For years I've been buying into the Giants' company line of selecting the best player available in the draft. Looking over the recent drafts, I'm beginning to believe that philosophy is not entirely true.
Inside the walls of TPC, the Giants compile their draft board with a predilection for certain players. Their criteria goes beyond the film room, the college all-star games, the combine and the pro days. The ultimate decision to draft a player is reached through an assortment of factors: talent, upside, maturity, character and yes - need.
After fielding several hundred emails and reader comments, there is no possible way - to the naked eye - that Justin Pugh was the BPA in Round One and Jonathan Hankins was the BPA in Round Two.
GM Jerry Reese got his marching orders publicly from the boss himself (CEO John Mara) after last season: fix the defensive line and get bigger and tougher in the trenches.
So when the Giants' turn to select came in the first two rounds, Reese took the best offensive lineman left on his board and followed it in Round Two with the best defensive lineman on his board.
When asked how he arrived at this first two selections, Reese simply said he took the highest-rated player on the team's draft board. He didn't lie. He just didn't tell the whole truth, didn't finish the sentence. He took the best available offensive and defensive lineman on his board.
But fans are still doubting. In a recent poll conducted by our man Jimmy Kempski, voters felt the Giants could have done better.
78% of the voters believe the Giants should have taken DT Sharrif Floyd in Round One and either OL Larry Warford ot OT Terron Armstrong in Round Two.
Stop blaming Jerry Reese for not taking a LB in the draft. Blame Tom Coughlin for allowing Perry Fewell to continue this particular defensive plan. Reese is simply trying to staff this faulty and flawed strategy which has been exposed far too often for Giant fans' liking.
As long as Fewell is the Giants' DC, linebackers are not going to be prioritized on the roster. Depending on the opponent, the Giants will employ three safeties on at least 50% of the defensive snaps. That means two LBs (or less) on the field for more than half the game.
Why would they burn a high draft pick on a player that will only play half the snaps? If they drafted Arthur Brown or Khaseem Greene it would have been a wasted pick. They would be watching most of the game right along with you.
Instead Reese found an oversized safety (Cooper Taylor) in the draft to further facilitate Fewell's farce as a pseudo or quasi hybrid LB/S to play somewhere in the middle of the field.
In lieu of getting football players that can win individual battles such as cover corners or LBs that can run sideline to sideline, the team is delving further into their "boom or bust" philosophy by compiling defensive lineman to apply pressure on the QB. The price has become an extremely high one as they continue to ignore upgrading the back seven.
The Giants not only took a QB in the draft that may never play for them, they traded up to do so. Ryan Nassib of Syracuse was the fourth QB taken in this year's draft. He was projected to be a third or fourth rounder by many pundits. The Giants forked over their fourth and sixth round picks to Arizona and made Nassib their fourth round selection.
Many fans and readers are asking why the Giants made such a sudden move for a player who may never play. To me, an old Wall St hand, everything is based on economics.
The current backup, David Carr, is not a viable option should something befall Eli Manning, who has played 146 consecutive games (including playoffs). The Giants saw how the Indianapolis Colts fell of the cliff after their QB - Eli's brother, Peyton - sat out the entire 2011 season after neck surgery. The Colts won only two games, snapping a stretch of nine consecutive double-digit win seasons.
The Giants are a QB heavy team, too. They have centered their payroll scale and offensive strategy completely around Eli and they don't trust that Carr could save their season if called upon. Nassib is a young, smart leader-type who can make all the throws. They like the way he takes charge and handles himself. He won't play a meaningful down here as long as Eli is able to suit up, but he gives the organization some peace of mind.
The other point of this move is the less-obvious one. Eli's contract ends after the 2015 season. Eli will be 35 when that deal ends. The Giants may not opt to re-sign him. Or they may. The security blanket for either decision will be Nassib.
Should the Giants let Eli walk, Nassib will take the reins. If the Giants feel Eli has more tread on the tires, they won't be held hostage by Eli's reps during negotiations knowing that Nassib is waiting in the wings.