Forget the usual A,B,C,D, F was of grading the 2011 NFL Draft for the the New York Giants. What General Manager Jerry Reese and the Giants accomplished on Saturday gets a 'V' -- for value.
That is the single word that best describes the New York Giants; 2011 NFL Draft. Almost every pick was a high-value player taken by Reese and the Giants much later than anticipated when the draft began. Let's examine the selections, pick-by pick.
Round 1: Prince Amakumara, CB, Nebraska (selected 19th overall)
Projected: Mocking The Draft, 5th overall; Draft Countdown, 9th overall
Reese said of Amukamara "the guy fell right in our lap." Giants' Director of College Scouting Marc Ross said "it was a shock" three times in describing his reaction to finding Amukamara available to the Giants.
Cornerback was not the Giants' biggest need, but if Amukamara becomes the type of player scouts think he can he will quickly become the best corner the Giants have. The Giants already have two good ones in Terrell Thomas and Corey Webster, but neither is a lock-down type corner. If Amukamara can become one, and many believe he can, the Giants defense got a lot better with this selection.
Round 2: Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina (52nd overall)
Projected: Mocking The Draft, 45th overall; Draft Countdown, 39th overall
Austin would have been a late-first round pick, if not even higher than that, if not for the fact that he was one of the players suspended by North Carolina for the entire 2010 season. If Austin plays to his ability he can be a dominant presence on the interior of the Giants' defensive line.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin admitted that "without a doubt" Austin has had some past issues. "We did a lot of studying on this guy." Coughlin said. There were probably seven or eight of our people at the workout at North Carolina. There were some private interviews. We had a private interview with him at the combine."
Under Reese the Giants have historically been right when they have taken players who fell because of character concerns, the best examples being wide receiver Mario Manningham and running back Ahmad Bradshaw.
Round 3: Jerell Jernigan, WR, Troy (83rd overall)
Projected: Mocking The Draft, 59th; Draft Countdown, 63rd
Some Giants' fans were likely surprised by this pick, since it came at a position where the Giants already appear to have several quality players. The Giants, though, could not pass up the 4.4 speed and the versatility Jernigan offers.
"He's a little guy, but he's extremely fast. He's versatile. He's a wildcat quarterback, slot receiver, returns punts, returns kicks. I think the conference's all-time, all-purpose leader. High school quarterback. You love those types of guys. A great feel for the game," said Ross. "A nice kid who's going to add some speed to our team on offense and special teams."
Round 4: James Brewer, OT, Indians (117th overall)
Projected: Mocking The Draft, 86th; Draft Countdown, 89th
Some analysts believe the Giants waited too long in the draft to address their aging offensive line. A center was believed to be a high priority, but Florida's Mike Pouncey came off the board in the first round before the Giants had a chance to select him, and Penn State's Stefen Wisniewski was taken before the Giants selected in the second round.
Instead, the Giants added another player who had been expected to come off the board earlier than the middle of the fourth round in Brewer, a player who could play either tackle spot eventually.
"Height, weight, speed, offensive tackle. A bit of a late bloomer, but we think he has a tremendous upside," said Reese. "He's a really good athlete. Only had one year of high school football, but he's played a lot of football at Indiana. Long arms, big man. Not as developed as much as you would like for him to be at this point, but this guy's already 323 pounds. He can add 10 to 15 pounds in a blink, we think. With the long arms, he's got 35.5 inch arms, he benched 25 times, which is good, and he ran really fast for a gigantic man like he is. So we think there is a lot of upside with him."
Round 6: Greg Jones, LB, Michigan (185th overall)
Projected: Mocking The Draft, 67th; Draft Countdown, 107th
The Giants finally addressed the linebacker position in the sixth round, getting a player many thought could come off the board as early as the second or third round. The Giants project Jones as a middle linebacker.
"One of the things that the late Tom Boisture taught me is when you scout guys, you respect production," said Reese. "This guy has tons of production. This guy has sacks. He has tons and tons of tackles. He's played at a high level, very instinctive player. Another guy who's going to come in with a chip on his shoulder because I'm pretty sure he feels like he should've been picked a lot higher than where he got picked. He'll come in here with something to prove as well, along with Marvin Austin."
Round 6 (compensatory): Tyler Sash, S, Iowa (198th overall)
Projected: Mocking The Draft, 70th, Draft Countdown, 136th
Sash is another player the Giants felt fortunate to have available to them at this point in the draft.
"Smart player, he came in, he can line up the entire defense. He can put everybody on there and tell you what they should do. You love those kinds of guys," Reese said. "We think he will definitely come in and challenge for a spot back in our secondary, back at one of our safety positions."
Sash would most likely be looked at for the "in the box" role often played by Deon Grant a season ago. Initially, should at least help the Giants on special teams.
Round 6 (compensatory): Jacquain Williams, OLB, South Florida (202nd overall)
This is a player few knew much about. The Giants, though, drafted Jason Pierre-Paul No. 1 out of South Florida a year ago, and while they see Williams as a long-term project they like the potential.
"The guy will strike you, will give us some more speed on our special teams. Junior college kid, so he'll be behind a little bit with regard to high level of play. Came there late, to South Florida, but he got into the mix really quickly there and just took off," Reese said. "A lot of people probably didn't know him. Our scouts really did a good job digging this guy out. We think he can really give us a boost on special teams with his speed while he's learning how to play up here at this level."
Round 7, Da'Rel Scott, RB, Maryland (221st overall)
Projected: Mocking The Draft, 124th; Draft Coiuntdown, unranked
Scott ran a sub-4.4 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine and Reese said the Giants "took a flier" on him because "we thought he was probably more like a middle round pick."
Scott is a 5-foot-11, 211-pound back who can catch the ball and return kicks. If he shows enough he might push D.J. Ware for the third running back spot.
Overall, the Giants did not address every need they had entering the draft. Particularly, they did not come away with a center. They did, however, seemingly come away with a cache of good players.