Commentary

Reese: We'll draft talent over need

Picking last, the Giants' GM says he'll go for the best available player on the board

Updated: April 25, 2012, 2:19 PM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

Whether he is picking 15th or has the last pick of the first round at 32, New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese says not much changes when it comes to his thought process and approach to the draft.

Reese insists he is still going to go for the best player available when the Giants are on the clock.

Kenny Phillips
Tim Heitman/US PresswireDrafted in the first round in 2008, safety Kenny Phillips has been a solid contributor.

"I don't think it's more gray area when we pick at 32," Reese said when asked about his approach with the last pick of the first round. "You just wait and see if somebody is going to fall to you or if there is somebody you may be able to move up for, that you're in love with. It's always a good problem to have when you're picking 32."

Reese believes there are a lot of players with "the same kind of value" from pick 15 to 32. If a player like North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples, Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones or Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus falls to 32, the Giants will likely be pretty happy. One prospect who could go in the neighborhood of where the Giants select is Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower. The Giants had him in for a visit, according to ProFootballTalk.com. Early indications are that the Giants are interested in Hightower, LSU wide receiver Rueben Randle and Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill -- three prospects who could be drafted in the late first round.

Hightower has been projected by many to go to the Steelers at 24. Hill's stock has been on the rise since the combine and he is often projected to be drafted before the Giants are up. Hill or Randle could potentially help the Giants replace Mario Manningham, who signed with the 49ers in free agency.

Ramses Barden, Jerrel Jernigan and Domenik Hixon will compete for the third receiver spot.

The good thing for the Giants is that they know what it is like to wait through the entire first round before drafting. They did just that in 2008 after winning the Super Bowl.

"The last time we picked [last], we picked some pretty good players that have helped us win a lot of football games," Reese said. "So there are good players. You just have to look deep and find them."

The last time Reese drafted coming off a Super Bowl victory, he had the 31st overall pick and he came away with safety Kenny Phillips. The Giants would emerge from that draft with four players who eventually became starters.

Phillips (first round), cornerback Terrell Thomas (second round), Manningham (third round) and linebacker Jonathan Goff (fifth round) all have started games for the Giants. Phillips and Thomas remain while Manningham signed with the 49ers in free agency and Goff remains an unsigned free agent.

In that draft, Reese went defense with his first two picks. He has done the same thing in each of the past two drafts, taking defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and defensive tackle Linval Joseph with his first two picks in 2010 and then selecting cornerback Prince Amukamara and defensive tackle Marvin Austin in the first two rounds in 2011.

Reese reiterated in his pre-draft news conference that he will go with the best player on the team's board regardless of position and that drafting off a Super Bowl win doesn't change a thing when it comes to his approach for drafting best talent over need.

"The only difference is you see a lot of really good players come off of the board in front of you," he said of drafting last. "But again, we feel like there is going to be from pick 15 down to pick 32, there are going to be some very similar kind of players that we like in the row."

The Giants could always trade down if they think there are several players of the same value available when they pick. But Reese does believe a good player will be there at the end of the first round.

"More likely, somebody we have ahead of our 32nd pick in our first row [on the team's draft board], somebody will be down there where we want to pick," Reese added. "At the bottom of that first row, we think those guys are second-round picks, unless we have somebody pretty high that falls. We could easily have somebody fall down. I think guys are going to come off the board all over the place early on."

Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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