Archive for March, 2019

U. of Minnesota Safety, Jacob Huff – Huff excelled as both a run-stop safety and in pass coverage, grading out in the top ten of both categories according to ProFootballFocus.com. His playing weight is 210 at the University of Minnesota, so Huff wouldn’t have to bulk up for the NFL. Huff batted down 7 passes, intercepted 2 passes, and forced 2 fumbles during his senior season. Overall Huff performed well throughout the season. During his 13 game senior season, Jacob Huff as the leader of the Minnesota Golden Gophers defense allowed a QBR (score out of max 100) of 54.64 between the 13 starting QBs he faced. That score ranks between Mason Fine of North Texas (#73/128) and Desmond Ridder of Cincinnati (#74/128). Huff faced some serious high level QB talent in first rounder Dwayne Haskins (OSU), Nate Stanley (Iowa), Adrian Martinez (Nebraska), and David Blough (Purdue) throughout the season. I contend Huff performed at a high level on a defense without tons of high level talent around him unlike, say,  safety Taylor Rapp at Washington who functioned as part of an elite defense or Deionte Thompson who played for the fearsome Crimson Tide Defense.

Penn State QB, Trace McSorley – McSorley had a nightmare senior season, completing 53% of his passes and a career low 7.0 (counting full time starter seasons) yards per attempt. In fairness to McSorley, Penn State lost starters Mike Gesicki (Tight End), Daesean Hamilton (wide receiver), and pass-catching fiend Saquon Barkley to the NFL. McSorley also had the #1 drop rate (10%) of receivers in division one college football. If we give McSorley an average drop rate (4%) instead, his completion percentage looks like 59%, which while still a far cry from the 66% he posted in his junior season, is much more forgivable than 53%. McSorley is extremely productive as a runner with over 700 yards rushing and 12 rushing touchdowns (career highs). Against THE Ohio State University, McSorley only completed half of his passes (16/32), for two touchdowns (0 INT), but roasted the Buckeyes defense for 175 yards on the ground with 25 carries. While McSorley likely will need an offense that’s maybe more QB-friendly (Chargers, Giants) but has the deep ball (PFF ranking of 10/53 eligible QBs in average depth of target, how deep a receiver is on the field when pass is thrown) and athleticism to be worth the gamble of a 4-6 round selection.

Utah State RB, Darwin Thompson – The 5’8″ 200-lber averaged 6.9 yards a carry at Utah State. Thompson’s low center of gravity can actually be an asset if we go back and look at the successful careers of Warrick Dunn and Maurice Jones-Drew. Thompson created substantial yards after the carry. Thompson forced 48 missed tackles on 151 handoffs, (PFF.com’s NFL draft guide, subscription required). So on just under one third of Thompson’s carries, he forced a missed tackle. Running backs are undervalued by the nature of playing a in pass-friendly league, and Darwin Thompson who didn’t even get a  combine invite will likely go overlooked in favor of large edge rushers and slot receivers. Thompson didn’t play at a larger program but has shown about as much as a running back can show in order to be a strong NFL prospect.

Northern Illinois EDGE, Sutton Smith – The undersized small school prospect excelled at both stopping the run and pressuring opposing quarterbacks (Top 25% ranking in run-stop percentage and pressures generated according to PFF.com NFL draft report). Smith showed up at the combine weighing in at 233 and ran an unconvincing 4.69 40 for a smaller pass-rusher. Smith may have to get his start on an NFL squad as a special teams contributor. Where Sutton Smith does show up is actual, real football. He sacked the ultra-athletic Utah QB Tyler Huntley twice in a performance where Northern Illinois was over-matched talent-wise and coaching-wise. 230-lb Sutton Smith sacked 6’7″, 245-lb Tyree Jackson twice in the MAC championship game. He can clearly compete against high level athletes despite his size and sub-par 40 time. Smith’s performance at Northern Illinois is no guarantee of success at the NFL level, but his ability to perform at a fundamental level against “better” talent suggests he can do the same at the pro level.

San Diego State WR, Fred Trevillion – Trevillion’s sample size at SDSU is smaller (22 catches, 598 yards, 27.2 yards per catch, 3 TDs) but he shows clear promise as a deep threat receiver in the vein of Brandin Cooks or Josh Gordon. Trevillion stands at 6’2″ but weighed in at 182 on his pro day, so he may struggle with strong press coverage. For those who value the 40 time, Trevillion ran a low-4.4 40 at his pro day (according to draftanalyst.com).  With the success of slot receivers in New England, more teams may be looking for a slot receiver, Trevillion didn’t make a name for himself as a slot receiver at SDCCU Stadium. In a pass-heavy offense, like in New Orleans, Kansas City, or Chicago Trevillion can be an extremely valuable deep threat as a mid to late round player.

 

 

Here’s what we know:

  • The Giants are clearly still a bad team even with Odell Beckham on the roster.
  • Championship teams don’t use superstar wide receivers to win (Patriots, Eagles, Seahawks, Broncos)
  • Odell Beckham’s blue-chip talent is being wasted away on an offense that uses the short-middle passing game, which he himself acknowledged during the 2018 season
  • The Giants need to find an elite QB in order to become relevant again. Elite QBs don’t need elite wide receivers to thrive. Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Baker Mayfield, Phillip Rivers, Andrew Luck all performed consistently without stud wide receivers.

The Giants would not have gotten the value that a first, a third and safety Jabrill Peppers will give them if Beckham remained on the roster. Odell would have been an elite receiver stuck on a team that is either bad or otherwise doesn’t properly utilize him, like Larry Fitzgerald with the Cardinals. With two first round picks, the Giants can try to trade up for Kyler Murray if they feel the need, or more likely will try to trade back and set themselves up for a juicy 2020 QB draft class with Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa and Georgia QB Jake Fromm becoming draft eligible.

Counter argument: “Dave, the Giants should restructure their offense to take advantage of what Beckham does well, not trade him.”

That’s certainly a move teams have made in the past. If the player is talented enough, the coach might says: “Let’s change up our scheme to maximize what we can get out of this player.”  Former Denver OC Mike McCoy famously did this with the Broncos during the Tim Tebow glory days. (Though that move more revolved around having Tebow do less of what he was bad at than doing more of what he’s great at.) This might actually work if the Giants were rolling with Dwayne Haskins or Josh Rosen at QB. At thirty-eight years old, Eli Manning is not likely to be the best fit for a downfield passing attack. You could then point the finger at the Giants’ front office for not having an appropriate successor to the QB crown (which I agree is a fair criticism). Dak Prescott fell to round three and became the starter for division foe Dallas while the Giants drafted poor team fits like Eli Apple and Davis Webb to build their roster. But that’s not the situation that’s happening now. Right now, in 2019, with a west coast style passing attack and a thirty eight year old quarterback, converting a powerful deep-threat receiver into precious draft capital is better long-term move considering the Giants waited three years too late to find a replacement at Quarterback.

The Giants did right by Odell by releasing him from Football Prison onto a roster with a competent QB and a real shot at the playoffs. Beckham repeatedly showed frustration with the outcome of the 2018 season after going from 11-5 in ’16 to 3-13 in ’17 with largely the same roster. The Giants were no longer using him for what made him famous-setting him up to burn defenders deep downfield.

The Browns on the other hand desperately needed a “true number one” receiver, or rather just a receiver who will reliably catch the football. Plus, Baker has a deep ball for years that will outlast Odell’s ability to catch deep balls.

No one likes to see the best player on their team get traded away. Raiders fans raged through the night as Khalil Mack was shipped off for two first round picks. Watching your team win five games a year with a couple of superstars on each side of the ball may be appealing to some, but general managers want to give their teams a chance to consistently compete every season, which the Giants did not have at the start of 2018, and are closer to now.