We are going to break up the usual Sunday morning routine of Phil Simms and start with a piece done by the Star Ledger on Linval Joseph. When you read stories like these you begin to understand why some special players can make it to the NFL w/o getting to play for top Division 1 college programs. Brandon Jacobs was stuck behind Carnell (Cadillac) Williams and Ronnie Brown at Auburn. So he transferred to Southern Illinois to get snaps. Joseph lost an opportunity to play for the Florida Gators, so he went to East Carolina. And if you think it is an exact science, then there are still going to be players like Tom Brady who fall to the 6th round and others like Victor Cruz who aren't even drafted. So the lesson for all of us is that there is plenty of opportunity to sift through the talent to find the players that are worth getting on your roster. (Click Read more to continue with Joseph and who Simms takes in the Dallas- NY Giants game).
Speaking of sifting through the talent, we are only in year 2 of the Draft Project but we have to plug one of our analysts, Pete Furman. Before the 2010 draft, Pete alerted us to Linval Joseph as his sleeper of the entire class. And then he went in Round 2, higher than many expected. And ironically or not, he went to the NY Giants.
And what would you say if we told you that we STILL didn't like the pick?!!! How is that possible? Because the Giants needed LINEBACKER more than they needed Defensive Line. Look at Pete, who had Joseph at 41 overall, but he still had Daryl Washington at 34. So even Pete will tell you, at that spot, Joseph is a good pick, but you take Washington because he is what the team needs AND he is a stronger value too. Or, to put it another way, it is possible to find this E Carolina sleeper later in Round 2 or early Round 3 (when you can trade up for him), but Washington will SURELY be gone! With the very next pick, Arizona traded up for the pick and took Washington. We are happy that the Giants got a good player in Joseph but Linebacker was the pick. Washington is a star in his second year, getting plenty of good press despite being on a 5-7 backwater team.
Another word about the progression of Joseph. It should not surprise anyone here on the blog that it is taking Joseph this long to mature at DL. We have shared our opinion many times that Interior Defensive Lineman is arguably the hardest position in the entire game of football from a physical standpoint. It takes 3 years to see if these guys can make it, because these DL college boys have to become NFL professional men. And when you have 330 lb Guards beating on you every week, you are simply trying to survive the long season, let alone thrive. Joseph is exactly where he should be, starting to make some plays, rising by the end of his second season. We look for the same rise in Marvin Austin next year, despite being placed in Injured Reserve prior to his rookie year. Austin is another DL we really liked before the 2011 Draft. But there again, we liked Linebacker, including Dontay Moch and Martez Wilson.
Separately, Simms likes the Giants tonight. "It (revolving door Linebacker, defense) has gotten a little better here the last couple of weeks. I look at the Giants, the pass rush, Jason-Pierre Paul, he can get it done. I'm going to take him, and I think the Dallas Cowboys really struggled covering receivers down the field, the Giants passing game has been on fire, I'm taking the Giants."
Simms also added more thoughts on the Giants in speaking with Francesa on WFAN on the Sunday Morning NFL Now. We here on UltimateNYG NY Giants blog were supportive of the Giants in their loss to the Packers last weekend because we felt the team played with the kind of effort and energy that will be needed to win the last 4 games of the season. Simms echoed those thoughts, saying that emotionally, the Giants delivered their best effort of the entire season vs Packers. He noted that "the pass rush has to be great to win." Simms praised Eli and the WR corps again. If the Giants can neutralize the Dallas pass rush and can block up vs Ware, Simms loves the ability of the receivers to get open and Eli to get them the ball. So Simms feels the matchups favor the Giants and that is why he is taking them tonight to win the game.