New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese held his annual pre-draft presser on Thursday and didn’t reveal a whole lot that was new. Anyone who follows the Giants is aware of their drafting philosophy of selecting the best player available on the board when their turn to pick rolls around.
“We decided that we are going to take our pick at 23,” Reese told reporters when asked about his plans. “You always take that (roster flexibility) into consideration with what you have on your roster right now, but going into the draft, like I say every year, we just go in there trying to pick the best players available when we are on the clock and we will continue to use that pattern.”
Reese did, however, not rule out the possibility of trading up in the draft order to take a player he likes. He has never traded up in the first round in his ten-year tenure as GM but he has moved up in other rounds. Two years ago, he moved up to the top of the second round to snag Alabama safety Landon Collins, who has developed into an All-Pro.
“If we have an opportunity to trade in the first round, we will do that,” he said about the possibility of trading up in the draft order. “But right now, we will just kind of let the board fall like it does and if we feel like we want to move up to get somebody, then we will move. It costs to move up, though. If you are going to move up, then you are going to give up a lot of draft picks to move up. Even if you move up just a couple of spots, you have to give up some draft picks to do that and we like taking our picks, but if there is somebody up there that we love and we think we can move up to get, then we will keep those options open.”
There are several players the Giants may have the hots for in this draft. Two of them are tight ends, O.J. Howard of Alabama and Miami’s David Njoku, that could turn the Giants’ passing attack into something formidable.
The Giants have not drafted a tight end high in the draft since they took Jeremy Shockey in 2002. Reese did not rule out taking one this year.
“We haven’t been a two tight end kind of offense under Ben (McAdoo), but we do feel like a tight end could come in and help us. We brought (Rhett) Ellison in to be part of that equation of helping the run game, and I think he is a very capable receiving as well, so there are some good tight ends in the draft, we believe. I like a lot of different positions, but it just depends on what the offensive coordinator thinks and how much he wants to use a tight end.”
If the Giants could swing a deal, or one drops to them, they will likely bite. They could take several others in Round Two or Three, such as Ole Miss’ Evan Engram or Bucky Hodges of Virginia Tech.
Reese acknowledged the team’s need for depth and talent on the offensive line but still has faith that former first rounder, Ereck Flowers still has the goods to be come a top left tackle. He also is hoping that D.J. Fluker, signed as a free agent from San Diego can live up to his first-round pedigree.
“It is spring and it is a long time before we play,” Reese said. “In the spring we will experiment with different lineups and situations with our offensive line, so it is a long way to go. That is to be determined later by Ben and the coaching staff, but we will tinker with a lot of things in the spring.”
The Giants are likely to add an offensive linemen in this draft and can easily fall into two of the top tackles in this class – Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramcyck and Garret Bowles of Utah. Reese even tipped his hand about Bolles, who will be 25 by the time the regular season begins.
“That (age) is not a big issue for us,” he said. “If a guy is 24 or 25, that is still super young.” Flowers is only 22 (he will turn 23 on April 25) and already has two NFL seasons under his belt. Fluker just turned 26 and has four season of service.
So, will the Giants take a quarterback in this draft? Reese said it wouldn’t be from a lack of scouting. The Giants have shown interest in several prospects.
“I probably looked at more quarterbacks this time then I did at other times, but there are only so many guys that you can look at,” said Reese. “You can ask Marc Ross (the Giants’ top college scout) about anybody from any school and he can tell you in two seconds because he sees all the players and evaluates all of them. Obviously it is hard for me to evaluate every single player.”
The Giants would take a QB Reese said but it may not be one that is ready to play immediately.
“If you take a quarterback high, if you take him in the seventh round, wherever you take him, you hope that everything falls right for them,” he said. “If they have to play, you hope it is the right time for them to play. But if you are worrying about when is he going to play, when is he not going play, you might miss out on the right player. You just have to take the best player available.”
And that is what he will do unless the seas part in his favor this year. Reese has been on roll at the draft table and there’s no reason to think he won’t strike gold again this spring.