Grading The Giants' 2014 Draft Picks
The New York Giants had more than a few surprises up their sleeve last weekend as the 2014 NFL draft unfolded at Radio City Music Hall. With a total of seven picks over the course of the three-day event, the team managed to address a few areas of concern, while completely ignoring others. Here’s how their picks turned out:
Odell Beckham, Jr. – WR, LSU (First Round)
While it was largely uncertain who the Giants would target with their first round pick in the days and weeks leading up to the draft, by the time the Giants were on the clock with the 12th overall pick, the consensus seemed to be that they would be choosing between Notre Dame OT Zack Martin and LSU WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Although the team doesn’t have an immediate need at the wide receiver position, they do have a hole there with the loss of Hakeem Nicks in free agency. And as everyone knows by now, Jerry Reese likes to draft the best available player. Drafting Martin would have been a great help for a weakened offensive line that was plagued with injuries last season, but the Giants surprised many people by selecting Beckham Jr., a speedy, undersized receiver with a similar skillset to that of Victor Cruz. However, the Giants plan on utilizing Beckham by lining him up on the outside, not the slot, where Cruz normally operates out of.
Was it the most sensible pick? Probably not based on how many other, more pressing, areas of need the Giants have still yet to address. However, the team drafted an offensive lineman in the first round last season and could certainly benefit from a bit more speed on offense.
Weston Richburg, G, Colorado State (Second Round)
This may have been the Giants most underrated and important pick of the draft. Addressing an immediate need at the center position now that David Baas is but a distant memory, the Giants turned to a young, talented center from Colorado State with the 11th pick in the second round.
Richburg played multiple positions on the offensive line at CSU, in a variety of different offensive schemes. His flexibility, versatility and athleticism will bode well for the Giants, who are gradually beginning to rebuild their ailing offensive line piece by piece.
Jay Bromley, DT, Syracuse (Third Round)
The Giants surprised a lot of people with this head-scratcher of a third round pick. While Bromley recorded 10 sacks as an interior lineman in his senior season at Syracuse, most analysts did not project him to go any earlier than the fifth or sixth round.
Reese has a tendency to go a little overboard on the defensive linemen when the draft rolls around, but this pick may have been a bit of a reach, even considering his track record. Bromley will add some size and depth to the line, but the Giants may have been better off addressing a more pressing need — like the TE position — in the third round.
Andre Williams, RB, Boston College (Fourth Round)
The flashy Williams was a Heisman candidate at Boston College in 2013, and amassed over 2,000 total yards from scrimmage.
Aside from the fact that he wore the same number in college (44), watching tape of Williams run certainly evokes memories of Ahmad Bradshaw, and he has a similarly bruising running style, despite being a smaller back. He should complement Rashad Jennings rather well, and his ability to pick up the blitz should be a huge plus when it comes to protecting Eli Manning in the pocket.
Nat Berhe, S, San Diego State (Fifth Round)
Not much to say about Berhe other than the fact that he should add some more depth to the secondary. Giants scouting director Marc Ross said that the team envisions Berhe filling a sort of “hybrid” safety role, much like Deon Grant did during his time in New York. Also worth noting, this is the second consecutive year in which the Giants selected a safety with the 152nd overall pick in the draft — they took Cooper Taylor in 2013.
Devon Kennard, LB, USC (Fifth Round)
With their second pick in the fifth round, the Giants took Kennard to help fill out the LB position, a position that has been one of the Giants’ weaker ones over the last few seasons. Kennard should be able to help the Giants in pass coverage, as well as with stopping the run. He’s generally recognized as a solid tackler, and recorded 135 tackles during his college career.
Bennett Jackson, CB, Notre Dame (Sixth Round)
The Giants continued their manic acquisition of secondary help by drafting a cornerback with their sixth-round pick. Jackson, a former wide receiver, has excellent hands, a trait that Giants cornerbacks typically don’t display. He started all 13 games for the Irish in 2013, and recorded 65 tackles and two INTs, one of which was returned for a touchdown in a game against Purdue.