Time will ultimately tell on New York’s seven picks from last season, as only the top two choices – Kenny Phillips and Terrell Thomas – were able to contribute much at all on the field last year.
Obviously Reese is now concerned with this upcoming draft. This year’s allotment of picks is more intriguing than usual since Big Blue has two extra selections, including the 45th overall that they received last year in return for Jeremy Shockey.
TGI has confirmed that the Giants offered their two extra picks to the Browns for Braylon Edwards. While that potential deal is on the back-burner at this point, extra picks mean extra options for Reese.
“We’ll try to do what’s best for the New York Giants,” he said. “There are a lot of things that can happen before the draft, so who knows? We may not have that many picks by the time the draft rolls around. We’ll do what’s best for the Giants. If you have 10 or 11 (rookies) make your team, you are maybe not that strong if all those guys make your team. We’ll see what happens moving forward. Maybe we won’t have that many picks. But if we have that many picks, we’ll try to pick them as best we can, and we’ll see. There will be a lot of competition. That’s what we like. We like to create a lot of competition at every position, and if we have 10 or 11 draft picks get into the fray, so be it.”
Of course, Reese wouldn’t tip his hand as to whether or not he believed the draft was especially strong in what seem to be need positions at WR, LB and OT.
“No, I wouldn’t,” he said. “There are always good players in the draft. You guys know I always say that. We’ve just got to see what’s best for us at 29. If we have an opportunity to move up, we might do that. If we have an opportunity to move back, we might do that. But there are always good players in the draft.”
Reese identified a lucky seven that he thought were good last time around. TGI now takes a look back at the progress of each of New York’s 2008 draft choices.
Kenny Phillips – It sure seemed like Phillips hit the proverbial rookie wall by the end of the 2008 season. Instead of receiving more and more playing time as the year unfolded, the Giants top pick actually played fewer and fewer snaps. That said, he still finished sixth on a veteran-laden defense with 62 tackles. He showed great awareness on the field and a nose for the ball, and often had his number called on blitzes, again, especially earlier in the year. With the departure of James Butler to St. Louis, all signs point to Phillips, who made three starts last year, joining Michael Johnson in the starting lineup this season.
Terrell Thomas – Thomas was just the opposite of Phillips, earning more and more playing time down the stretch via his mostly solid play. Compiling 30 tackles in 12 games, he definitely proved himself to be a sure tackler, making the majority of plays that came his way. He also posted one interception and was in position to make others. The most important thing about the former USC starter is that he didn’t seem overwhelmed by anything. He corrected his mistakes and kept his confidence level high all along.
Mario Manningham – Unfortunately injuries doused much of the excitement surrounding New York’s third-round pick. Right from the get-go in training camp, Manningham suffered through various ailments that limited him to only seven games played in 2008. He was only able to catch four passes due to his limited amount of snaps. On one hand, he’s like another draft pick this season because last year was basically a wash. On the other, it’s hard not to start to worry just a little about his toughness and ability to stay on the field.
Bryan Kehl – Rookies mistakes, albeit mostly aggressive ones, were what knocked Kehl from the starting lineup. Due to injury, Kehl was given an opportunity early in the year to line up with the first team for a couple games, but after that was relegated to a reserve LB and special teams performer. He showed his athleticism with a sack and an INT as a rookie. The Giants still like him a lot, but the signing of Michael Boley to start at WLB ahead of him doesn’t exactly shine too well on Kehl’s immediate future.
Jonathan Goff – The injury bug struck Goff as well, as he only played in five games, making two tackles. The Giants really don’t know what they have in the player they hoped would eventually be able to take over in the middle. With both Antonio Pierce and Chase Blackburn ahead of him on the depth chart, it would behoove Goff to not only stay healthy this season, but to contribute as well.
Andre’ Woodson – After completing three-of-nine passes in the preseason, Woodson became an official non-factor. He spent all but one week of the season on the practice squad. The jury is still definitely out on Woodson. Whether or not the Giants opt to select a quarterback in this year’s draft might go a long way toward determining exactly how much confidence New York has in Woodson’s developmental potential.
Robert Henderson – Never even made it out of training camp last year, as he was waived/injured while the Giants were still in Albany.
2008 Draft Glance
1. Kenny Phillips – TGI definitely sees stardom in his future.
2. Terrell Thomas – Made most progress of any rookie last year.
3. Mario Manningham – Limited by injuries and inability to handle playbook.
4. Bryan Kehl – Two-game starter has tons of potential and confidence.
5. Jonathan Goff – Was totally unable to make any kind of mark in ’08.
6. Andre’ Woodson – So far from game ready, Giants kept only two QBs on roster.
7. Robert Henderson – No room at inn among a very crowded, talented D-line.