|Winning Super Bowl means Giants got last pick of draft|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 28 April 2008 10:45|
``It is hard picking down at the bottom,'' the Giants' general manager said after concluding the 2008 draft Sunday.
``It is a great thing to be picking down at the bottom, but it is just painful to sit there and see so many good players come off the board right before your eyes. And some guys you have targeted and you see them go a couple of picks before you pick. So it is hard to do that, but it is a good problem to have.''
Don't feel sorry for Reese. Just chuckle at his remarks and wonder at some of the strange things that happened in this weekend's NFL draft. Sorry, no grades. No ``winners and losers.'' That's for three years down the line, when people will have a much better idea who won and who lost.
The best way to do that will be to check the 2010 standings. Just like the best way to evaluate 2005 is to check the standings. Guess what? The Giants won the Super Bowl and get an ``A'' for a somewhat short 2005 draft. They had four picks and got three starters: CB Corey Webster, 2nd round; DL Justin Tuck (3), and RB Brandon Jacobs (4).
There was another chuckle from the Giants' camp. It came when their first-round pick, safety Kenny Phillips, was asked about coach Tom Coughlin, who despite a softer approach last season still has an image of a stern taskmaster.
``Seeing him on TV, he seems like a real cool guy; a really nice guy,'' Phillips said.
Not the same Coughlin most folks see.
NOT AGAIN ...: Cincinnati's fifth-round pick was defensive tackle Jason Shirley, who missed most of his final season at Fresno State.
He was suspended for the first two games last season for violating a team rule. He played in three games, then was suspended again after he allegedly crashed a car into an apartment complex and fled the scene.
Other teams have taken guys in trouble and succeeded: Ahmad Bradshaw of the Giants and Ed Johnson of the Colts (who went undrafted) are two examples from last year.
But the Bengals, who have become the poster team for troubled players, raised everyone's eyebrows by dipping for Shirley into the troubled waters that brought them the likes of Odell Thurman and Chris Henry.
``This is a little bit of a risk, yes,'' coach Marvin Lewis acknowledged.
``But there's a lot of guys who have gone over the last two days with more substantial things hanging over their heads. At this point in the draft, we felt like his ability and potential and what was pending and so forth, that we were able to deal with it.''
We've heard that before from Lewis and the Bengals, who are on a short leash with troubled players.
Other teams get the benefit of the doubt.
The Giants, who have been successful with other troubled players, had no off-field problems with Bradshaw. On Sunday, they took Mario Manningham, a potential first-round wide receiver who fell to the third round in part because he didn't tell the truth to interviewers about having used marijuana. Reese and coach Tom Coughlin said they had done extensive homework on him, including assurances from contacts at Michigan that he'd be OK.
Philadelphia used a fourth-round pick on Wisconsin cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu, who with his twin brother was arrested on charges of residential burglary and criminal trespassing in November 2006. Also, he tore two ligaments working out in January and is unlikely to play until 2009.
``Obviously I did my homework on that,'' Eagles coach Andy Reid said of the arrest. ``We feel as though that will pass.''
Ikegwuonu, who like Manningham was considered potential first-round talent, wasn't sure he'd be drafted at all, especially since he'll miss a year.
``I was trying to go into this weekend as optimistic as much as I could. I have good people around me, so they kept my head up and I was just hoping for the best, but expecting the worst,'' he said.
``It's tough to hear that you have character issues and stuff like that. I had never been in trouble with the law my entire life besides that one incident. So, it's tough to hear that. But, most people that have gotten to know me and that have been around me my entire life know that I am not a troublemaker. I am a hard working kid and that I am just a happy-go-lucky kind of guy.''
GUARANTEED FOR 1,000: Ryan Torain, a running back from Arizona State, was a fifth-round pick by Denver. He probably has as good a chance for a big year as a rookie as Darren McFadden, Jonathan Stewart, Rashard Mendenhall, Felix Jones and Chris Johnson, the running backs taken in the first round.
Because, whatever their other draft errors (many in recent years), the Broncos almost always come up with a late-round or free-agent running back who puts up four-figure rushing yards for a year or two before another late-rounder takes over.
``He is a guy that I am very high on and was hoping would be there somewhere in the fourth or fifth round. We felt very fortunate to get him,'' said Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who also took a fullback to block for him, seventh-rounder Peyton Hillis, who played with McFadden and Jones at Arkansas.
CHASING A QB: Baltimore, which picked eighth overall, tried to get to the top of the first round to take Matt Ryan, the draft's top QB. The Ravens couldn't, so they went down to 26, where they could get Chad Henne or Joe Flacco in an attempt to finally get a solid performer at a position that's been a problem since they moved from Cleveland in 1996.
Then they moved back up to 18 and took Flacco.
The question is why. Or at least why they went down and then up.
Flacco is a hometown pick of sorts - he played at Delaware. And he was a whiz at the scouting combine, showing the strongest arm of any of the QBs. Moreover, it's hard to question the judgment of Ozzie Newsome, whose drafting record (other than at quarterback) is one of the best.
But most scouts agree Flacco will need time to straighten out his footwork and get used to moving from Division I-AA to the NFL - he transferred to Delaware from Pitt after he couldn't beat out Tyler Palko, now a backup in New Orleans. Henne, who played at Michigan, was considered more NFL-ready but ended up falling to 57th overall, which means the Ravens could have filled other needs and still gotten him.
But that's a ``wait three years'' (or four or five) issue. If Flacco works out and Henne does, too, the Ravens will have no regrets. If Henne is better than Flacco, Ravens fans might blame Cam Cameron, the one-year Miami coach who now is Baltimore's offensive coordinator.
``He's a perfect fit for what we want to do,'' Cameron said of Flacco. ``Here's a guy that has a gift to throw the football, a gift for throwing it quickly and accurately. This kid is going to develop and get better and better.''
BILL'S KIND OF GUY: New England's fifth-round pick was Matt Slater, a ``wide receiver'' from UCLA and the son of Hall of Fame offensive tackle Jackie Slater.
Not so fast on that receiver part, especially from a team that routinely uses linebacker Mike Vrabel as a tight end on the goal line, used receiver Troy Brown at cornerback and uses other players on offense, defense and special teams.
``He has played on both sides of the ball so we will have to see how that goes,'' coach Bill Belichick said of Slater. ``We listed him as a wide receiver but that may or may not end up being the way it is. We just have to see how it is.''