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Thursday, April 30, 2009

The view from a former NFL Scout

One of the regulars to the Ultimatenyg New York Giants Blog who comments here on occasion is a former NFL Scout. He knows a thing or two about football, and was generous enough to share his thoughts with us from late Saturday night after Day 1 of the draft...

Today was a strange day for me. I am a big football fan (Giants) and I read everything I can come draft time. I read the mocks until I can't anymore. I realize that these guys really don't know much more than an involved fan but I always seem to think that they do.

I found the draft to be tedious and although there were a number of trades it suddenly became apparent that this was probably the worst group of talent I can remember. When everyone is trading down over and over it becomes apparent that the best football people felt the same way. I think that Stafford will be a bomb and more of Carr than a Roethlisberger. The contract he received made me sick. It has become obvious that football is out to destroy itself. They want to add games to increase revenues via attendance and tv at the risk of the players and the game itself. Most players are totally wasted at the end of a 16 game schedule, which is in and of itself arguably too long. The current environment in football is a mirror image of what destroyed the American economy. There is unbelievable excess, greed and stupidity and a product which can only offer less quality and more expense for the fan. I believe that the day of reckoning is here, as Jerry Jones couldn't find a sponsor for his 1 billion plus stadium. The Mets and Yankees can't fill the ballpark or even come close. These teams spent fortunes of money on players who don't deliver and both are going to get a rude awakening. The seat tax that the Giants and Jets are asking for will ultimately cause a major backlash if one isn't already under way.

The draft was shocking in that Al Davis is still running and destroying a once proud franchise. Bey at 7 is truly insane as was his second pick. There was some sanity by a number of teams. These are the same teams you might expect it from including the Patriots, thankfully the Giants, the Chargers, Kansas City (new guys) and a few that surprised me. Can anyone explain Denver giving up a first next year for a very questionable 2 this year?

Green Bay did a good job. The Vikings taking Harvin after pontificating how they will not take a player with issues is disturbing.

New England did a masterful job and their payoff will come next year. Ron Brace could be interesting as can Butler from UConn. The key here is that they didn't overpay. The Jets moving on Sanchez will either be a good move or a total bust. That's the problem. They are paying mega dollars for a kid who played 18 games in college and surely is not the next coming. Miami had an interesting draft. It was Parcels doing a great job. They took good athletes with possibly big upside and didn't overpay. White is a reach but he sure has speed and is a reasonable gamble.

Carolina still has Peppers (he wants out) and they traded up for Brown, who I think will bust. The pick along with the Delhomme extention will end Fox in Carolina. Tampa took Freeman and I have to say that he looks strikingly similar to Campbell in Washington. The Falcons picks will help but I don't think the kid (Jerry) from Mississippi will be much above average.

Pittsburgh did nothing for me. Oher (Ravens) went at a reasonable spot for what he may become. He was picked low enough where the risk made sense.

The 49ers chose Crabtree at 10 and that could turn out to be the next coming of Jerry Rice. Obviously there is doubt amongst the people making the call. I thought St.Louis did a great job by drafting a sure thing (Jason Smith) and resisting the hype. The later picks may work as well.

Of course Snyder couldn't keep his hand in his pocket and moved up for Orakpo. I believe he will bust just like every other Texas phenom. Rey Maualuga was the biggest surprise to me and I must admit I was hoping the G-men might do something there. I thought the guy was great in college and a sure top 20 pick at worst. There must be issues we don't know. The Eagles seem to have done a great job making themselves over with Peters and the draft. They didn't need Maclin but you couldn't pass when he slipped. If Philly did well with LeSean McCoy, they will be much improved. The thing is that I don't like McNabb. It's just my opinion but some guys just can't win (remember the Bills?). All in all I was really turned off as I would like to see players succeed and not compete for who is the biggest bust.

Cushing on paper was a good move by the Texans but I don¹t see the upside with Shaub at qb.

Tomorrow is another day and a lot of great players have come from rounds 3 and 4. We might know some names but I know I will scramble to read up on most of them. I liked Cooke from S.C. So maybe the Giants have a chance. There are a few players who make it at 5-7 so I pay attention.

My overall feeling is that the game is out of control and this was the worst first two rounds in memory. The fact that all the money,the criminality, the stupidity and the mistreatment of the fans and players has me so totally turned off is not a good sign. No one loved the game more than me as a player, a scout and a fan.

P.S. I had to turn off both the NFL Network and ESPN several times as the talking heads were unbearable. I enjoyed Faulk but Sanders, Maycock, Smith and the huge ex-Falcon who were talking made me sick. I think Belichick is just the best, with Reese possibly in this class with Parcells. We'll see about Pioli on his own.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Did we get our man?

On Saturday night when Day 1 was over, we heard from Reese (and Ultimatenyg in the comments section):

Q&A with Jerry Reese:

Q: Did you get your man?

A: We got a very good player; very good player. We like him a lot. He is a big, strong kid, very productive, strong body type that you like. A lot of production. He is a very young kid, I think he is only 20 years old. So we feel good about picking this guy at 29. A lot of production.

Q: You said the other day you didn’t have a glaring need at WR. You picked him. Why?

A: Well because we had a good grade on him and he was there at the right time. We didn’t reach for anybody. We feel good about where we picked him.

Ultimatenyg here: translated, we DID NOT GET OUR MAN. Their man was Edwards, Matthews or even someone else. Nicks was essentially the best available, and he may turn out to be a great pro, but he was NOT the man they wanted. When you get the person you are targeting, believe me, they will let you know. When Accorsi got Jacobs in the 4th round, he was doing cartwheels. This is how the draft works. On the other hand, Cedric Jones wasn't their man either.

Well, yesterday afternoon we get a nugget from Garafolo on the NFL Network. The Giants make a deal with the Detroit Lions to move from 29 to 20. They are about to grab Maclin. Except the Eagles take him at 19 and the deal is off. For better or worse, we found out who their "man" was.

It is very interesting to learn from these pieces of combat. You think this had ANYTHING to do with them going up 6 picks for Barden? You better believe it. And this is a good thing. You must remain unpredictable. You cannot let people read you easily. If you sit back and NEVER trade up, they will know that you NEVER trade up, and that will give the competition an advantage.

It bothers me to no end to watch the Giants, season after season, never intentionally fake a FG or do some sort of trick play. It helps the opponent when you are THAT PREDICTABLE. It is one less thing to defense. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHEN A TRICK PLAY DOES NOT WORK. It pays dividends for you immediately because it puts the opponent on edge, not knowing where the next trick is coming from.

The 45 yard pass to Boss on the first play from scrimmage in Q4 of Super Bowl (which started the drive ending in Tyree's 4 yard TD pass, putting the Giants ahead 10-7) was NOT IN THE PLAYBOOK. It was drawn up on the sideline. Gilbrown, the serial waster of TEs, needed to break out the stone knives and bearskins and invent a radical concept, a seam pass to his TE. It worked because his own negligence made it ... unpredictable!

I will never forget a great playcall the Giants made many years ago. It was back when Collins was QB. The Giants had just scored a TD very late in the game and needed two to tie. They set up 4 wide, and then the RB went in motion. I am yelling at the top of my lungs, YES, QB sneak from empty backfield, there is NO LINEBACKER! And wouldn't you know it, Collins took one step back and then went right past center into the end zone. It worked because the Giants hadn't called that play since, well probably Parcells.

Yes, Parcells, the riverboat gambler. The man who had Rutledge on a fake in Super Bowl XXI. The man who had Gary Reasons take the snap on the fake punt in the NFC Championship, getting us another one of those critical FGs in the 15-13 win.

You have to do the unpredictable for your PLAYERS. It tells them you have skin in the game. People mistake it for being desperate. If done erraticly and infrequently, it empowers your team.

George Young was one of our heroes, a man who restored the franchise to credibility and built consistently competitive teams. But he was predictably old-fashioned to a fault when it came to the draft. Accorsi did more trades within a few years as GM than we saw in almost two decades with Young. ~50% of you folks out there like the Barden pick the best of all of the selections made this weekend. I guess that means that you like the statement the Giants made when they went up six picks to get their man. I did too.

Oh, by the way, would it surprise you to find out that the Giants went to 85 from 91 for Barden to jump over... none other than... Bill Parcells, who was waiting at 87 ready to take him?! OF COURSE WE ARE NOT SURPRISED. RULE #8.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More Post-Draft Analysis

The football world did a lot of post draft 2009 analysis yesterday. We left our analysis from Saturday and Sunday to stand alone for Monday because we do not look at what others are saying. Our conclusions are not based on what anyone else thinks. Just a reminder that Wonder does his own work.

1) Bob comments yesterday: "The relatively unknown "problem "
with Malaluga came out last night. He has been having "temper" problems with other teamates in the locker room."

We suspected there could be more to this than just not being able to drop back in coverage on 3rd down (criticism which Wonder swept aside).

If this is true, it would make a lot of sense. The other alarm bell that goes off when you hear about "temper" problems is 'roid rage,' ..steroids. He may have cleaned himself out for the drug test (or even tested positive anyway) but left that as a poker tell for steroid use. I am NOT starting rumors about Rey Maualuga being a steroid user, but you can only imagine how many teams passed based on putting 1+1 together. In fact, the word "temper" may actually be the code word for steroids, for all I know.

2) Justin tells us that Todd McShay gave the Giants a good review of their draft. The video section had a better review. McShay has Beatty as a bust?! Time will tell.

3) Text of Jerry Reese Transcript Post Draft Press Conference on Sunday. Craig made mention of it in yday's comments, and it is an important read for any of you who missed it.

4) Interesting side show draft stories. If you find more of these stories, please pass them along.

5) Butch Davis has a strong review of Nicks, comparing him to Michael Irvin. Wow. I hope he's right. Of course his coach is going to have nice things to say about him, but he does not have to go out of his way to compare him to Michael Irvin. Yet he did.

6) Unconfirmed UFA signings by the Giants (and updates):
CB Vince Anderson, Weber International University
DE Maurice Evans, Penn State
DE Kenny Mainor, Troy (tryout)
S Sha’reff Rashad, Central Florida
DE Alex Field, Virginia
S Kenny Ingram, Florida State
TE Darius Hill, Ball State

Reese got us two Safeties. If one of them can make the roster we'll be dancing in the aisles. Bet on the Giants scouring the waiver wire in late August/early Sept for a more credible one, all else equal.

7) Still am thinking we were fronted on LBer this weekend. Twice. GB traded up to #26 to take Clay Matthews three picks ahead of us. And then when we were one pick away from going in the 5th round, the Vikes traded up to take the spot right in front of us and took Jasper Brinkley. (Yes, another B, and this one was on our list of 22 Day 2 players to target, remember?!) Whenever a team trades up to get someone, it is because they are concerned the player may be taken very shortly. GB and the Vikings (and the rest of the NFL) knew we were thin at LBer. (No, I do not want to hear about the smorgasbord of mediocrity the Giants currently have. We'd trade every last one of them for someone with half of Clay Matthews' talent.) This is how the draft works. We may have very well done the same thing to another team looking at Barden. Most of the time you will never know. Some times you can find out about what actually happened many years later. This is why I love these old draft stories.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Draft Class of 2009: I guess we'll have to start calling them the B-men instead of the G-men.

It's not how you start, it is how you finish, and Day 2 was a fantastic day. The Giants closed with an excellent draft.
Jerry Reese pulled a Day 2 rabbit out of his hat and really whipped up a strong draft. You cannot grade any draft for at least a few years, but we really like what the Giants did.

Beatty, Barden, Brown and Bomar. Beautiful.

A few sentences of Day 1 Recap before diving into Day 2:

The sense from readers here and reports elsewhere are that the Edwards deal fell through not because the Browns wanted too much but because Edwards wanted too much to redo his contract. No Edwards deal was a body blow. The explanation would go a long way to understanding Reese's actions. Reese does not have to answer to us, but we do like to see and understand why he abandoned the deal efforts.

The 60th pick of the 1st Day was William Beatty, whose last name begins with 'B.' Beatty was a total score of value, having been the 24th rated player in Wonder's draft. This blogger has let known his biases against the continual throwing of high draft resources at WR year after year after year. So general disappointment following yet another #1 pick thrown at WR (PLAXICO DEBACLE OR NOT) was placated by the arrival of Beatty. Wonder: "Beatty will take two years. If he can be coached properly in those two years, the Giants are looking at a cornerstone Left Tackle for the next 8-10 years. Fantastic pick at 60."

Day 2... The B-men:

On Saturday evening we sorted through the first 64 players taken, looked at the original list of players who Wonder had rated strongly and made a list of all the remaining players left for Day 2. The list contained a total of 23 players, of which 1 was a late round exception, leaving 22 players:

LB: Phillips, Ellerbe, JASPER BRINKLEY, Freeman
G: Robinson, Johnson
TE: Jared Cook, Cornelius Ingram, Shawn Nelson
C: Caldwell
QB: Bomar
WR: Murphy, Barden, Turner, Edison, Collie (late), Iglesias
DE: Sidbury, MJohnson

That three of the next four picks would be from this list was outstanding. (Stay tuned for a story later this week on Shonn Greene, a story which will help you understand why they nicknamed this guy "Wonder.")

So that you can appreciate the commentary, we will let the OLD POSTS BEFORE THIS WEEKEND DO ALL THE TALKING FOR THE THREE GUYS THE GIANTS PICKED.

Tuesday April 21, 2009
"ABrown- Great 3rd round pick. Underrated. Steal in the third round, lots of potential." On Thursday Andre Brown was rated by Wonder as the 5th highest RB in the draft behind Donald Brown, Beanie Wells, Knowshon Moreno and yes, Shonn Greene.

Wednesday April 22, 2009
"Bomar- LOVE HIM. Best value QB in the draft as a late 3rd/4th rounder." Wonder had Bomar rated as the 4th highest QB in the draft behind Stafford, Sanchez and Freeman.

Tuesday April 7, 2009
Oxbay: "Ramses Barden a WR from Cal Poly. He's 6'6" and around 230 lbs"
Wonder:"great value for Jints in 2nd/3rd round"

Add Beckum, whom Wonder is less excited about but says is 'reasonable, has potential as a 4th/5th rounder,' and it was an incredible Day 2.

More color after these players were drafted:

On Rhett Bomar: "Bomar is a QB's quarterback, has an arm, talent, POTENTIAL. This was great for the Giants. Recruited heavily out of High School, top 10. Went to Oklahoma. (Left after a mini-scandal where an alumni booster was paying him too much to for too little time working at the alum's car dealership. Thanks Pablo.) Xfer'd to Sam Houston State and was a vg div 2 QB. Still has an NFL arm. Given that it is the Meadowlands, you need the strong arm. Can be groomed for the NFL, YOU TAKE THE SHOT HERE, no rush. Eli Manning gets hurt three years from now and Bomar pulls a Matt Cassel."

On Andre Brown: "Andre Brown could be the steal of the draft." Wonder easily put Andre Brown as the best pick by the Giants all weekend. To draft a guy at the end of the 4th round that Wonder could have easily seen going in the first day was tremendous. Marvelous (after Brown but before Bomar): "Today's picks are completely turning around the draft." Marvelous likes Barden, Beckum AND Brown. "Fast, strong, shows a lot of pop. 5th on my board at RB and second best speed. I saw him play. On one play, he took it after a 7-8 yd catch, took a crack seam and went for daylight, all the way. Very talented, with 4.37 speed and SIZE."

On Ramses Barden- Nature:"Last year during the draft I said FORTE would be the best rookie back. (Not that far off.) I'm gonna say today RAMSES BARDEN will be in the top 3 rookies in TD receptions. I don't have faith in GILCR*P, but this kid is a real 6'6 and tough.....bank this." Nature has good company with Wonder, who says Barden may end up being the better WR for the Giants than Nicks.

Quick Summary: The Edwards deal falling through, taking a WR in round 1, passing on Maualuga did not make us happy. We hope we are wrong and Nicks and Sintim make great contributions. But this NY Giants (letter B for) Blog says the Killer B's will end up making the Draft Class of 2009 a big positive for the Giants.

Wonder throws one more at us-- all of this B stuff... Beatty, Brown, Barden, Bomar, Beckum... "you see, you needed to do as I said and take BRITT!" LOL. Just call the Giants the B-men!

Who is still on the board at the start of Day 2??!!

LB: Phillips, Ellerbe, JASPER BRINKLEY, Freeman
G: Robinson, Johnson
TE: Jared Cook, Cornelius Ingram, Shawn Nelson
C: Caldwell
QB: Bomar
WR: Murphy, Barden, Turner, Edison, Collie (late), Iglesias
DE: Sidbury, MJohnson

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Recap of Day 1 of the NFL Draft

William Beatty, Clint Sintim and Hakeem Nicks

Quick summary: We did not get Braylon Edwards, so that was disappointing. It always takes years to grade picks, but with that said, the early word is that Nicks and Sintim were uninspiring picks while Beatty was a great pick at 60 for us. That does not mean that Nicks and Sintim will not work and that Beatty will be a star. It just means that we were disappointed we did not take Rey Maualuga at #29.

We'll pose a question to everyone- would you trade Nicks and a ~4th rounder for All Pro Braylon Edwards? Of course you would. And that is why this draft thus far is less than inspiring. Let's talk about the good things about Hakeem Nicks first. He has good hands. He did not drop a single ball in passing drills during his workout for the Giants. So considering that Edwards dropped the ball a league-leading 12 times, you can spin this positively and say the Giants want the hands. Nicks is the player who made the circus catch where he pulls the ball out from behind his back. So let's hope those hands do it for the Giants.

Wonder was disappointed that Britt was not chosen. There were many of us (myself included) who did not want to DRAFT a WR (NICKS OR BRITT) THIS HIGH at all, but more on that subject below. Britt is taller and faster, jumps higher, so Wonder wants the upside, the potential. You cannot teach size and speed. Nicks is currently a better player than Britt. But everyone needs to improve a great deal for the Pro Level, and Wonder is thinking not only where you are but where you can ascend to in coming years. 3 years. The # for WRs developmentally. Tennessee followed up with the 30th pick, and took.. Britt. So these two will be watched side by side for a while to see who turned out better.

Next is Clint Sintim, taken 45th. Where does he play, asks Wonder (who liked him in general, but rated him as a 3rd rounder). If you wanted MLB, why not take Maualuga? Sintim is not quick or fast enough to be taken at this 45 spot. Not fast enough for OLB. Best as an inside LB in a 3-4, the tackler guy, not the cover guy. So where does he go, asks Wonder. One hope... the guy can hit and the guy can tackle. Groom him to play MLB. But certainly not able to play the Mike on 3rd down. I asked Marvelous about Sintim, and he has a much more favorable review... "He's a keeper, he'll be a starter down the road. I saw him play two games this season. He is a quick guy for his size. Wraps up guys well, aggressive. When he gets to a guy he is not going to let the offensive player break the tackle." Wonder's response was disagreement on the issue of his speed. "NOT FAST ENOUGH."

A nice uptick to leave the first day with- the reviews on William Beatty. Wonder had the guy rated 24th overall in the draft, so that should tell you something. "He is good and solid in every aspect of his game. Agile. Long arms. He needs some muscle, but that is what the weight room is for. Get some muscle. He has the body to fill out and add 25-30 lbs. (currently 6'6" 307 lbs.) He needs to hold his own on the bull rush, but that is precisely why he has ~two years behind Diehl/McKenzie to step into that role."

I have a fondness for second round Offensive Linemen... makes me think of Pro Bowlers like Chris Snee and Jumbo Elliot. The game is won and lost on the line of scrimmage, so this pick was inspiring. After all, we are not getting the ball to Nicks in three or four years from now (when McKenzie is out of football) IF we cannot keep the QB upright. Wonder thinks that Diehl could move back to the right side and let Beatty play LT. Marc Ross (Director of Scouting) says: "Natural LT."

Why not take Maualuga as the #1 LBer? Why take a WR at all? Why did Maualuga drop? Wonder believes it was because people do not see him as a 3 down LBer. They question his ability to cover. The reply is that you are not going to ask this guy to cover the TE in the seam, so he'll be fine. He went SEVEN PICKS BEFORE SINTIM! Are you going to tell me that Maualuga and Sintim are essentially rated the same and both are going to have similar careers? The Packers fronted us at 26, traded up to grab Matthews, and that was the end. Instead of taking a LBer #1, we took a WR instead and then had thin pickings at 45. My sense is that we were outplayed on the LBer pick, with Matthews going 3 spots in front of us in Round 1 and Maualuga going 7 spots in front of us in Round 2. This can happen to you when you are trying to look for a player to fall to you. Beatty fell to us, NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. A good LBer did not.

Ross made some interesting remarks about the weight gain (14 lbs.) by Nicks. He hurt his hamstring, could not work out and the Giants scouts/front office took him at his word. "We thought his (pro) style would easily transfer to our level."

Reese on Nicks: Young kid, only 20 years old. Big strong body, Anquan body type. Reese said he had 4 players they were ready to take at #29 and would have been happy with any of them. They did not come close to trading up OR down.

1) Edwards was two birds in the hand vs one WR currently in the bush.
2) I do not believe in taking WRs in the first round of the draft, so I am biased, be it Nicks, Britt, whoever.
3) Our problems with LBer have always been lack of speed. Boley has speed, but the quick take on Sintim is that he does not offer that.
4) Beatty has the potential to be a cornerstone of the OL for many years. It is refreshing to see the organization commit resources to this unit in a significant way for the first time in 4 years.

Live Draft thread

I just got off with psycho Wonder. Had me laughing. Says that by the end of the day $nyder will end up with $anchez, and that barring Sanchez being the next Joe Montana, he will have wrecked the Redskins in the process. Between Hayne$worth and Hall (completely in$ane) and the $tupid rookie guaranteed $alary money, I do not even under$tand how he pull$ it off. If Wonder is right, it'll kill his cap for year$. Snyder needs a straightjacket, he cannot help himself.

BTW, on a separate but related topic, someone please tell me what the NFL is doing with starting this at 4PM? Money, of course, they bump a few extra dollars of tv revenue for the event. BFD. Meanwhile, this is one of the the most important times of the year for all of their franchises, and they sentence these staffs to no sleep this evening as they prepare for tomorrow at 10AM. Becuase you know they won't be done with this until 10pm to midnight, and then the work just begins with sorting through what each team has done, and figuring out who is left to ascertain what to do blah blah. Miserable creatures.


Cushing, Maualuga, Matthews

1) Trade for Edwards as long as the Browns are not asking for something ridiculous.

2) Do not go for a WR in the 1st round.

3) If you must go for a WR in the first round, let him come down to you at #29.

4) Do not trade up. Garafolo/Vacchiano think the Giants are pining for Heyward-Bey, may trade up. You do not do that for a WR in my opinion. Is Heyward-Bey that much value in the low 20's? Let him fall. If he is taken ahead of you, then there will be value for you at #29. As Wonder has stated, HBey can be feast. Or famine? I've seen him on video. He looks good. But the idea of TRADING UP IN ROUND #1 FOR A WIDE RECEIVER IS ANATHEMA TO ME. I do not believe in drafting WR #1 in the first place. Trading up also? NOPE. If the Giants do it, I will be rooting as hard as anyone to see that the guy makes an impact for our team. I just do not believe that it is necessary. We have seen enough 2's, 3's and 4's that were Giants make good pros. Toomer, McCaffrey, Patton, Jurvicius won 6 titles, none were first rounders. None were traded up for in the first round. And three of them went on the merry-go-round to other teams before finding a title, yet another reason for picking up a WR instead of drafting him and waiting 3 years. I am as patient as anyone, but I'd rather patiently build defense with LBer than build it with WRs. If you want to be patient with WRs, why not be patient with Moss, Smith and Manningham??????????????!

5) Speaking of LBers... I like the USC LBers. Maualuga is an animal. Matthews has the most explosiveness to the ball. And then Cushing runs an onside kick back for a TD a la Sehorn. If you are going to trade up, trade up for one of these guys. Trade up for defense. Defense wins championships. Having our defensive line, combined with Boley and one of these guys (would not be Matthews since both are WILL), and then Webster and Phillips anchoring the secondary... this could be the best defense since 1997. LBer. 25 years. It is about freaking time.

6) Speaking of defense... Darius Butler, Rashad Johnson???!!! Would you really mind if the Giants came away with a CB in Rd #1 and a Safety at the end of Round 2?

7) Are the Giants and Browns doing a smokescreen on a trade? We'll find out soon enough.

8) Updated Ultimatenyg NFL Draft Tracker pdf in printable format. Contains Wonder's detailed flow chart of choices at each pick in Rounds 1-3.

9) We'll blog throughout the draft. We'll be rooting for Andre Smith and Maybin and Vontae Davis and Josh Freeman to go early... that will mean something will fall to the Giants. SOMETHING VERY GOOD. Maybe if those things happen it will stop the Giants from trading up. And maybe then will the Browns become more motivated to trade to the Giants for their good pick. Lots of moving parts. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Here comes the draft..

Michael Strahan Autographed Football for Draft Contest Winner Deadline for entering the contest is Saturday at 4PM. Deadline for selecting a trade of any kind in your picks is today Friday. Need any ideas? Here is a mock draft of Round 1 to get you started, right below. Thanks once again to Monster.com's NFL Department of Fandemonium for sponsoring the contest.

Mock Draft 2009

Click on this link for a printable pdf format of all of the summary draft information on one easy spreadsheet page, featuring:

2009 mock draft
additional 2009 mock draft
Top 32 by Value
Top 5 value by position
Other Notables in top 100
draft value points
Giants slots in rounds 1-3
Draft Start times

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Top 5 by position














Top 32 By Value

1. Stafford
2. Monroe
3. JSmith
4. Curry
5. Crabtree
6. Sanchez
7. Maclin
8. TJackson
9. Oher
10. Ayers
11. Raji
12. Orakpo
13. Harvin
14. Maualuga
15. Pettigrew
16. English
17. Matthews
18. Cushing
19. Butler
20. DBrown
21. Moreno
22. Wells
23. Britton
24. Beatty
25. Jenkins
26. Mack
27. Unger
28. Britt
29. H-Bey
30. Freeman
31. ASmith
32. Robiske/Nicks

And by the way, that ASmith at 31 is not Andre Smith, it is Alphonso Smith the CB. As a reminder, Wonder won't advocate taking a risk on Andre Smith this high.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


When they say that this year is not as good a crop of players for the NFL draft, there is no better place to look at as evidence of this than at Offensive Tackle. Even though this draft in 2009 is supposed to be good for the position, it is not nearly as good as 2008 was. In 2008, we had Ryan Clady, Jeff Otah, Jake Long and G Brandon Albert. This year, the only OT that Wonder considers to be in that class is Eugene Monroe... the rest are mostly average. With that said, let's look at some of the notables.

Wonder Commentary

Offensive Tackle
Jason Smith- He is near the top overall in this draft class, just not value with all things considered. Does not compare well to top OTs from last year.
Eugene Monroe- YES. As advertised. Still has a health issue which needs to be cleared by medical people, and then STRONG YES.
Andre Smith- NO!!! If he cannot get in shape NOW, with millions at stake, what does that say about your drive and work ethic? There is too much risk for someone considered a Top 10 pick.
Michael Oher- Okay, will be a good pro, but less enthused about the value here.
Eben Britton- Yes! A good late first rounder or early second rounder. Mean streak, I like him.
William Beatty- Ok.
Phil Loadholt- Good value for Giants in 3rd Round.
Jason Watkins- potential as 5th or 6th rounder.
Joel Bell- Late second day pick, groom him, see what you get.
Andrew Gardner- Ditto Joel Bell's remarks.
Jared Gaither- go as high as 4th round.
Scott Burley- sign as a UFA or 6th/7th rounder.
Ryan Stancheck- Big guy, can carry another 20-25 lbs., make him a Guard
Sean Sester- Yes.
Andrew Hartline- Borderline.
Kyle Howard- a project but can be a John Runyan guy. Coach him up.
Mike Brown- Late. Coach up. Can carry more weight.
Jose Valdez- Move him inside to Guard.

Delmas- like him late 1st/early 2nd round. A football player.
Moore- Steal? Are you getting the guy who was hurt in his Sr. year or the Junior who was a 1st rounder?
Chung- NO.
Johnson- He's a FOOTBALL PLAYER! Take him late 2nd round, GIANTS! By 2010 he will be starting for you for the next 8-10 years. Smart. Understands FB. Will wear the microhone in the helmet and will have all the people in their proper assignments. Solid citizen too. Seems to find his way to being around the ball.. he get's it done. Not afraid to hit. SO GOOD FOR GIANTS.

Stafford- Lions have to take him. Not as high on Stafford as Ryan.
Sanchez- This guy is not a boomer, weak arm, not a Northeast QB. The 49ers should take him.
Freeman- Feast or famine (aren't all QBs like that?). You will have to wiat 2-3 years on this guy, he does not see the field well.
White- Can't play QB, not a RB, not a WR. Do you play him in the slot as a gimmick guy? Obviously Mayock and Wonder disagree. 2-3 yr project.
Bomar- LOVE HIM. Best value QB in the draft as a late 3rd/4th rounder.

Defensive End
Orakpo- This guy is a puzzle. Where do I play him? Hard to be a DE and be small, very few Dwight Freenys out there that make it. He is a workout warrior, but the risk of going too high for him is there since he is a hybrid. I just don't see it.
Brown- Don't like drafting him in the first round.
Maybin- He is really an OLB. Skinny legs. HATE the idea of drafting him. Am looking for him to be a total washout in the pros.
TYSON JACKSON- LOVE HIM! 3-4 DE. In 3-4 years will be a stud. Can seal the edge, stuff the run, rush the passer, maybe not all Pro, but VG. Denver should take him at #12 for their 3-4.
Ayers- I like him, but there is a caveat. Feast or famine, needs to put on 15-20 lbs of muscle but all the while not lose the speed rush. Could be a bust or Justin Tuck. Like him in the 15-20 range. I would draft him at #17 for the Jets if Jackson gone.
English- LOVE HIM! OLB. I fear the Patriots sc*m browns are going to get him. He's half Vrabel, half McGinest. My only hope is that New England takes Connor Barwin instead.
MJohnson- Feast or famine. He should be Julius Peppers. Can he gain 15-20 lbs? Can he show up to play every down?
Barwin- Tweener. TE? OLB? I pass on these types of players.
Kruger- Interesting. Grinder. Gets it done.
Sidbury- Lots of potential. 2nd round.
Evans- some potential. 6th round.
ARobinson- 7th round pick.
NOTE: There is no first round grade for anyone here except Tyson Jackson. (There will be more than a few that GO in the first round, but the rest would not get that grade if the depth in the draft were better.)

Defensive Tackle
Raji- He's a 3-4 Nose Tackle, can't play for Giants. Biggest, widest, fattest behind in the history of civilization. Only for a 3-4 team, Denver at #18 is where I would take him.
Jerry- ? 4-3 guy only.
Hood- Like him. Overachiever. 2nd/3rd round.
Brace- 3-4 guy. Might be better than Raji.
Moala- Overrated.
Gilbert- Can be something, 3-4 DE. Athletic, inside or outside, Football Player! Mid 2nd round, 10 picks in (take at 42 or lower).
Jean-Francois- ? Could be ok. 4th/5th Rounder.
WJohnson- 6th/7th Round.

The whole draft browns. Ultimatenyg comment: this is why Reese went stronger in free agency at DL. And it is why those 2009 draft picks are better currency to use on Edwards.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Those empty seats at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field

I'm shocked, shocked to find empty seats at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field. C'mon! These sports franchises are living in fantasyland. This would be a joke if it weren't so sad. But we have been warning about high ticket prices and PSLs for over a year. No, we are not shocked.

Slim Pickings

In the past few weeks we have dissected Wide Receiver and to a lesser extent Linebacker. These are two of the Giants' biggest needs. But they have needs elsewhere. They will likely use the draft to bring a RB, TE, S, OL, CB .. namely every other position except DL, where they nuked it in free agency.

Wonder Commentary

Tight End
Pettigrew- Not as good as everyone thinks. Can block. Good for the Giants. If he is there at #29, take him.
Cook- Pass catching TE. 3rd Round Quality.
Nelson- 4th Rounder.
Coffman- Small, not fast enough.
Casey- No.
Ingram- 1st Round talent. Best in the draft, but all up to the Doctors. Your medical staff makes the determination on this one.
Beckum- Potential. 4th/5th rounder.

Robinson- LOVE HIM! Late 1st Rounder to early second rounder. If you can get him in mid to late second round it is stealing!
Johnson- Big Motherbrowner. Gigantic size. Good feet. Can he keep his weight down? If so, he can be great. Problem is that if he cannot, he'll balloon up to 400+ and be worthless to everyone except McDonalds shareholders.
Levitre- solid.
Urbik- late 4th/5th round
Canfield- late 4th/5th round
Vasquez- Some chance 5th/6th round.

Mack- Not as good as Mangold. Good. Solid. Late 1st round, early 2nd rounder. Good for 10 years in the league.
Unger- same as Mack
Wood- Ok, not spectacular.
Caldwell- Interesting, could be good 3rd/4th round

Jenkins- Mistake taking him in 1st round, 2nd round quality. Not a shutdown corner.
Davis- Too risky. Not for me in the 1st round. Needs Cover 2, once again not a shutdown corner.
Butler- LOVE HIM! Best corner in the draft. He can browning cover, and he will stick his nose in to stop the run, even though he is small he is not afraid to do the dirty work.
ASmith- Great cover guy, not good on run support.
Moore- Sleeper at Safety.
SSmith- mediocre, middle to end of 3rd round.
Harris- mediocre.
Byrd- I Like him. Football player. Lacks speed.
DSmith- Has potential. Slow. 6th round flyer.

Running Back
CWells- warming up to him. Got healthier, stronger, faster. VG for Jets. Cold weather horse. Take him mid to late 1st round, good compliment to Reggie Bush if Saints interested.
Moreno- warming up to him as well. Tweener. HB? FB? Neither?
DBrown- YES YES YES! Giants take him #29. Like Curtis Martin with good hands. Love him!
McCoy- No.
Greene- Love him! Late second round is stealing him.
MWells- No.
ABrown- Great 3rd round pick. Underrated. Steal in the third round, lots of potential.
Jennings- Could be great, runs upright, Eric Dickerson. (Take your chances on injuries with that style?)

Note how Wonder did not 'seemingly' review many in each of these positions. The crop is thin at most of these positions and there was not much to say after the first handful of names. Even guys he likes or has in the first round, many would have been 2nd rounders last year. His ratings simply have to be pushed up because of the thinness of this draft. Just means less depth in numbers.

Monday, April 20, 2009

If I were thin I'd be fat

One person I respect greatly who has always been a few pounds overweight once said to me: "Andrew, if I were thin I'd be fat." It was a simple acknowledgment of who he was. He loves food and loves life too much not to enjoy the pleasures of eating... that if he ever worked hard enough to get his weight down, that he loves food too much to stay thin for long.

It can work like that in the NFL. You have to know who you are. If you play in a dome or in San Diego, you can play offense differently than you can in the Meadowlands. Try completely differently. In 1985, the Jets drafted Al Toon and the 49ers selected Jerry Rice six picks later. Wonder remarked that if Toon had gone to the 49ers and Rice went to the Jets, Toon would've been the Hall of Famer and Rice would have gotten killed. If New York had a Hall of Fame wide receiver, it wouldn't.

So here comes Percy Harvin, WR out of Florida, who sees himself as a younger version of Panthers WR Steve Smith.

Florida. That should tell you something right away. Darting speed. Quick. Elusive. Harvin would be an excellent fit for the Colts. Could you imagine a darting receiver like that on the TURF, being able to get hit IN STRIDE by an accurate QB like Peyton Manning? In the track meet of a dome? Can you say YARDS AFTER CATCH?

Contrast that with a team like the Giants, where Peyton’s brother’s less than stellar accuracy and weak history with YAC would make Harvin look as if he’s playing in quicksand. I can see the color running out of your face, just as it did with mine. It's the sad acknowledgment that NY has never been the WR nirvana we would like it to be. And that that prognosis won't be changing any time soon. We pine for Braylon Edwards, not because we envision him getting back to the Pro Bowl. But just so that he can get 800-1,000 yards, get enough done out there to take the heat off the box. Take the heat off our coordinator. And take the heat off our less than accurate QB.

Yes, we have been ripping Eli's accuracy the past few weeks, and it all started with Trent Dilfer's candid admission about what it means for Manning to have that tall WR. Let's call it an acknowledgment of what we have in our QB. He throws high, he throws behind, he does not throw in stride. Eli Manning is the NY Giants QB and he has delivered a championship to the organization. We just have to be frank about some of his limitations.

To his credit, Manning has learned about trying to place the ball where it cannot be intercepted. But this is not what you do to get the track meet started. How many of you heard the candid admission from Plaxico Burress on the winning Super Bowl catch? Burress essentially said that he was (routinely) adjusting his speed and his route to compensate for the inaccuracy of Manning's passes. Obviously that one pass was more accurate than many others Manning has thrown, but if you watch it again, Burress is there waiting for the pass to arrive, slowing just enough to have it come in. And have that defender close the gap so that the tackle is made. Yards after catch.

The Giants' Steve Smith would be a jitterbug for Peyton Manning with oodles of stats. For Eli Manning he is just another WR who happens to have the same name as the one Percy Harvin is trying to emulate.

Tomorrow- Draft analysis of RB, CB, TE, C, and Guard

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Gonzalez, Edwards

Tony Gonzalez was a no-show at mini camp. In and of itself, it does not mean that he is demanding a trade, but it certainly would make a lot of sense in a lot of places for him to move on and see if he can win a ring somewhere else while he still has gas in the tank. Dealing now, before the draft, is when it is most likely, because there is available draft pick currency for 2009 and he can get integrated into another offense before camp. The Giants bid for him last fall, but they did not go high enough. Would this be as attractive as a 26 year old 6' 3" Edwards? Of course not. But you can play the Chiefs off the Browns. With the Eagles' 28 pick traded on Friday for Peters, and the 21 pick being rumored to be in play for Boldin, it puts the Giants in better position to deal with the Browns on slightly better terms.

Add this little nugget from Vacchiano, who reports Britt now visiting the Browns in a late change of plans. You can easily see how an Edwards to the Giants deal can come about. We are not stupid enough to bet the mortgage on this one, but it seems realistic given how both teams have already talked a few times now.

Wonder's reply to the idea of paying up and offering a 1st and 3rd rounder: "GET THE DEAL DONE...PERIOD !! Overpay if you must..BUT GET IT DONE."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Trading the #1 pick

Why is it that the NFL can be so upside down that you have more teams trading #1s and #2s than ever before? I'll tell you why. The world has gone mad. Favre and the Packers go batty. Cutler and McDaniels get in a pissing match. If Burress hadn't gone totally ballistic he would have been moved too. Peters cries enough times and forces a trade to the Eagles. Jeremy Shockey. Braylon Edwards. Anquan Boldin. Men behaving badly. Men behaving like children. Teams have little choice but to move the player and get SOMETHING for salvage. At least they can start anew with some draft picks. The team trading the pick for the player gets a great deal- a proven NFL player. It is the proverb standing on its head: two in the hand or the bird in the bush.

And that is where we are with the pursuit of Edwards. Eli Manning practically leaked the trade, the way we see it. We'd rate the chances as ~70%, maybe higher, the way we read our Mississippi Gomers. All the Giants will have to do, assuming they do trade, is to make sure the head is screwed on properly to the neck, or else we'll be on the losing end of this deal too come a few more seasons. Wonder reminds us the big picture here: "Don't get Boldin..too old..too MUCH MONEY...too much hassle..give Browns whatever the brown(!) they want, within reason, and Jints get an all-pro entering his PRIME...plus, it's the 29TH PICK!!!" To be fair to Boldin, it is not that Boldin is "too old," because he'll be 29 this season. It is just that Edwards is 26, and that makes a world of difference in the land of free agency and trades.

The Eagles won big. The Giants must do that trade in a heartbeat. I email Wonder, am I missing something? The Eagles made out. Wonder: "Great deal for Phila. Now they trade their #21 and a third for boldin...draft a bigger, tougher, RB in the 2nd...and they'd be REAL competition for Jints." If they get Shonn Greene I will be ill. Greene weighs 227 lbs, so this guy who "loves contact" would be a fit. Knowing the Eagles, that is precisely who they are targeting. We said this weeks ago- the Eagles would not stay in the 1st round, we expected them to trade down, but essentially this is the same result, moving OUT of the first round.

Have you entered the Blog Contest for the Strahan autographed NFL football? What are you waiting for? To lose on the tiebreaker because you submitted later than sooner?! Post your comment to yesterday's Dept. of Fandemonium Contest Blog posting below.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Department of Fandemonium CONTEST

Doubleheader today. Not only is there a blog post on a discussion of LBers, but we also have a Department of Fandemonium Ultimatenyg Contest.

The nice people at Monster.com Fandemonium are going to give away an autographed NFL football signed by Michael Strahan to the winner of the Ultimatenyg New York Giants Blog contest. But first a word from our sponsor:

Monster.com and the NFL held a competition to find the Ultimate NFL Fan. Michael Strahan hosted the competition. Tons of video, Strahan Bloopers, you name it. And if you need a job, Monster.com is your site.

The Ultimatenyg Challenge- Name the players that get drafted in Rounds 1 through 3 of the draft by the NY Giants. That is 5 selections (1, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b).


5 points: each correctly MATCHED selection.
3 points: right player, wrong spot
2 points: wrong player, right position
1 point : wrong player, wrong position, right position elsewhere in first 5 spots

Tiebreaker-the entry which is submitted into the blog comments section FIRST.

You can guess a trade for any pick or combination of picks. Simply select what the pick was traded for. Any guess of a trade needs to be submitted at least the previous day BEFORE the trade is announced by Ralph Vacchianno of the Daily News in order to be accepted. Players and their position chosen in rounds 4 through 7 have no bearing on the contest. Answers must be submitted to THIS post's comments section.

1 - Britt WR
2a - Freeman LB
2b - Robinson G
3a - Johnson S
3b - Turner WR

1 - Nicks WR
2a - Greene RB
2b - Brinkley LB
3a - Loadholt OT
3b - Turner WR

Sample Score= 2 + 1 + 0 + 0 + 5= 8 points

Winner gets a Michael Strahan autographed NFL Football (a $300 value) with free shipping. Courtesy of MONSTER.COM and the guys at M80 newsroom. Good luck.


Wonder commentary

Outside LBers:

Curry- better in a 4-3, not 3-4, can he rush the QB? Obvly terrific talent.
Cushing- driven ball player, overachiever, I like him, can play all 3 downs.
Matthews- yes, but must play WILL in 4-3, not covering TE (SAM) because not vg shedding blocks. Would be a great get for Giants.
Sintim- interesting, feast or famine.
Freeman- YES!!! underrated!
Casillas- Yes, but needs fit in right system
Norwood- Good Value as high as 4th Round
Willie Williams- I like him.

Inside LBers:

Maualuga- his draft stock is falling, ran a bad 40 yd dash time, who cares! In a 4-3 he is a tackling machine, if he falls THE GIANTS NEED HIM.
Laurinaitis- not as strong as AJ Hawke, NO! Stay away. Not value where projected near the end of the first round.
Ellerbe- yes, I like him.
JASPER BRINKLEY- YES YES YES! Injured last year, a stud in Junior year. Draft him in 2nd or 3rd round. Smooth hips, good hips. I usually do not like a guy with a knee injury, but LBer can recover. He would have been a top 15 pick if he had not gotten hurt. This guy is going to be good.
Phillips- Yes.
Worrell Williams- Fireplug. Feast or famine.
Sharpton- Yes.
Trent- Yes.

If we did not mention him (see the links for those left out), nothing good to say, not positive.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wide Receiver

Boldin is being shopped by the Cardinals. Wonder: "Boldin would be a very good get for the Giants, not as good or as preferred as Braylon Edwards because Edwards is more of a longball guy, younger, has not gotten hurt in the league, taller, more potential. Eli is simply not an accurate QB and Edwards would make him better than Boldin would make him better. Alley oop it to Edwards in the endzone, airmail it deep to Edwards and he will get it. Braylon Edwards is a stud. Boldin is a horse, strong, a proven product, has great YAC AFTER he gets the ball, but does ELI get him the ball in the first place?!!! With Boldin, you have to sort out his contract issues. Boldin is NOT a head case!!! You tell me when you are an all-star WR and you are NOT on the field near the end of the game for your team going to the Super Bowl, you have got to be kidding me! It made no sense that he was not on the field, some times these coaches lose track of who is on the field. This is why Parcells was so great, why he could beat the 49ers 15-14 in the title game (overachieving, having no business winning that game), he had such great attention to detail."

Maybe the Giants can play off AZ and the Browns. As for the Browns waiting on the draft to go after Crabtree, Wonder shot my idea down... :"(1) I doubt Crabtree will be there at 5 for the Browns. (2) if Crabtree is there, the Browns won't take Crabtree anyway, that is a smokescreen, Mangini wants to tear down the team and start over, build a defense, so he'll trade Edwards for #1 and whatever, he'll trade one of his two QBs for a #1 and whatever, and he'll have three #1s for his defense."

Speaking of Parcells, a view from 1300 miles south on I-95 for drafting a WR next weekend. It comes with a requote of a great Parcells line.

"Dime a dozen"... Call it a coincidence, but Parcells agrees with the Ultimatenyg philosophy (Rule #3) of WRs. Obviously we were schooled by Parcells in the workup to Super Bowl XXI and XXV- NEITHER team had a dominant WR yet we still won two titles.

Is 2009 different in terms of the metamorphosis of the game to where rule changes make it impossible to win a title w/o a strong WR? This debate rages on. We won Super Bowl XLII with Burress hurt in the big game, a decoy. Yes, he helped us tremendously that season, but the point is that it takes a lot more than a WR to win in this league. You still need a reliable, if not strong and dominating defense.

Wonder's latest: "I would take Britt over Nicks...Bey is a total feast or famine..but TONS of upside."

In Round #2 (the Saints pick) previously: "draft Robiske..he's 'NFL-ready'...more so than anyone but Crabtree." But his stock seems to be rising enough that he may be hard to get at that juncture.

In Round #3 we are looking at the Barden/Turner/Murphy.

WONDER'S LATE ROUND WR STEAL IN THE DRAFT:"AUSTIN COLLIE. 6'1" 200 lbs BYU. Has glue for hands, plays quick, will be very good in a few years. In the right system he will be AWESOME."

And from a previous post, a Wonder sleeper: "Dominique Edison, WR, Jints 2nd round or Jets/jints 3rd... 60-90th pick...just have to understand it will take him a couple of years to develop..after that, watch out."

I have been feeding all the WR-Burress-hangover guys on a steady WR diet for a little while. We'll turn our attention to LINEBACKER tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Braylon Edwards trade talk strengthens, Dockery, PSL update, 2009 schedules released

1) Earlier yesterday, reports confirmed that the trade talk between the Giants and the Browns resumed in earnest. Last night, Steve Somers reported that right now it is the Browns wanting a #2 (which one?), a #5 (which one?!) and Steve Smith, with the Giants offering the 2,5, and Domenik Hixon. The Giants would be smart to keep it to just draft picks, since we have plenty of picks to give away. Another version of the trade reported is a #1 and #5 for Edwards. Right now, the report from yday afternoon had only a #1 offered for him. Given how the Browns are well-situated to be in the Crabtree sweepstakes, you can certainly understand a scenario where a deal would not go down until the Browns got Crabtree.

Wonder: "I would give Clev a #1 and #5 so fast it would make your head spin...he will be FANTASTIC in NY....a star...as a matter of fact, if I were the JETS, I would look into getting him."

2) Dockery signed his tender

3) The NY Giants' media pr campaign to cast the illusion of how "well received" the PSL has been is a sham. The team has been trumpeting how 130,000 waitlist members are anxious to feast on these juicy nuggets. Problem is, we just found out from a reliable source who joined the waitlist 5 months ago that HE was contacted on Monday. So let's see if we understand this- the Giants went through their entire roster of CURRENT SEAT HOLDERS, which number ~76K/3= 25K fans, then went through almost all of the 130K waitlist people, and they aren't sold out yet? Keep peddling those turkey bacon club seats.

4) The Giants 2009 regular season schedule was released.

Sun. Sep 13 WASHINGTON 4:15PM
Sun. Sep 20 at Dallas 8:20PM
Sun. Sep 27 at Tampa Bay 1PM

Sun. Oct. 4 at Kansas City 1PM
Sun. Oct 11 OAKLAND 1PM
Sun. Oct 18 at New Orleans 1PM
Sun. Oct 25 ARIZONA 8:20PM
Sun. Nov. 1 at Philadelphia 4:15PM
Sun. Nov. 8 SAN DIEGO 4:15PM
Sun. Nov 15 BYE
Sun. Nov 22 ATLANTA 1PM *
Thu. Nov 26 at Denver 8:20PM
Sun. Dec. 6 DALLAS 4:15PM*
Sun. Dec 13 PHILADELPHIA 8:20PM*
Mon Dec 21 at Washington 8:30PM
Sun. Dec 27 CAROLINA 1PM*
Sun. Jan. 3 at Minnesota 1PM*
*Times subject to change

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

To Draft or Not Draft the Head Case

"Character issues." We hear about this one EVERY year. We see guys falling down the first round and we ask aloud wtf is going on. And quietly, we understand that there is obviously something else going on that is causing every team to shun the player like the plague. Warren Sapp was the beast DT who fell from the top of the draft to #12, where he was finally taken by the Bucs. Risk finally met reward. Marijuana turned out to be his greatest issue, and he went on to a Hall of Fame career. But for every Sapp, there are so many more Pacman Joneses. This year we get a discussion of five first rounders who allegedly have character issues.

Wonder has his own spin on this year's crop of problem draft picks: "Food for thought...although I personally think Raji and Andre Smith (OT-Alabama) have a "BIGGER" problem- they're both FAT SLOBS and will get ripped apart in the NFL if they don't "shape up"...how Kiper, McShay, et. al. continue to believe Smith is still a top 10 pick is mind-boggling..if you can't get in shape with the motivation of MILLIONS at stake, what does that say about your "drive" and work ethic?? Are they browning NUTS ?? I wouldn't touch Smith with a ten foot pole...as for Raji, not TOO bad..but do you really want to draft a guy who's so out of shape he can barely play 30-35 plays a game ? in the TOP TEN ?? NOT ME."

Obviously Wonder is not TOO concerned about Harvin's issues, saying that if he drops, the "Jints should either trade UP to grab Harvin" or can stay put or even trade down.

Ultimatenyg note: Wonder's remarks were made ~24 hours before Smith fired his agent.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Wonder on players 51-100 in the draft

Wonder: I usually come CLOSE to agreeing with Gil Brandt..so consider...I do like (for value)
RB Shonn Greene
WR Juaquin Iglesias
TE Richard Quinn
RB Andre Brown
G Duke Robinson
WR Lewis Murphy (might be GREAT for Jints in 3rd round)
DE Lawrence Sidbury
DB Deangelo Smith
LB Marcus Freeman
DB Donald Washington
and my 2 favorites, one for Off, one for Def:

IF you can get him at end of 3rd or in 4th...Rhett Bomar MAY be the best QB draft value BY FAR...FEAST OR FAMINE

S Rashad Johnson...get him in the 3rd round and you got VALUE..he's a football player.

For those of you new to Wonder's assessments, understand that his message is that it is not only important who you take but where you take them... note how Wonder can highlight LB Marcus Freeman from Ohio State and NOT be keen at all on Laurinaitis, from a VALUE perspective.
When he says feast or famine, he is simply implying that there can be so much upside to a player that it is worth the RISK of taking him at a certain place in the draft because of the potential. So Bomar could be a bust, but if he hits you have taken a lower risk and will get paid handsomely.

Wonder has some very good company with Marvelous, who completely concurs with the thumbs up finding of Shonn Greene. Marvelous:"Well.. my real sleeper was mentioned & I was going to look like a real genius--BUT-- now that the cat's out of the bag I LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEE Shonn Greene of Iowa!!! He is a great talent-- runs like a beast--fast--AND LOVES the game!!!!!!! Can he improve as a pass receiver & blocker? YES!! But he is a hungry mother browner--he LOVES challenges. CLUTCH should be his middle name!!!! LOVES contact."

Note one of the things that separates Wonder's picks from others: meanness/softness. He uses that criteria often to accept or reject a player. He likes an Offensive Lineman with a mean streak. NOT dirty. Simply aggressive/fierce/competitive. It does not surprise me that Greene is described as loving the game, loving contact. You would be surprised to find how many players at this level in college who DO NOT have their heart in the game. Tomorrow, Wonder will mention one player in the Top 10 of the draft that he you stays away from. It does not imply he will not be successful in the NFL- it implies that you as the GM do not pick a player that high based on his risk. If you cannot get the certainty w/o the risk in the top 10, you are doing something wrong and need to trade down.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Do you think Roger Goodell is doing a good job?

The NFL has more than few things wrong right now that need fixing:

1) The CBA.

2) The rookie pay structure.

3) Poor officiating.

4) The Brady Rule and most attempts to protect QBs at the expense of playing the game.

5) The misguided notion of expanding to 18 games.

6) Expensive stadiums, debt loads and PSLs that change the fan base at games.

7) Flex game scheduling that punishes the premium NFL viewer- the fan who purchases a ticket to the game.

Goodell may think he is doing a good job, but his lack of leadership is hurting the NFL. What do all of these things mentioned here have in common? MONEY. This is the same road MLB went down a long time ago. Money won and MLB lost. Death by a thousand cuts. When owners make decisions for more money at the expense of quality, the game suffers.

The rookie pay structure may not be the NFL’s fault (unlike the other 6 items mentioned), but they need to correct it, or else it will continue to foster a weakened underclass of teams that pay too much for the elite draft choice, unnecessarily and adversely killing their cap and longer range competitiveness.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE COMMISSIONER? Is it to be the unified voice of the owners, or is it also the unified voice of a successful league? The combination of strong owners bullying a weak commissioner is a recipe for disaster. Owners are selfish, and in capitalism that is always there. But this is yet another manifestation of the prisoner's dilemma, where the commissioner has to weigh the interests of some owners advocating for money versus the interests of the competitiveness and quality of the league. The commissioner is uniquely situated to make sure that 32 teams do not undercut one another and assure that collectively they seek a stronger solution to protect the longer term issues of their brand.

Roselle would be turning in his grave. Wake up Goodell and start protecting the game. Suggestion- visit the Masters and see how they protect and build value in their brand.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

One of the Giants' newest fans

Little "Bass" is showing his true colors!

The color this weekend is green, as in the Masters. I do not golf, and do not pretend to know much about the sport. But I do know one thing- this is a GREAT tournament to watch. WHY?

1) History
2) Tradition
3) One of the 4 Majors
4) THE ORGANIZERS PROTECT THE INTEGRITY AND QUALITY OF THE WEEKEND BY AVOIDING ALL THE EASY PATHS TO DILUTION. The one I specifically refer to is 4 minutes per hour for commercials, with no promotions of other network programming. (4 minutes?! We get 4 minutes of ads surrounding a kickoff.) These guys could milk this tournament for all it is worth, but they protect their franchise. They protect the quality of what we watch. Goodell, are you listening- where are your priorities? Think about what 18 games is about in the context of some of the items mentioned in the link. Which direction is being chosen? Is there any doubt about the long term implications it means to EVERYONE- fans, players and owners alike?

Friday, April 10, 2009

John Mara speaks to Chris Russo

Mara was interviewed on Sirius radio by Chris Russo.

The comments by Mara confirm and clarify initial reports for the Giants' reasons behind the decision to let Burress go.

Russo asked him about the PSLs and we got a candid admission...

Garafolo: I caught the tail end of the interview when I got back in the car and heard Mara talking about PSLs. Russo had told him Wellington "is tossing up in heaven, going crazy" about the PSLs and Mara responded by saying his late father "was dealing with a completely different set of circumstances than we're dealing with right here." He also added with a laugh his father "never really would have let us go into this new building in the first place if he (had his way)" and that Wellington "was happy with the Polo Grounds. He told me that over and over again."

Well, we are shocked, shocked to find gambling is going on in here! NOT. Wellington Mara had his way all the way up until he died. And that is why they are dealing with "a completely different set of circumstances" now.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Toomer is working out

We read a week ago that Toomer is staying in shape, waiting for the call from a team who wants the UFA. It may happen after the draft when a team decides it needs help from a WR that it did not get in the draft. It may easily happen after camp starts when WR injuries start depleting those ranks. We all know that despite Toomer's age reducing his speed, he has the possession skills someone will want for that third down role. Some are speculating the Giants may take Toomer back at the right price. Not happening.. not unless the Giants are one of those teams that goes through a rash of injuries.

While Amani waits, at least he is living the dream...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The price of an 18 game season? There is no free lunch.

Some constructive observations on an 18 game season...

1. NFLPA president Kevin Mawae, on Sirius NFL Radio, asked his opinion of the prospect of the NFL going from a 16- to an 18-game regular-season schedule: "What's in it for us? If we're going to give you two more games, two more games of wear and tear on our bodies, two more games of potential career-ending injuries, two more games of concussions, blown-out knees, elbows, whatever you want to call it, then what's the price you're willing to pay for us to give that to you?"

2. Adalius Thomas about the owners advocating a 17 or 18 game schedule: "Why would you want an 18 game season? Why? ... It's the money thing. Stop. Just stop. If [NFL owners] want to cry about money, then open your books up to an independent audit to really show how much money you're making. If you really want to cry about money, open your books up, put what you really make in the paper, like you put our salary in the paper every year so that the fans can say, 'Well, they're making this much money, why don't they do this?' If that's the case, I'm sick of people talking about, crying about, 'Well, we need to make cuts here' ...

"I'm just trying to figure out, what's the purpose for an 18-game season? At the end of the year, when players go to the playoffs, it's been a long season, so now you're going to say it's a longer season? Are you just going to stretch out the payments over 18 weeks now? No. We're not doing that. You can mark me down on the injured list for two weeks. You can put that in your books. You've lost your mind."

3. Peter King: "I still find it very, very hard to believe in this economy that the owners are going to get the TV networks to pay them any more than the current deals, never mind an increase for the increased inventory."

Finally some reality injected into this NFL victory proclamation about an 18 game season. Fans automatically equate more games to more NFL. I wish everything in life were that simple. We have argued that this dilutes the product. Incrementally you are not asking for 2 more games for 1 and 2, you are asking for two more games numbered 17 and 18, so you are going to have to pay players for something they have absolutely ZERO interest in. NONE. 2 more regular season games to prove what? To get to the end of the season and determine what already is being determined very well? Players are not going to ask for, and they will not get a 12.5% pay increase. It is not worth it to them. Did you ever hear of "overtime?" It is called TIME AND A HALF. So are NFL owners willing to give players a 19% pay increase for 2 more games? And what about the question posed by Peter King, on whether TV is going to offer ANY increase in the value of the contract, let alone a 19% increase? This is why we called it the Law of Diminishing Returns. TOO MANY QUESTIONS. NOT ENOUGH ANSWERS.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ask Wonder

Yesterday we talked about the Giants WR corps being small, how they need to get BIGGER. In the past week or so, a few commenters asked us about a few players out there that are big, and we asked Wonder about them..

1) Oxbay: "Ramses Barden a WR from Cal Poly. He's 6'6" and around 230 lbs"
Wonder:"great value for Jints in 2nd/3rd round"

2) on 4.3.09 Mitch reported possible interest from Chris Mara at the USC Pro Day for Patrick Turner. On 4.6.09 Craig reiterated the idea about Turner.
Wonder:"might be the steal of the draft...total pro...great size, good hands...has to "fill out" to NFL body...not a burner."

3) Rumors flying on radio yesterday about the Eagles interested in trading DOWN. Now where did you hear that possibility before?

Wonder's remark about Turner certainly got my attention. The Giants are very good in Round 2 and this is precisely why. So while we all want to trade up and go for glory, part of us should sanely respect the ability of Reese to sit back and pick. As good as the Giants have been in Round 2, their track record in Round 3 is not very good. Okay, I was being polite, it browns. About the best third rounder we have gotten historically has been Justin Tuck, and then the dropoff is off a cliff thereafter. Drew pointed out to us that you cannot trade that #100 compensatory 3rd rounder, so trade the other 3rd rounder (#91) up with a few others to get into round #2 to cut down the number of players we draft. Quality, not quantity. Where else have we been using that argument lately?!!

Summary: Go for the big boys, and they do not necessarily have to be in Round #1 either.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Size matters- bigger is better

On Friday, after Plaxico Burress was cut, Trent Dilfer made the simple observation that Eli Manning needs that big and tall option (because he is not an accurate QB).

Shockey 6'5"
Toomer 6'3"
Burress 6'5"

Smith 5'11"
Moss 5'8"
Hixon 6'2" (really?, I read somewhere else 5'11")
Manningham 5'11"

Not Gone, but forgotten:
Boss 6'6"

REHASH FROM SATURDAY: There is a guy out there who is tall (6'5"), caught 96 passes, was 12th in the league in receiving yards (1058), has expressed interest in a trade, would welcome coming to the Giants, has ZERO character issues, would not be that expensive, holds onto the ball, has been to 10 probowls including this past season... his name? Tony Gonzalez. Gonzalez has been lined up as a WR often in his career, and could fill a BIG void.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The two legacies of Plaxico Burress


Comic Implosion

Addendum, this one from early this morning... you think that with his court appearance due in 13 days, he would be trying to stay out of a little trouble?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Giants release WR Burress amid legal troubles

Giants release WR Burress amid legal troubles

Clayton's perspective from a step back affords us some general clarity on all of what we saw over the past number of days, weeks and months.

Trent Dilfer's macro perspective on Eli needing that big and strong receiver so that he can throw into an area is a polite way of saying that Manning is not an accurate QB. Absolutely correct, spot on. This is why we were pounding the table, pointing to Boss as the new #1 receiver for Manning, despite the fact that he was a TE. He's a big target, he's tall, he has great hands, and who cares if he is a TE or not... Bavaro led the '86 Giants in receiving, but Gilbrown wastes his TE. He barely figured out that the TE was his personnel answer to the loss of #17. If you go man on Boss, he will hurt you too. This is what they needed, and still need. Wonder and I were both disappointed when the Giants did not make a stronger play for Gonzalez before the trading deadline when TG asked out of KC. He had another pro bowl year. As a 1 year solution, he'd spread the field for you too.

Everyone is pointing to drafting an impact WR in round #1 as the savior. History says that we do not get WRs coming into the NFL and blowing the doors off in their rookie year. Either it is going to come from one of our existing receivers, from Boss, or from a trade for Edwards/Boldin. Realistically for 2009, given that the Giants already tried for Edwards and missed, it probably is going to come from Boss, with an outside chance that Moss/Manningham/Hixon makes huge strides in camp to become a consistent threat.

Friday, April 3, 2009

After you read Garafolo, you will say:"Good Riddance"

Take it at face value. Mike Garafolo delivers good stuff, and this story, if correct, sheds plenty of light on what has been happening. (I am operating on this story being correct. If it is not, then some of the things I state below will be subject to change. I doubt that will be necessary. I think Garafolo has it and I think his story is very telling.)

Let me get this straight, Burress is upset? At the Giants? If this is the case, then the man is completely and totally whacked out and the Giants were sane enough to cut him and move on. The only thing the Giants did to protect themselves at any time was suspend him and withhold pay, which I believe will hold up (or at worst get arbitrated down) as part of the morals clause.

This story was so remarkable that I had to read it a second time to completely understand that Burress is a total lunatic.

Brafman's remark is completely true. As his lawyer, the Giants cutting him is a mistake because from that vantage point my client is now unemployed. As a Giants fan, it is a mistake on the surface because we just have "lost" a very good player. But according to all of this, it is just spin, because apparently he was lost a while ago. His own client wanted this!

Remember back in early fall, the ink was not even dry on his brand new contract, that first bonus check had just cleared and he was already causing more problems? Well, the Giants have been saints in all of this, have given him anything and everything, every opportunity, and he spits in the team's face. The Giants are a strong club, and players rave about them as an administration because they stand by you and give you every opportunity to succeed. In a word, they are loyal. They gave this man every opportunity, time and again. Fines, suspensions, holdouts, gunshot wounds... they stood by him as long as possible. He's upset?


News Flash: Burress Cut

What a waste, the entire story. The Giants realized this DA is not going to help Burress or the Giants. It must have been the obstruction of justice (hospital worker) that blocked any attempt at a reduced sentence and an oppty for either #17 playing again for the team OR the Giants trading him. Not much else to do.

The cries are already there for a WR in Round #1. This draft is deep at WR, OL and LB. Reese can go to OL or LB and still find WR in Round 2.

Braylon Edwards?

Wonder comments on Cutler and the 18 game season

Let's see what Wonder said late tues night for Wed AM's post:
The deal will get done in 48 hours, everyone will try to deal for him, Denver will get a good price. Right on all three counts.

The price? Wonder also targeted the Bears as one of the likeliest of homes. He said: Cutler for Orton, a #1 and Olsen. Well, in draft pick math, Olsen = low #1 pick, OR high #2 + #4 pick. So he expected ~ Orton, #1 and a high #1 or low #2, it ended up being Orton, two #1's, a #3 and the Bears get back a #5, so still very close to what Wonder was looking at. "The Bears did fine," said Wonder. "They have a good QB for the first time in recent memory. They paid a lot, but they have a great QB." As for his beloved Jets missing on the deal, Wonder suspects that Denver's asking price for an AFC team was probably a lot higher, apples to apples, so that it really came down to what an NFC team could deliver, the Bears paid and got their man.

Wonder knows it would have caused a stink, but given the Broncos were thinking to trade him to the NFC, a trade for Eli Manning? The Giants should have inquired. The reason why the Broncos would have shown some interest and why the Giants probably did stay away is that Eli is a rare commodity in one respect: "he is valuable because he is not ****ed up. Every player these days has some sort of character issue, at least Manning doesn't."

I asked Wonder about the idea and proposal being kicked around to play 18 games. His response was UNEQUIVOCAL: "This is not even worth discussing, that is how stupid it is. It is so insane. Ridiculous. The NFL is asking for trouble. Forget having a full contingent of players. You'll have guys barely walking by the time they get to the Super Bowl. The average person does not understand what the (players) go through every week. This is unbelievably stupid. I'll tell you another thing- Who wins the Super Bowl?? Answer- The coach who has the b*lls to not play his LB and RB for the first 5 games of the season. 16 games works. If I am the NFL Players Association, I reject it out of hand."

Wonder gave a quick Giants draft jab: "Britt, H-Bey or Nicks."

Ultimatenyg here. It is a different discussion when going draft picks for draft picks (Manning for Rivers) or an established player who is young and is a Pro Bowl player. Cutler is a known quantity. The math we did in comparing what the Bears ended up paying above what Wonder expected amounted to essentially a third round pick. And Wonder qualified it beforehand saying that Denver WOULD get paid.. so they got paid. But the Bears got a KNOWN quantity, so they did fine. It was in absolute terms a lot, but then again look how long a team like the Bears can go without a franchise QB.. they do not grow on trees. This is not Albert Haynesworth, a DT who has been injured in ~6 consecutive seasons and could be gone from football in 3-4 years. Cutler has TEN seasons ahead of him. We have seen MANY QBers get better with age, like fine wine, finding the fountain of youth in their mid to late 30's. So how much is all of that worth to a franchise?! A lot.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Toomer Part II

It is not every day that you get an ex-player to share some insight on what is actually going on INSIDE. Add the fact that it is Amani Toomer and you have something worth listening to. How many times in Toomer's career did he show up a player or a coach? Before this, in 13 years, I cannot recall a single time.

January 28th: "They try to rely on the offensive line. And I think our offensive line is great, but they're great when we mix it up."

March 31st: "We practiced and prepared well. But we tried to beat them the same way we did the first time. We overemphasized things from the first time. We stayed the same. They adjusted. The rest is what happened. A shame."

They're great when we mix it up. Translation- you can have 5 great linemen going to the pro bowl but you cannot be predictable. Kevin Gilbride does not understand this.

October 28th: "Gilbride hinders the team. There is obviously something to lining up and punching someone in the mouth, but much like a fighter, there is a difference between a puncher and a boxer. A boxer can beat a puncher with strategy and technique. And it is much better to be a boxer and not always a puncher."

Shout out to Rob, who gets the kudos for articulating how Gilbrown is the puncher, not the boxer. Banks gave us the corroboration. Toomer left nothing for debate.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wonder comments on Burress and Cutler, TOOMER COMMENTS TOO

Three items today, do not miss Toomer's comments at the end.

First, Wonder commented on the 2 big news items:
1) Plaxico Burress court appearance delayed until June 15th. (More on this article below, see "Toomer.")
2) Jay Cutler and the Broncos are getting a divorce

On Burress... Either the Giants want Burress back or not, but EITHER WAY they have to
(a) get the moron atty and moron Burress to accept ~90 days of jail, (get him some cable tv, jokes Wonder), 45 of it will be in a halfway/his own house etc. and he'll be out
(b) work with the NFL right now and arrange for a deal with Goodell, contingent upon Burress negotiating w courts above, where the Giants suspension at the end of the 2008 season (5 games + Playoffs) is recognized by the NFL as time served.
Both of those things must be done IN ANY SCENARIO.

>>>If you want Burress back, all these things are finished and he is ready for camp.

>>>If you do not want Burress back, all the bs is cleared away, and NOW YOU CAN TRADE HIM for a #2. There are more than a few teams that will want him.

Wonder is irate at the atty- he had 4 months to do a deal and did not, what kind of bullbrown is that?! Time is money for a 31 year old WR who needs to be playing in 2009. This delay could cost his client millions. (Yes, he could do delayed service of time in next year's offseason, but that does not clear the deck for a trade.)

On Cutler, Wonder expects Denver to have a deal done in 48 hours. He is too hot a commodity and everyone will be trying to deal for him, so Denver will get a good price. CUTLER IS WORTH EVERY PENNY. How many times does a Pro Bowl QB with a rocket arm and TWENTY FIVE YEARS OLD COME ALONG?!!! Assuming you have a QB wish, he is worth it to get him. Yes, Wonder knows about the things being said about him not being a great teammate, but it is not a big enough issue. For the Jets, who have guys like Jenkins, Jones and Faneca in the lockerroom, he'd be fine. Add Rex Ryan, and it is no problem.

Wonder's proposed trade: Jets give up David Harris (who Mangini loves) to Cleveland, a #1 to Denver, Cleveland gives up Derek Anderson, Jets get Cutler. Denver gets a Pro Bowl QB plus a #1. Cleveland gets a stud LBer and no longer has a QB controversy, the Jets get a franchise QB.

Other teams that could/should be strongly interested: TB, Chi and Minn. Minn just got Sage Rosenfels, but ship him off to Denver along with your backup RB Chester Taylor (Denver needs a RB) and a #1 in a deal for Cutler. TB does not have anything strong enough to offer for Cutler other than draft picks. Chi can get a deal done by throwing in Kyle Orton, Olsen and a #1.

The team that wants Cutler most will get it done quickly. Wonder reminds us that Bart Scott, one of the most coveted LBers in free agency, was sought after by more than a few teams waiting to talk to him. The Jets literally flew down to his house, called him up and asked him to take his dogs away, that they were in the driveway at 12:15AM after free agency had just begun. He packed his bags, went to visit the Jets and the deal was done. So if you want Cutler, pull the trigger or someone else will.

Lastly, Amani Toomer. See link from top. Ya think we would overlook his parting shot at the Giants for how they browned up in the playoff game vs the Eagles?!!! Not a chance.

Toomer said he will never believe that the Giants were not good enough to win a second straight championship last season. "We beat Philly in the regular season, lost to them in the regular season, and for some reason we overlooked them in the playoffs," Toomer said. "We practiced and prepared well. But we tried to beat them the same way we did the first time. We overemphasized things from the first time. We stayed the same. They adjusted. The rest is what happened. A shame."

This is piece of evidence number 38 that Gilbrown (and Coughlin) was the root of all incompetence here. Now we have a player SPELLING OUT WHAT WE HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR AN ENTIRE SEASON. Gilbrown does not make the adjustments, and when we win it is often despite him. He had a freaking do-over and still blew it. It took one of his FORMER players to finally tell the truth. Carl Banks was nice enough to validate our thoughts, but Toomer closes the door on any remaining debate. Remember that Toomer did not say a word about Manning's bad day at the office. HE SPECIFICALLY TARGETED THE FLAWED OFFENSIVE GAMEPLAN. So when anyone tells you it was Burress being hurt or Manning playing poorly, please calmly explain to them that GILBROWN IS THE WEAKEST LINK.

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