New York Giants Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Owa Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA – Round 3
Odighizuwa going to the Giants is a perfect fit. This fit reminds me of other similar players like Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora who the Giants used to help build their Super Bowl teams. New York needed some talent and flexibility on the defensive line, and Odighizuwa is a great fit to recreate the waves of pass-rushers as he will join Jason Pierre-Paul and Damontre Moore in a trio of edge defenders who are fast to the quarterback.

At UCLA, Odighizuwa showed that he was a solid base end for a 4-3. The 6-foot-3, 267-pounder is strong on the edge and can hold his ground in the ground game. He also is fast and physical as a pass-rusher. The senior recorded 61 tackles and six sacks in 2014, but he put more pressure on the quarterback than the numbers illustrate. Odighizuwa was limited by injuries in the previous year and was a backup before that. He had a skill set to go higher in the 2015 NFL Draft, and many projected him to go in the first round or early on the second day, but being a 1-year wonder knocked him lower in the draft.

I really love the fit in the Giants’ defense for Odighizuwa. He could be a base end on running downs who moves inside to rush the passer over the guard in passing situations, similar to Tuck during his run with New York. With Pierre-Paul on the end, Odighizuwa should see plenty of single-block opportunities. I think that Odighizuwa is going to turn into a quality starter for New York and will remind Giants fans of Tuck or Umenyiora.

Most Likely To Bust

Landon Collins, S, Alabama – Round 2
In speaking with sources from a team that had some discussions about taking Collins in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, the source and I both described Collins as a player who will give the other team a mismatch in pass coverage. It didn’t make sense in the passing-driven NFL to take a safety in the first round who one would hope doesn’t get thrown at or isolated in pass coverage. That was the case with Collins, and it was proven in 2014. He was a good tackler and run-defender, but when going against receivers or dangerous tight ends like Ole Miss’ Evan Engram, Collins was in trouble and overmatched.

Collins (6-0, 228) is not a deep, rangy free safety to defend the deep part of the field. Fast NFL receivers could run by him, and teams that like to interchange their safeties before the snap would not want a safety like Collins responsible for the deep part of the field. Collins is a thumper safety who is good at being the eighth man in the box. He stuffs runs and is able to defend the short-passing game.

If the NFL was the running-based game of the ’80s and earlier decades, then Collins would have been worth a first-round pick as a run-stuffer and eighth man in the box. However in the passing-driven NFL, Collins looks to me like he should almost be a Will (weakside) linebacker in a 4-3 defense. Almost like a Lavonte David (6-1, 233) in Tampa Bay. Even at strong safety, I think Collins’ weakness in the passing game could be exposed as teams will work their formations to produce some mismatches on him. Of the Giants’ early-round picks, Collins has the biggest flaw in his game, and I think he is the most likely to bust.

Potential Boom Pick

Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami – Round 1
Many draft analysts underrated Flowers in the lead up to the 2015 NFL Draft. They had other tackle prospects like T.J. Clemmings (fourth-round pick to Minnesota), D.J. Humphries (late first-rounder to Arizona) and La’el Collins (undrafted free agent to Dallas) rated ahead of Flowers. However, NFL teams didn’t see it that way at all. Flowers was the top tackle prospect in the 2015 NFL Draft, and teams had him graded highly and ahead of those players. Flowers is only 20 years old, and the 6-foot-6, 329-pounder has a ton of potential to turn into an elite edge blocker in the NFL.

There is no doubt that Flowers has a ton of power for the NFL. Throughout his years at Miami, the Hurricanes had a lot of success running behind him with tailback Duke Johnson. Even with long arms, Flowers led all of the offensive linemen in the bench press at the Combine. For Miami, Flowers was a very reliable pass-protector, and rushers had a hard time getting by him. He demonstrated excellent feet, quickness, length and agility to block on the blind side.

Flowers needs some development for the NFL, but in time, I think he is going to be an excellent tackle on the right or left side. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Flowers turns into a Pro Bowl player and is a boom pick for New York.

Future Depth Player

Bobby Hart, G, Florida State – Round 7
The Seminoles had Hart playing right tackle, but he should have been inside at guard. Hart (6-5, 329) had some issues with speed rushers in college, but he’s only 20 years old and has upside to develop on the inside. With his experience on the edge, improving at pass protection should be a given with moving to right guard. Hart has a lot of experience playing for a Championship team and should offer some quality depth to the Giants on the offensive line as a swing guard-tackle.

Walt’s 2015 NFL Draft Grades:

9. Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami: B Grade
So much for Mel Kiper’s assertion that no offensive linemen were worth taking at No. 9. Ereck Flowers is definitely worth the selection, and I’m not just saying that because he’s a reader of the site. Flowers was the best pure tackle prospect in this draft, and I had him going No. 10 in my mock draft, so the range definitely makes sense. Flowers also fills a big need, as the Giants had to protect Eli Manning, who has been battered and bruised the past couple of seasons.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

33. Landon Collins, S, Alabama: B Grade
The Giants dealt a fourth- and a seventh-round pick to move up to this spot. And I can see why they did it. Landon Collins was seen as a first-round prospect by many, but he slipped into the second frame. He potentially fills a huge need for the team, and if the Giants had their hearts set on filling the safety spot, they almost had to move up because there are no other players at the position worth taking in the second round.

74. Owa Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA: A Grade
The Giants just landed a pass-rushing steal who dropped into the third round? When has that ever happened? Jerry Reese is the master of obtaining great values on the defensive line, and Owa Odighizuwa is his latest one. The UCLA product should’ve gone in the first half of the previous round, so I like this pick, especially since Odighizuwa fills a need up front.

144. Mykkele Thompson, S, Texas: C- Grade
No one mentioned Mykkele Thompson as a draftable prospect, so this pick is pretty sketchy. Thompson has a lot of experience at Texas, but will probably be relegated to special teams for most of his career. This is a reach.

186. Geremy Davis, WR, Connecticut: C Grade
Geremy Davis is a borderline draftable prospect, so the Giants could have waited a round to take him off the board. Davis has good size and nice hands, but that’s about it. He can’t get open, so that may remind New York of a former receiver with similar issues, Ramses Barden.

226. Bobby Hart, OT, Florida State: C Grade
Bobby Hart was a good player for Florida State, but he doesn’t project as an NFL player. He just doesn’t seem to have the appropriate skill set.

2015 NFL Draft Team Grade: B- . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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