The good news for the New York Giants is that the party lasts for months, and they all get raises. The bad news is they’re buried at the bottom of the draft.
The good news for the New York Giants is that the party lasts for months, and they all get raises.
The bad news is they’re buried at the bottom of the draft.
While players sun themselves on islands warmer than Manhattan, scouts grind through the NFL Combine, looking for something that will work after the good stuff is picked over.
But there’s more good news for the Giants: Teams can score from their draft neighborhood, at No. 32 overall in the first round.
The ones that do tend to maintain bully status.
The Colts were stuck at 32 after winning last year’s Super Bowl. Promising wideout Anthony Gonzalez helped them go 13-3 largely without Marvin Harrison.
After the Patriots won their third Super Bowl in 2004, they watched teams drafting ahead of them reach for sizzle. The Jaguars gambled on turning college quarterback Matt Jones into a receiver, picking him 21st. The Packers sought a replacement for Brett Favre, picking Aaron Rodgers at No. 24. The Falcons sought help for Mike Vick, getting wideout Roddy White at No. 27.
A player of substance was there for New England at No. 32. With guard Logan Mankins playing himself into a Pro Bowl, they got back to a Super Bowl. The Ravens won a Super Bowl in the 2000 season. They found a Pro Bowl tight end, Todd Heap, as Round 1 expired.
Not that the last pick of the first round has been hit after hit after hit.
The Giants — and teams drafting in their neighborhood — need only to look around to realize picking last doesn’t mean they can’t find someone who can help them finish first.
Substantial players who remained available at the bottom of the first round and wound up going in Round 2 include:
- 2001: Drew Brees, Chad Johnson, Aaron Schobel, Matt Light.
- 2002: Andre Gurode, LeCharles Bentley, Clinton Portis.
- 2003: Eric Steinbach, Rashean Mathis, Anquan Boldin.
- 2004: Chris Snee, Teddy Lehman, Bob Sanders.
- 2005: Lofa Tatupu, Justin Miller.
- 2006: DeMeco Ryans, Marcus McNeill, Devin Hester.
There’s a trick, of course. The GMs must identify the right face in the crowd before he plays a single NFL down.
But that’s why they make the big bucks.
Where’s the sleeper?
Scouts get to the Combine knowing they might not have it all figured out.
I recall wading through the Combine media zoo in 2005 when some running back were trotted in. A mob fought to get in questions to Maurice Clarett at a podium. Frank Gore was assigned to a table, where anyone who wanted a one-on-one could get one.
Gore seemed amused and took getting ignored like a good sport.
Now, he is the steal of the class of the ’05, in which backs Ronnie Brown, Cadillac Williams and Cedric Benson all were top-five picks.
The catch in drafting Gore was serious knee issues. He healed.
During his coaching stay in Cleveland, Butch Davis was criticized for importing too many of his old Miami Hurricanes. Ironically, Miami was the way to go in the 2002 draft, but instead, he spent a No. 16 overall pick on running back William Green.
He could have had Clinton Portis, who lasted until Round 2. For that matter, Miami superstar safety Ed Reed was there for the taking, too.
Green hasn’t played in the NFL since 2005.
Brian Westbrook was a Round 3 pick in the draft that produced Portis. Willie Parker wasn’t even drafted in 2004.
Dog days at Indy
It’s a small wonder no one in Combine history has talked himself to death.
General managers and scouts can spend five hours a night grinding through 15-minute sit-down interviews with draft prospects.
Between the Senior Bowl and Combine, Ohio State tackle Kirk Barton said, he visited with 30 NFL teams.
Some of the questions run together. Other stand out like a howling animal.
Barton didn’t know how to handle being asked whether he’d be a cat or a dog.
“You wonder if it’s a house cat or a tiger?” he said. “If it’s a tiger, then you’re solid. But a dog can beat a cat.
“I always pick the dog. They’re a little more ferocious of an animal.”
He knew him when
Roy Schuening was slightly puzzled when a man he had seen make so many rocket throws lasted until Round 6 of the 2005 draft.
That won’t happen to Schuening, rated the second-best guard in the ’08 draft. Schuening was a first-year starter in 2004 when Derek Anderson quarterbacked the Beavers.
“He went through a lot in his time at Oregon State,” Schuening told reporters at the Combine. “Just to be able to put that behind him.
“I talk to him every once in a while. I went to his wedding. When he gets back to Oregon.
“He’s a great guy. I liked playing for him. He has all the physical parts of it.”
Back in school
You have to hand it to Butch Davis for cranking out future NFL stars with Hurricane force during his coaching run at Miami.
Consider the final 2007 NFL rank of these former Miami recruits in yards from scrimmage:
- No. 3, Clinton Portis, Redskins, 1,651 yards.
- No. 6, Frank Gore, 49ers, 1,538 yards.
- No. 7, Reggie Wayne, Colts, 1,504 yards.
- No. 11, Willis McGahee, Bills, 1,438 yards.
- No. 13, Edgerrin James, Cardinals, 1,426 yards.
Weigh the Miami fivesome against the mixed bag of colleges producing the other players who ranked in the 2007 top 13:
- Villanova, No. 1 Brian Westbrook, Eagles, 2,104 yards.
- TCU, No. 2 LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers, 1,949 yards.
- Oklahoma, No. 4 Adrian Peterson, Vikings, 1,609 yards.
- Tennessee, No. 5 Jamal Lewis, Browns, 1,552 yards.
- Marshall, No. 8 Randy Moss, Patriots, 1,493 yards.
- Oregon State, No. 9 Chad Johnson, Bengals, 1,487 yards.
- North Carolina, No. 10 Willie Parker, 1,485 yards.
- LSU, No. 12 Joseph Addai, 1,436 yards.
Reach Sports Writer Steve Doerschuk at (330) 580-8347 or e-mail email@example.com