Reviewing the Giants top draft picks

Prince Amukamara, right, might be the steal of the draft.

Metro takes a look at the Giants draft and grade how they fared.

Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
Round 1, Pick 19
The scoop: GM Jerry Reese stayed true to his word and picked the best player available after Amukamara, a top-10 prospect, surprisingly fell. “We were really surprised that he was there when we picked,” Reese said.
» Short-term: Terrell Thomas and Corey Webster are still the starters but Prince will definitely see significant action in a variety of packages.
» Long-term: A couple Pro Bowls with Big Blue.

Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina
Round 2, Pick 20
The scoop: D-line wasn’t a top priority after the Giants plucked two such players early in the 2010 draft. Austin, though, has the ideal combination of strength, power and athleticism you don’t often find in the second round.
The prediction:
» Short-term: The Giants are loaded with force up front and are going to wear down teams with a seven-man rotation.
» Long-term: His suspension at UNC was bogus; he’ll be a solid pro.

Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy
Round 3, Pick 19
The scoop: This was another terrific value pick for the Giants, as they grabbed a shifty slot receiver who can separate from coverage. He may struggle early, though, against stiffer competition than he saw at Troy.
The prediction:
» Short-term: It’ll take him a while to crack the WR lineup, but he’ll make his money creating field position in the return game.
» Long-term: Could fit in as a No. 4 receiver if he steps up his route-running.

James Brewer, OT, Indiana
Round 4, Pick 20
The scoop: The 6-foot-6, 323-pound Brewer is a developmental prospect. The Giants needed to retool their aging O-line, and if this Hoosier is too slow to adapt, they may regret not reaching for a more talented tackle earlier.
The prediction:
» Short-term: He’s a healthy body on a unit that was crippled by injuries.
» Long-term: If Will Beatty continues improving at left tackle, the Giants can groom Brewer into a right tackle to run behind.

Greg Jones, ILB, Michigan State
Round 6, Pick 20
The scoop: Jones was a decorated starter at MSU but not the most talented athlete at the middle linebacker position. A high-character, classic overachiever with a non-stop motor, but he fits better in a Tampa-2 scheme.
The prediction:
» Short-term: Tom Coughlin will give him a shot at playing weakside LB.
» Long-term: Even if he develops into a starter, he’s not the much-needed defensive leader the Giants needed.

Tyler Sash, S, Iowa 
Round 6, No. 33
The scoop: Sash is a thumper in the back end of the defense and brings impressive football intelligence, as players coached by Kirk Ferentz usually do. Playing in a pro-style program like Iowa will help Sash’s learning curve and allow him to contribute right away.  
Prediction: He may not crack the starting lineup anytime soon and struggles covering man-to-man but Sash will be a dogged special teams coverage guy and was a steal this late in the draft, as most scouts had him rated as a mid-round prospect. He’ll be a fan favorite at the New Meadowlands with his manic hustle and numbing hits. 

Jacquian Williams, LB, South Florida
Round 6, No. 37
The scoop: He’s light [6-foot-2, 216 pounds] for a linebacker and certainly doesn’t fit the historic mold of G-Men bruisers. When it comes to looking for a place to live, hope he rents and not buys. 
Prediction: This was a throwaway pick since it was compensatory but with someone like decorated Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy still on the board, why not take a flier on him? Eli Manning always plays but the G-Men are thin behind him, unless they feel 33-year-old Sage Rosenfels is a suitable backup.  

Da’Rel Scott, RB, Maryland
Round 7, No. 18
The scoop: Scott won’t be expected to do much with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs in the lineup. But if the Giants lose one of those guys in free agency, the former Terp could be a change-of-pace guy, as he was clocked with a 4.3-second 40-yard dash. 
Prediction: Being realistic, Coughlin won’t be depending on Scott to fill the shoes of either Bradshaw or Jacobs. DJ Ware would be next in line to replace either, so it’ll either be special teams ace or not on the roster at all.

Draft grade: B+

Report card

Jerry Reese said just because this lockout has made the offseason “weird,” his draft philosophy would not change.  

The Giants’ general manager still drafted the “best available player,” regardless of position, not reaching for anyone and actually had the good fortune of having a top-10 pick fall into his lap. Former Nebraska Cornhusker Prince Amukamara was the consensus second-rated cornerback but somehow dropped to the 19th pick.   

Luckily for Reese, Amukamara was both a high value prospect and a need pick.      

“You always need corners and he was the highest-rated player still on our board,” Reese reasoned. “But anytime you can get a corner of his size, speed, and caliber, it is also a need pick.”    

Former North Carolina Tar Heel Marvin Austin wasn’t necessarily a need pick but when the talented defensive tackle unexpectedly dropped to the 52nd pick, Reese had to pull the trigger. 

He rationalized his top two picks as a sign of the times. The NFL has become a passing league, so getting after the passer and stopping receivers has become a premium.  

“You always need corners and you always need pass rushers,” Reese said. “Those two positions you always need on your defense.”  

The patience the Giants showed eventually paid off as they showed what can happen when you stay pat and not mortgage the future to move up in the draft. Two top-rated talents ended up becoming Giants but not before much deliberation. Reese said such fortuity is common in the draft, especially when other teams ahead of them reached for their picks, but said nothing was a ‘slam dunk’ because he had a nagging feeling that maybe other teams knew something they didn’t.     

In the end, however, Reese said he and his staff were “thrilled” to see such talent available.   

“Nothing is ever a slam dunk. We always talk it out [and ask] why is he still up there?  What were the grades on him,” he said. “But everybody made a comment that saw them and they graded out really high.”


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