Thursday, February 26, 2009

Giants off season moves

Draft Strategy
When a team has a bad year and they finish with only a few wins, they will have high draft position in the following year and get a chance to rebuild. But if they are really bad and need to remake the entire roster, do they really want one very high draft choice where they can get a single star player? Would they be better off with several players in the middle or bottom of the first round. This is always the dilemma - trade down to get several picks or draft high and start building your team with that one superstar.

There are other factors involved and there is not one simple binary answer to this question. How good is the team's drafting record and how confident are they that the first round pick will indeed be a star. If you try to pick a star at the top of the draft, invest gobs of money and dedicate a sizable part of your salary cap to him and then he turns out to be a bust, it could set back the team and take several years to recover from that move. In 2004 a sure fire stud OT was coming out of the draft named Robert Gallery. Giants had Kerry Collins at qb behind a weak OL and everyone wanted the Giants to take Gallery and go for another run at the Superbowl with him protecting Collins. We all know what happened: Al Davis grabbed Gallery in the 3rd slot, Giants drafted Phillip Rivers at 4 and pulled off the trade for Eli. Gallery turned out to be a bust and the Raiders have not sniffed the playoffs since then. I don't have to tell you what happened to Eli and the Giants. So fortunes of the team for several years is made on these draft decisions.

If a draft is top heavy with talent but not very deep, the team might keep its high draft choice, but if it is deep and talented, it might strongly consider trading down and acquire several lower picks to fill out the roster with a few players. Parcells was trying to trade his #1 pick last year, but he couldn't find any takers. Instead, the Dolphins kept their 1st rounder, drafted Long, their apparent starting LT for the next several years and won 10 more games this year than last year.

The Giants have a different kind of challenge. They are a good team that has the 29th pick in the first round. They don't need to fill out their team with lots of players, they need to find a star or two to push them over the top. Consequently, it might make sense for the Giants to trade up and have fewer picks higher in the draft. I think the Giants might move up, but I don't think they will go overboard doing this. A lot will depend on how they make out in the FA signing period. If they can upgrade their roster at some key spots before the draft, then they may sit where they are and try to get lots of quality players.

While the Giants are in need of finding a few stars and not in need of a broad upgrade of the foundation of the team, they are nevertheless also in need of upgrading the athleticism at the back end of their roster. The Giants KO coverage was weak this year. Recently, I watched the Giants 2007 playoff games and I realized why the Giants KO coverage was so weak this year. The Giants lost 4 or 5 excellent ST players from 2007 and were weaker in ST coverage on the 2008 roster. In 2007, Domenik Hixon, Corey Webster, David Tyree and Kevin Dockery all played ST and were absolutely great cover guys. They all were either injured (in the case of Tyree) or were elevated to starters and played less ST. Other players departed onto other teams or were cut: Reggie Torbor, Tank Daniels and Geoffrey Pope. All were also very good ST players. Giants need to rebuild the athletes on the end of the roster and if they do, I am confident that Coughlin will coach them up and the KO coverage will return to its previous solid performance.

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