New York Giants 2011 Draft Was Terrific
The New York Giants had some big needs as they entered the 2011 draft, offensive line, linebacker, and running back, to name a few. Did they fill those needs?
At first glance, many would say no. However, the Giants once again stuck to their draft mentality of selecting the best player available. GM Jerry Reese’s strategy may have really worked this year as the Giants appeared to get excellent value for their selections.
When looking at the first two rounds, you see the Giants landed two top tier talents in Prince Amukamara and Marvin Austin. These are players that will come in from day one and compete and possibly earn starting jobs.
Amukamara fell into the Giants lap at 19th overall in the first round. Many believed the cornerback out of Nebraska would be taken in the Top 10. The 2010 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year provides the Giants with depth at an already strong position. He will compete with Aaron Ross, Corey Webster, and Terrell Thomas for playing time.
Austin is one of the most talented players in the draft. The defensive tackles draft stock fell after missing all of last season while suspended from the North Carolina team for violating team rules. Austin was one of the players caught up in the NCAA investigation for improper contact with agents. For the Giants to get a player with sure top ten talent in the second round is great.
The Giants have selected players with character questions in the past and been able to get them on the right path. Mario Manningham is one for example. The wide receiver had some question marks coming out of Michigan but that pick seems to be working out for the G-Men. They now hope Austin’s case was just an issue of a young man making a mistake.
In the third round, the Giants selected Jerrel Jernigan, a wide reciever out of Troy University. Jernigan will bring tremendous speed to the team and help out in a variety of ways.
The biggest way we can expect Jernigan to help the team is in the return game. Returning kicks has been a problem for the recent Giants teams. Jernigan is an accomplished returner, as he averaged 23.6 yards on kickoffs and 12.8 on punt returns in his career at Troy.
The selection of offensive tackle, James Brewer in the fourth round, finally filled a need. Brewer is not the type that will step in and start immediately, but the Giants feel he could develop into a solid NFL player. The 6-6, 323 pound tackle out of Indiana has some injury issues in college but the Giants felt he would be a nice fit for them.
Brewer played both tackles positions throughout his career at Indiana. The Giants feel he has the feet to be a good left tackle in the NFL. This was a developmental pick by the Giants but one which they believe will pay off. Brewer will at least immediately provide depth along the offensive line.
The Giants had three picks in the sixth round. Again the Giants went defense, with all three picks. Two of the three filled some holes at linebacker while the other added more depth to the secondary. With the 185th overall selection, the Giants took Greg Jones, a middle linebacker out of Michigan State. They then took Tyler Sash, a safety from Iowa (198th), and Jacquin Williams, a linebacker out of South Florida (216th).
Jones is an excellent pick, especially in this spot. Many believe Jones was the best inside linebacker in the entire draft but others were concerned about him being undersized for the position. He was a first-team All-American in both 2009 and 2010. There is no denying his production at Michigan State. Jones is a middle linebacker with excellent tackling skills as well as the speed to get to the opposing quarterback.
Despite lacking top speed, Sash is a playmaking safety out of Iowa. In three seasons as a Hawkeye, Sash recorded 217 tackles and 13 interceptions. He has good size and just makes plays. Sash has tremendous ball-hawking skills which make up for his lack of speed and athleticism. He could be an excellent special teams contributor as he loves to throw his body around the field and get after the ball.
Williams is another linebacker that can fly around the field and make plays. At 6-3 and only 216 pounds, he is a bit smaller than most NFL linebackers but he uses his speed and toughness to get to the ball. The Giants believe they have a guy that was under the radar but one that has the potential to develop into a good linebacker.
With their final pick, the Giants added some depth to their backfield by selecting Maryland running back, Da’Rel Scott. Late in the draft, you look for guys that have some intangibles but maybe their numbers were not that impressive or saw a drop off. Scott is a big back with great speed. With his size, you would like to see him run with more power though. He was an east/west runner at Maryland and if he got the edge, it was tough to catch him.
So there you have it, the 2011 New York Giants draft selections. It was a very good draft for the G-Men. Anyone who questions the Giants for not filling needs is off base. Free agency has not started yet so let’s relax on that. The Giants got tremendous talent at bargain spots. They were able to improve their defense and special teams, while adding some needed depth along the offensive line and backfield. The Giants appear to be in good shape as they now wait for free agency to begin, whenever that will be.