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Special Report

Sent: 05-02-17

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.

(The draft is done, and the staff here at E-GIANTS, traditionally, takes a shot at analysis. So who better to analyze than our Game Tape Analyst, Scott Landstrom? He likes what he saw, is especially impressed by a couple of the newest Giants, and adds yet another dimension to our unmatched draft coverage.)

By Scott Landstrom
Well, Giant Nation - another NFL draft has come and gone, and as usual, there is much to analyze about the players Jerry Reese brought in to the Big Blue locker room. Overall, I like this draft in terms of combining "need" and the hallowed "best player available" concepts, but we won't know for sure until we see them in live action next summer. So let's dive in, shall we?

1st round, 23rd selection: Evan Engram, TE, Mississippi: 6-3, 234:
While Engram doesn't have prototypical size and weight for the tight end position, his amazing 4.42 in the 40 was merely the third fastest in Combine history for a tight end, and only .04 behind Vernon Davis' all-time record of 4.38. In fact, there were only four WIDE RECEIVERS who ran faster than Engram's forty, so given the fact that Davis will be 34 before next season is over, Engram instantly assumes the role of "fastest tight end in the NFL."

His vertical jump, broad jump, and three-cone drill were also in the top-5 at the tight end position, and his 19 reps on the bench press were not bad, so he really jumped off the page with his results at the Combine. Not only does Engram have great measurables, but he merely led the nation in receiving yards for tight ends with 926, and tied for the lead in touchdowns with eight, so he effectively transferred his athletic skills into "production" on the field, with only two tight ends in the country even coming within 200 yards of his receiving total.

He was a four-year starter at Ole Miss, led the nation in average yards per catch at his position his junior season at 17.6, and was named captain of the team his junior and senior years, so Engram has quite the impressive resume of speed, production, and recognized leadership on the team. Obviously, his one major drawback is blocking defensive ends at his size, but Engram does have some "dog" in him, looking at the tape, as he attacks his blocks with gusto, even if sometimes he is outgunned.

Overall, Engram should be viewed more as an "H-back" type who can line up anywhere on the field, and simply cannot be checked by linebackers in coverage, as he is simply too fast for them. With the existing tight ends on the Giants' roster combining for just 7.7 yards per catch, almost a full yard worse than any other team in the NFL, getting this kind of vertical threat at the position is obviously filling a desperate team need.

Knowing Eli Manning has always loved throwing to his tight ends (when they could get open) adds further value to the pick. Combining this kind of weapon with Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Sheppard and Brandon Marshall just might constitute the most challenging quartet in the NFL to cover, or at least the Giants hope so.

2nd round, 55th selection Dalvin Tomlinson, DT, Alabama, 6-3, 312:
Well, let's start with the fact that Tomlinson was rated between the fifth and the seventh best defensive tackle in the draft, depending on which service you prefer. He was a Georgia state champion heavyweight wrestler his junior and senior years in high school, and claims he was undefeated in casual wrestling among the big men at Alabama on the football team.

I have always loved wrestlers as interior defensive linemen, having been one myself, and feel that when they are so much more elite than I was like Tomlinson, they have an accelerated understanding of body leverage and "tipping points" in balance that can greatly help them shed blockers.

Then add the fact that he is a smart enough young man that he had an offer to attend Harvard University coming out of high school, and as you can imagine, with that kind of intellect, he blew his interview sessions away with NFL teams. He is more of a "run-stuffer" than a pass rushing DT, and if you can believe this, the Walter Camp scouting service made the comparison to NFL player Jonathan Hankins, the very man he is expected to replace in the defensive line rotation.

It is worth also noting that Tomlinson made progress as the year went on in terms of his pocket penetrating capability, with all three of his QB sacks coming in the final five games of his career, but the main asset he brings to the team is his ability to tie up blockers and stop the run, just like Hankins did. Tomlinson is a great "character" kid, coming out of the best college program in the nation, so he should compete for significant playing time right out of the chute.

3rd round, 88th selection: Davis Webb, QB, California, 6-5, 229:
Webb comes out of Cal as a one-year starter, but we can forgive that because he transferred from Texas Tech to a Cal team that was quarterbacked by Jared Goff, the first overall selection in last year's NFL draft. Webb possesses a cannon of an arm, as strong as any in this class, and can allegedly throw the ball 75 yards in the air without much difficulty.

He obviously has prototypical height and size, and has an advanced "football IQ" in terms of breaking down tape, running offensive scheme meetings, etc. He can improve his accuracy a bit, and to this end, retained the services of former NFL QB Jim Zorn to help him to improve footwork, throwing mechanics, and taking snaps under center (which he did very little of in Cal's "Air Raid" offense).

Seeing the struggles that Goff had transitioning to the NFL from this hybrid offense, one should not expect Webb to be ready to fill in for Eli (in the event of an injury) for at least half a season, if not a full season of tutelage on playing the NFL schemes of snaps and drop-backs that will be required.

Oh, and Webb merely went to the Senior Bowl after his college career was over and won the MVP award. The last QB to do that was the previous season, and the player's name was Dak Prescott. Just sayin'

4th round, 141st selection: Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson: 6-0, 215:
(Note: this pick was slipped back 10 spots in the draft due to the ridiculous reason that Ben McAdoo used an "illegal" walkie talkie during the Dallas game when his headset went out.

The NFL can just be so pompous and petty at times).

Gallman played for the National Champion Clemson Tigers, and while his sophomore season was outstanding (>1,500 yards rushing), his production dropped 350 yards his final season as Clemson relied increasingly on the emergent QB Deshaun Watson and the passing game during last season (Gallman is coming out for the draft as a red-shirt junior). Still, Gallman had a shade over 3,000 total yards of offense, rushing and receiving, during his last two seasons as a Tiger, which is beyond impressive when playing in the SEC, perennially the best college football conference in the country.

While Gallman's 4.60 clocking in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine is not going to impress anyone for a running back, his 4.28 time in the "20 yard shuffle" was good enough for fifth best at the position, just behind a kid named Christian McCaffrey, so while Gallman does not have great top-end speed, he does has some quickness and suddenness to his game.

With current Giants Paul Perkins and Shane Vereen being of the smaller, faster, shiftier type of running back, Gallman can add some physicality to the position as he joins the rotation at running back for New York next season.

5th round, 167th selection: Avery Moss, DE, Youngstown State: 6-3, 264:
Moss is a physically gifted, but formerly troubled prospect who began his college career at Nebraska, but was suspended in an "indecent exposure" allegation after his sophomore season. Moss' height, weight, his 4.79 forty speed and his 34.5" arms are all prototypical for a 4-3 scheme defensive end.

In his senior season at Youngstown State, Moss dominated the lesser competition, getting 11.0 sacks, 52 tackles, and forcing 4 fumbles. While the rest of his metrics all look good, his 14 reps on the bench press is a bit embarrassing, when you consider this puts him only ahead of Webb among Giant draft choices this year, and well behind Gallman's 21 reps he achieved weighing some 54 pounds lighter than Moss at 210 pounds.

So the plan is certainly for this young man to be introduced to the NFL style weight room, and for him to add about 10-11 pounds of muscle, ending up around 275 as a target weight, and getting that bench up over 20 reps. While the earlier legal troubles caused a big red flag for many teams to have them shy away from Moss, Reese's team interviewed him at length, and believes the young man learned his lesson and is beyond having any kind of wayward behavior encroaching on his NFL career. Only time will tell if they were correct.

6th round, 200th selection: Adam Bisnowaty, OT, Pittsburgh: 6-6, 304:
The Giants felt pretty strongly about the value Bisnowaty represented on the board at pick number 200, because they traded up 10 spots to take him, and gave up their seventh round pick to do so. Bisnowaty was rated by some services as the ninth best offensive tackle in the draft, so to get a kid in the top-10 in his draft class this late in the process is unusual at the tackle position.

Adam is characterized as a "tough-minded, nasty" offensive lineman with a good frame and above-average athleticism. His 33.9-inch arms are another asset that can help fending off speed rushers at the NFL level. His 23 reps on the bench press are about average for the tackle position. Several of the analysts discussed the Giants possibly moving him inside to guard, but that doesn't make sense to me given the team's needs at tackle and the 6-6 stature of the player, which is much more suited to playing outside on the edge than at guard.

So, there you have it, Giant fans. I think the Engram pick really helps the explosiveness of the overall receiver corps, especially given New York's last place finish last year in yards per catch from the tight end position. Tomlinson was a "need" pick after the free agent departure of Hankins who should fit nicely as a run stuffer playing next to "Snacks" Harrison in the middle of the line. Webb was somewhat of a steal in the third round, but is obviously more of a long-term project, converting from the "Air Raid" offense to an NFL offense, and with Manning (other than if injured) most assuredly starting all of this coming season.

Gallman should fit nicely into the rotation at running back, and provide some size and toughness to compliment the smaller shiftier backs the Giants already have. Finally, both Moss and Bisnowaty look like "development projects" with some considerable upside, but we won't know what we really have in them until we get them into camp and see them in pads against live competition.

I remain concerned, however, that Reese did so little to help the offensive line, in particular, and the linebacker corps, but he has a track history on the latter of those, as we all know.

Questions or comments are encouraged, and can be sent to:

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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