Giants rarely draft need, it’s all about talent
Heading into his fifth draft as general manager of the New York
Giants, Jerry Reese hasn’t changed much in discussing his team’s
The less said the better.
His latest pre-draft news conference with the media was just
like his first.
”We are going to pick the best player, guys,” Reese said.
Seven times in 30 minutes, Reese used a form of that sentence in
answering questions about the draft.
So while the Giants have needs on offensive lineman, at wide
receiver and linebacker, don’t be surprised if they take a
defensive end or safety when they make the 19th pick in the draft
If there is any doubt about that philosophy, look at recent
draft. New York took defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul last year
despite having Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Mathias Kiwanuka on
It’s part of the best-player-available philosophy.
Reese has had excellent results in the draft, taking cornerback
Aaron Ross (2007), safety Kenny Phillips (’08) and receiver Hakeem
Nicks (’09). The only negatives with any of them have been
The lockout is what’s made this draft different from any of
Reese’s previous four. There has not been a free agency period
because of the current NFL labor dispute, preventing Reese from
addressing any holes since the Giants missed the postseason with a
”All we can do right now is to draft,” Reese said. ”We are
going to try to pick the best players in the draft and we will make
adjustments after the draft. That’s really all you can do. Because
you really don’t know what is going to happen. Right now we can
control the draft.”
The Giants most pressing need seems to be on the offensive line,
where four of the five starters are more than 30-years-old, and Pro
Bowl guard Chris Snee is 29. Center Shaun O’Hara missed most of
last season with foot and ankle problems and guard Rich Seubert
needed surgery after the season to repair a kneecap injury.
Backup center Adam Koets also is coming off knee surgery and
tackle Shawn Andrews battled back problems.
The two players who might combine need and the proper grade for
the Giants are Boston College tackle Anthony Castonzo and Florida
guard Mike Pouncey, although neither may be around when New York
The receiver spot also is a concern with Steve Smith’s status
for the start of the season uncertain following major knee surgery.
Domenik Hixon and Ramses Barden also are coming off injuries.
It’s unlikely the Giants will select a receiver in the first
round but if they right person plummeted, who knows?
The other areas of concern are at linebacker, where veteran
Keith Bullock’s status is uncertain at age 34, and cornerback,
where Ross has been bothered by hamstring problems for two seasons.
The tight end spot also might need to be filled if Kevin Boss is
The running back position is murky because of the labor
Starter Ahmad Bradshaw is a restricted free agent, but who knows
if free agency will change if a new collective bargaining agreement
Backup Brandon Jacobs also wasn’t happy leaving the Giants
locker room after the season ended, so one has to wonder whether
the team will want him around.
One interesting pick at No. 19 might be Alabama back Mark
Ingram, whose father (Mark) was drafted by the Giants in the first
round in 1987. There are questions about Ingram because of a knee
problem last year, but New York has never hesitated taking a player
if they were satisfied with his physical condition.
”You always are cognizant of what your needs are,” Reese said.
”But still, if we need a running back and there is high value at
defensive tackle, we are not going to take a running back just
because we need a running back. We are going to take that high
value defensive tackle or any other position.”
Reese said he was not concerned about the draft preceding free
agency this year.
”It’s just flipped,” he said. ”We’ll go into the draft
looking for the best players available. Then after the draft, when
free agency starts, we’ll probably say, ‘OK, let’s fill some
holes.’ We’ll be ready to pounce when that starts.”