Seems to me that many people believe Jerry Reese goes best player available in the first round, when the reality is it has happened just once.
Let's take a look at the previous five first round picks, starting with his first.
The Giants had a bottom five pass defense in 2006 despite finishing 8-8 and making the playoffs. Many of us fans wanted the Giants to draft a play making outside linebacker that year, but it was clear the Giants also could have used an infusion of youth to the secondary. Enter Aaron Ross. He may not have been the best selection, but a corner was definitely a high priority need that year.
After collecting his first of two Lombardi Trophies, many believed Reese would target a safety with the last pick in the first round. Sure enough, the pick was Kenny Phillips from Miami. If you need any evidence of how important Phillips is to the team, see the final 11 games of the 2009 season.
The Giants were stifling teams in their title defense before Plaxico Burress made a career defining mistake by shooting himself in the leg, officially ending both his career and the Giants season in one fell swoop.
Although the Giants had taken Steve Smith (2007) and Mario Manningham (2008), neither of these receivers were considered No. 1 guys.
Many draft pundits narrowed down the 2009 first round selection to either Kenny Britt or Hakeem Nicks; sure enough, Nicks was the pick (with Britt following right behind), and he's blossomed into one of the finest wide receivers in the league.
2010 was the lone exception and the one time Reese truly drafted purely for potential. Jason Pierre-Paul was about as surprising a pick as could be, given the Giants huge perceived need for a middle linebacker. Rolando McClain was likely going to be the pick if he was there, but the Raiders snatched him up.
Many of you will comment telling me I'm crazy for thinking Prince Amukamara was a need pick, considering the Giants were very much set at the two starting positions at cornerback and had a top 10 pass defense in 2010. Simply concentrating on the 2010 defense and how they might perform in 2011 is not focusing on the big picture.
Reese had to have seen the fact that both Aaron Ross and Terrell Thomas were coming off their contracts in 2012. For fear of the two departing via free agency and leaving the Giants with Corey Webster and a bunch of untested players, corner had to be a priority regardless of how confident they were of re-signing either one.
Maybe he had planned on addressing the position later, but when a top 15 player falls to you that also happens to fill a need, you jump on it. Hell, maybe the pick happened to be both the best player and fill a need.
Ironically, Jason Pierre-Paul seems to be the best of Reese's five first round picks and the only time he went BPA. It's a toss up between he and Nicks, but I don't think we've seen the full reach of JPP's potential. Maybe Reese should start going best player available in the first round if he's going to keep getting gems like that.
Unless you're in the draft room with these guys, nobody knows whether these five players were really the best player available. What we do know is whether or not a need was addressed, and as far as I can tell, Reese has had a need on his mind 80 percent of the time.