The Giants’ brass may have differing opinions on what’s at stake this week, which will make for an interesting draft room on Thursday.
Team owner John Mara went on record saying this draft is more important than others in recent memory, largely due to two consecutive 6-10 seasons.
General manager Jerry Reese, however, respectfully disagreed.
“Not for me. All the drafts are important for me. I understand why John would say something like that, but all of the drafts are very important to me and I think all of the drafts are important to John as well,” Reese said. “I think when you say something like that, I think it gets taken out of context a little bit. But I understand what he was saying … all the drafts are important.”
What’s important for Reese, besides his tenuous job security, is that he needs to stack another solid draft upon last season’s when he nabbed offensive tackle Ereck Flowers in the first round to go along with safety Landon Collins in the second. Defensive end Owa Odighizuwa was selected in the third round. And while his rookie season was incomplete due to injuries, coaches are confident that he can be a solid contributor.
Reese needs to hit on more picks like those. But with only six selections, perhaps he may be tempted to slide down the board via trade and garner more equity.
Anything is possible, he noted.
“I can’t talk about that [trading out of the top 10], but we’re willing to move up or move down,” Reese said, painting a picture of what it’s like in the draft room. “In the draft you never know what’s going to happen. You just try to prepare yourself for everything. There could be a lot of movement. There can be not much more movement. Who knows? But it [his penchant for trading up] can unfold any way. The draft changes after every pick.”
Metro takes a look at some possibilities for Reese, providing he stands pat and sticks to his “best player available” mantra.
Round 1 (10): Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame – He may not get past the offensive line-starved 49ers at No. 7, but if he is there at No. 10, Reese may sprint to turn in his card. Should Stanley be the choice, it’d be the third offensive lineman selected by Big Blue in the first round in the last four drafts. Depending on the assessment, Stanley (6-foot-5, 312 pounds) grades out as the best or second-best tackle, along with Laremy Tunsil. He’s definitely a top-10 talent and gives the Giants a Week 1 starter at right tackle, as he’d be a great bookend to Flowers.
Round 2 (40): Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio St. – Thomas is the nephew of former USC and NFL star receiver Keyshawn Johnson. And much like his uncle, he has good size (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) and uses his frame well to ward off defenders – particularly in the red zone. Whether or not Victor Cruz can come all the way back to form, the Giants still need to replenish its receiving corps. Buckeye wideouts haven’t fared too well in the NFL recently, as the best current player may be Ted Ginn Jr., and it took him a few years – and teams – to finally hit his stride. Thomas could break that stigma, and at the very least be better than the most recent high-round Buckeye selection, Devin Smith of the Jets (37th overall in 2015).
Round 3 (74): Carl Nassib, DE, Penn St. – It could be a family affair for the Giants, as quarterback Ryan Nassib’s little brother would be an underrated addition. The younger, but massive Nassib (6-foot-7, 270 pounds) is one of the more intriguing entries in the draft, as Big Blue’s scouts have to decide if he’s a one-year wonder or a guy on the ascension. Nassib went from walk-on status his freshman year, to two years of special teams play, to leading the nation in sacks (a school record 15 ½) despite missing two games, and forcing six fumbles in his senior year. His accomplishments are long (unanimous All-American, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Lombardi Award as the nation’s top offensive or defensive lineman, and the Ted Hendricks Award for the nation’s top defensive end), and there are no off-field red flags to deter any team from taking a chance on a player who could be a real sleeper. Nassib is a raw defensive end with an outstanding motor, instincts, and high potential.