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Giants Strong Draft a Year Ago Makes Encore Difficult A year ago at this time, no one - not even Jerry Reese - could have envisioned that the 2007 draft class would be so instrumental ...

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Giants Strong Draft a Year Ago Makes Encore Difficult

A year ago at this time, no one - not even Jerry Reese - could have envisioned that the 2007 draft class would be so instrumental in the Giants' championship. As the season progressed, it became apparent that the rookies were becoming more and more a part of the plan. By the final gun in Super Bowl XLII, four of the eight draftees made a direct impact on the outcome of that instant classic with plays normally made by seasoned veterans.

A rarity, indeed. But one worthy of an encore.

"You don't get them right all of the time," the Giant general manager said. "Sometimes you get lucky like we did last year and get a few more right. But we have high standards every year."

Hopefully, those high standards translate into more success, and the Giants can become the eighth team in NFL history to win consecutive Super Bowls (Pittsburgh accomplished the feat twice). The last team to do so were the 2005 and 2005 New England Patriots.

As training camp gets set to open in Albany, just how did Reese and the rest of the Giants war room do this year? A round-by-round breakdown and critique of the newest Giant players, and the impact that they will have on this year's team kicks off our NFL coverage of the summer.

ROUND 1 (31) - KENNY PHILLIPS, SAFETY, MIAMI

A

Picking last in the first round, the Giants had to breathe a sigh of relief that the Jets - who traded up - looked away from Phillips with the 30th pick. The first safety off the board, Phillips will be in the mix for a starting job right away to take over for the departed Gebril Wilson, although he can play both safety positions.

Declared himself eligible for the draft following his junior season after finishing with a career-high 105 tackles (69 solo), forcing three fumbles and intercepting two. Phillips was named to the All-ACC 1st Team and the 2nd Team All-American squad for the second straight year. At the NFL Combine, he ran a 4.48 40-yard dash.

ROUND 2 (63) - TERRELL THOMAS, CB, USC

B+

Another secondary pick, Thomas has some size for a corner (6-1, 202) and even played some linebacker with the Trojans. May have fell down due to a history fighting injuries, which include dislocating both shoulders in separate incidents and torn right knee ligaments.

Spent five years at Southern Cal after being redshirted as a freshman, and excelled in his senior year with 45 tackles and a team-best four interceptions. Should see a lot of playing time with both Sam Madison and R.W. McQuarters nearing the end of their long careers.

ROUND 3 (95), MARIO MANNINGHAM, WR, MICHIGAN

C-

The question is why this guy was even picked as high as he was, by a no-nonsense organization like the Giants, no less. Manningham does not have great size (5-11, 178), his abhorrent Wonderlic score (a reported six out of 50) and the entire marihuana fiasco should have made him an even later second day pick, at best.

Yes, he did have nice numbers last season with 12 touchdowns on 72 catches and 1,174 yards. But with Sinorice Moss and Steve Smith, Big Blue is pretty well stocked with young receivers. A reach with a high ceiling if he decides to take the straight and narrow. Should make a good Arena Football League wideout in a year or two once he wears out his welcome here.

ROUND 4 (123), BRYAN KEHL, LB, BYU

C+

When you turn down Harvard, Yale and Penn, you have to have something going for you. Kehl, who will be 24 by the time camp opens, spent two years on a mission while at Brigham Young before playing for three. Totaled seven sacks and three picks starting every game the last two seasons.

Is said to be an aggressive special teams player, which the Giants must have seen when they traded up to take him.

ROUND 5 (165), JONATHAN GOFF, LB, VANDERBILT

C

If Goff does make the team, he will be relegated to the end of the depth chart. Has the athleticism to play the outside, but will probably back-up Antonio Pierce in the middle. His biggest contributions early on will have to come from the coverage on special teams. An odd move by taking back-to-back linebackers in the important middle rounds.

ROUND 6 (198), ANDRE WOODSON, QB, KENTUCKY

C

A long-term project, Woodson will have to beat out both Jared Lorenzen and Anthony Wright to make the active roster. His size (6-4, 230) is an asset, and he can sit back and watch and learn.

ROUND 6 (199), ROBERT HENDERSON, DE, SOUTHERN MISS

C

It will be a tough task to make the cut at such a talented and crowded position. Henderson does have the size to pitch in at tackle, and may have to just to make the practice squad. It may come back to hurt the Giants that in consecutive picks in the sixth round (and not having a seventh rounder), they went with two positions that did not need attention.