Day three selections can produce great rewards, but they are few and far between. Fans point to Tom Brady and Richard Sherman, but ignore the Rhett Bomar and Stoney Woodson picks that paid no dividends. The Giants went on the clock for the first time at 12:43 and after a short deliberation, filled another roster need, this time, providing depth at running back.
The Selection: Andre Williams is a 5’11”, 230 pound thumper who lead the nation in rushing in 2013 with 2,177 yards. He started 30 games for Boston College and was consensus All-American selection as a senior, winning the Doak Walker Trophy as the nation’s premier running back. Williams was a finalist for the Heisman, losing to Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.
Eli Manning will be pleased when he hears that Williams excels at blitz pickup. Pass blocking has been an issue with incumbent David Wilson since he joined the team in 2012. A smart, competitive power back, Williams has that second gear to outrun defenders to the end zone. He is not a receiving threat, however, with only 10 career college receptions, and this limitation explains his drop into day three of the draft. Defenders will not consider him a threat in the passing game unless his receiving skills can be developed at the pro level.
Who They Passed Up: Several offensive linemen were available who represent strong developmental prospects at this point in the draft. Tennessee’s Antonio Richardson, and presumed top CFL draft pick Laurent Duvernay-Tardif from McGill University in Canada being the most promising. Given Jerry Reese’s record in taking third day linemen, think James Brewer, Matt McCants, Adam Koets, and Brandon Moseley, perhaps taking a running back was the better choice.
Expert Rankings: Williams is the 74th prospect on NFL network draft expert Mike Mayock’s top 100 and the 84th player for Gil Brandt of nfl.com and SiriusXM radio.
Current Giant Most Effected: Peyton Hillis. Hillis will count $855,000 against the salary cap and proved fumble prone, with 15, during his six year NFL career. Releasing him will save the Giants $750,000 in cap space and leaves Wilson, if healthy, free agent signee Rashad Jennings, and 2013 draftee Michael Cox in addition to Williams. There’s no room for veteran Hillis, who served admirably as an emergency fill in last season.
This pick provides more value than third round pick Jason Bromley and fills an immediate need for a heavy duty, move the chains thumper at running back for the Giants. Nolan Nawrocki had him listed 4th among halfbacks and a second to third round pick in his draft guide, well above where the Giants selected him. Despite his lack of receiving skills, Williams is a solid pick.
Was this pick good value in round four? Comment below or on my twitter @hyprcaffeinated.