I know it takes two or three (or even four or five or six) years to fully assess how well a team fared in a particular draft. Not everyone picks players who are supposed to excel as rookies, and some early bloomers hit their ceiling too quickly.
But we at least begin to get an indication as to how good or bad certain draft picks are based on their rookie seasons. And so with that in mind, let's place some very early grades on the seven men the New York Giants selected in the 2012 NFL draft.
Round 1, Pick 32: David Wilson (RB, Virginia Tech)
The speedster got off to a terrible start with a fumble on his second career touch from scrimmage. That took place in the second quarter of the season opener, and Wilson received only 16 more carries over the next nine-and-half weeks.
He did, however, continue to perform well on kick returns while slowly working his way out of Tom Coughlin's doghouse. Coughlin admitted he was afraid to give Wilson a heavy workload—even with Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown dealing with injuries—because he didn't trust him as a blocker.
But they finally went to him in December, and Wilson came very close to leading the Giants in rushing during that month. He had 247 yards on 5.8 yards per carry during the final four games of the season, adding four touchdowns (one on a kick return).
Ultimately, he finished in the top 10 in the league in kick return average and posted a yards-per-carry number north of five. The late success also indicates things are trending upward. He might even have a chance to become a No. 1 back at some point in 2013.
In a perfect world...the Giants draft North Alabama cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who was actually selected seven spots later by St. Louis. They get a running back later, drafting Alfred Morris in Round 5.
Round 2, Pick 63: Rueben Randle (WR, LSU)
It isn't easy for rookies to shine under Coughlin, and Randle had a large crowd to compete with at the wide receiver position. Still, with Hakeem Nicks dealing with injury problems and no true No. 3 receiver standing out early, Randle had an opportunity.
Like Wilson, though, he started slow. He had just one four-yard catch in the month of September before busting out with a season-high 82 yards on six catches with Nicks and Ramses Barden both out of the lineup in Week 5 against Cleveland.
For the remainder of the year, Randle would appear and then disappear over and over before finishing strong with two touchdown grabs in Week 17.
His final numbers (19 catches, 298 yards, three touchdowns) aren't impressive, but Randle also dropped only a single pass.
He wasn't particularly good on the limited punt return opportunities he had, but it was a small sample size so I'm not docking him any points for failing to make big plays on special teams.
In a perfect world...I really can't see a better option here at this early stage. I mean, I suppose they'd have been better off taking Russell Wilson here (Wilson went 12 picks later), but that wouldn't have made any sense at all at the time.
Round 3, Pick 94: Jayron Hosley (CB, Virginia Tech)
It was nice to see him get so many opportunities, but a lot of that had to do with the fact the Giants were shorthanded in the secondary and had no other choice. Opposing quarterbacks posted a passer rating of 121.5 when targeting Hosley in his rookie season. Only three NFL cornerbacks gave up worse numbers in that category, according to Pro Football Focus.
If I'm Coughlin, I'm probably looking at him as a third or fourth corner entering 2013. Then again, rookie corners rarely shine.
In a perfect world...they draft Brandon Boykin instead. Not a big difference, but Boykin had a much better rookie season in Philly.
Round 4, Pick 127: Adrien Robinson (TE, Cincinnati)
We all knew Robinson wouldn't have much of a chance to show off his superb athleticism as a rookie. With Martellus Bennett and Bear Pascoe locked in, Robinson was active just twice in 2012 and was only on the field for three snaps.
In a perfect world...they'd probably still draft Robinson, who was purely a future selection.
Round 5, Pick 131: Brandon Mosley (OT, Auburn)
Mosley spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve with an ankle injury.
In a perfect world...Dennis Kelly might have been a better choice at that position. His rookie season wasn't great in Philly, but at least Kelly had some decent performances and proved that he can be a future swing tackle in this league. Still, Morris would have been a better overall selection.
Round 6, Pick 201: Matt McCants (OT, Alabama-Birmingham)
McCants spent the entire year on the practice squad. You can't expect much more from a project sixth-round tackle, but they could have had cornerback Alfonzo Dennard or running back Bryce Brown in this spot.
In a perfect world...they go with Boise State offensive tackle Nate Potter instead.
Round 7, Pick 239: Markus Kuhn (DT, NC State)
The German defensive lineman contributed sparingly as a reserve tackle before going down with a torn ACL in Week 10. Tentatively, he gets a poor grade.
In a perfect world...they use this pick on Vontaze Burfict.
If they could go back in time...
Round 1, Pick 32: CB Janoris Jenkins
Round 2, Pick 63: QB Russell Wilson
Round 3, Pick 94: CB Brandon Boykin
Round 4, Pick 127: TE Adrien Robinson
Round 5, Pick 131: RB Alfred Morris
Round 6, Pick 201: OT Nate Potter
Round 7, Pick 239: LB Vontaze Burflict
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