Round 1: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska. Amukamara was the second best cornerback in the draft last year behind Patrick Peterson. However, he broke his foot during only his second practice with the team and didn’t make his debut until Week 11. He was definitely behind the curve when it came to playing an integral part of the defense since the shortened offseason limited his time to learn the playbook as it did all rookies. His injury further hampered his development. He did intercept a pass in his debut but also was burned a few times over the course of the season. The talent is still there for him to emerge as a shut-down corner but he will have to stay healthy and learn the various schemes that defensive coordinator Perry Fewell utilizes. He might be placed further behind because he had a procedure done in the offseason, similar to running back Ahmad Bradshaw’s where platelet-rich plasma was injected into his broken foot to promote healing. It could cause him to miss time on the field during offseason camps. At least he will be in the classroom learning the playbook this year but it might be a while before his talent translates on the field.
Round 2: Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina. This was a surprise pick by the Giants since Austin missed all of 2010 due to suspension. Austin then tore his left pectoral muscle in the preseason and missed the entire year. He will now have gone two years without having played a meaningful snap of football. He was raw to begin with but there is talent there. It’s just a question of whether or not he will be able to develop into the player that Jerry Reese was hoping he was getting.
Round 3: Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy. Another bit of a surprise pick by last year by Reese. Jernigan got buried on the depth chart once Victor Cruz emerged as one of the best receivers in the NFL last season. Jernigan did not catch a single pass last season and was relegated to special teams. He couldn’t hold down the job as the teams primary return man because of mental mistakes which put him in coach Tom Coughlin’s doghouse. He still possesses excellent speed and if he was smart he spent the offseason mentally digesting the playbook. It will be interesting to see how he does with a full offseason under his belt and whether or not he can emerge as Mario Manningham’s replacement.
Round 4: James Brewer, OT, Indiana. Brewer did not play a snap all year. Brewer was considered a raw prospect and all indications are he will be allowed to compete this season for the right tackle position with David Diehl and the newly acquired Sean Locklear. He should at least become part of the tackle rotation.
Round 6: Greg Jones, LB, Michigan St. Jones was asked to step into the starting middle linebacker role where he made 5 starts due to injuries decimating the Giants linebacking corps last season. Jones was very good against the run but was exploited in coverage. He should be able to improve his coverage skills as he continues to learn Fewell’s schemes. Jones was drafted as a project, a smart football player with excellent production in college but with a lot to learn at the pro level. Instead, he found himself as the starting middle linebacker for five games. He should continue to get better.
Round 6: Tyler Sash, S, Iowa. Sash made some contributions on special teams as expected. When he was asked to play defense he often got burned. I don’t know if Sash has the size and speed to develop into anything more than a backup safety and special teams contributor. And, for a sixth round pick, getting that type of production isn’t that bad.
Round 6: Jacquian Williams, LB, South Florida. Williams, like Jones taken ahead of him, was a raw prospect. Like Jones, Williams was asked to step into a starting role for two games last season. Williams struggled in coverage but opened some eyes as to the kind of player he might become by making 78 tackles. Williams might be the best pick of the bunch if he can develop his talent and improve in his coverage skills. He struggled mightily against speedier tight ends and running backs and needs to get a little more physical at the line of scrimmage. He would sometimes make an outstanding play and then follow that up with two bone-headed penalties. He will need to raise his on-field awareness before he locks down a starting spot.
Round 7: Da’Rel Scott, RB, Maryland. Scott showed flashes of brilliance during the preseason last year by ripping off a 97-yard touchdown run against the Chicago Bears and taking a fake punt-direct snap 65-yards for a touchdown against the New England Patriots. Scott saw limited action during the regular season last year, carrying the ball 5 times for only 16 yards. He possesses blazing speed and he should be able to get some regular playing time this season with Brandon Jacobs gone. Reese has had luck in the past with 7th round draft picks like incumbent starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw. It is possible Reese might have struck gold again with Scott but he has a long way to go.