This is the second of an eight-part series analyzing each Giants draft choice.

Steve Smith, Round 2 (51):

I have similar objections to the Smith pick as the Ross pick:

1) Picking a receiver in the second-round a) just a year after we traded up to pick Sinorice Moss, and b) during the offseason when we finally admitted that the Tim Carter experiment didn’t work out (great trade, by the way – Droughns is solid), is tantamount to admitting that we’ve made mistakes. Cutting bait is smart, but painful just the same.

In this regard, drafting Smith a year after we drafted Moss is similar to drafting Ross two years after drafting Webster. The Ross and Smith picks are not mistakes in themselves, but they represent an admission that the Moss and Webster picks very well may have been.

[Speaking of admitting mistakes, I think it’s time to admit that this organization does a bad job of developing receivers. Amani Toomer, drafted in ’96 and hands-down the best receiver in Giants history, is the last guy that we drafted, developed, and watched turn into a better player than we originally anticipated.

But since Amani our track record has been pretty bad. Ike Hilliard, whom we drafted 7th overall in the 1997 draft, was a serviceable receiver, but certainly not worthy of his high draft status.

Shockey is a very good receiver, but he pretty much came into the league as one: credit the Giants for trading up and getting him, but not for making him the very good, yet not utterly dominant receiver he’s become. (To his credit, though, Mike Pope has turned Shockey into an above average blocker.)]

2) Smith is nice, but we were Oh So Close to getting Dwayne Jarrett, the man who forced Keyshawn to the ESPN studio (where he will seamlessly take over for Michael Irvin, minus the drugs and prostitutes), and will probably turn into a player along the lines of Anquan Bolden. That’s pretty good.

So on draft day, we were this close to getting Leon Hall, and then we were this close to getting Dwayne Jarrett (who went six picks before we picked Smith). Ross and Smith are no slouches, and there’s certainly no guarantee that Hall and Jarrett will be better than them, but coming up empty on both of these guys made for a frustrating first two rounds.


But ok, let’s talk about Smith on his own merits – there’s a lot to like here. First of all, because he does not wow you with his physique or speed, he represents a departure from the Tim Carter school of drafting, which prizes physique and potential over actual performance.

No, Smith isn’t 6’3, 220, and he doesn’t run a 4.4 40 – the two most overrated qualities for a receiver – but he’s quick off the ball, hits top speed quickly, bursts out of his breaks, runs crisp, precise routes, finds soft spots in the zone, and has good hands. If you put this guy’s skills and savvy with Tim Carter’s body, you’d have a top 10 pick.

At USC, the overshadowed Smith was just a ballplayer who knew how to get open, which is exactly what our stilted offense (especially in the red zone) and mentally fragile young quarterback need. He will enter the league as a near-finished product who is ready to contribute now.

All things considered, it’s hard to be disappointed with getting Steve Smith with the 51st pick in the draft.