The first round of the NFL Draft happened last night. Finally.
I often get a lot of requests to show the New York Giants a bit more love on the blog. In an effort to give the people what they want, I’m attempting to oblige. I have no idea how this is going to play out throughout the NFL season, but I figured offering my opinion on the Giants NFL Draft moves, in addition to the Jets, was a great place to start.
With the number 12 pick, the New York Giants selected Odell Beckham, Jr., a wide receiver out of LSU. So here’s the irony in all of this. I hoped the Jets drafted Beckham with their 18th pick. However, the Giants beat us to it. I’m really starting to believe Giants GM, Jerry Reese, has it out for John Idzik, Jets GM, and the Jets. During free agency, the Giants snatched up cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, a player the Jets were eyeing and desperately needed to sign. And now they’ve followed up that move by taking Beckham. Well done, Big Blue.
Like the Jets, the Giants needed to add depth at the wide receiver position. The Giants lost Hakeem Nicks during the offseason and needed to replace him. Expecting Mario Manningham to take on that responsibility is asking too much. With Beckham, the Giants get a speedy receiver, who has great hands, and can also return the ball. Though he’s barely 6’0, he plays big. Also, his versatility makes him attractive and a great addition to the Giants offense. Eli Manning should be happy because it gives him another reliable option, but I’m sure he wishes the Giants took a step toward improving their weak offensive line. Last season, Manning took many a beatings because of the lack of skill upfront. If Manning doesn’t have the proper protection that allows him time to throw the ball, who cares who’s on the receiving end? Victor Cruz isn’t complaining, however, because it takes the pressure off of him to be the main offensive weapon. Odell is very much considered the type of player who can join an offense and immediately make an impact. That’s precisely why I was hoping the Jets picked him.
Idzik was a lot reserved during the free agency frenzy. He remained committed to his strategy of building through the draft. The only BIG splash made was signing running back, Chris Johnson. The Jets also added wide receiver, Eric Decker and quarterback, Michael Vick.
The Jets have a total of 12 draft picks, which affords them tons of flexibility and depth. However, there is risk involved. For instance, seeing all of their top picks disappear from the board can leave them in a mad scramble causing them to lock in on a “nice-to-have” rather than “must-have” player.
I’m unaware if Idzik targeted Beckham initially, but with him unavailable when the Jets were on the clock, all I could think was, please don’t draft Johnny Manziel. Thankfully, like 20 other teams, the Jets passed on him. Manziel was eventually drafted at the 22 spot by the Cleveland Browns.
In a somewhat surprising move, the Jets skewed defensively and took a gamble on safety Calvin Pryor out of Lousiville. It’s not a terrible pick, but I hoped the Jets would’ve prioritized a wide receiver or tight end, two positions in dire need of upgrading. Or, if we were leaning toward a defensive player, we would’ve snatched up a cornerback, another primary need for the team. While we’re still weak at corner, the addition of Pryor does improve our suspect secondary, as well as restore some of the toughness we lost. Pryor is considered a dangerous tackler, ferocious hitter and an “enforcer,” as Rex Ryan described him. Pryor has gone on record as comparing himself to Kam Chancellor, Seattle Seahawks, and Dashon Goldson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, two very physical hard-hitting guys who have been known to catch a fine for going a bit overboard. And if you’re drawing comparisons between two players with Jets history, think more Laron Landry and less Dawon (Landry).
Last year’s safety situation was anything but clutch. Remember, the Jets signed veteran Ed Reed midway during the season because Rex was obsessed with him and Reed was unhappy with the Buccaneers. And, maybe his ballhawk rep was also a factor. As a result, Antonio Allen dropped on the depth chart; and may stay there since Pryor is so highly regarded. Though Pryor gets mixed reviews as a cover safety, the other aspects of his game make him an attractive pickup. After hearing Ryan and other experts discuss Pryor, it became clearer why the Jets drafted him. Also, Idzik served as VP of Football Aministration with the Seattle Seahawks from 2007-2012. He deserves credit for building Seattle’s top-ranked Legion of Boom secondary. Having said that, I approve this pick.
The Jets have 11 picks remaining. The Giants have six. Neither team made predictable additions with their first round picks. The priorities for both teams ( Jets: WR/CB/TE and Giants: OL ) still remain. Let’s hope Reese and Idzik don’t let playing it too cool come back to haunt them in the final two days of the draft.