NFL Nation: Odell Beckham Jr.

Giants Camp Report: Day 13

August, 11, 2014
Aug 11
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of New York Giants training camp:
  • Rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. participated in individual drills Monday. Beckham, the team’s first-round draft pick, hasn’t practiced since injuring a hamstring on July 22, the very first day of training camp. “They said he did all right, and maybe they can extend it a little bit tomorrow, I hope,” coach Tom Coughlin said. The highlight of Beckham's day was a one-handed catch on a pass from Eli Manning. “He’s out there running around, doing individual (drills), that’s all I saw,” Coughlin said. “Did he look fast? He probably wasn’t full speed today, but he did some things. I won’t be able to ascertain anything until he takes some team stuff.” Fellow wideout Victor Cruz (knee) was given a day off as a maintenance day, but Coughlin said Cruz will practice Tuesday.
  • The injury report was a long one. It included wide receivers Jerrel Jernigan (knee) and Marcus Harris (hip) -- both are expected to return Tuesday as well. Also sitting out: fullback John Conner (concussion), tight ends Daniel Fells (knee) and Xavier Grimble (hamstring), running back Peyton Hillis (foot), wide receiver/kick returner Trindon Holliday (hamstring), cornerback Jayron Hosley (foot), defensive tackle Mike Patterson (shoulder) amd linebacker Jon Beason (foot).
  • Third-string quarterback Curtis Painter worked with the second team, while backup QB Ryan Nassib took snaps with the third team. Painter had been working with the 3s, and Nassib with the 2s, but Painter played extremely well Saturday against the Steelers. “Curtis certain did earn it, but I never put them in any kind of order for you and I won’t do it now, either,” Coughlin said. “They both have worked with the seconds, they both have worked with the threes and we will decide later in the week how we are going to play.”
  • Wide receiver Corey Washington -- a long-shot at the start of camp, but with two touchdown catches in the team's first two preseason games -- had a phenomenal practice. Working with the starters, he had three consecutive catches during a 2-minute drill and made a jumping grab over cornerback Zack Bowman near the sideline. Fellow wideout Rueben Randle made an amazing one-handed 50-yard catch in the back of the end zone from Manning with Prince Amukamara and Stevie Brown draped all over him.
Rueben Randle led the New York Giants in touchdown receptions in 2013. Now, that's a little like being the tallest dwarf, since he only had six of them and the Giants' offense was so bad that no one else could come up with more than four. But still, the Giants' 2012 second-round pick has flashed the ability to make a play. He has the size and the physical skills needed to be a good NFL wide receiver. His issue, to this point, has been consistency of concentration.

[+] EnlargeRueben Randle
Julio Cortez/AP PhotoIn 16 games last season, Giants WR Rueben Randle had 41 receptions for 611 yards and 6 touchdowns.
"Intelligence, he's got that," Giants wide receivers coach Sean Ryan said last week. "For me, the battle with him is consistency, and I think he's addressed it in this offseason in the way he approaches his job. I've seen a difference in his seriousness towards his work. This spring, I thought he was locked in. I thought he did a good job learning the new offense. Like I said, he's got some football intelligence to him. Things come to him. He sees things pretty well. But I thought he really worked hard at being locked into the meetings and on the field as well. I noticed a difference in him."

With Hakeem Nicks gone off to the Colts in free agency following a very disappointing year, the Giants are looking for more production from Randle on the outside. They drafted his fellow former LSU wide receiver, Odell Beckham Jr., in the first round, but Beckham is a rookie with much to learn. Randle is in his third NFL season, which is generally thought to be a big one for wide receiver development.

There's also a school of thought that the new offense under new coordinator Ben McAdoo will help Randle, who seemed to struggle to be on the same page as quarterback Eli Manning in some high-profile incidents last year that resulted in interceptions. Former coordinator Kevin Gilbride's offense relied on option routes, and the ability of the wide receivers to identify the same coverages as Manning did at the line of scrimmage. Randle had issues with that and could theoretically thrive in a simpler scheme, though Ryan disputes the idea that the change in coordinators will make things that much easier for receivers.

"Yeah, I think maybe that is oversimplifying, because you're always going to face route adjustments versus certain coverages," Ryan said. "Maybe this offense doesn't have as many, but he's still going to have to face those same decisions. In terms of the volume of route adjustments, there's probably a little less in this offense. But there's always going to be certain routes that we're going to run versus certain coverages, and post-snap they're still going to have to see it just like the quarterback sees it and be on the same page. So it's still going to be a part of the game, just probably not as much."

Ryan also said he's been trying to work his receivers all over the field and in different positions, which has in some practices resulted in Randle getting some work out of the slot.

"That's a big target running down the middle of the field," Ryan said of the 6-2, 208-pound Randle. "And that's something that we've certainly talked about and talked to him about, so it's possible."

Meantime, the key for Randle once training camp starts up next month is to maintain the focus he showed throughout the spring and apply it once games start. The Giants are expecting big things from Randle in his third NFL season.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- What's new for New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning this offseason is... well, just about everything. Having run basically the same offensive system since he arrived in the NFL in 2004, Manning this year is learning a whole new system under new coordinator Ben McAdoo. It has changed quite a bit about his preparation.

"It has definitely felt different," Manning said Tuesday after the first day of minicamp. "There's a lot of learning. The past several years, you never had too many surprises. You could be positive how it was going to turn out or what a guy might do versus this coverage or thinking about protections and stuff -- all of that was second nature. Now, you kind of have to slowly think through it the first time you're doing some things."

[+] EnlargeEli Manning
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson"Everything [on offense] is happening a little quicker, so I think that's a positive," Eli Manning said.
All of that said, Manning believes things are going more smoothly this week than they went for the offense in OTAs. He said Tuesday was the fourth time the Giants have had an "Install One" practice day, meaning the fourth time they've practiced the offense as though the plays were new, and he sees a difference.

"It should be second nature to us now," Manning said. "Calling plays, everyone should know what they're doing, no mistakes, playing a little bit faster, getting up to the line of scrimmage quicker, getting the ball snapped without as much thinking. I think we did a pretty good job today. I thought the tempo was good. It was hot and we ran a lot of plays, but I thought we had a good tempo and felt a little more confident with everything, with the adjustments, the changing of the plays. Everything is happening a little quicker, so I think that's a positive."

Manning is working with a relatively new group of running backs. Peyton Hillis was on the team last year, but free-agent signee Rashad Jennings and rookie Andre Williams were not. Manning said the backs have a lot to work on in terms of blitz pickup and catching the ball out of the backfield in the new offense, but that he likes their progress. As for the wide receivers, he's still without first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr., who has a hamstring injury, and Mario Manningham, who's rehabbing his knee. But in general, Manning thinks, the receivers should find things simpler in this offense than they did in the one Kevin Gilbride used to run.

"There are a lot of different plays and a lot of different things going on, but maybe not as much reading as a receiver," Manning said. "If you know what the play is, then you should be fine. It's just about getting open. You don't have to make as many decisions, probably, as a receiver, but there are still a lot of things to it. We're still fine-tuning a few things."

The Giants still have five weeks until the start of training camp and 12 weeks until the start of the regular season, so there's plenty of time to work out the kinks. Manning is a seasoned-enough veteran to enjoy progress even if it's a bit slow, and to know there's time to get everything right.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It is extremely important to the New York Giants and their new offense that 32-year-old veteran right guard Chris Snee return from his various surgeries and remain fully healthy this season. To that end, the Giants held Snee out of team drills during Tuesday's minicamp practice and could hold him out all week to protect his surgically repaired elbow.

Snee was out on the field for the entirety of the morning practice Tuesday, but he worked on the side with team trainers, just running. He said his surgically repaired hips are feeling great, but that the team is just being cautious with the elbow as planned all along.

Snee
"You saw what the [San Antonio] Spurs did, right? Rested some older guys? We're following that blueprint," Snee joked after practice. "Everything's been good so far. But at this point in my career, if they say, 'Take a breather,' I'm going to take a breather."

Snee said the elbow surgery he had after the season was more involved and required more rehab than he initially thought it would, and that's why he and the team put in a plan to back him off of some spring practices. He believes he'll be 100 percent ready when training camp begins next month, and he said his hips feel fine. He lost 35 pounds last season to help his lower body recover from its latest surgery, dropping down to 275 pounds. He says he's now back up to 300 and planning to gain 10 more by training camp to return to his playing weight.

"The plan with him is to see if we can get the elbow right so that he feels comfortable and confident," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "We won't be in a rush in that regard. He's played enough that we can get him healthy and get him right back to where he was. We know what we have there."

What they don't know about Snee is what they have in terms of his ability to hold up for an entire season. That, it seems, will remain a question until he actually does it.

Some other notes from the first day of minicamp:

Also working on the side were left tackle Will Beatty (leg) and wide receiver Mario Manningham (knee), who are hoping to return in time for the July 22 start of training camp. Middle linebacker Jon Beason, who broke his foot in OTA practices last week, attended meetings with the team in the morning but was not on the field. The Giants said his foot will be immobilized for the next six weeks, after which he'll begin his rehab.

First-round wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. did some individual drills but was still out of team drills due to a hamstring injury. "He was able to go. Whether he could hit that top speed was another question. Why take a chance on it right now?" Coughlin said. "I’d like to have him practicing. That’s how you learn – you practice. He’s done all of the studying, he’s good in the classroom, but he’s got to get out here."

Running back David Wilson was out there, running around and catching passes. Wilson remains hopeful that he can be cleared for contact drills by the time training camp starts next month.

W2W4: Giants minicamp

June, 16, 2014
Jun 16
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The New York Giants begin the final phase of their offseason program Tuesday with the start of a three-day minicamp in East Rutherford, New Jersey. This will be the last time they're all on the field together until they start training camp July 22. Here's a look at what we'll be watching during these final three days of June practice:

[+] EnlargeEli Manning
William Perlman/The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY SportsThe Giants are looking for Eli Manning and the offense to make progress in learning Ben McAdoo's system.
Progress with the new offense: It's clear by now that quarterback Eli Manning is healed from his April ankle surgery and practicing as he normally would practice this time of year. That means that the Giants should be making as-planned progress in new coordinator Ben McAdoo's offense. That progress has been somewhat haphazard to this point, as it's reasonable to expect. While the passing game concepts might be simpler under McAdoo than they were previously, the run-game concepts appear to be more complex. What little we got to see of the new offense in organized team activities (OTAs) looked disorganized and confused. Again, that's all understandable, and I would expect to see more of the same this week. But Tom Coughlin and his coaching staff want to see progress -- want to see things begin to look smoother. And while there will still be no pads or contact at this point in the offseason program, the expanded practice time should allow for some visible progress.

Middle linebacker: With Jon Beason out with a foot injury, who will take over his responsibilities in the middle of the front seven? Has Mark Herzlich advanced enough since last September to handle it? Can Jameel McClain move inside to a larger role than the one for which he was signed? Is rookie Devon Kennard a legitimate candidate? Much of what the Giants do on defense relies on Beason's ability to get and keep things organized. How organized will it look without him?

The offensive line: Who's getting more first-team snaps at center, J.D. Walton or Weston Richburg? Can Chris Snee practice every day, or are his surgically repaired hips slowing him down? And who's getting the left tackle reps with Will Beatty out? The offensive line remains the biggest issue this team faces in 2014, and the sooner things start to look settled there, the better.

Odell Beckham Jr.: The Giants' first-round pick missed a chunk of OTA time due to a hamstring injury, and it's unclear whether he'll participate this week. I still don't think we'll be able to make any judgments about the speedy wide receiver until we see him against real competition and can tell how he's going to react to physical press coverage. But just getting him on the field with the rest of the offense would be a benefit, if only to keep everyone else in their proper positions and working on plays that involve Beckham's downfield speed.

Tight ends: They're going to need one. Is Adrien Robinson looking like a real candidate? Is Daniel Fells? Are there different roles possible for guys like Kellen Davis and Larry Donnell as blockers? The Giants' weakest position group bears watching until we get a better handle on the ways in which its members can be expected to contribute.

Giants offseason wrap-up

May, 22, 2014
May 22
10:00
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» NFC Wrap: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South » Grades

With free agency and the draft in the rearview mirror and training camp just a couple of months away, we assess the New York Giants' offseason moves.

[+] EnlargeGeoff Schwartz
Denny Medley/USA TODAY SportsThe Giants knew they needed help on the offensive line, so signing Geoff Schwartz was a move in the right direction.
Best move: Signed to start at left guard after a season in which the interior of the Giants' offensive line crumbled completely and decimated the offense, Geoff Schwartz will be an immediate upgrade at a key position and should help the run game as well as Eli Manning's protection in the passing game. The Giants needed to make the offensive line a priority, and signing Schwartz at the start of free agency showed that they understood that.

Riskiest move: Letting defensive tackle Linval Joseph leave for Minnesota in free agency. Joseph is still just 25 years old -- younger than any free agent the Giants signed. He and Justin Tuck (who left and signed with the Raiders) were the Giants' two best defensive linemen in 2013. The Giants are hoping 2013 second-round pick Johnathan Hankins can fill Joseph's shoes, but letting him go risked leaving the Giants too thin on the defensive line -- a position of renowned strength during their last two Super Bowls.

Most surprising move: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and in general the amount of free-agent attention the Giants paid to cornerback. They spent big to acquire Rodgers-Cromartie and also signed Walter Thurmond, Zack Bowman at Trumaine McBride. They obviously needed to replace Corey Webster (who they should have replaced last offseason), but the extent to which they beefed up at the position was surprising for a team that appeared to need more help on offense than on defense.

Draft pick impact: First-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. has a chance to make a rookie-year contribution as Hakeem Nicks' replacement at wide receiver if he can learn the offense quickly. Ditto second-round pick Weston Richburg, who has a chance to beat out J.D. Walton for the starting center job. And fourth-round pick Andre Williams, who led all of college football in rushing yards last year at Boston College, could get into the mix early at running back. The Giants are counting on their draft picks to help fill holes on the offensive side.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- He is the New York Giants' 2014 first-round draft pick. He was the No. 12 overall pick in this year's draft. But wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is here at the Giants' team facility doing what everybody else on the offense is doing at high speed -- learning.

"It's a new offense for everybody," Beckham said Tuesday. "They just got it two or three weeks ago, so the veterans are all learning, too. So right now, everything's all up in the air."

[+] EnlargeOdell Beckham Jr
Elsa/Getty ImagesLike the rest of his new teammates, Odell Beckham Jr. is busy learning a new offense.
Beckham said his goal is to learn every wide receiver position in new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo's system, but he's starting out with the X receiver position. That's the split end, or the receiver that's tied to the line of scrimmage and doesn't go in motion. Based on what the Giants said about Beckham the night they drafted him, they view him as an ideal candidate for that spot, since success there depends on the receiver's ability to beat press coverage and get separation from the defender. Hakeem Nicks, the 2009 first-round pick who left as a free agent this offseason, could not do that last year, and the Giants hope that the replacement they drafted can do a better job with that.

Beckham's LSU teammate, 2012 second-round pick Rueben Randle, would then be the Z receiver on the other side with Victor Cruz handling the slot receiver duties. But of course that could change from week to week or play to play, which Beckham knows. At this point, he's just trying to get down what he can.

"Right now for me, it's a lot of learning the offense," he said. "I feel like I'm catching up. There's so much being thrown at you a once, it's all going to take some getting used to."

He said having Randle around helps him some, as does his familiarity with Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who went to the same high school Beckham attended in New Orleans and has worked with Beckham at his passing camps. And Beckham also is well aware of outside criticisms about his size (5-foot-11) and has made his peace with them.

"It's something I don't really think about," Beckham said. "There are a lot of guys in the league my size. Percy Harvin is one of them. Maybe he's a little faster than I am, but he's been successful. Size is not something that matters, I don't think."

If he has speed and the ability to get away from defenders, Beckham's size shouldn't hold him back. Nicks has the size to outfight people for the ball, but his inability to get open with any kind of consistency last year hamstrung the Giants' offense. The Giants don't care how tall Beckham is if no one's covering him. They want to get him the ball and let him run with it.

First, though, he's got a lot to learn.
The New York Giants on Monday night announced the signings of first-round draft pick Odell Beckham, Jr., second-round draft pick Weston Richburg, fifth-round draft pick Devon Kennard and sixth-round draft pick Bennett Jackson to their rookie contracts.

They signed fourth-round pick Andre Williams and fifth-round pick Nat Berhe last week, so the only Giants draft pick yet unsigned is third-rounder Jay Bromley, who will sign very soon, maybe even today.

So yeah, within two weeks of the end of the draft, everybody should be signed and working out with the team. Same with every other team around the league. These guys sign very quickly, with no drama.

You likely remember a time when this was not the case -- when draft-pick negotiations would drag on through the summer and threaten to keep the new guys out of training camp as agents and teams haggled over the details. But the NFL and the NFLPA agreed, in the last CBA negotiations, to an institutional change that eliminated the drama.

Draft-pick contracts are now "slotted," with predetermined amounts assigned to each pick based on what the player picked in that spot got in prior years. The signing bonuses are even flat, which means that Beckham got the same $5,888,144 signing bonus as last year's No. 12 overall pick (Raiders cornerback D.J. Hayden), 2012's No. 12 overall pick (Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox) and 2011's No. 12 overall pick (Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder). The annual minimums go up by around $20,000 in each draft, but the signing bonus stays the same. The total value of Beckham's deal should be right around $10.4 million for four years, with that fifth-year team option for 2018 that has to be picked up by May of 2017.

The reason for this is that one of the things the owners wanted out of the last labor deal was cost certainty on rookie contracts, which they felt were getting out of hand at the top of the draft. The union agreed to a rookie pay scale in exchange for other things it wanted, like improved health benefits for players and their families and reduced workloads in the offseason, and on the stipulation that the money saved would go to veterans. Veteran minimums have risen, and the new deal instituted a salary "floor" that requires teams to spend a certain percentage of their cap money each year.

The end result is a complete lack of drama in the contract negotiations for Giants rookies and all other rookies around the league, who are getting signed and into team facilities as quickly as the paperwork can get done.

New York Giants draft wrap-up

May, 10, 2014
May 10
5:50
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NFC wrap-ups: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A wrap-up of the New York Giants' draft. Click here for a full list of Giants draftees.

[+] EnlargeWeston Richburg
AP Photo/G.M. AndrewsWeston Richburg, a center out of Colorado State, should be in a good position to compete for the Giants' starting job this season.
Best move: The Giants addressed an immediate and long-term need with the selection of Colorado State center Weston Richburg with the 11th pick of the second round. Richburg played multiple positions and in a variety of different offensive schemes in college, and his versatility, athleticism and intelligence make him a strong fit for the center spot in the Giants' new Ben McAdoo offense. I don't see any reason he can't beat out J.D. Walton for the job right away, and having a center who can handle a variety of responsibilities before the snap and after it should help the offensive line play on either side of him. Richburg's play can also offer the Giants a number of ways to jump-start a running game that never got going in 2013.

Riskiest move: The selection of LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. with the 12th pick of the draft isn't "risky" in the traditional sense -- meaning, I don't think he's a threat to be a bust. I think Beckham is likely to be a very good player for the Giants. But passing on offensive lineman Zack Martin for a potential game-breaking receiver was a risky move. The Giants have let the offensive line decay too much in recent years, and Beckham's ability to separate from defenders isn't going to help them much if the line can't get the play blocked and Eli Manning doesn't have time to get him the ball. The Richburg selection mitigates things somewhat, but adding a first-round talent to the offensive line mix was the best move the Giants could have made in this draft, and they chose not to make it. There's a decent chance that will come back to bite them.

Most surprising move: It was surprising that Boston College running back Andre Williams was still available for the Giants in the fourth round, but it's not surprising they took him. He'll fill a role right away as a power back who can fight for tough yards in the middle of the line -- doing the dirty work while Rashad Jennings and maybe David Wilson get the highlight-reel work. The biggest surprise was the selection of Syracuse defensive tackle Jay Bromley in the third round, with the No. 74 pick. This was a clear reach for a player who mainly had fifth- and sixth-round grades. And, although the Giants cited his 10 sacks from an interior line position in his senior season and the fact he was a team captain as support for the pick, even Bromley said he was shocked to be picked on the draft's second day.

File it away: San Diego State safety Nat Berhe was the Giants' pick in the fifth round, at No. 152. It's the second year in a row they took a safety with the No. 152 pick (Cooper Taylor in 2013). Berhe was also a reach but also a team captain/leader type, like almost everyone they picked. Scouting director Marc Ross said the Giants can envision Berhe as a hybrid safety in what Ross called a "Deon Grant role" in the defense. He wasn't necessarily talking about this year, but if Berhe develops, he could have a path to playing time. Taylor is the only Giants safety under contract beyond 2014 at this point. Antrel Rolle is in his final year; Stevie Brown is coming off ACL surgery; and Will Hill is facing a third drug suspension in as many years.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants' pick of Syracuse defensive tackle Jay Bromley in the third round felt weird even to Bromley, who was pulling a "Gravity" DVD out of a Redbox machine at his local grocery store when he got the call.

"Honestly, I didn't expect a call at all tonight," said a giddy Bromley, who grew up a Giants fan and played college football with two of the players the Giants drafted last year.

So why, then, did the Giants spend the No. 74 pick in the draft on a guy who was mainly projected to go somewhere between the fourth and sixth rounds? Well, he was a team captain at Syracuse. Second-round pick Weston Richburg was a team captain at Colorado State. First-round selection Odell Beckham Jr. was a team leader at LSU.

"We like captains," Giants general manager Jerry Reese said. "Most of these kids are developmental, let's face it. But in this day and age, there aren't a lot of guys you can let sit around and redshirt. These guys, we think they're more mature, and that's attractive for us."

The point is that the Giants, even after the biggest free-agent spree any team went on this offseason, entered this draft with so many needs that they can't afford to draft guys who aren't going to perform right away. And they have decided that the smartest way to speed up the learning curve of their early picks was to seek and draft smart, mature, high-character guys who might not need as much hand-holding as some of their more raw recent early-round picks. (Think: Wilson, David, 2012.)

It's a plan. And it appears to be a well-thought-out one by a team that's admitting to itself that the amount of work it has to do to repair all of its holes is more than will fit into a single offseason. The Giants had a lot to say about the many reasons they liked Beckham and Richburg. And they had a few about Bromley, too. But by the time they were explaining Bromley, the real outline of their 2014 draft plan had come into focus.

"These guys are high-character team captains, hard workers, smart, competitive guys with no issues whatsoever," vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross said. "All three of these guys, we felt, were at the very highest in terms of character."

In the past, the Giants might have used second-round and third-round picks on projects with question marks and upside. Their roster had more depth and they could afford to do that. They can't anymore, so it appears they decided to prioritize present-day makeup, maybe even at the expense of high-ceiling talent. The end result was that they targeted certain specific players and picked them whether they represented value at the pick or not.

"We just sat where we were and made good picks, I think," Reese said.

The final grade on this draft will depend on the extent to which he's right.
video The pick: Weston Richburg, center, Colorado State

My take: It's good that they took an offensive lineman. It would have been irresponsible and negligent for them not to do so. They should have taken one in the first round and chose not to, and with Richburg, they get a center with whom they spent a great deal of time prior to the draft and whom they likely think can start for them early in his career, possibly right away.

As we discussed Thursday, the Giants lock in on a player they like and they take him. That's how they do business. And this is a pick that fills a short-term and long-term need. He's a good player who can help them. However, was he the best offensive lineman available here? Could they have moved down and still drafted him? Could they have waited until the third round? You'd like to think so, and if tackles Morgan Moses and Cyrus Kouandjio were better players, I'd have advocated taking them even though they play tackle, which is not as obvious an immediate need. The point is to improve the overall talent level on the line with elite players or close-to-elite players, and they can sort them out later. They might have reached a bit here, but as was the case Thursday with Odell Beckham Jr., they found a player they liked and grabbed him.

Path to playing time: The Giants released center David Baas earlier in the offseason and signed former Broncos center J.D. Walton, who was projected as the starting center prior to this pick. I'd have to think the Giants would give Richburg a chance to win the starting job in camp, though they did go into this draft thinking they could go with Walton if they didn't find anything better, so they could also give him time. The Giants generally don't like to throw rookies right into starting roles, but last year's first-round pick, Justin Pugh, started 16 games at right tackle as a rookie and performed well.

What's next: The Giants hold the 10th pick in the third round (No. 74 overall) later tonight and could still find good value on the offensive or defensive lines, where they continue to need to stockpile talent. I don't expect them to hunt for a tight end or a running back tonight. Safety is a possibility if they find one they like at the spot. They have four picks tomorrow -- a fourth-rounder, two fifth-rounders and a sixth-rounder.
So far in the 2014 NFL draft, the New York Giants have made one pick. I have spent some time over the past 16 hours or so analyzing that one pick, which is my job. Many of you have responded to my analysis by informing me that there are still six more rounds to the draft and that the Giants have six more picks (two in the fifth, none in the seventh, as it turns out). I sincerely appreciate your help in this regard.

Tonight offers us the second and third rounds of the draft. The Giants hold the 11th pick of the second round and the 10th pick of the third. Those are the 43rd and 74th overall picks in the draft. Good picks. Picks that should produce important, helpful players that develop into backbone types for good teams. The kinds of picks on which the Giants have missed too many times in recent years with guys like Marvin Austin (No. 52 overall, 2011), Clint Sintim (45, 2009), Ramses Barden (85, 2009), etc.

The jury's still out on some of the more recent second- and third-rounders. Last year, the Giants picked Johnathan Hankins 49th overall and Damontre Moore 81st, and the year before that they took Rueben Randle 63rd. The ultimate judgment of their 2012 and 2013 drafts will rest in large part on the performance of those players in the next couple of seasons.

So yeah, it's fair to call this a big night for the Giants. They need to maximize the value of tonight's picks. They need to come up with good players that help them restock their talent pipeline in key spots. Fortunately for the Giants, this is a deep draft that offers them good choices in tonight's rounds, or possibly the chance to move back and add picks if they don't like those choices.

Let's look at some of the players who could be available for the Giants tonight and would be helpful to what they need to do long-term:

Joel Bitonio, OT, Nevada. The Giants spent time with this player before the draft and like him a lot. He's the pick for them in our second-round mock draftInsider put together by Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl. Todd McShay ranks Bitonio as his second-best remaining available offensive linemanInsider, behind Virginia tackle Morgan Moses, whom Todd mocked to the Giants in the first round of the mock draft that was based on what he'd do if he had the pick. Obviously, this indicates that Moses also would be a strong pick here if he's available. Other still-available, highly-rated offensive linemen include UCLA guard Xavier Su'a-Filo, Alabama tackle Cyrus Kouandjio and centers Marcus Martin of USC and Weston Richburg of Colorado State. The Giants should have their choice of quality offensive linemen in the second round, and as I'm sure you know by now, I think they'd be foolish not to grab one here. It's not crazy to think that a center they take at 43 could start for them right away, given what they have at the position right now.

Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech. Lots of you wanted Eric Ebron in the first round, but he went No. 10 to the Lions, and honestly I don't think the Giants were going to take him if he was still there at 12 anyway. I don't think they're motivated to take a tight end in the second round, either, be it Amaro or Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Sure, it's possible they like one of those players more than I realize and could take him for that reason. But I don't believe the Giants are going into Friday night thinking they need to pick a tight end. They don't value the position that highly and I believe that they are willing at this point to give the guys they already have a shot at more playing time.

Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame. Unlike Pitt's Aaron Donald, who went to the Rams one pick after the Giants took Odell Beckham Jr. on Thursday night, Nix has the kind of size the Giants look for in a defensive tackle. Same could be said for Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman, who's also still around, if the Giants decide to use one of tonight's picks to beef up in the middle of the defensive line.

Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame. They also could use pass-rush help, and you know they're always looking for it anyway. Missouri pass-rusher Kony Ealy is also still on the board.

Just a few names to whet your appetite. Round 2 starts at 7 p.m. ET. On ESPN, of course.
After the New York Giants took LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. with the No. 12 pick in the draft Thursday night, I wrote this about the risks inherent in falling in love with a player and trusting your own evaluations. This was a very specific, 500-word analysis about the Giants' methods, and it had nothing to do with the player himself or what the Giants liked about him.

But they obviously like him a great deal and for a number of reasons, many of which they went into Thursday night after making the pick.

"He's a dynamic receiver, dynamic punt returner and a dynamic kickoff returner," GM Jerry Reese said. "You're getting a guy that can score touchdowns in three different ways for you. There's no way we would pass him up."

Three different ways is a pretty cool concept, especially if you're picking someone to replace Hakeem Nicks, who scored touchdowns in no different ways in 2013. The Giants clearly fell in love with Beckham's ability as a player who can help them score points. Picking him sends a clear message that they're more concerned with exciting playmakers than with rebuilding the foundation of their crumbled offensive line. Not the way I'd have gone, as you know, but they believe this guy will be enough of a difference-maker to justify the decision.

"We're talking about the quarterback needing help, and this guy is a weapon," Reese said. "We need a weapon on the outside. Victor [Cruz] is more of an inside receiver. Victor can't play on the outside. We have Rueben Randle, Jerrel Jernigan and we got Mario Manningham back, so we're trying to get the quarterback some weapons. You need weapons in this league. We think this guy is a weapon."

Everything you hear about Beckham as a player backs up the evaluation. High-end speed, showcased at the highest level of college football in the SEC. Can take the top off a defense, force safeties to play deep, open things up underneath for Cruz and others. Reese described Beckham as "almost pro-ready," which indicates they expect a contribution at some point during his rookie season. And coach Tom Coughlin pointed out that Beckham's learning curve may not be that significant, given that the veterans, too, are learning a new offense this offseason under new coordinator Ben McAdoo.

"I think a young man of Odell's skill and his level of intelligence will pick this up relatively quickly," Coughlin said.

And good for the Giants if he does. They also raved about his abilities in the return game, which struck me as kind of odd after they spent free-agent money on return men Quintin Demps and Trindon Holliday. But when asked about potential redundancies there, Reese bristled a bit.

"It doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter," Reese said. "The more return guys you have in the building, the better. We haven't had any in the building in some time. So the more the merrier. We have some options there, and whoever wins the job, it's fine with me. Holliday is a fast guy. This guy is a fast guy. Speed kills."

The Giants really do get the benefit of the doubt a lot, though given Reese's draft track record I continue to fail to see why. When the Dallas Cowboys or the Oakland Raiders ignore long-range offensive line needs in favor of fun, speedy skill position players, they get ripped for it. Yet that's exactly what the Giants did Thursday and people seem OK with it. Yes, there are some offensive line options still available Friday night, but there are wide receiver options still available, too, so that argument doesn't really mitigate anything.

The Giants like a lot of things about Beckham, and he's put a lot on film for them and everyone else to like. If he's the player they imagine he'll be, then they'll be happy with the pick. The inherent flaw in the draft is that everyone imagines these best-case scenarios and they don't all come true. In the case of the Giants and Beckham, the excitement of what's imaginable carried the day.
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jerry Reese is a scout, and not afraid to admit it. The New York Giants GM has a scouting background, and even in the era of advanced analytics he remains an unabashed fan of the profession's role in NFL roster-building. Last week, Reese called the draft "game day for the scouts" and said it's "fun to see them rewarded with players they feel like are good players."

A fine sentiment. Scouts work extremely long, hard hours, live on the road away from their families and should be rewarded. But when you're the GM, charged with the dispersal of your franchise's most precious resources, it has to be about more than rewarding the scouts.

It was clear after the Giants picked Odell Beckham Jr. with the No. 12 pick in the draft Thursday night, that they had fallen in love. They loved their interview with him at the combine. They loved his speed. They loved that he can return kicks and punts.

[+] EnlargeOdell Beckham
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsOdell Beckham Jr. caught 59 passes for 1,152 yards and 8 touchdowns last season for LSU.
"You're getting a guy who can score touchdowns in three different ways for you," Reese raved. "No way we were going to pass him up."

The Giants never lack conviction. The issue is whether this is the right way to handle the draft, and specifically a pick as high as No. 12. If you're going to lock in on one player you love, and there's "no way" you're going to pass him up, then you're not really maximizing the value of your resource.

If your draft strategy is to scout players and pick the one you love the best, then your entire draft rests on the development of that player into a great one. If you miss, it's a total miss, with nothing to mitigate it. This is the problem with the Giants' recent drafts -- not just that they've consistently missed in the third round and later (and a few critical times in the second), but that they haven't done enough to protect themselves against poor evaluation. They almost never maneuver to amass more picks and play the percentages. They lock in on a guy they and their scouts like and they take him, believing he'll be great, totally hanging themselves out to dry if he's not.

So Beckham may well become a transcendent, No. 1-type wide receiver, worthy of the No. 12 pick. But the way the board went, they could have gotten him or a comparable player later. The draft is deep with wide receivers, and only one more was taken in the 15 picks that followed theirs.

The Giants would tell you they didn't think there were comparable players, that this was their guy and they're sold on him. And it's perfectly understandable that a scout who loves scouts and scouting would choose to run his draft that way. It's just not the best way to maximize the value of your draft picks. When you fall in love with a player, you take on too much risk. You need to be right, or you're left with nothing.
PITTSBURGH – It's hard to imagine a scenario in which the Pittsburgh Steelers don't use their first-round pick on a cornerback.

But it's not impossible.

One of the left tackles could slip to No. 15 and tempt the Steelers. Anthony Barr fell to the Steelers in the ESPN NFL Nation mock draft held earlier this week, and I grabbed the UCLA outside linebacker after also considering Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller and LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Barr had 23 sacks in two season while learning to play outside linebacker on the fly. He is a playmaker who has a tremendous upside, and the Steelers need to bolster their pass rush.

The problem is I don't think Barr will be available at No. 15. I think Beckham is gone before then too with a team likely trading up to draft him.

That leads me back to cornerback and I think the Steelers will be thrilled if they have their choice of Fuller and Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard.

Both are good fits for the Steelers and I think they would be happy with either one. If they have a choice I think the Steelers take Fuller. He is a little bigger and probably has better ball skills than Dennard.

But really it could be a coin flip between the two and the Steelers would love nothing more than if they have to choose between Dennard and Fuller.

I say they do and that they opt for Fuller.

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