Below is a sample team preview for the upcoming NFL Draft. I have all 32 ready to go except for an analysis of the 2012 schedule (not released yet) and what the team might be looking for beyond round one of the draft (to be added closer to the draft).
This preview is for the popular New York Giants. I will randomly add other team previews as the days go by, HOWEVER, if any reader of this blog wants to see a preview for a specific team, just LET ME KNOW and I will gladly make it available.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. As always, your comments, questions and/or disagreements are welcome!
Additional Note: The ratings for the 2011 draft are explained as follows:
Numerical: The rank of the player for that position. If there are TWO numbers, the first number is the rank for the general position (OL for example) and the 2nd number the rank for the specific position (OT).
* rating: A rating just below those at the position
NR: Not ranked, meaning I do not think that player is draft worthy.
NYG: 2011 RECORD 9-7 2010 RECORD 10-6 2009 RECORD 8-8 2008 RECORD 12-4
TEAM OVERVIEW: Get me to the dance! DeShon Jackson prevented the NYG from making the playoffs in ’10 but the early December amazing comeback vs. Dallas helped get them to the dance floor in ’11. Those that have followed ACE over the years know that we have been a major supporter of Tom Coughlin. Simply put, he is a far underrated HC! One might say the same of QB Eli Manning, underrated as well! His ball security improvement in ’11 was the biggest reason these NYG are tough to beat in the 4th quarter. Teams change every year but here the philosophy remains the same. Tom Coughlin teams play tough along both lines, pressure the QB, and keep the pass D% respectable. They earned the GB win (despite 5 referee attempts to help the Packers), survived a tough game at SF that could have gone either way, and once again outcoached and out-schemed NE, holding them to another low offensive total while magically finding a way to win. Well done!
KEY STATS: The NYG weren’t perfect, going just 9-7 (thanks), and in fact statistically they had only the 27th rated defense. Most fans do not remember that the NYG were outscored 394-400 during the regular season. Their strongest area was the sack ratio, which was 48-28 and is 94-44 the past 2 years. The run D needs a bit of work, going 4.5-121. The pass D slipped a bit to 61.3% (better in the playoffs). The NYG became the 2nd team ever from the NFC to reach the Super Bowl with a regular season pass D of >60%, but luckily played an AFC team with an even worse %! They are the 1st to win with that %, but then again, they had the better pass D going into that game! The run O was poor at 3.5-80, proving once again that poor run teams can get to and win big games in the NFL (New Orleans and Indy recently, and NE’s run O has been mostly average). The RB’s are capable and Jacobs/Bradshaw ran 3.9-16, but the OL has to help. The previous 3 year average was 4.6-137. At least offensive fumbles and interceptions were cut down. An unsung hero for the NYG was their Punter. Punting cost them a playoff berth in ’10 but won them a Super Bowl in ’11. Spread-wise, the NYG have some situational road plusses and are 15-8 off 3 consecutive losses anywhere. They are just 10-20 on MNF when not a HF, and 6-6 as a MNF HF.
TOP STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS PRIOR TO THE DRAFT: Sack pressure is their top strength but like we said last year, WR play is now a close 2nd. There is no real weakness, but TE play needs to improve as does the run D. Perhaps too often the NYG go for the big tackle/sack with all their talent. Sometimes that could lead to a big play.
A FIRST LOOK AT THE 2012 SEASON: NOTE: The 2012 season schedule has not been released.
Below is what we said for the 2011 First Look
2011: The early season schedule looks conducive to a quick start. They will be favored in six of the opening seven games, and after playing at Arizona on 10/2 won’t have another road game until their Super rematch at NE on 11/6. The next game is at SF, which could be a trap considering Philly is next. The schedule is definitely tougher at this point and stays tough with games at New Orleans, and hosting GB. The final four games are at Dallas, Washington, at the NYJ and a host of Dallas. The NYG ended ’10 with a Power # of 29.5 which may sound surprising but the NYG were between 28.5 and 31.5 from week 6 on out.
FREE AGENCY ANALYSIS AND STAFF NOTES: The NYG were never major players in free agency but they’ve been a bit more active this year. Thanks to a pair of TE’s tearing up their knee in the Super Bowl they went out and signed TE Bennett. OL depth was added with Locklear on board. The NYG traded pick #167 (late 5th) to Cincy for young LB Rivers. That was a nice move. The only other signees are little used CB Molden and Safety Horton, and he did not play in ’11. Losses include WR Manningham, RB Jacobs, DL Tollefson and CB Ross. They all contributed to the NYG success but the draft savvy Giants have players ahead of them at each position.
2011 DRAFT REVIEW: The NYG may not have reaped early returns from this draft but one can’t question their approach, going best player available when Amukamara slipped past #13 and Austin slipped from fringe round #1 potential. All of these picks made the roster and while no sure things, many should contribute over time. Last year we noted a pair of undrafted signings in this report. ACE #4 FB Hynoski has already made an impact and is a true NYG type player. LB Herzlich is also a special type of player/person. He played a significant role on special teams and also saw some occasional action on defense. Add in free agent Punter Weatherford and it’s these little additions which separate champions (NYG) from almost champions (NE).
1-19 CB Amukamara 2-2
Cover CB broke foot in camp and played in just 7 games, with 14 tackles
2-52 DT Austin 8-3
Showed August potential before tearing a muscle and missing all of ‘11
3-83 WR Jerrigan 6
Short slot WR was expected to be return stud but had fumble issues
4-117 OT Brewer 14-8
Saw no action and appears to be a long term project at this point
6-185 LB G. Jones 9
Great intangibles. Average speed but contributed with 31 tackles.
6-198 S Sash 14-5
Box SS was a star as we expected on special teams. 17 total tackles.
6-202 LB J. Williams NR
Shocking (to us) 78 tackles but is replaceable and best used in sub role
7-221 RB Scott 14
Strong August but limited during season. Still must protect ball better.
2010 DRAFT REVISITED: DE Pierre-Paul was in our opinion the NFL’s best defensive player last year. He had an amazing 86 DL tackles and 16.5 sacks, but he did more than that with his hustle, saving two games. As it turned out one save would not have been enough! DT Joseph had 49 tackles but may need to improve on the run D. Safety Jones still hopes to play football (car accident). LB Dillard is gone, even though the team needed LB help. He was ACE rated 20. OG Petrus is versatile and might see increased playing time. DE Tracy is buried on the roster. Punter Dodge had a much better camp, but free agent Weatherford was exceptional and proved it all season long and in the Super Bowl.
2012 DRAFT NEEDS: The NYG have long needed an ILB but that need is not quite as critical now with Rivers on board. They may look at a #3 WR, and should continue to add one highly rated OL each draft. If the right RB is available look for this team to go get him. Defensively, there are no elite DB’s so we would make this a high priority. The NYG are fully stocked along the DL but will probably add someone in anticipation of Umenyiora’s leaving in about 12 months.
RECENT DRAFT HISTORY AND TENDENCIES FOR 2012: Jerry Reese took over in ‘07 and has added depth and talent to this roster. We’ve liked most of their drafts and they don’t miss much in adding depth and/or impact. Occasionally the NYG make a splashy trade, but they never go overboard on draft day. Most times Reese uses the best player available approach.
DRAFT PICK OVERVIEW: Picks in 1st 3 rounds: 32, 63, 94. The Super Bowl Champion NYG have 8 selections. The extra draft choice comes in the 4th round (#131), awarded as a compensatory pick from the NFL.
ROUND ONE PREVIEW: There is absolutely no consensus here. Six “expert” mocks give us six different positions, RB, TE, OT, DE, DT and OLB. The NYG tend to gravitate toward the DL, so that is a possible target area. We’re not sure why no one has mentioned DB or ILB, although the trade for ILB Rivers may change that need. We think they will look hard at RB, but we’re not sure if that look will come at pick #32. If DB’s Barron, Kirkpatrick or Gilmore fell to this spot we would seriously consider them. ILB Hightower would be another one we’d look at.
REST OF THE DRAFT: To be added 72 hours before the draft.