Team Giants


Special Report

Sent: 05-02-15

Dave Klein was the Giants' beat writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books and he is one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls. Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.


By Dave Klein
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - It is impossible to judge the merits of a draft within the first two-three days. More likely, it all won't come clear for the first two-three years.

And as the nearly-sainted Bill Parcells used to say: "You know that a full 25 percent of kids drafted won't make it to a roster in the NFL."

But the draft is done, for whatever good it has done, and the Giants appear to have come away with what they needed as well as picking talented players in the right rounds.

Day Three started with the fourth round, but they didn't have one of those since it had been included in the deal with Tennessee that brought them the first pick in the second round and perhaps the best player they drafted over the three days, safety Landon Collins of Alabama, who can play free safety, strong safety, box safety and, well, just about anything he's asked.

But in the fifth round they took safety Mykkele Thompson (the spelling is correct) of the University of Texas, who is 6-0 and 200 and started every game as a senior.

In the sixth round they took wide receiver Geremy (spelling is correct) Davis of the University of Connecticut, a 6-3, 215-pounder with size and speed and an ability to play jump ball with cornerbacks and safeties in the end zone.

And finally they loaded up on the offensive line with seventh-round selection Florida State guard-tackle Bobby Hart, 6-4 and 330. He's only 20 years old and according to general manager Jerry Reese, "he has the size and speed and we feel like we picked up a versatile lineman."

And so went the 2015 draft for the Giants.

In the first round, denied the chance to take tackler Brandon Scherff of Iowa when Washington unexpectedly snapped him up in the fifth spot, they took "the strongest kid in the draft," Miami (Fla.) offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, 6-5 and 340.

In the second round, making the trade with Tennessee, they moved to the top of the list and grabbed the 6-0. 230-pound Collins, who is expected to start at one of the safety spots right away.

In the third round they found defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa of UCLA, 6-3 and 270, who was listed as a "sleeper" by at least a dozen scouting services.

There was no fourth round. Thompson, Davis and Hart filled out the rest of the Giants' choices.

"It wasn't hard to see what our intent was," said head coach Tom Coughlin. "We wanted quality and we wanted to go for need. With Thompson, we felt we'd have a pair with Collins. They can both play free and strong and also some nickel. Collins was a great match for us between the need we had at that position and the great player he is. I was anxious for a defensive player there and we made a fair deal with the Titans."

Thompson started every game last season, when he was a senior, and shuttled between free safety and slot cornerback for the Longhorns. The scouting report - painfully honest at times - also says "he is not a strong, wrap-up tackler, but he makes plays against the run along the perimeter. He is also very instinctive and alert even though he doesn't have that explosive closing burst. He will collide with the receiver and try to strip the ball."

Collins, who was recruited by nearly 50 major colleges, narrowed his choices down to LSU (his home is New Orleans) and Alabama and picked the Crimson Tide, much to the consternation of his mother.

"I have a huge chip on my shoulder now," he says, "because I was sure I deserved to be a first round pick and now I am going to prove to all the teams that had the chance to take me but didn't what a mistake they made."

Coughlin smiled when he heard this. "That's what you want in a player," he said. "Determination and a strong streak of competition."

Collins was timed in 4.43 for the 40-yard dash but, oddly, Reese said "he doesn't play that fast."

The Giants spent the rest of Saturday night trying to sign undrafted rookies to free agent contracts, and will bring as many rookies as they can into camp next week, along with those who are "legally" eligible to take part in a rookie tryout session.

Now we wait to see which picks were tinged with genius, which ones will lead to embarrassment and just how many of them will help to improve the Giants.

Check out Dave's website at E-GIANTS where you can subscribe to his newsletters which run much more frequently than what is available here.
- Team Giants

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