Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Opinion

Thanks for all the participation and opinions on the just-concluded draft. I haven't read the newspapers for their letter grades yet. That was done on purpose because I didn't want to be influenced by anything before I wrote this.

A lot of people like to give an immediate analysis of the draft, but as the last Giants GM George Young said many times, you can't judge a draft until three or four years down the road. In most cases, he's right. But there is one sure-fire way to get a grade on this one in a much shorter time frame.

Make something out of Phillip Dillard.

The way I see it, Dillard is the lynchpin to this entire draft. Not Jason Pierre-Paul, not Linval Joseph, not Chad Jones.

Those first through third-rounders are going into units that should already have their starters set. With Pierre-Paul's and Joseph's limited experience against major college competition, each will likely serve in a rotational role up front. And Jones may well make his biggest impact on special teams as Kenny Phillips, Antrel Rolle, and Deon Grant handle the bulk of the safety responsibilities.

But Dillard is a different story. He comes into a middle linebacking situation frought with uncertainty. He, out of all the draft picks, is the one who can make an immediate impact if he can show more than Jonathan Goff, Gerris Wilkinson, or Bryan Kehl in the minicamps and training camps.

He had a checkered career at Nebraska, having 2008 cut short by an ankle injury and suffering a torn ACL that caused him to redshirt his sophomore season. He lost his starting job at the start of 2009. But he regained it, and was said to be responsible for allowing second overall pick Ndamukong Suh to make plays that wouldn't have been made with a middle linebacker who drew less attention than Dillard. And just reading Dillard's quotes, one can see he's got an Antonio Pierce-like chip on his shoulder, which is a good start.

If Dillard can move right into a starting spot and develop himself into a run-stopping, pass-covering leader like Pierce over the next year or two, this entire draft will have been worth it. The Giants have generally had a good track record with those later-round draft picks, so the odds of Dillard succeeding are hardly outrageous. But the 6-foot, 245-pound middle linebacker has to back up his talk on the field now.

If he can do that, you can slap a big, red "A" on Reese's whole draft, regardless of how the others fare.

Agree? Disagree?



  1. AGREE!

    The defense got beat ‘over the middle’ of the field time n time again! (n it wasn’t just poor LB’r play). The DL didn’t come close to the ‘legacy of 2007 SB’ when the front “4″ got pressure n push up the middle -making the LB n DB units automatically better!

    I believe the 2010 Giant Defense will be all about ‘Attack, Attack, Attack.. starting with the front 4 (JPP n Joseph support that in a rotation with Alford, Cofield, Canty, Kiwanuka, Tuck n ‘Osi’)..

    Call it the ‘WAVE ATTACK.. ‘Let the LB Unit attack the run n pass behind the DL (even playing a 4-2-5(DB’s) at time with size n ‘hitters at SS(Jones).. n finally.. let FS (Rolle, Phillips n Grant -Go Get the Ball’)..

    The Giants will give Goff & Dillard a mike in their helmet -call the defensive signals n look for someone to step up the ‘QB role as soon as possible..

    On offense I liked the OL (Petrus) pick n I think it will help the running game. Still concerned about the ‘health’ of our starting RB’s -not counting ‘Brown also coming back from injury and his history in college.

    Hey.. I have n idea.. Maybe coach Fewell has an inside track on bringing Marshan Lynch to the Giants (with his head screwed on straight of course “ready 2 play”)

    Sum it up this way.. ‘I may not have the x’s n o’s exactly right but I believe you will see the Giant Defense of 2010 get back to it’s tradition of ‘Hit n Turn It Over.. like Coach did it in Buffalo but with much better talent!

    PS… Loved the news that DT/Nate Collins (VA) has signed as a FA! (More ‘Pressure from the middle of the D’Line..)

    John M.

  2. If the Giants get their MLB of the future in the fourth round while allowing them to add depth at other positions ( even though they are projects ) would no doubt earn Reese an A grade. Maybe Dillard can be a hybrid, the attitude of Pierce and the on the field presence of a Gary Brackett, that would be a perfect world scenario.

  3. I'm not sure a stud MLB is THAT important for this team. In the SB run of '07 AP's skills were already eroding. That D was great because of pressure on QB and solid play from Robbins/Cofield/Alford. If we can resume great play from D-line, which I think we will, the "weakness" of not having a stud MLB ala Ray Lewis (in his prime) or Patrick Willis will be much less noticed. A healthy Boley and 2nd year Sintim should provide plenty of TE coverage over the middle, in addition to improved safety play. All we need at MLB is a leader who can hit the hell out of RB's. Dillard may just be that guy. Again assuming everyone on D-line is healthy; a big IF, we will be fine.



  4. disagree. The comment that the Giants are generally good with their late round draft picks has to be balanced with how poorly they do with drafting LBs.
    The reason we even need a ILB is because they have failed to have one of their prior late round picks step up and make the position.

    jerry reese is not a top caliber GM and was asleep at the wheel this weekend. Teams moved all around him to get better players, while he stood pat and got nothing.

  5. I posted that the Giants would take one of the ECU defensive lineman, either Ross, Wilson or Joseph. Linval is a strong presence and will make the squad and become a starter before year's end.

    Dillard is not the playmaker that the giants needed.

  6. I have to agree with JoshIL. I just don't think that a MLB is that important to the Giants style of defense. Perhaps our scheme is wrong-headed, but I kind of think that is the case. Much the same can be said about the TE on offense. We never really used Shockey, or now use Boss, the way another team might. That was part of the reason that Shockey (and also Shiancoe) left. Frankly, I kind of think that McClain would have been wasted in NY... the comparisons to Harry Carson absolutely missed the fact that Carson played in a LB-centric 3-4 rather than a DE-centered (and to a lesser extent DT-centered) 4-3. I would have loved McClain, but he would have been a very solid supporting actor rather than a star.

    There is more than one way to skin a cat, and I wouldn't mind helping the MLB with a big run-stuffing DT and hard-hitting safety play vs the run. Perhaps Jones could also give us a bit of size and speed, teaming with Boley, to help against TEs (a la Witten).

  7. "jerry reese is not a top caliber GM and was asleep at the wheel this weekend. Teams moved all around him to get better players, while he stood pat and got nothing."

    That's the ol' fightin' spirit!
    You must be one of those people who makes everyone around them miserable.

  8. I was just thinking that last year's D's apparent coach-confusion, lack of motivational skill, injuries and then having to stick with what we had a slowing, then injured AP, with no chance or less confidence to give 09 LBs much playing time re the D-wreck as it developed in the 2nd half of the season contributed to the compounded decline. It is a "team sport" and when one or two team specialties decline then the wheels come off the whole vehicle faster. Hey, we had our share of Bad Luck as well.
    I also doubt that a new LB from college can step in and make a difference.....hopefully and maybe by late in the season....I would love to eat those words. This will all play out in pre-season and thankfully No Injuries there to further complicate the final rotation. Actually, I am more worried about the health of our running crew and how they will heal & perform.....we didn't have much of a ball control offense re injuries, also too predicable when we had a lead and quickly changed to the pass setting up the run. We need some effective flare passes and screens - If the Vikes trade or cut loose Chester - are we interested? Marshawn also a possible? Don't like to grade a draft, just Pass/Fail for now and "Pass" seems appropriate and then we can truly judge it by season end. How about those crazy Pats-Broncos and Jets - Trade mania....interesting and we'll have to see if Philly also holds onto its 12 draft picks come season opener.

  9. I think that if JPP becomes a consistent 10+ sack a year guy,no one will remember Dillard being drafted this year.

    Games are won and lost at the line. In a 4-3, you need to be able to hold the line against the run and pressure the passer with the front 4. The defensive ends are the playmakers. The Giants won the SB because they had 3 top rushers in Brady's face and he couldn't throw the ball. His receivers became irrelevant on many plays.

    Its all about pressuring or protecting the passer in today's game.

  10. Huh. Well if we landed McClain at #1 I would have been with you Ernie. I hope Dillard is a stud but I'm not sure your fourth rounder makes or breaks you, even at a position of need. There is still time to do something at MLB. As Reese stated, they are still looking at options.

    Let's just get after the passer and take away time from the QB. That cure's a lot of ills.

    Chris B.

  11. "jerry reese is not a top caliber GM and was asleep at the wheel this weekend. Teams moved all around him to get better players, while he stood pat and got nothing."

    Seeing how not a single rookie for any team has played even one down in the NFL as of yet, you know this for a certainty, how? Crystal ball or time machine? Or are you just talking out your a**?

  12. The punter and subsequent story was a real kick in the gut to what we all have to admit was a pretty disappointing weekend for a number of reasons. Feags will be missed as it was a long time between Landeta and him and many forget that.
    All that being said there is now a lot of new, young and promising blood on d and thats all I hoped would be accomplished this offseason. JPP, Linvale Jones and the rest all have a ton of upside, not to mention what came after. I give the Giants a draft grade of B+ w/ a comments section that says Addressed needs and captured upside, opportunities to score more points were missed. Good job!

  13. I mostly agree with Wayno and most others. I think he has a point with the punter. I know Feagles didn't have a good year last year, but remember Brad Maynard and Rodney (Williams?)? They stunk. Hopefully one of these two punters they brought in could be adequate.

    And I agree with most others, while the Giants LBs are weak, in a 4-3 the strength is your line followed by your secondary. At LB as long as they are sure-tacklers and can adequately cover the TE they should be fine.

    Think about it. When the Giants won the SB, they had AP, Kawika Mitchell and Chase Blackburn as their LBs. Not a fearsome threesome at all. The last two years they had Danny Clark at the Sam and he stunk -- and one of those teams went 12-4.

    Even look at the Eagles, when they had really good D's, it was led by their secondary. Trotter was their best LB, and he was good, but far from great. He was just a competent tackler. As long as one of these guys (Dillard, Goff, Gerris) can stay in position and tackle, the Giants should be OK at the LB spot.

    And for the guy who said JR is not a top-notch GM and was asleep at the wheel. Huh? I don't get that comment. He's definitely in the top-10, and what did you want him to do? Give up picks to move up a spot or two to get who? McClain? That would have been half our draft to get him. I thought he stayed pat (good decision) and it seemed to me he got capable athletes.

    I agree with Wayno, probably a B+ and if Dillard becomes a competent starter, hands down, an A.

  14. I don't know how to rate the draft. As you note Ernie, we'll know more in a few years. I do believe this....this projected starting front 7 are stunningly weak against the run. The projected starting LB's are (based on their past performances) as bad as anything the Giant's have had for decades. Now maybe Canty really will improve when he gets healthy, and all the stories coming out of Dallas about why they let him go in the first place will turn out to be bull. Maybe Alford will bring his 300lbs plus frame back from microsurgery. Maybe Boley will finally stay healthy for one season. And maybe Clint S, the latest great hope, will be as good as we are told his is gonna be. Maybe all that and Osi coming back and learning how to stop the run. And then the new players. But in the mean time, I am glad we have the offense we have. And the DB's we have. And Eli...especially Eli.

  15. To the post way above about Chester from Minn being available, do you mean Chester Taylor? I think he left Minnesota and signed with Chicago as a free agent.
    The draft is always fun and unpredictable, it makes one see the uselessness of the mock draft.

    If Sintim become the starter and produces, Barden and Beckum get on the field this year, and Beatty takes over at tackle, then we think that last year's draft was a huge success.

    I do prefer to take players from established programs, LSU, Nebraska, Arkansas...not sure about the ECU kid. What I don't like is that many of these players have had injuries in college...injuries are a huge issue with the Giants..

  16. I dunno Ernie...Dillard could turn out to be a bum and the rest all pros, we just don't know yet.

    I would remind some that not all MLB's need to be tall. Singletary is a perfect example of a player with determination and heart over height. He was passed up in his draft due to "being too small" until the Bears took him. We all know how that worked out.

  17. Actually, I was one of the few that thought that the Giants would take the BPA out of Spiller, McClain, Joe Haden, and Paul-Pierre citing the Raiders, the Seahawks, and the Jaguars as X factors. No one knows how the Raiders will draft and the Seahawks were definitely interested in Spiller with their 2nd 1st round pick. The Jaguars were also very interested in Spiller and would have surely taken McClain if Spiller were gone. What I also thought would happen is the Jaguars taking a chance on Paul-Pierre or Morgan if both Spiller and McClain were gone, but the Jaguars threw a big monkey wrench leaving Paul-Pierre available for the Giants (easy selection to make given how high the Giants had him graded on their draft board).

    The 2nd round pick was a little more surprising, but then again maybe not. Reese indicated that he didn't feel as if the MLB position was as high a priority as everyone else feels, and proved that by leaving Sean Lee on the board and selecting Joseph. I personally feel as if Lamarr Houston would have been the pick, and that his selection prompted them to jump on Joseph who was probably graded very similarly. After Joseph, there was probably very little to differentiate the remaining DT's in the draft, and they were probably right with that thought. After all, a guy like Cam Thomas with a 3rd round grade was selected in the 5th.

    Outside of the OG and P, the other picks were all invitees, so I'm really not surprised by their selection at all. Dillard was brought in to compete with all of the other options we currently have on the roster while Tracy is regarded as a Reggie Torbor (former DE to LB) type of project. Chad Jones may be the hidden gem of the draft as there seems to be a high emphasis on the safety position in regards to Fewell's defensive scheme/system. Although it's hard to confirm w/o seeing the defense on the field, but we may see a defense that features 3 safeties and 2 LB's as supposed to 2 safeties and 3 LB's.

    Overall, like it or not, the Giants seem to have acquired the players they targeted throughout the process.