Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Giants: draft strategy

Ask any Giants fan, NFL analyst/expert or draftnik and the accepted wisdom is that the Giants primary overriding need in the draft is to secure themselves a stud WR. The rumors in the press have been bubbling that the Giants will package some of their picks together and/or a player or two and pull the trigger on a trade for Braylon Edwards with the Browns. I have read some reports in the papers and heard some reports on TV and radio that assert that the deal is all but done. John Clayton of ESPN implied that it was obviously going to get consummated right before the draft. It is possible that the deal or the parameters for the deal are already set and the teams are waiting until draft day to announce it so that other teams in the league will not have advanced information and will not be as prepared themselves for the draft. This is not dissimilar to what happened on draft day in 2004 between the Chargers and Giants in the Rivers-Manning trade. The parameters for the trade were worked out in advance, but it was not executed until that day. I don't think this is the case and I think th chances for an Edwards trade are slight - if I had to handicap it, I would say perhaps 1 in 5.

Let's assume for a moment that the Giants do not trade for Edwards from the Browns. The Giants will still have an opening to fill for a #1 WR and logic would seem to dictate that the Giants should trade up from their 29th slot and nab one of the talented WRs in this year's draft. I am not sure that this would be such a great strategy. Everyone assumes that the Giants do not have a player currently on the team with the talent to become a #1 WR, which is the motivation to step up and draft a star. The other factor to consider about WR rookies is that first year players almost never have a huge impact on their team. In the last 10 years, only 4 WRs have had more than 1,000 receiving yards in their rookie years. If that is the case, with the Giants looking to get a player that can help them as championship contender in 2009, why would they move up to draft a WR? Furthermore, the success rate for first round WRs is even lower than first round qbs, with about 4 in 10 achieving the success expected of a first round pick. If rookie WRs are less productive than they are later in their career, doesn't that bode well for the productivity that the Giants can expect from Hixon in the future. Maybe Hixon can be the go-to playmaker that the Giants need. Hixon, who has been a WR in the NFL for only 1 year and Manningham, who has a year of studying NFL defenses under his belt may emerge as very productive players.

It might be reasonable for the Giants to stay where they are at 29 and take the best athlete available. As George Young used to say: "don't bring your depth chart into the draft room". If Giants move up high enough from 29, they should take a stud LB or LT and add WR talent later in the draft. If they stay put at 29, they should package their picks and move up to get another 2nd round pick rather than keeping all 10 picks. They could even trade some of their low picks this year for higher round picks next year.

It is also possible that the Giants could steal a play making TE in the draft. There are so many possibilities and options, it is difficult to handicap. I don't think that Reese and the Giants will overreact to the loss of Burress. I also don't think they will be desperate and overpay for Boldin or Edwards. My guess is that they want to keep their 1st round pick. If the Browns lower their demands, the Edwards trade might happen. If they don't lower their demands, I have a feeling the Giants will not cave, will stick to their guns (sorry for the gun metaphor, Plax) and will add talent to the team though the draft.

2 comments:

Faisal said...

I think you're absolutely right, Reese & Co. won't overreact, as they shouldn't... great quote from Reese this morning: "There are some nice receivers in this draft. There have been some nice receivers in every draft for me. So I wouldn't say this draft is better than other drafts. (Some stuff about why the Plax/lack of deep-threat WR shouldn't be blown out of proportion) ...What people need to realize is that there are other ways to win football games."

I feel Hixon, Smith and Manningham will be forced to step up and mature into what can be a decent pass game, good enough to ride the shoulders of the powerhouse run game, which was one of the best (if not the best) in the league last season. Offense of line will stay intact, defense will only be better, and hopefully Manning will continue his streak of consistently improving year-after-year.

Ideally, the Giants will bring on Edwards (which I hear is a deal close to being done), but if not, IMO, I think the Giants will adjust well to a lack of a top ten WR.

wolfman said...

Faisal,

good points. I agree.

For a point of view on a realted matter take a look at my last pre-draft post about the logic of an Edwards trade actually happening at the last minute.

-wm

P.S. got your email, thanks. I will definitely act on it.