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Four Downs: NFC East


Best player available analysis by Sean McCormick



The Giants have gotten more aggressive in recent years about positioning themselves to grab players they like at value, and they continued that trend this year, sliding down seven spots to land Boston College defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka and then trading up in the second round to take Sinorice Moss. Opinions were split on Kiwanuka, whose stock tumbled somewhat after D?Brickashaw Ferguson toyed with him during Senior Bowl week. Kiwanuka has terrific physical tools, but he plays too upright and without leverage. Boston College has a bit of a reputation for not adequately developing its prospects, and it?s likely that a few years with Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora will improve Kiwanuka?s technique tremendously. With Umenyiora and the talented Justin Tuck already on hand to pick up the slack should Strahan start to fade, the Giants didn?t have a pressing need for a pass rusher, but they stuck by their board and took the player who they clearly felt was the best available.


While several of the boards weren?t big on the Kiwanuka pick, they were unanimous in applauding the trade up for Sinorice Moss. Moss is a similar player to his older brother Santana, but his lack of production at the college level makes him a riskier selection. Moss will duke it out with Tim Carter for the right to have Eli Manning point at him in the huddle and say, “You go deep.” He didn?t handle the return duties at Miami, but Moss has the talent to be a quality punt and kickoff returner.


New York continued to find good value with just about every selection; four of their final five picks were steals on at least one of the draft boards. Gerris Wilkerson bounced around between defensive end, middle linebacker and outside linebacker, but with enough reps he could develop into a force on the weakside. Barry Cofield didn?t make many plays at Northwestern, but he can stack at the point of attack. The Giants need bodies along the interior line with the departure of Kendrick Clancy, and Cofield figures to work his way onto the field during run downs. He may even challenge the disappointing William Joseph for a starting spot.


New York may have found some cornerback depth at the bottom of the draft with Maryland?s Gerrick McPhearson. McPhearson?s instincts are suspect but he has great athleticism. He probably won?t amount to more than a nickel or dime back, but with the loss of Will Allen and Will Peterson, the team needs all the depth it can get at the position.


Recent Free Agent Signings

After shopping his services around the league and finding that he wasn’t going to get the $10 million bonus he and his agents were asking for (a situation which, if you are so inclined, you can feel free to refer to as being “Postonized”), LaVar Arrington suddenly decided that he was willing to take a physical with the Giants. When that physical revealed that they’d only have to stuff a $5 million bonus into Arrington’s pockets, the Giants had themselves a new starting outside linebacker.


What’s interesting is that Giants defensive coordinator Tim Lewis is switching Arrington from the weak side to the strong side, feeling he’s a better fit there. Tim Lewis knows more than I do about football. A lot more. That being said, Arrington’s biggest weakness is his propensity to fall for play fakes, something that will only be exacerbated if it results in Jason Witten being open for a 15-yard gain.


The Giants also acquired some veteran depth, adding former Packers center Grey Ruegamer, former starting Giant linebacker Brandon Short — who may take over on the weak side — tight end Boo Williams, and former Bills quarterback Rob Johnson. Right. Read that again. Rob Johnson. The guy who hasn’t been in the league since 2003, when he was one of the 47 quarterbacks who threw passes for the Raiders that year. Rob Johnson has become so irrelevant that an “I’m Feeling Lucky” Google search for Rob Johnson brings up the webpage of Rob Johnson, Ohio’s premier rock guitar instrumentalist. Pro Football Prospectus 2006 features one last reminder of the awful mistake the Bills made by playing Johnson over Doug Flutie, and Johnson has been mostly injured and out of football since then. It is pretty much unfathomable that he got a gig without a Len Pasquarelli/Jason Whitlock Jeff George-level hype job. Maybe he will teach Jared Lorenzen pilates or something.


Undrafted Free Agents to Watch

The Giants only added a couple of undrafted free agents immediately after the draft, one of which was George Mason power forward Jai Lewis. Listed by the Giants at 6′5″, 292, Lewis is being slotted in as a offensive tackle for the time being. A recent glut of signings revealed very few hopefuls for 2006 roster spots but, if you have a moment, pray for the continued success of former Oregon State defensive tackle Sir Henry Anderson. Yes — Sir Henry Anderson. He will compete with Junior Ioane for a role as a backup run-stuffer.

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