The Friday Five with BBV’s Ed Valentine
During the regular season, my good friend Ed Valentine and I usually exchange a list of five questions that we answer as part of a feature we call “The Friday Five.” Well, the “The Friday Five” makes a special return this week as we count down to the 2011 NFL Draft.
Don’t forget to check out Ed’s questions and my answers, over at Big Blue View.
1. O-line, d-line, linebacker … oh my! So many choices to make in round one, Ed, so tell me… if you were making the call for the Giants at 19, what would you do and why?
I do what the Giants almost always do … take the best football player on the board at that time. If Mike Pouncey, the guard/center from Florida is there, it’s hard to imagine him not being the top guy on the Giants’ board considering their circumstances. I can see defensive tackle, I can see UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers in some circumstances. It seems every mock I get involved in turns out differently. For me, the one constant though is if Pouncey is there the Giants have to take him.
2. I asked this question of my Twitter followers recently, and I’m going to ask you. It seems that every year under Jerry Reese the Giants throw a curve ball, making that one move that leaves the masses screaming, “What the heck?” Give me your best guess as to what you think that move will be and why.
Grabbing cornerback Jimmy Smith of Colorado in Round 1. I’m not advocating it, but it wouldn’t completely stun me, either, and I would understand it. Corey Webster and Terrell Thomas are good players, but neither of them is ‘great.’ Plus, Thomas and Aaron Ross are in the last years of their contracts. The Giants give up too many big plays on the back end of their defense and there are many analysts who think Smith is a top 10 talent. If the Giants are satisfied that the character concerns that have caused Smith to drop are unfounded, why not?
3. Reese mentioned the number of big plays given up on the back end of the defense as an area he wasn’t happy with. If it’s your call, how would you go about fixing that problem?
Well, maybe I sort of just answered it by talking about Jimmy Smith. First and foremost, I don’t want to see Antrel Rolle up at the line of scrimmage. I want him and Kenny Phillips roaming the secondary and making plays, which is what they are good at. That means finding a “box” safety to replace Deon Grant, who it seems is unlikely to stay if someone offers him a starting gig. I think it also means not being afraid to grab a cornerback in the first or second round if there is a guy there the Giants believe in. Terrell Thomas and Corey Webster are good, not great. Anyone who thinks otherwise is using their heart and not their head. There really isn’t another really quality corner on the roster, including Aaron Ross.
4. The general consensus is that the team is in need of another linebacker, but at the same time, people forget about the two kids they drafted last year (Phillip Dillard and Adrian Tracy) and Sintim (who despite not turning that corner, was injured last year). If you’re Jerry Reese, do you stick with what you have at this position and hope that this year Sintim finally earns and keeps the starting SAM spot, or do you scrap everything and start fresh with a rookie?
It all depends on ‘value.’ The Giants keep grabbing mid-to late-round guys– like Tracy and Dillard — and throwing them up against the wall to see if one will stick. I’m tired of that approach. If the right player is available in the first few rounds of the draft the Giants need to jump. The guys I like are Akeem Ayers (UCLA), Mason Foster (Washington), Greg Jones (Michigan State) and K.J. Wright (Mississippi State). Knowing the Giants they might even take a flier on Bruce Carter from North Carolina, even if he has to sit a year to rehab his knee. If the right guy isn’t there early, get Sintim on the field and find out once and for all if he can do the job.
5. Along that same vein, the success of the three-safety package seemed to minimize any concerns they had at linebacker. If you’re the Giants, do you dip back into that three-safety pot again, knowing that the rest of the league will have probably caught up with what you did and adjust accordingly, or do you reinvent the wheel, so to speak?
I think the three-safety package is a staple of a Perry Fewell defense. If I remember correctly he used it in Buffalo. It made sense last season with the personnel the Giants had, and it makes sense with the increased emphasis on the passing game in today’s NFL. It’s said to be a weak safety class, but there are intriguing “box” safeties available. Jaicquan Jarrett (Temple), Deunta Williams (North Carolina) and DeAndre McDaniel (Clemson) are guys who could be targeted in the mid- to late portions of the draft. So, yes, I think we will continue to see the three-safety look from the Giants.