teams do not. Since all teams must operate within the limit of a finite amount of cap dollars, the teams that achieve the most success are the ones that can get the most out of their investments (i.e. Seattle signing Joe Jurevicius off the scrap heap for $700,000 and getting 9 TDs in return). Thus, a recurring theme in this section will be unheralded and/or under appreciated players that could thrive in New York, as well as come at a good price. Please keep in mind the logic I discussed in the Team Needs section. Cornerbacks * I decided to provide a link to each player's ESPN.com profile, in case those of you with ESPN Insider wanted to read their scouting report. Ronde Barber -- As I stated in a thread I made on January 13th, there is a strong chance that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will release Ronde. In the past, they have not been afraid to cut ties with popular players (John Lynch and Warren Sapp, for example), and as I outlined in the earlier thread, Ronde is an ideal cap casualty. As a veteran CB with the ability to tackle, play zone, and make plays on the ball, Ronde would be a tremendous short-term addition for the Giants. Because of his age (turns 31 in April) and connection to the team (twin brother Tiki), he would not be overly expensive. Renaldo Hill -- While he is not on the same level as Ronde, Hill quietly played well for the disaster that was the 2005 Oakland Raiders. He is an underrated corner who has not had much exposure playing his entire career in Arizona and Oakland. Hill does not possess great size or straight-line speed, but he is young (turns 28 in November), has good hands for the INT, and should be relatively cheap since he played for the veteran minimum last year. Deshea Townsend -- Townsend played six years in Pittsburgh under Tim Lewis, the Giants Defensive Coordinator. Similar to Ronde, he is a veteran without great size or straight-line speed. He does bring significant experience and knowledge of Lewis's defensive system. He is not as good at making plays on the ball as Ronde, nor is he as active in run support, but he would still be a decent short-term solution at CB. Because of his age (turns 31 in September) and lack of outstanding physical tools, he too will be inexpensive. Brian Williams -- Since the Minnesota Vikings have given big-time contracts to both Antoine Winfield and Fred Smoot in the past two years, Williams definitely will explore his free agent opportunities. As a bigger corner, he struggles against smaller, quicker WRs. His size and strength, however, enable him to excel against WRs that are bigger and more physical. He has very good ball skills and he is capable in run support, although he at times does not play as physically as his size would suggest. Because he is young (turns 27 in July), he will cost more than Ronde and Townsend; he'll probably be the second most sought after free agent CB, behind Will Allen. Kenny Wright -- Wright played at the veteran minimum for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and he brings both size and physicality to the position. He is very aggressive, and that causes him to play himself out of position at times. He does not possess great ball skills or playmaking ability, but he does well defending bigger WRs in the red zone and he will not be expensive at all. Linebackers Ben Leber -- Back in 2002, Coughlin allegedly saw Leber as a perfect fit in his Jaguars defense. When Leber was taken early in the 3rd round by the San Diego Chargers, Coughlin was not happy (he drafted Akin Ayodele instead). As it turns out, Leber never experienced much success in the Chargers 3-4 scheme, and he was replaced by Shawne Merriman in the middle of the 2005 season. Leber has a ton of athletic ability and could play either OLB position in 4-3; to me, it seems like he was out of place in a 3-4 scheme and that impaired his development. His is still quite young (turns 28 in December) and could bring depth to both OLB positions. In a new scheme, I think this guy could really surprise some people. Bart Scott -- Scott stepped in for an injured Ray Lewis this year for the Baltimore Ravens, and he demonstrated that he can be more than a special teams ace. He has good size and on-field speed (his poor timed speed was part of the reason he went undrafted in 2002), and he has the versatility to play MLB or OLB. With Ray Lewis's future in Baltimore unclear, there is a good chance that Scott gets re-signed by the Ravens. Quarterbacks Shaun Hill -- Of all the guys I am presenting, Hill is probably the most obscure. He has never attempted a pass in the NFL, as he's spent almost all of 4-year career as Minnesota's 3rd-string QB. I recall him being an impressive player at Maryland, and I am surprised he has not been given more opportunities, but I suppose it makes sense since he has been stuck behind Daunte Culpepper and Brad Johnson. He does not possess the long-term upside that Lorenzen has, but would provide solid competition for the 3rd-string spot. Josh McCown -- As I mentioned earlier, Hasselbeck and Lorenzen are ok back-ups, but I think the Giants can do better. Does anyone honestly feel comfortable if either of these guys have to step in for Eli? Although I want the team to re-sign Hasselbeck, I would like to se them explore some other options at QB. With the Arizona Cardinals signing Kurt Warner to a 3-year contract extension, I think that McCown probably walks. He has great physical tools, especially in terms of arm strength and mobility, and he has made some big plays in Arizona. He is definitely worth a look. Safeties Ryan Clark -- I suppose it would be somewhat ironic if Clark made his triumphant return to the Giants after two years with the Washington Redskins. Nonetheless, Clark is a smart safety who is a sound tackler. He is not particularly good in man coverage, even though he played CB early in his career. Although he played Strong Safety for the Skins, I think he has the athleticism to play Free Safety here. Because of the difficult cap situation that the Skins find themselves in, Clark will probably test free agent waters. Chris Hope -- Hope is an emerging player who was a key part of the Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl Defense. He has good size and impressive athleticism, and he demonstrated some ability to make plays on the ball in 2005. He is usually a solid tackler, but he tends to get lazy with his technique. Makes big hits over the middle and can intimidate the opponent. Smart player who was a two-time Academic All-American in college. Played two years under Tim Lewis in Pittsburgh, although Lewis opted to start Brent Alexander ahead of Hope, therefore the Lewis-connection may work against the Giants. I suspect that Hope's role on the Super Bowl Champion will inflate his market value, but at the right price he would be a very solid long-term solution at safety. Marlon McCree -- The name Marlon McCree probably sounds familiar. It is because he has 2 INTs against the Giants in their playoff loss to the Carolina Panthers. McCree was drafted by Coughlin in 2001 (when Coughlin was Jacksonville) and played under him for two years. He is pretty good in coverage and has impressive ball skills, however, he is not much of a force in run support and needs to improve his consistency. Recent reports out of Charlotte indicate that retaining McCree is a priority. Lance Schulters -- Schulters provides both experience and playmaking skills, and while he is advancing in age (turns 31 in May), he showed that he can still be a useful starter in Miami last season. He has had some health problems in the past, but he did play in all 16 games last year, which is a good sign. As a native New Yorker, there is reason to believe that the Giants would be an appealing option to him. Schulters would be an ideal short-term solution, and he could help groom his eventual replacement at FS, whether it is James Butler or a rookie. Good compliment to Wilson. Wide Receivers Corey Bradford -- As many of you recall, the Giants were close to signing Bradford when negotiations with Burress seemingly failed. Bradford is a durable with WR with good deep speed and decent hands. Despite his size, he is not very physical or much of a threat after the catch. For he a veteran, his game still has many rough edges in need of refinement. Antonio Bryant -- Super-talented and very young, but he is a head-case. He has quietly had two very productive seasons in Cleveland, even though he was not getting much help from the QB position. With money tied up in Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow, there is a chance that Bryant walks. Concerns over his character bring up a major red flag, but his talent in undeniable. Another team my be willing to give him starter's money, and Bryant's outburst against Bill Parcells (a good friend of Coughlin) may be enough to discourage the Giants from signing him. If there were not such problems concerning his character, I think Bryant would be a perfect fit as the Giants temporary 3rd WR and Toomer's eventual replacement at flanker. Jabar Gaffney -- Unlike Carter and Taylor, Gaffney brings size, hands, and durability to the WR position. While he does possess great speed, he is a reliable 3rd down target and some who could contribute 40-50 catches annually. The only problem with Gaffney, from the Giants perspective, his skill set does not translate to being a slot receiver/deep threat who can compliment our current set of receivers. Punters Bryan Barker -- Barker is similar to Jeff Feagles in that he is an extremely experienced punter who excels at directional kicking. He no longer has a big leg, and he may be looking to retire in the near future as well (he will be 42 in June). If Feagles does retire, Barker would be a respectable short-term solution. Dave Zastudil -- Zastudil has a tremendous leg, but he struggles at placing the ball inside the 20. He tends to be inconsistent and he has a lot of touchbacks to his name as a result. Zastudil has the ability to be an excellent punter, and he is an experience holder on FG attempts, thus making him an ideal replacement for Feagles. There is a good chance the Ravens re-sign him. 5. Identify Free Agent Signings Name, Position, Age (as of 09/07/06) - Ronde Barber, CB, 31 - Jabar Gaffney, WR, 25 - Ben Leber, LB, 27 - Josh McCown, QB, 27 - Lance Schulters, FS, 31 - Dave Zastudil, P, 27 6. Identify Draft Targets I decided that the best way to introduce specific draft targets is to categorize players by round. With each player, I included a link to his NFL Draft Countdown profile (I consider NFL Draft Countdown to be one of the best free draft websites, plus every profile links to a player's official bio), as well as a a brief comment about why I feel he would be a valuable addition. To be clear, I will only include players that I expect to be available or, at worst, taken a few spots ahead of the Giants. Personally, I would like to the see the Giants trade down and capitalize on the exceptional depth this draft class has to offer. On a related note, I dislike the idea of trading up under most circumstances. There are only two players in this draft that I would endorse trading up to get: D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Haloti Ngata. Other than that, I would prefer staying put or trading down. For the time being, I will structure a basic mock draft (devoid of any trades) because of the logical pitfalls inherent in anticipating or proposing trades. Finally, before I discuss the draft, I want to share some of my favorite draft sites: - The Huddle Report - NFL Draft Countdown - NFL Draft Scout Round 1 Brodrick Bunkley, DT, Florida State -- I am a firm believer that DT is the most important defensive position, and if Clancy leaves via free agency, Bunkley would be a great replacement. Bunkley has tremendous quickness and excels at penetrating. His skills translate well to the under tackle position in a one-gap scheme such as the Giants. Similar player to Clancy but has better size, athleticism, and upside. Antonio Cromartie, CB, Florida State -- Talented corner with great size and excellent athleticism. Sat out 2005 with an ACL injury, which hurts his value ... likely would have been a top 10 pick if he played this season. Very good playmaking ability and impressive fluidity for a guy of his height. Would fit in with the Giants recent trend of drafting players who slid on draft day because of injuries (Corey Webster, Justin Tuck). D'Qwell Jackson, LB, Maryland -- Awesome college Linebacker with top-notch intangibles ... a leader the minute he steps on the field. Has the ability to play MLB or WLB at the next level, although some teams may view him exclusively as a MLB. Does not have great size and probably will not have impressive timed speed in workouts, but outside of AJ Hawk, I think he is the best LB in the draft. DeMeco Ryans, OLB, Alabama -- Somewhat undersized and probably will not have great numbers at the combine. Great intangibles and instincts ... simply an outstanding football player, very similar to Jackson. Will probably fall to the latter part of Round 1 because he lacks great measurables. Ko Simpson, FS, South Carolina -- Terrific all-around safety with loads of potential. Only played two full years of college football, but has been immensely successful. I would love to land him at pick 25. Ernie Sims, OLB, Florida State -- Sims is an undersized but electric playmaker with outstanding speed and instincts. A very similar prospect to Derrick Brooks (who was drafted 28th overall). Probably will not last until pick 56, and he will likely work his way into 1st round consideration with impressive workout numbers. Would definitely be a steal in the 2nd round, however, I think he has to be in the 1st round discussion. Round 2 Jason Allen, CB/FS, Tennessee -- Experienced, versatile safety with the ability to play corner. Somewhat of a safety/corner 'tweener ... does not possess great speed, nor is he particular physical. If he entered the draft last year, he would have been a 1st round pick, but an October hip injury will likely cause him to slip to Round 2. Thomas Howard, OLB, UTEP -- Outstanding physical tools but does not have the same instincts that Jackson and Ryans have, which is why is see Howard as a 2nd round pick. Has a good work ethic and appears to be coachable, although he will need time to develop before he can make an impact ... would be a great special teams player in the interim. Some team may fall in love with his physical tools and take him late in the 1st round or early in the second round. True workout warrior in every sense of the word. Jonathan Joseph, CB, South Carolina -- This kid can really fly; he has reportedly been running in the low-4.2s at the Parisi Speed Camp. His game still needs a lot of polish, but his natural ability just screams of upside. The only criticism of him pertains to his lack of experience and refinement. Last year, Fabian Washington managed to sprint his way into the 1st round with a 4.29 40-time, so there is a good chance that Joseph increases his stock in similar fashion. Hopefully the depth at CB in this draft pushes Joseph to pick 56. Jesse Mahelona, DT, Tennessee -- Mahelona is a prototypical one-gap DT who has the talent to be a dominant disruptive forced. Does not have great size, but makes up for it with excellent quickness and leverage. Struggled with inconsistency while at Tennessee. Another guy who would be a good fit as under tackle (if Clancy leaves) in Lewis's scheme. Richard Marshall, CB, Fresno State -- Marshall has already become a popular name among Giants fans. Although his game is still very raw, he combines great athleticism with uncanny playmaking ability and natural cover skills. He would be an ideal developmental corner, however, if any team enters the 2006 season with him as one their top three CBs, they will be in trouble. Sinorice Moss, WR, Miami -- Despite his lack of size, he would be the perfect compliment to Burress, Toomer, and Shockey. He possesses incredible explosiveness and he is dynamite in the open field. Ideal slot receiver with ability to be a legitimate deep threat. Was not productive at Miami, primarily due to erratic QB play. Really flashed during the Senior Bowl against top competition, and the success of smaller receivers like Santana Moss and Steve Smith may inflate his value. Similar prospect (slightly better) to Miami's Roscoe Parrish, who went 72nd overall in the 2005 draft. Donte Whitner, FS, Ohio State -- All this guy does is fly around and make plays. Former corner with great speed, athleticism, and ball skills for the safety position. He does not have great size, but I would not describe his size as a defeciency, especially since he is a sure-tackler and a force in run support. Has the versatility to play both CB and either safety position in the NFL, but I see his future at FS. Alan Zemaitis, CB/FS, Penn State -- Played corner in college, but I think he projects to FS at the pro level. He is natural in coverage and he is an aggressive tackler in run support. He has very good ball skills, and he would be useful against bigger WRs in the red zone. Does not have great athleticism, but he does have great intangibles and leadership qualities. Round 3 Jonathan Lewis, DT, Virginia Tech -- Yet another undersized interior defensive lineman with great ability to penetrate (notice a trend?). His size is a concern, and he really struggles in the running game against massive interior lineman. May need time to develop his lower body strength, but you cannot teach his explosion off of the snap or knack for making plays in the opponents backfield. Roman Harper, FS, Alabama -- Quality all-around safety who exemplifies consistency and leadership. Does not have great measurables, but he is very physical despite possessing average size for the safety position. Very smart, experienced, and has a nose for the ball. His lack of great speed may discourage the Giants, although I think that any team that employs Antonio Pierce will absolutely love what Harper brings to the table. Rocky McIntosh, OLB, Miami -- Another product in a long line of super-athletic Miami LBs. For a WLB, he has the complete package physically, but he struggled with inconsistency and durability. McInotsh is smart and disciplined with good tackling technique and the athleticism to develop into a good coverage LB. Has the versatility to play MLB or OLB at the pro level, but so far his physical ability has exceeded his production. With good coaching, I think he could develop into a Pro Bowl caliber WLB. Anwar Phillips, CB, Penn State -- Was a key player on one of the top defenses in college football last season. Good height, but he definitely needs to add some weight in order to endure a 16-game season. Has great hands and makes a lot of tough INTs ... willing in run support. Good but not great speed, and prone to inconsistency, despite his experience. Anthony Smith, FS, Syracuse -- Similar player to Harper in that he does not have ideal measurables, yet he simply makes plays on the football field. Another smart, tough, versatile player with commendable intangibles and very little downside. Tremendous special teams player (shined in this department at the Senior Bowl) ... tied for first on SU’s record list for blocked kicks in a career (5) and in a season (3) with the Giants David Tyree. Might not have the ability to be a top-notch safety at the pro level, but will be very reliable and, worst case scenario, be a valuable back-up. Travis Williams, OLB, Auburn -- Great football player with outstanding toughness and aggression. Although vastly undersized, he has the type of instincts and intangibles (another trend in the prospects I've listed) that are a rarity. Probably had the most impressive performance of all LBs at the Senior Bowl, which is saying something. Realistically, he has the base to bulk to about 225 pounds, give or take, which means he would probably need a year in an NFL weight-training program before he would be ready to start. Will be an impact special teams performer from the minute he arrives at training camp. I truly believe that if he were 6'2, 230, he would be a 1st round pick ... his stock is steadily rising. Round 4 Will Blackmon, CB, Boston College -- Blackmon's future in the NFL is somewhat of an unknown because of indecision over his position. He originally played CB in college, but switched to WR in 2005. At the Senior Bowl, he played CB, but recently it has been reported that he is now considering trying out at WR. I see him as a CB in the NFL. Good size, great athleticism, and great hands (he was a WR) ... he also was a great KR/PR at BC. He would be a developmental guy, but I think his playmaking ability, impressive character, and Coughlin's connection to BC definitely places Blackmon on the Giants radar. Skyler Green, WR, Louisiana State -- Smaller WR with great quickness and special teams ability. Somewhat of an underachiever at LSU, but word out of the Senior Bowl was that he was the most difficult WR to cover. Would be a nice fit as the Giants slot WR. Marcus Hudson, CB/FS, North Carolina State -- Good athlete with size and terrific ball skills. Is prone to mental mistakes, which is problematic because he does not have the pure athleticism to compensate for such mistakes. Coughlin reportedly showed great interest in Hudson at the Senior Bowl, which is why I included him here. Brandon Johnson, OLB, Louisville -- Very underrated prospect with excellent athleticism and decent instincts. Was not very productive in college, so he is more of a developmental prospect. As of right now, he is very undersized, despite his height. Reportedly is consistently running in the 4.4s at the Parisi Speed Camp while weighing 224 pounds. If he performs well in workouts, he may be get drafted on Day One. His stock is rising, and he may earn a spot in the Round 3 (or possibly even Round 2) category following both the Combine and Louisville's Pro Day. Montavious Stanley, DT, Louisville -- Underrated prospect with great size, strength, and leteral mobility. Has good quickness off the snap and knows how to use his hands to shed blockers. Perhaps a bit of an underachiever at Louisville (although he was productive), but I think his presence was a major reason why Elvis Dumervil accumulated 20.5 sacks in 2005. Would be an absolute steal on Day Two. 7. Identify Draft Picks (i.e. Mock Draft) Round. Player, Position, College 1. Antonio Cromartie, CB, Florida State 2. Donte Whitner, FS, Ohio State 3. Rocky McIntosh, OLB, Miami 4. Brandon Johnson, OLB, Louisville 8. Establish Ideal 53-Man Roster Quarterback (3) -- Eli Manning, Josh McCown, Tim Hasselbeck Running Back (5) -- Tiki Barber, Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward, Chad Morton, Jim Finn (FB) Wide Receiver (5) -- Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, Jabar Gaffney, Jamaar Taylor, David Tyree Tight End (3) -- Jeremy Shockey, Visanthe Shiancoe, Sean Berton Offensive Tackle (3) -- Luke Petitgout, Kareem McKenzie, Bob Whitfield Offensive Guard (3) -- David Diehl, Chris Snee, Rich Seubert Offensive Center (2) -- Shaun O'Hara, Jason Whittle Defensive Tackle (5) -- William Joseph, Kendrick Clancy, Fred Robbins, Kenderick Allen, Damane Duckett Defensive End (4) -- Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, Eric Moore Inside Linebacker (2) -- Antonio Pierce, Chase Blackburn Outside Linebacker (5) -- Barrett Green, Reggie Torbor, Rocky McIntosh*, Ben Leber, Brandon Johnson* Cornerback (6) -- Ronde Barber, Will Peterson, Corey Webster, Antonio Cromartie* Curtis Deloatch, Frank Walker Safety (4) -- Gibril Wilson, Lance Schulters, James Butler, Donte Whitner* Specialists (3) -- Jay Feely, Dave Zastudil, Ryan Kuehl *Denotes Rookie Concluding Thoughts I do not have much else to add, and I apologize for the marathon-nature of this post. Please keep in mind that I wanted to be as comprehensive and detailed as possible, and the final product ended up being almost 16-pages in a Word document ... single-spaced! Also, I do not want anyone to take my word as gold; I am wrong quite often, so do not be afraid to offer contrustive criticisms or countering arguments. I tried to offer as much explantion as possible, but I did not justify certain decisions, particularly regarding the draft (i.e. who to take vs. who not to take, the process of elimination involved in the decision-making, the logic behind each pick). If asked or argued against, I will gladly offer further clarification on anything. All that I ask in return is that everyone who reads this takes into consideration that I put a ton of time into designing this offseason plan ... so please do not vilify me for spelling errors or minor grammatical errors. That's all that I've got. I sincerely hope you enjoyed it. If anyone would like, I would be happy to open up a complimentary Q & A session... Go Giants! © Money Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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