Monday, May 5, 2008

2008 NFL Draft: Andre Woodson Is a New York Giant

by John Fennelly (Senior Writer)

Don't listen to these draft pundits. I keep telling you. Joe Montana didn't have the size and the arm. Tom Brady was backup material. Phil Simms would never make it. Dan Marino would wash out in Miami. Tony Eason was the best of the Class of '83. Jeff Garcia and Tony Romo weren't even drafted, and Andre Ware and Akili Smith were labeled as "can't miss."

On draft day, the 6'5" Kentucky QB Andre Woodson got no love from NFL teams. He had a great senior season playing against some of the nation's best defenses.

He had a 154.5 QB rating while passing for 3515 yards with 31 TDs and 7 INTs. He threw six touchdownss against Tennessee, five versus Florida, four versus Louisville, four versus FSU and three against National Champion LSU. In addition, he had respectable numbers in games against defensive powers Georgia and Vanderbilt.

But that wasn't enough to sell scouts and NFL executives on Woodson. Let me remind you that many of these teams adhere to what the pundits are saying players rather than doing the heavy lifting themselves. That is whay so many franchises in the NFL can't get out of their own way.

Because Woodson had so-so Senior Bowl, his stock fell. That doesn't mean anything to me. And didn't mean anything to one of the games' best GMs—Jerry Reese of the New York Football Giants, who adroitly snatched Woodson up in the 6th round.Woodson is possibly as good a prospect as last year's #1 overall pick, LSU's JaMarcus Russell. The only difference is Russell is being asked to turn the Raiders around. Woodson will be asked to hold a clipboard, take in the tutelage of Kevin Gilbride and Chris Palmer and watch Eli Manning take snaps until 2010.

The Giants did not gloat about the pick, however. Its not something they do. In fact, the words used to describe Woodson have all been said before about him, but the tone was a very positive one.

"This was just too good a pick for us to pass up," Head Coach Tom Coughlin said about Woodson. "This is a guy that was rated highly on our board. We found ourselves in a position where we felt like he was a guy we wanted to bring in as a young quarterback who could work in our system and be a guy who we could develop as we went forward."

Should something befall Eli or should the Giants not want to re-sign him, they will have Woodson waiting in the wings.

"For years we have talked about bringing in a young quarterback and developing him in our system. Let him grow up here," Reese said. "This guy has got a strong skill set. We like a lot of things about him. He is very productive playing for Kentucky. He has a lot of production over his years there as a quarterback. He has the arm to make all of the throws. He is a pretty good athlete for that position. So there are a lot of positive things about him down there in the draft room. We are going to bring him along and see if he can challenge for some of our backup quarterback spots."There you have it.

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