DB PreviewThe talent available
There are four top calibre CB’s in this draft but after them there is a big drop-off in talent to the 5th best player at the position and after a handful of similar quality players are taken there will then be another drop-off in talent to the next group.
The Giants have a prototype for CB appearing happy to sacrifice a little speed for size to bring in players circa 6’, 200lb’s with long arms who can force turnovers (though of course last year they deviated from that prototype slightly when drafting the incredibly short-armed, INT challenged Prince Amukamara). Similarly at Safety they prefer players to be circa 6’1, 210lb’s with long arms and good tackling skills. What do I think the Giants should do?
Corey Webster is signed through the 2013 season but as he’ll be 32 then he is likely to be in his last contract with the Giants. Re-signing Terrell Thomas meant that the Giants let the Giants allowed Aaron Ross to move in in free agency but coming off a major injury and being susceptible deep prior to it there is no guarantee he’ll be the same player. Last years 1st round draft pick Prince Amukamara missed more than half the season with a broken foot suffered in training camp and did little to impress when he got on the field at the end of it. His foot is still undergoing treatment so may continue to be a problem going forwards as well. Antwaun Molden signed as a free agent. He’ll play in the nickel but is he good enough to be the starter were Thomas and Amukamara unable to go? I’m doubtful. The plethora of youngsters with experience in the dime packages - Michael Coe, Bruce Johnson, Justin Tryon & Brian Witherspoon will be amongst those battling for the 5th & 6th roster spots.
At Safety I thought that Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle performed well throughout the year - most of Rolle’s breakdowns were when playing nickel CB rather than at Safety - but Rolle is expensive on the cap and Phillips is only signed through this season. With veteran Deon Grant seemingly not returning depth is at best unproven, at worse shaky with 2nd year man Tyler Sash one injury away from a starting spot having seen little playing time in the secondary last year. I firmly believe Chad Jones was drafted to play the hybrid S/LB role Grant was employed in but whether he is able to do so now after two years of rehab following his vehicle accident is very questionable.
Unless a talented CB or Safety falls to them as the BPA at a point in the draft they offer such great value they can’t be ignored I doubt the Giants will be investing a draft pick at the position in the first three rounds. However, with the amount of DB’s brought in on visits its unlikely the Giants won’t draft anyone and I’d expect them to draft both a CB and Safety on Saturday.How will things play out on draft day?
The lack of depth means that teams in need of CB’s will consider their acquisition a priority and take them early. I have one CB ranked in my top 5, the next best player inside my top 15 and the fourth best player in the early 20’s. Due specifically to major character concerns I think the third best player drops out of the 1st round to become a bargain for a team atop the 2nd round. I think three will then be drafted from the mid-late part of the 2nd round and another three in the 3rd round but the bargains will be had from the 4th round onwards when all the players are ‘missing something’ in terms of size, speed or ability and the good scouting teams will unearth those that play whilst a dozen get drafted who will never see an NFL field.
Teams in need of CB help include Minnesota, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, St Louis, Carolina, Buffalo, Kansas City, San Diego, Cincinnati, Detroit, New England
At Safety the calibre of player available isn’t good and depth is poor. Due to demand far outstripping the supply the lone top end talent may find himself getting drafted closer to 10th overall than 20th despite the fact the latter is where they should be ranked. There is a hugh drop off to the next best player who I rank at the back end of the 2nd round and then there is another big gap between the 2nd and 3rd ranked players at the position. The talent level is so bad I can’t see any more than 3 or 4 Safeties being taken before Saturday! On the drafts final day teams will be looking for hidden gems amongst the small schools so they can turn the better athletes into NFL playmakers.
Teams in need of Safety help include St. Louis, Washington, Tampa Bay, Dallas, NY Jets, Philadelphia, Baltimore & New England The top prospects
1. CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
(5’11 1/8”, 188lb’s, 4.54 speed, 33 ¼” arms, 34 ½” VJ) – top 5 pick
2. CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
(6’ ½”, 190lb’s, 4.40 speed, 31” arms) – top 15 pick
3. SS Mark Barron, Alabama
(6’1 1/8”, 213lb’s, 33 5/8” arms, 4.56 speed) – top 15 pick
4. CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
(5’10”, 193lb’s, 32”arms, 4.44 speed, 33 1/2” VJ) – is a top 20 talent who is likely to slip into the top of the 2nd round due to substantial character concerns. I can’t imagine he will even be on the Giants draft board.
5. CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
(6’1 5/8”, 186lb’s, 30 5/8”arms, 4.52 speed, 35” VJ) has a strange physical make-up as he’s tall but with fairly short arms and is skinny as a rake. More a ‘lock down corner’ who forces the QB to go the other way or prevents plays than a ‘playmaker’. Willing tackler in the run game who also comes up with some big hits on receivers. Durability may be an issue for him because of his physique. Blows some coverages. Character/intelligence is a concern (caught with marijuana recently but charges were dropped). I have him ranked just outside my top 20 and I’d expect him to be picked around that area too. The Giants have him him in for a private visit to check him out just in case he slips a little further than expected.
6. CB Trumaine Johnson, Montana
(6’1 7/8”, 204lb’s, 33 1/4”arms, 4.59 speed, 35 1/2” VJ) – Mid 2nd round pick
7. FS Harrison Smith, Notre Dame
(6’1 7/8”, 213lbs, 32 5/8” arms, 4.58 speed, 34” VJ) should start quickly in the NFL but I see him more as a ‘steady’ player than an ‘impact’ one. Consistently good tackler both ‘in the box’ and the open field. Good blitzer. Two-time Team Captain. Made a lot of INT’s as a junior and plays the ball well in front of him in the short-intermediate area but doesn’t have great hands. Not a heavy hitter and doesn’t match up well deep in man coverage as he loses position when he has to turn and run or gets anxious and arrives too early at the ball. Fits the Giants prototype for the position to a tee and having played LB for his first two years in college is an excellent fit for the hybrid S/LB role employed to such great effect by Deon Grant the last few years. Interestingly a number of recent mock drafts have him appearing as a Giants selection - some even in the 1st round! I have him ranked as a mid 2nd round pick.
8. CB Josh Robinson, UCF
(5’10 1/8”, 199lb’s, 31 1/4”arms, 4.30 speed, 38 1/2” VJ) – Mid-late 2nd round pick.
9. CB Brandon Boykin, Georgia
(5’9 1/2”, 183lb’s, 31 1/2”arms) – Borderline late 2nd/early 3rd round pick who I would have ranked just outside the 1st round were he not still rehabilitating after fracturing his right leg in the Senior Bowl.
10. CB Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina
(6’ 1/4”, 197lb’s, 32 3/4”arms, 4.62 speed, 33” VJ) comes from a small school but did well enough at the East-West Shrine Bowl to be called up as an injury replacement at the Senior Bowl and looked good there too. Has ball-hawk and kick blocking skills. Character may be an issue as he’s widely seen as cocky but the Giants have checked him out recently and if they don’t see his personality being an issue they may well have a liking for him as he fits the ‘prototype’ pretty well. 3rd round pick.
11. CB Jamell Fleming, Oklahoma
(5’10 5/8”, 206lb’s, 31 1/4”arms, 4.46 speed, 34” VJ) – 3rd round pick
12. CB Casey Heyward, Vanderbilt
(5’11 1/4”, 192lb’s, 30 1/4”arms, 4.53 speed, 34” VJ) – 3rd round pick
13. CB Ron Brooks, LSU
(5’10” 190lb’s, 30 5/8” arms, 4.40 speed, 38” VJ) – 3rd round pick
14. FS George Iloka, Boise State
(6’3 5/8”, 225lb’s, 34 1/2” arms, 4.62 speed, 34 1/2” VJ) – 3rd round pick
15. CB Dwight Bentley, Louisiana-Lafayette
(5’10” 182lb’s, 30 1/4” arms, 4.43 speed, 31 1/2” VJ) – 3rd round pickA few mid & late round gemsCB Shaun Prater, Iowa
(5’10 1/8”, 190lb’s, 4.53 speed) CB Ron Brooks, LSU (5’10” 190lb’s, 30 5/8” arms, 4.40 speed, 38” VJ) – 4th round pickFS Christian Thompson, South Carolina State
(6’ 1/4”, 211lb’s, 31 1/2” arms, 4.46 speed, 31 1/2” VJ) – 4th roundSS Antonio Allen, South Carolina
(6’1 1/2”, 210lb’s, 32 1/2” arms, 4.60 speed, 34” VJ) – 5th roundFS Aaron Henry, Wisconsin
(6’, 208lb’s, 32” arms, 4.55 speed, 39 1/2” VJ) - 5th roundCB Chris Greenwood, Albion MICH
(6’1 1/4”, 193lb’s, 31 5/8” arms, 4.42 speed, 43” VJ) – 5th round SS Kelcie McCray, Arkansas State
(6’1 3/4”, 202lb’s, 32 1/4” arms, 4.55 speed, 30 1/2” VJ) – 6th roundSummary
I think there is little chance that Kirkpatrick is available to us with the 32nd overall pick but if he were there he’d have to be ‘in the mix’ despite greater needs at other positions. I can’t see the Giants trading up for him unless the Doctors are really concerned with the long-term prognosis for Amukamara. I don’t think that Smith ranks nearly high enough to be selected in the 1st round but were he to slip through to 63 he might well be the BPA at that time. Were the Giants to trade out of the 1st round (or trade up a little way in the 2nd) he could well be a player they target. Staying put at the end of the 2nd round were Robinson still available I would hope the Giants consider him as a potential BPA too. As we already know the Giants have an interest in Norman so don’t be surprised if he is in the discussion when the Giants are ‘on the clock’ in the 3rd round. Similarly, I could see Thompson appealing heavily in the 4th round, especially considering the Giants have two selections there and no 5th round pick.