New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese bristled Monday during an appearance on WFAN with Mike Francesa at the idea the Giants were caught off guard by the way the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft unfolded.
"When somebody don't know what they're talking about, it's easy to depict it that way," Reese told Francesa. "We had our board stacked. We had went through this scenario many times, and we thought that was one of the possibilities that could happen, and our mind was clearly made up that we would be happy with Eli Apple as our pick as No. 10."
The perception heading into Round 1 on Thursday, which yours truly bought into, was that the Giants were targeting either offensive tackle Jack Conklin of Michigan State or Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd. Picking 10th, the Giants were roundly criticized for standing pat as the Tennessee Titans traded up to No. 8 and took Conklin, and then the Chicago Bears jumped in front of them and snagged Floyd with the ninth pick.
Could Apple have actually been the player the Giants wanted all along?
"He was an easy pick, and it was a value pick, No. 1, because he's the highest player on our board and was a need pick because we have two corners, and like I said during the draft, if you only have two corners, you're one corner short in this league," Reese said.
In addition to the commonly held narrative that media analysts expected the Giants to target Floyd or Conklin, the other narrative was that Vernon Hargreaves of Florida was considered the top cornerback in the draft. Jesse Bartolis wrote Monday morning that perhaps we shouldn't have been surprised that the Giants preferred Apple. While the media consensus was that Hargreaves was the No. 1 corner, I've been told that many NFL teams had Apple higher on their draft boards.
After an initial rocky reaction on Thursday, Giants fans seem to be coming around on the Apple selection. Truth is, we will never know exactly how the Giants stacked their board. All fans can do is hope they end up having selected a player who will play well for them.