New York Giants: Rookie Report Card
By Michael Stewart
The New York Giants had a successful draft in 2016 with their 6 selections (3 on offense and 3 on defense) and a couple of free agent rookies. I had given GM Jerry Reese a B grade for his efforts and wanted to see if my evaluation was fair or not.
1. Eli Apple (CB) Round 1 (10th overall): Many felt that this pick was a bit of a reach at #10 (including me), but Apple has played better than I expected and started off strong in training camp. Apple continued his solid play through the 1st 2 games of the season (Dallas and New Orleans). Displaying a physical side, while also having the speed to stay with most WR. Unfortunately, a groin and hamstring injuries have derailed his season and for that his production has suffered. Grade C
2. Sterling Shepard (WR) Round 2 (40th overall):Loved the pick and Shepard immediately made a big impression in training camp and has continued his rave reviews thus far through 10 games. Shepard has very soft hands and has the ability to catch in traffic. His speed is often downplayed, but he is a dynamic player and will only get better. Understandably, OBJ is Manning’s primary target, but the Giants need to find a way to get the ball to Shepard a little bit more in the remaining 6 games. Grade B+
3. Darian Thompson (S) Round 3 (71st overall): Thompson’s NFL career has been marred by injuries thus far. First he sustained a shoulder injury over the summer and lost his starting job to Nat Berhe. Then he suffered a foot injury; which has kept him out of the lineup since week 2. It’s unfair at this point to give him a grade as he really hasn’t given us enough to warrant an evaluation. Hopefully, Thompson can return and contribute in his rookie season. Grade: Incomplete.
4. B.J Goodson (MLB) Round 4 (109 overall): Thus far, Goodson has seen most of his playing time on special teams and not at MLB. Behind MLB Kelvin Sheppard right now is not a disappointment as the young rookie still needs to adjust to the speed of the game and also learning a defense that is complex. Unless the Giants suffer major injuries to the MLB position, Goodson will continue to contribute on special teams this season. Grade D.
5. Paul Perkins (RB) Round 5 (149 overall): Perkins was a dynamic RB at UCLA whether it was on the ground or through the air. He has transitioned himself nicely in his rookie year; which has resulted in more playing time (due to injuries). Not sure if Perkins is an every down RB in the future, but he can be a lethal weapon if used probably. Many compare him to former Giants RB Tiki Barber, but he reminds me more of Darren Sprouls of the Eagles. Perkins has an enormous up side and will only get better with more playing time. Grade C+
6. Jerell Adams (TE) Round 6 (184 overall): Adams reminds me a a little of former TE of the Giants, Adrien Robinson. Perhaps I’m being a little unfair this early in his career, yet Adams still has a tremendous upside and needs to get bigger and stronger to be considered an every down TE. Currently, he sits behind Will Tye and Larry Donnell in the depth charts and hasn’t had enough catches to warrant a fair grade. However; if the Giants are patient with him and put an additional 15-20 lbs on him; which shouldn’t hinder his speed. The Giants might have found a diamond in the rough in Adams. Grade D
7. Andrew Adams (S) Free Agent: Emergence of Adams has come as a complete surprise. Injuries to Thompson and Berhe has given Adams the opportunity to showcase himself and he hasn’t disappointed the coaching staff. Playing alongside Collins doesn’t hurt, but Adams has shown the ability to read and react well and should continue to see playing time ( in certain packages) once Thompson and/or Berhe get healthy. Grade B.
8. Roger Lewis (WR) Undrafted. Lewis has been able to make the most of his opportunities so far this season. Filling in for OBJ (injury) against the Ravens, Lewis was rewarded with a TD (1st career, currently has 2) and has played well when called upon since then. Lewis may not see as much action in the last remaining 6 games (barring injuries), but the Giants must feel comfortable knowing the depth Lewis provides. Grade C
Final Thoughts: In recent years, I have been critical of GM Jerry Reese drafts; which was warranted. However; the draft of 2016 could be his best in terms of potential and overall performance. Only time will tell if my statements holds any truth behind it.