Giants general manager Jerry Reese addressed the media for the first time in two months Thursday, and judging by his pre-draft analysis, Big Blue will look to make opponents black and blue with a little help via the draft.
While the usually reticent Reese tried his best to keep his intentions close to his vest regarding the No. 9 overall pick, if the tea leaves are read correctly, Reese expects his offense to be physical and mean.
“When you draft at nine, you draft a guy you expect to come in and play, and play quickly,” Reese reasoned. “Naturally, you want to draft a good player [and] the best player available … But we know funny things can happen, so expect anything.”
But when pressed, Reese talked extensively about needs along the offensive line, and might’ve hinted at one particular player that the Giants are fond of – and one several mock drafts and draft analysts have linked to the team.
“He’s a good player,” Reese said of former Iowa star tackle Brandon Scherff. “He’s definitely someone who is versatile and can play both [tackle and guard].”
Should the Giants stay true to their board, and draft Scherff – and keep him at his natural position of tackle – that means either left tackle Will Beatty or right tackle Justin Pugh could be kicked inside to guard.
Beatty, who signed a long-term extension two years ago, doesn’t have much experience inside the tackles, so look for Pugh – who also played some guard in college – to shift over to a new spot.
When asked about such a move for Pugh, Reese tried his best to not tip his hand.
“Pugh’s going to be a starter somewhere, most likely,” was all Reese would allow.
Such a move – which has indeed been bandied about within the facilities – should be further evidence that Reese and Co. will hand in their draft card with Scherff’s name on it.
And should the Iowa lineman take Pugh’s spot, the veteran said he’d welcome the rookie with open arms.
“I’d actually like to pick the kid from Iowa. I’d like to play with someone like that,” Pugh said. “He’s a tough guy. I’ve heard everything about that kid is great. We’d love to have him.
When asked if switching from a position where he’s considered one of the better right tackles, Pugh insisted he’s team-first all the way.
“Not at all. You have to have versatility,” said Pugh, adding that former Giants lineman David Diehl had a long and steady career because he was able to play multiple positions.
“I want to win,” said Pugh. “I want to go to the playoffs, and that’s my priority this year.”
If Pugh switches to right guard, it’ll mean last season’s supposed starter at that spot, Geoff Schwartz, will slide to the left spot. Schwartz, who was thought to be a key free-agent signing last offseason, endured an injury-marred 2014-15, as he barely played five quarters for Big Blue.
The proud Schwartz said he feels he has something to prove after last year when he signed a big contract, adding he feels “good” and “can pretty much do most anything."
Last season’s rookie surprise, Weston Richburg, will likely get the first crack at starting center after having an up-and-down campaign at guard in his maiden year. Richburg said he knows there's a hole at center with JD Walton gone, and added he’s ready for the switch if he’s tabbed.
“The assumption is one of us will be moved there,” said Richburg, who added his experience at guard wasn’t pretty at times. “I’m more comfortable as a center, but really I have I have no idea [if he’s the new center]. I didn’t even know I was a guard until halfway through last year.”
Regardless where any of the veterans line up next season, should the Giants nab Scherff, the offensive line could go from one of the team’s sore spots to a unit of dominance.
Big Blue notes:
- Running back Rashad Jennings said the offense will be more physical, play faster, and not think as much now that they have a year of offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s offense under their belts. Jennings said McAdoo told team that, “last year we installed a system. This year we get to run our offense.”
- Recovering wideout Victor Cruz on his availability for Week 1: “There’s zero doubts in my mind I’ll be playing in that first game, and will be playing at the level I’ve played.”
- Pugh said he’s been working diligently this offseason in pretty unconventional ways, as he noted MMA training has helped him get better handling his hips and staying low.
- The NFL announced that former Giants safety Shaun Williams will announce the team’s second-round draft pick this year.
- New Giants running back Shane Vereen wasn’t with the team today, as he had far cooler matters of which to tend – visiting the White House with his former team, the New England Patriots, for the annual ceremony bestowed upon the previous season’s Super Bowl champs.