Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Having just finished this week's Giants article for the paper, I wanted to relay this to both NFL and college football fans alike:

We were mesmerized by how potent the USC Trojans had been throughout the decade. Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart were outstanding quarterbacks in what was a program loaded with other NFL-caliber talents... or so we thought. For Mike Williams, there was Keary Colbert. For John David Booty, there was Matt Cassel.

Certainly many of the players that thrived under Pete Carroll still have chances to shine in the NFL as they haven't exactly been disappointments or even busts. Yet, the running backs have had varying levels of success so far (Reggie Bush, LenDale White, Justin Fargas, Chauncey Washington) and even solid offensive tackle Winston Justice was made to be a pinata and pariah in the (in)famous 12-sack performance by the New York Giants back in October 2007 (Osi Umenyiora told the media afterwards that "it was like a video game out there", but the Kool-Aid grin he had was priceless).

In this somewhat-long winded post, is it crazy to think that the best offensive player of all that have been drafted since Palmer could end up being... Steve Smith?

No, not this one, despite going by the same name.

This one.

Smith led the Giants in receptions last season with 57, even though he only started in four games. Of those catches, 35 went for first downs as the organization envisioned he could do when he was drafted in 2006. Essentially, he's the heir apparent to Amani Toomer (now in Kansas City after becoming the Giants' franchise-leading wideout); a possession receiver who can make things happen within 20 yards of the line of scrimmage. His 574 receiving yards aren't bad either for a part-time player and as an expected starter this season, those totals should increase significantly.

When he was drafted, I wrote for the Beacon that the G-men were going to greatly benefit from his production, provided they worked him in within his first couple of seasons. The writing was on the wall for Toomer with his arrival and the kind of receiver that Manning works best with are the ones that move the chains incrementally. Smith certainly got his props while in USC, but much of this was because he quietly put up numbers alongside some of the flashier talents on his team. Maybe he'll get a bit more attention this season as slot receiver from day one, but unless another player emerges as the deep play threat, he may somewhat toil in anominity... unless he's on your fantasy team.

Say What?!?!: Thursday night, the most anticipated stadium video will be delivered to all of you lovely people. Until then, go back and whet the appetite with some of the others I have done over the past two years.

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