New York Giants Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State – Round 2
The Giants had to improve their offensive line in the 2014 NFL Draft and were able to get the top draft’s top center in the second round. knew teams that were giving Richburg consideration late in the first round, so New York landed a nice value in Richburg.

The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Richburg has a nice combination of strength, athleticism, quickness and balance. He is a technician who is equally effective in the ground game and in pass protection. Richburg is also very smart, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he ends up being an asset in helping to direct the line into the correct protection calls. If Richburg can add some power in the Giants’ strength and conditioning program, that could make him even better.

In the long term, Richburg should be the starting center for New York. The rookie may not beat out J.D. Walton for 2014, but Richburg or Walton could slide over to right guard. Chris Snee is 32, while backup guard John Jerry was a disappointment in Miami. Once Richburg lands a spot in the starting lineup, he should be an effective starter for many years to come.

Most Likely To Bust

Jay Bromley, DT, Syracuse – Round 3
Leading up the 2014 NFL Draft, the consensus view of Bromley was as a late-round prospect. Thus, many were surprised when the Giants pulled the trigger on him with the 74th pick. Using a third-rounder on a defensive tackle was understandable, but New York passed on two of the best tackles in college football over the past two seasons to take Bromley.

Eight selections after Bromley was selected, the Bears took Arizona State pass-rusher Will Sutton. One pick later, the Texans traded up to land nose tackle Louis Nix. Both Sutton and Nix had better collegiate careers, so the Giants’ choice was a bit of a head-scratcher. Bromley (6-3, 305) had a breakout senior season, while Nix and Sutton were more consistent over the past two seasons.

Bromley will have to earn his playing time as New York has some depth at defensive tackle. Veterans Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson return, while Johnathan Hankins is expected to replace Linval Joseph. Of the Giants’ early-round picks Bromley looks most likely to bust.

Potential Boom Pick

Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU – Round 1
The Giants have to get Eli Manning straightened out to get back to the postseason and upgrading his receiving weapons is a great way to do it. With Manning’s powerful arm, a deep-threat receiver like Beckham is a tremendous weapon for New York’s offense. The Giants also want to reestablish an effective running game, and a receiver like Beckham who can stretch a defense vertically should help in that effort.

Beckham (5-11, 198) has game-breaking speed and is a good route runner. He caught 59 passes for 1,152 yards with eight touchdowns in 2013, but was better than the numbers illustrate. The speedy Beckham is very adept at getting separation from defensive backs and can beat double coverage.

The Giants lost Hakeem Nicks in free agency and needed a complement to Victor Cruz. Rueben Randle is projected to start, and Beckham could be excellent out of the slot in three receiver sets. Before long, Beckham should be starting over Randle to give the Giants a dynamic receiving tandem. Beckham has the ability to be one of the top speed receivers in the NFL and a potential Pro Bowler.

Future Depth Player

Andre Williams, RB, Boston College – Round 4
Williams (5-11, 230) is a physical, downhill runner who is capable of beating up a defense. He was a beast for Boston College in 2013 as he averaged 6.1 yards per carry for 2,177 yards and 18 touchdowns.

However, Williams lacks receiving ability. At the Combine and Senior Bowl, it was clear why Willams had zero receptions in 2013. He lumbered with poor route-running and dropped passes.

Williams could be a good first- and second-down runner while also helping to close out wins for New York. However, he doesn’t have the receiving skills to be a three-down starter in the NFL. Perhaps Williams can develop those skills over time, but right now, he looks like a situational runner as a pro.

Walt’s 2014 NFL Draft Grades:

12. Odell Beckham, WR, LSU: B+ Grade
I was pleading for Zack Martin in my live blog, but Odell Beckham works for New York. Hakeem Nicks is gone, so the Giants needed to find a new receiver to help Eli Manning. Beckham was the best receiver available by a wide margin, and some even considered him to be a better prospect than Mike Evans. I wouldn’t agree with that, but Beckham gives Manning a great downfield threat and a dynamic weapon in the return game.

43. Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State: B+ Grade
So, the J.D. Walton signing means nothing, then? That’s how it seems right now, but either Walton or Weston Richburg (likely the former) will play guard, filling a huge need. We spoke to some teams that thought Richburg would be chosen in the first round, so the Giants are getting solid value, all while protecting Eli Manning, which is obviously important.

74. Jay Bromley, DT, Syracuse: C- Grade
I get the fact that the Giants needed a defensive tackle, but that doesn’t mean that they should have spent a third-round pick on a sixth-round prospect. This is a major reach, though Jay Bromley will have a chance to contribute soon, given the hole at the position.

113. Andre Williams, RB, Boston College: B Grade
As my editor put it, “Because the Giants need a running back who can’t catch.” I think this pick is OK. The Giants needed a running back, and I know one team that was really hoping that Andre Williams would fall to them at the end of the fourth round.

152. Nat Berhe, S, San Diego State: C- Grade
I didn’t think Nat Berhe would be drafted, so I can’t give this a good grade. The Giants are at least addressing a big need though. They needed a safety in the wake of Will Hill’s most recent suspension.

174. Devon Kennard, DE/OLB, USC: B+ Grade
An edge pass-rusher makes sense here, as it’s something the Giants haven’t addressed yet. Devon Kennard was expected to go a bit earlier than this, so I like this selection.

188. Bennett Jackson, CB, Notre Dame: B Grade
It’s never a bad idea to take a cornerback late in the draft. The Giants hadn’t done that yet, and Bennett Jackson fits the range as a Round 5-6 prospect, so this is a solid choice.

2014 NFL Draft Team Grade: B- . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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