The New York Giants are in the midst of a possible dynasty, with tons of veteran talent and leadership. So as far as their drafts go, they are merely looking for young talent to develop for the future. They do not need their recent (2011 and 2012 in particular) draft picks to take the NFL by storm quickly or be immediate stars, they need them to be patient and wait their turn. Below is an analysis of the Giants 2012 draft.
1.) DAVID WILSON, Running Back (Virginia Tech)
1st Round (32nd Pick Overall)
nalysis: Wilson is an incredible athlete with other-wordly balance. It is hard to knock him off his feet or get a good angle on him due to his fast-out-of-the-chute speed and quickness, as well as his quick cuts and dips. Wilson is the type of running back who isn’t incredibly big at 5 feet 9 and 205 pounds, but who plays as if he has the size of a OTTIS ANDERSON or ROB CARPENTER, who were big backs (especially Anderson). Wilson at Virginia Tech, ran behind an offensive line in 2011 that placed only two players on the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) All-Conference team, with one of them ending up on the honorable mention squad. So that tells you that he didn’t have a great line at VT, but he was still able to lead the league in rushing yards with 1,709 and score nine times. Wilson in the tape that was seen by this writer, had to make a lot of his yards on his own with that speed and God-given balance that he possessed. Wilson deserves to run behind an All-Pro or great offensive line because he plays every down as if it his last. Wilson was the ACC Player of the Year and he deserved it as he carried the Hokies on his back for much of the 2011 season.
Wilson has his faults, but so does any football player. Wilson needs to show that he can be a two-sided running back, meaning that he will have to be a pass catcher in the NFL. At VT, he was totally ignored as a receiver he was ignored, although it wasn’t totally his fault. VT just wanted him to run the ball and create excitement. He needs to realize that he can’t hit home runs every down because NFL defenders won’t have it. He loves to make big plays, which is fine but sometimes he may have to settle for short gains. He isn’t big enough to take a running game on his back like he did at VT, but he can be a star in his own right in the NFL with his skill set.
WHERE HE FITS: In Tom Coughlin’s run as the Giants head coach, he hasn’t had a running back as athletically gifted as Wilson. TIKI BARBER was a heck of a back but Wilson is more explosive and scarier to defend. Wilson will play in 2012 and help the NYG running game as a faster and change of pace back from AHMAD BRADSHAW. Wilson may end up being the Giants’ second leading rusher in 2012, but the Giants do have some veteran backs (three other than Bradshaw) who will have something to say about how many carries Wilson gets this year. Wilson, before he has even played in a game is already the most exciting running back on New York’s roster. But that is just talk he needs to prove it in three months.
2.) REUBEN RANDLE, Wide Receiver (LSU)
2nd Round (63rd Pick)
Analysis: Randle could be one of the big steals of this draft, prefaced with the facts that if he is ready to go as far as knowing what it takes to succeed in the Giants system and that he is physically ready to go. Randle is a talent who, when he catches, likes to either engage in contact or make a defender look silly with his body fakes and feel for open spaces. He also has very long arms. Give Randle credit, he managed to be one of the most visible and highly respected receivers in the Southeastern Conference despite LSU not making anyone afraid of their passing game. For the last three years Randle suited up for the Tigers, they ranked 97th (2009), 107th (2010), and 106th (2011) in passing yards per game, and year after year of injuries, musical chairs, and inconsistency at quarterback. His senior year was his best though, as he aggravated defenses for 53 catches for 917 yards and 8 scores. Randle was seen as an underachiever at LSU even in 2011 which was his best year there. But if LSU had just one quarterback for Randle’s last two years who stayed in the lineup and was a perennial all-league passer, Randle would have been a Top 25 pick in this draft or a late first rounder. Randle is a big guy who isn’t afraid to challenge defenders in the hurt zone, or the area about 5 to 9 yards away from the line of scrimmage where linebackers and safeties put a hurting on receivers and such. Randle doesn’t have elite speed but he has enough speed to get behind a defense and snare a deep touchdown pass or big reception.
WHERE HE FITS: The Giants are super crowded at receiver with some veterans and unproven players. Randle will play this year and could actually be a solid No. 3 or No. 4 receiver if he makes the transition to the NFL faster than expected. Randle has some growing up to do, and it’s a good thing he is critical of himself because he will need that to help him with his development.
3.) JAYRON HOSLEY, Defensive Back (Virginia Tech)
3rd Round (94th Pick)
Analysis: He has a quick backpedal and he can easily move around the field with speed and quickness. Hosley could probably be a heck of a center field free safety but he has too much speed and a quick turn to not give cornerback a try. Also there’s the fact that Hosley is too skinny to play safety anyway. Meanwhile, Hosley is a confident player with range as mentioned before. He can be a man to man cover cornerback or a zone corner. Safeties love corners like Hosley who possess so much speed and confidence that the safeties don’t have to provide constant over the top or deeper coverage. Hosley led the nation in interceptions as a junior with nine, but only had three last year. Part of the reason for his slump in thefts was quarterbacks didn’t test him as much as they did in 2010. Hosley can be a liability versus the run but it’s something he can and must improve on. Giants’ conerbacks can’t just be cover men, they have help versus the run. His game is coverage and range all over the field, not run defense. It would be nice if he could prove that he can be a helpful corner blitzer because he has too much speed not to be given that responsibility.
WHERE HE FITS: Someday Hosley will replace COREY WEBSTER, but 2012 is not that day. Hosley has more athletic ability and big play skills than any cornerback New York has but he is still a work in progress. He will be a sub package or possible starter at corner this year, and the Giants should try him as a return specialist because AARON ROSS (punt return) and WILL BLACKMON (kick return) leave something to be desired.
4.) ADRIEN ROBINSON, Tight End (Cincinnati)
4th Round (127th Pick)
Analysis: For four years Robinson at Cincinnati was seen as an extra body to help block or brought in for certain downs to catch passes. The Bearcats weren’t really concerned about whether he could be a big receiving threat in their offense and to a certain extent he was fortunate to get drafted where he was. Robinson didn’t jump out at you with his skills at Cincinnati to make one say this guy is going to get drafted someday. But the Giants must have been keen or happy about his potential to take him in the fourth round. Robinson never made all-conference at Cincinnati or had more than 174 yards receiving in a season. Not only that, he never caught more than 12 passes in a season, with him having a career high of 4 catches versus Vanderbilt in the Auto Zone Liberty Bowl which was the last game of his career. Robinson wasn’t invited to the 2012 combine and he didn’t really set himself apart from any of the tight ends in 2011. He is not a special player but he can be a decent option at tight end as a receiver and blocker. Robinson does have good hands and receiving skills but at Cincinnati no one cared and he will have to prove that he can be a complementary and helpful receiver in New York. As a blocker he needs to learn how to sustain his blocks and not be too worried about getting a pancake block. He needs to learn when he is down field blocking, how to turn his head side to side to look for blockers to help his running back or receiver gain more yards.
WHERE HE FITS: The Giants have three tight ends on their roster they are going to use extensively in 2012 in TRAVIS BECKUM, MARTELLUS BENNETT, and JAKE BALLARD. Those three are their top tight ends so Robinson must learn from them to help with his game, as well as hope in the future that through his development he can get on the field and steal some passes from them. He is not in those players’ league as of now (and may never be) and so he needs to just learn from them and bide his time.
5.) BRANDON MOSLEY, Offensive Line (Auburn)
4th Round (131st Pick)
Analysis: Mosley started 10 games at right tackle and 3 at left tackle for Auburn this past year. Overall he started 24 games at Auburn from 2010-2011 as a transfer from Coffeyville (Kansas) Community College. Mosley is a natural right tackle but he can play left tackle if it came to that. Mosley has a 8-foot-7-inch broad jump so that means the guy can move around or that he is not just a short area player. On a personal note for him, Mosley can go to his grave and say that he blocked for one of the greatest college football players who ever lived in CAM NEWTON as he did that in 2010. He started 11 games in his first year (2010) at Auburn helping to protect Newton on the latter’s way to the Heisman Trophy. Meanwhile, Mosley may have some trouble early on in his career on handling speed rushers because he is not that fleet of foot. And he is a reactor blocker and at times he waits for the end on his side to come to him. Mosley has talent and hopefully the Giants bring it out of him because he has what it takes to start for them in future.
WHERE HE FITS: Mosley like many of the rookies New York selected in this draft will have to wait his turn for a good while. Mosley can be a starter in this league but it will take preparation and his own talent and development. He will either play on the PAT team to take advantage of his size and blocking skills or be a backup at right tackle in 2012.
6.) MATT MCCANTS, Offensive Line (University of Alabama Birmingham)
6th Round (201st Pick)
Analysis: McCants could be one of the big steals of this draft in time (with coaching, his own skills, and more) but the Giants need to fix him and see if he is a right or left tackle. He plays too high and is too tall to be a guard. He is a limited athlete and he will need time to understand and be able to adjust to the speed of defensive ends in the NFC East. McCants has talent and he could actually start in this league but he needs a lot of work. McCants at UAB could go around the block with an end, meaning that he could fight and athletically stay with an end or outside linebacker all the way until they back up into or get near the quarterback. But the caveat of that is that he needs to learn how to stalemate or shock an end or outside linebacker, so he won’t have to keep moving backwards in his pass protection drops all the way to the quarterback. He can’t let ends or outside backers dictate where he is going. In training camp he will have Giant defensive ends trying to push him into the quarterback ad nauseam, so he must learn how to stop it. He has the athleticism and the size to be a solid right or left tackle but he needs work. He has some long arms and he needs to use those assets to shock or keep ends and outside linebackers at bay or at least to stall them.
WHERE HE FITS: McCants has a ton of other tackles to watch or compete with to make the roster. He needs a year on the practice squad to hone his skills and learn from his superiors or veterans at tackle. Offensive line coaches PAT FLAHERTY and MATT RHULE are charged with seeing if McCants has what it takes to play for the Giants and of course with his development.
7.) MARKUS KUHN, Defensive Line (North Carolina State)
7th Round (239th Pick)
Analysis: Kuhn is a big presence in the middle with some athleticism and nastiness on the side. Kuhn though will have to learn more moves, have better technique, and learn how to better disengage himself from guards and centers. Kuhn is not just a big defensive tackle who just occupies blockers, he likes to disrupt the pocket and make plays on his own or when he’s unblocked. He was third on the Wolfpack in sacks with 4.5 in 2011 which was included in his third-leading 9.5 total tackles for loss. Kuhn as said before is an active defender and it wouldn’t hurt for the Giants to use him in stunts or twists but that is depp in the future. Kuhn already has a nasty streak but it must be more consistent in the NFL, because guards (such as Denver’s ZANE BEADLES and Oakland’s STEFEN WISNIEWSKI) and centers in that league are as cold as an Alaskan winter, they eat soft or non-consistently mean defensive tackles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
WHERE HE FITS: Just about every defensive tackle on the Giants roster has more natural ability than Kuhn does. But he must not let that stop him and plus he is a natural 4-3 defensive tackle and a two-down or less 3-4 defensive tackle. Kuhn needs work, a year on the practice squad, and some good coaching to fulfill his potential. He like Matt McCants, are nowhere near guaranteed to make the Giants 2012 active roster and it won’t be easy for them to make the practice squad either. But they musn’t give up, because both of them do have ability but they could get caught up in a numbers game or the fact that the Giants may not have the patience to see them through their developmental processes.
Matthew Robinson’s 2012 New York Giants Draft Grade: B-