NFC East: Darrius Heyward-Bey
Anyway, Bill's got the New York Giants ranked among "The Best" in his rankings, behind only the Ravens, Lions and Packers. He picks a "best value pick" and a "cornerstone pick" for each team, and for the Giants he lists wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (29th pick, 2009) as the best value pick and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (15th pick, 2010) as the cornerstone. Based on the results alone, these are both very good picks for the Giants, and they offer different types of examples of the Giants' broad-thinking approach to the first round.
The Giants believed Maclin and Nicks were both top-15 value picks that had slipped into the second half of the round. They had them rated very closely together and believed each offered something special. With Maclin it was his raw speed and special-teams ability. With Nicks, it was his studious nature and everything they'd been told by his college coaches about his attention to detail and the level of responsibility he'd assumed as a leader of the wide receiver corps at North Carolina. They were ecstatic to get him at 29. If not for the saturation of first-round wide receiver talent in that particular year, they might not have been able to sniff either guy. They took advantage of a rare and exciting confluence of value and need to make that year's first-round pick, and it's paid off.
As for Pierre-Paul, we've been over this story a million times. The Giants were picking in the middle of the first round that year, and the value at that spot was going to be pass-rushers, which is their wheelhouse. Five defensive ends went in that year's first round, and the names of Brandon Graham and Derrick Morgan were being kicked around for teams in the middle of the first round. Pierre-Paul was a mystery man -- raw and inexperienced but unquestionably gifted as a pure athlete. Everybody saw the tape of him doing the backflips. No one -- not even the Giants -- knew for sure how that would translate into NFL football.
The Eagles traded up to get Graham at 13 -- a move that has subjected them to derision in light of Pierre-Paul's rapid ascent and Graham's health struggles (and the fact that safety Earl Thomas went one pick later). And with the seemingly more NFL-ready Morgan still on the board, the Giants picked Pierre-Paul. They didn't know he'd be one of the best defensive players in the league two years later. They thought maybe he could eventually be that, and that his potential combined with their program made him worth the pick. This was a pick that made more sense for the Giants than it might have made for any other team picking in that spot. They identified that, and again, it has paid off.
Anyway, the other teams in the NFC East are much further down the list, all in the bottom-17 portion of Bill's list labeled "The Rest of the Rest." He picks Sean Lee as the Cowboys' value pick and Tyron Smith as the cornerstone. The Eagles' value pick is Jason Kelce (sixth round!) and the cornerstone pick is LeSean McCoy. The Redskins' value pick is Roy Helu (fourth round!) and their cornerstones are Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan, though the Redskins are hoping the real cornerstone is the guy they're picking No. 2 overall next week.
tmcsfinest from Toronto thrilled us all Friday morning with a stirring tale of his efforts to post a question on the mailbag. His problem apparently was that his question was too long, so he posted it instead as a comment on a post about the Giants hiring Larry Izzo. Fortunately for him, I read almost all of the comments -- even the ones that have nothing to do with the post under which they sit. Unfortunately for him, he was right about his question being too long, so I can't copy/paste the whole thing here. Basically, he asks if I think it'd be smart for the Redskins to add to their wide receiving corps via trade or free agency, because what they have there isn't great and there are some interesting options on the market.
Dan Graziano: No doubt, receiver is a need the Redskins should address if they can. The issue is that some of the names you suggest (Lee Evans, Darrius Heyward-Bey) likely wouldn't be big enough upgrades over what they already have to justify parting with resources to acquire them. Free agents such as Braylon Edwards and New York Steve Smith don't fit the No. 1 wideout description. Sidney Rice is an injury question, and Vincent Jackson and Carolina's Steve Smith will be pricey. Considering that no one they bring in will have an established NFL quarterback throwing to him, I'm not sure it's wise for Washington to deal away a bunch of picks for a star or commit long-term dollars to the relative flotsam that's out there on the free agent market when they're probably gearing up to position themselves to draft their quarterback of the future next spring. Yes, they need help at receiver. But given the probable price of upgrading, I wonder if they might just be better off bringing back Santana Moss and finding out a little bit more about what Anthony Armstrong's got.
Evan O'Gibney, a Long Branch, N.J. native, checks in from Baghdad with a question about the Giants. Evan is "worried about the Giants" because "Jerry Reese is too conservative, Coughlin is starting to get surrounded by more players who weren't there when they won the big one and just see the hard-nosed coach and don't respond well. Brandon Jacobs is not worth the money he's making over the next two seasons and our O-line is all but about to start collecting social security. And I'm still not over the decision to not trade up to get Rolando McClain when ILB is by far our biggest need instead of getting ANOTHER DE. (i like JPP, but it wasnt the right move, backflips dont count in hall of fame votes)"
DG: Couldn't have said it better myself, Evan. I don't like the way the Giants have made their offseason decisions the past couple of years. I've been clear on this. And I think, if they don't address that linebacker position in free agency and add some offensive line depth, they're setting themselves up for disappointment. But as you'll see if you check back on the comments in a few hours, there are many Giants fans who think I'm all about unwarranted doom and gloom. I'll just point out, again, that you and I have played in as many playoff games as the Giants have in the past two seasons.
Bill in D.C. wonders what will become of Barry Cofield if he and the Giants part ways in free agency, and if I "think he could play the 5 technique in a 3-4? He seems to have the speed and size (6'4", 309) to do so. If so, he might make an interesting addition to the Dallas D line."
DG: Cofield has played on the inside in the 4-3 in New York, and I confess I don't know much about the technical aspects of making a position switch like that. My gut tells me it'd be easier than, say, switching to 4-3 defensive end. And given the freedoms that talented players enjoy in Rob Ryan's scheme, it's possible the five-technique in Dallas won't be a traditional five-technique position. Certainly, if you put him on the same side as DeMarcus Ware, he might not have to worry as much about rushing the passer or keeping offensive tackles off his linebacker. It's an interesting thought, but I can't offer any insight into whether it's something Cofield himself would want to do.
Andrew in Dallas wants to know, if the Eagles are going to have as much cap room as it appears they will, "why don't they re-sign some key players (like DeSean Jackson) to a contract with a lot of money this season to lower the price for later years? By front-loading the contracts, they could build in more room in later caps, in addition to locking up vital players."
DG: In theory, sure. But the Eagles are thinking about winning this year, and I imagine they'd rather dole out up-front money to players who can help with that than worry about the long-term situation with Jackson. And Jackson's situation is its own mess, as I believe he plans to hit the open market with Drew Rosenhaus at his side and see what he can get. I'm not even sure Jackson would be interested in locking up long-term at a price the Eagles would find acceptable right now. In short, I think the Eagles are focused a lot more on a 2011 Super Bowl run than they are on cap room in future years.
Keep the questions coming, folks. And if they don't fit in the mailbag, as tmcsfinest showed, you can always just throw them into some random post during the week and hope I find them. It's a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world...
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
- Barry Horn reports that "The Fan" is the new flagship station for the Cowboys.
- Randy Galloway is happy he will finally get some truth tomorrow.
- Re-signing Miles Austin means higher expectations for the wide receiver.
- Todd Archer wonders if Jerry Jones will find his way into the first round.
- At least Jerry is happy with the progress of Roy Williams.
- And the stadium name is still a secret.
- Larry O'Rourke has the scoop on Hank Baskett being signed to a one-year deal.
- Paul Domowitch says Knowshon Moreno belongs in Philly.
- And Moreno wouldn't mind being an Eagle.
- Steve Patton says tomorrow is a world of options for the Eagles.
- Ralph Vacchiano says the Giants have their eyes on Maryland receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.
- Ahmad Bradshaw likes the fact that he is taking on a bigger role next season.
- Tom Rock says the focus in New York has changed from Braylon Edwards to the draft.
- Rookie wide receivers are not always the best way to go.
- Ralphy is excited for draft weekend!
- Michael Wilbon is interested to see what Washington will do this weekend.
- The Jasons report that the Redskins have reached a deal with punter Hunter Smith.
- The Jasons also got the scoop on another Jason: Campbell doesn't want to stick in Washington if his team drafts Mark Sanchez.
- And the Jets are interested in Campbell.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Each morning, the Beast visits at least 15 Web sites and blogs looking for updated mock drafts. Today we turn to ESPN The Mag's Chris Sprow, who had the good sense to bring some of the top draft experts of our time together for an aggregate mock draft.
This is a feature that most people have to pay for, but for one day only, I'm pulling back the curtain. Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. joined folks from CBS Fox, NFL Network and Yahoo to come up with this mock. According to this list, here's who would end up with Beast teams:
No. 13 Redskins select Tyson Jackson, LSU
No. 21 Eagles select Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland
No. 28 Eagles select Eben Britton, Arizona
No. 29 Giants select James Laurinaitis, Ohio State
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
- Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News reports that Jerry Jones isn't looking to make a splash in free agency. So no Ray Lewis.
- Mac Engel of the Star-Telegram has a similar story.
- Randy Galloway is hoping the Cowboys bring Jeff Garcia to Valley Ranch.
- In case you missed it, Ray Buck of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram had an excellent story Sunday on the 20-year anniversary of Jerry Jones taking over the Dallas Cowboys.
- Ray Parrillo takes a look at this year's crop of receivers in the draft.
- The Eagles' scouting department isn't letting the economy slow it down.
- Vaughn McClure takes a look at the offensive tackles who the Eagles are scouting.
- The Joselio Hanson contract makes it official that Lito Sheppard has no place on this team -- although we already knew that.
- Eli Manning is glad he didn't invest with Sir Allen Stanford. He had the chance.
- Anyone know why Rich Cimini is doing a story on Plaxico Burress? Did Vacchiano stay home?
- OK, I found him. He's blogging from home. Here's something on his blog regarding Jerry Reese's Saturday session.
- Mark Cannizzaro writes about Plax in the Post.
- Jason Taylor's agent says his client will return to the Redskins in '09. And he says there won't be a discount. Hope that works out for ya.
- Ryan O'Halloran has a nice story on Vernon Davis' little brother, Vontae.
- Darrius Heyward-Bey, a Maryland product, ran an outstanding 40 time.
- David Elfin of the Washington Times has a story on the release of Marcus Washington.