Giants gamble on depth and insurance with final draft picks
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Though Mykkele Thompson, Geremy Davis, and Bobby Hart aren’t high-profile players, the Giants’ final three draft choices fit their initial goals of getting bigger, faster, and stronger, according to general manager Jerry Reese.
”We always want that — big, strong, fast, tough, smart,” Reese said.
After using the first three rounds to draft potential starters, including a huge offensive tackle in 320-pound first-rounder Ereck Flowers, a big safety in second-rounder Landon Collins, and a quick pass-rusher in third-round defensive end Owa Odighizuwa, the Giants went more with size and potential than proven accomplishments in the final rounds on Saturday.
The fifth-rounder Thompson is a long, 6-2, 191-pound defensive back out of Texas who has played every position in the secondary. The 6-2, 216-pound Davis, UConn’s sixth-leading receiver, was taken for his strength and his ability to use his bulk to catch balls in traffic over the middle. And Hart, who just turned 20, was taken with the intent of turning the 6-6, 329-pound tackle out of Florida State into a mauling guard.
”The intent was to get bigger, stronger, and tougher,” coach Tom Coughlin said. ”We got faster, too.”
The third-day picks addressed depth and special teams. The Giants were limited after sending their fourth-round and second seventh-round pick to Tennessee in the second-round trade-up for probably strong safety starter Collins.
That did not keep them from gambling on a relatively unknown defensive back in the fifth round. Thompson, who had an up-and-down season with the Longhorns, was not invited to the NFL scouting combine, and made only one pre-draft visit – to the Giants.
Still, the Giants thought enough of his size, speed, and versatility to call him up, surprising not only draft observers, but the player himself.
”Honestly, I had no idea where I was going to go,” Thompson said. ”I thought free agency was the main goal because I didn’t really get the numbers this season. I didn’t have that much action.”
Coughlin said Thompson could become a nice complement as a free safety to Collins’ strong safety.
”He’ll go well with Collins,” Coughlin said. ”He’s a good cover guy, he’s fast. He’s played cornerback most of his career, but he can play safety.”
Despite catching a pass in each of his 46 career games, Davis is not considered a prototype receiver. A lack of overall speed prohibits the 186th overall pick from escaping man coverage, and he lacks the athleticism to separate from defenders.
Still, he finished as UConn’s top receiver in the FBS era and among the top six in program history with 165 catches for 2,292 yards and seven TDs.
Coughlin said he could become a fourth receiving option in the mold of Chiefs and Eagles receiver Jason Avant. But his real value may lie on special teams, where he can serve as a gunner on punt coverage and a front-line blocker on kickoff returns.
Hart started for the Seminoles since the last nine games of his freshman year and was a big reason behind Jameis Winston’s rise to the Heisman Trophy in 2013 and a national championship in 2014. More than anything, the Giants liked his size and youth, the better to mold him in their image.
”He’s played a lot of ball, and we like his skill set,” Reese said of the 226th pick overall.
”Six-foot-6, 330; those guys don’t just walk down the street,” Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc Ross said. ”He’s a big, competitive kid. Young. He came out of Florida State and he’s still only 20 years old, so he’s played a lot at a high-level program. You’ve got to think he’s not going to come here and be intimidated by anything.”
The Giants will get a better look at their draftees, as well as the undrafted free agents they pick up to fill unaddressed needs such as linebacker and tight end, starting Thursday at their rookie minicamp. Reese said the team will probably work out 60 to 65 players, some of whom are young veterans already on the roster.
For now, though, they have six players who fit their immediate job description of bigger, faster, and stronger.
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