The New York Giants Select VA Tech CB Jayron Hosley with 94th Overall Pick in 2012 NFL Draft

By Christopher Gamble

With the 94th overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, the New York Giants once again pulled out a surprise by selecting Virginia Tech CB Jayron Hosley.

Hosley is on the small side at 5-10, 170 pounds, but plays a physical game.  He ran a 4.47 40 at the NFL Combine so he has some speed but isn’t elite for the position and might have some difficulty sticking with receivers who are bigger and faster than him.  As a sophomore, he led the nation with 9 interceptions and last year, as a junior, he had 3 so he does have a knack for finding the ball.

The New York Giants secondary took a hit last season.  Terrell Thomas injured his ACL and missed the entire year last year.  Prince Amukamara, last year’s first round pick, broke his foot in camp and didn’t make it out onto the field until November.  Aaron Ross left as a free agent.  The Giants added Atwaun Molden through free agency just days before the draft began but they obviously are being cautious against having another disaster befall them in training camp or through the year next season.  Adding a player with Hosley’s ball hawking skills gives the Giants a little more punch in the defensive backfield.

As a player, Hosley can be an effective corner.  He played a lot of zone coverage in college and his man-to-man skills are adequate enough to contribute in multi-receiver packages in the NFL right now.  He should fit into Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell’s Cover 2 scheme very well.  He reads the quarterback well and will jump the route to get the pick or break up the pass.  He will sometimes jump too early and misdiagnose the play as he tries to go for the pick instead of sticking with his receiver.  At worst the Giants drafted a nickel corner.  At best, he will be able to unseat Terrell Thomas or Corey Webster down the road.

Coach Tom Coughlin compared him to Adam Jones with his playmaking ability both on defense and returning punts.  Jones, for those of you who don’t remember what he was like before Commissioner Roger Goodell banished him from the NFL for off the field discretions, was an amazing athlete.  Giants fans need only remember how instrumental Jones was in bringing the Tennessee Titans back from a 21-point deficit in Week 12 of the 2006 season to defeat the Giants 24-21.  If the Giants added a player with that kind of ability then this might be the steal of the draft.

However, there are reports that Hosley failed a drug test during the NFL Combine so this might be a problem.  Obviously, Giants brass has spoken to Hosley prior to drafting him and they must feel this will not be a problem.  If the kid can stay out of trouble and be that play-maker that Adam “Pacman” Jones was in Tennessee in 2006 then the Giants and their fans will be very happy.  However, some Giants fans were left scratching their heads when the Giants drafted a cornerback when offensive linemen Bobby Massie and Zebrie Sanders were still on the board and addressed a problem area for the Giants.  Perhaps the Giants felt with two fourth round picks tomorrow that an offensive lineman would still be there.  Perhaps they felt that upgrading a pass defense that was hit hard by injuries and a punt return team that was ineffective was worth the risk.

Regardless, the Giants added a potential playmaker that slipped to the third round because other teams were scared away by his positive drug test and a small frame.  Hosley will not be asked to perform miracles right away in the secondary and could see time at safety in certain schemes.  He will be the team’s fourth or fifth corner and sometimes third safety and will contribute immensely on special teams as a punt returner and as a gunner on kickoffs and punts.  This is a high-risk, high-reward pick.

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