New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese, trying to pull his team out of a four-year playoff drought that has included three straight losing years, faces an important 2016 NFL Drraft. Thursday, he faced the media for his annual pre-draft press conference. Here are some of the takeaways from Reese's remarks.
Will the Giants stay at 10?
Reese wasted no time answering this question, not bothering to wait for it.
"Before you ask the question, we're open to moving up, we're open to moving back," Reese said.
"In the draft you never know what's going to happen. You just try to prepare yourself for everything. Could be a lot of movement, could be not much more movement."
Yours truly has, of course, advocated moving back.
This draft more important? Reese says no
The GM said that co-owner John Mara's comments recently about the draft were blown out of proportion.
"All the drafts are important for me. I understand why John would say something like that, but all the drafts are very important to me," Reese said. "When you say something like that I think it's taken out of context a little bit.
"The pressure's always there. Nobody puts more pressure on me than me."
For reference, here is what Mara said:
"Every draft is important, but I would say this one moreso than usual," Mara said. "Because we're picking so high, and because we're coming off of three-and-a-half losing years.
"It's time to pick it up. We spent all this money in free agency, and we got better. But we're still not there, and we need some impact players."
Offensive line off limits at No. 10?
Reese has used two first-round picks and a second-round pick on the offensive line in the last three years. He was asked if that allocation of resources meant the Giants couldn't take an offensive lineman this time around.
"We're just trying to put the guys up there in the best order that we can and pick the best player available on the board when we pick."
My take is that Reese can say that, and I would support an offensive tackle at 10, but of course resource allocation and other needs play into the pick the Giants will ultimately make.
Drafting players who are injury risks
Reese said the Giants grade players with injury risks from A to F. Said they rarely would select a player with a "D" and would never select a player with an "F" grade. How does that impact the first round of the draft? Reese said the Giants will not take a player considered a medical risk in the first round.
"We listen to our doctors. If our doctors say the risk is too high or they reject guys wen't take 'em," Reese said. "You're not going to to take risk on your first-round pick if the guy's a "D." You're not gonna take a risk like that with your first-round pick.
"If you pick inside the first 10-12 picks you'd like to get a starter who can play right away."
Does this mean the Giants would not take UCLA linebacker Myles Jack if he falls to No. 10? We don't know that because we don't know if the Giants consider him a medical risk.
"We try to minimize our risk, but it's football," Reese said. "Grown men hitting each other with helmets. Guys get injured."
Changes in evaluation process
At the end of the 2015 season, Reese and the Giants promised to study their evaluation process to see if anything needed to be changed in terms of how they went about grading and selecting players. He said the study revealed some "interesting things," but really wouldn't go further than that.
"We looked at a lot of things," Reese said. "I know this, I know our scouts work their behinds off, they do all the work, they're on the road for almost 200 days out of the year. They do the leg work for us, and they do a tremendous job for us."
Victor Cruz "a bonus"
Reese said he has looked out his office window and watched Victor Cruz, who hasn't played since the middle of the 2014 season due to a torn patellar tendon and a calf injury, run. He said the team's doctors are pleased by Cruz's progress and the Giants expect him to be "full-go" for training camp, but that their expectations for what he can do are muted.
"What we get from Victor will be a bonus. We're hoping it will be a great bonus," Reese said.
What about right tackle?
Obviously, we have focused a great deal on the idea that the Giants need to add a right tackle who can compete with or replace Marshall Newhouse.
"Sometimes the answer is on your roster," Reese said, adding he feels 2015 seventh-round pick Bobby Hart is capable of playing either right guard or right tackle.
Because you wanted to know
Reese is still rocking the stubbly, largely white beard he was seen with at the combine. ... By my count, Reese used some combination of "best player available," "best player," or "good players" to describe what the Giants wanted six times in his 18-minute session.