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With just a week standing between us and the much-anticipated 2014 NFL draft, New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese held his annual press conference to talk about the draft and various other topics. I will be posting some of the more important quotes from the conference, as reading through 28 minutes of dialogue can be rough on the eyes.
But if that is your cup of tea, you can find the entire transcript here from Giants.com.
Q: How has the work you’ve done in free agency affected your approach to the draft?
A: It really doesn’t have a lot of effect on it. The draft is what it is, it stands alone. We try to take the best players we can in the draft and really, in free agency you try to fill some holes, but in the draft you just try to pick the best players. That’s what we try to do.
Q: How do you assess the state of your offensive line right now going into this draft? It was a major issue obviously last year.
A: We think we’ve upgraded in some places and obviously we’ll continue to look and see if there are more players available. We feel like we’ve upgraded some spots and got a little bit younger in some spots, too.
Q: You’ve said in the past that you try to marry your draft board and need. Having said that, how can you say that what you did in free agency does not at all affect what you’re going to do in the draft?
A: Again, the draft stands alone. You just try to pick the best players available in the draft. I don’t know how else I can say that to you. The draft stands alone. It’s not going to… what we did in free agency really doesn’t affect what we do in the draft. We just try to go in there and say, ‘Who’s the best player up there in the first row for us when it’s our time to pick?’ We try to pick that guy. We do like to get value and need, we like a combination of those things but it doesn’t have anything to do with free agency.
Q: You’re obviously more in-tune to McAdoo’s offense and what it’s going to be. Does he need a play-making tight end?
A: Everybody needs a play-making tight end. I think all offenses… you want a playmaker at every position if you can. I’m not sure what you’re asking me when you say that. I think every team wants a Pro Bowl-style tight end, they want a couple of Pro Bowl wide receivers, they want a Pro Bowl running back. Sure, you’d like a big, strapping tight end. Sure.
Q: Any level of concern with Eli and, looking ahead, do you see him as having a good number of years of elite play in him?
A: I think so. Obviously he’s coming off the ankle injury and he’s going to be out of spring ball but Eli is a smart guy. I think he’s driven to prove that last year was just an odd year for him. I think last year was an odd year for him. I believe he’ll bounce back and have a terrific season.
Q: When you say out of spring ball, the plan is for him not to do anything but the…?
A: Well, he’ll be back when he gets back but we’re not going to rush him back. We want him for the summer. We know he’ll be back in the summer. That’s important for us, to have him back in the summer. If he can do something in the spring, we’ll be happy to see him out there but we’re not going to rush him back.
(This is kind of funny up next)
Q: Historically this team has relied on the tight end quite a bit. Would you be comfortable moving forward with the guys you have on your roster right now?
A: Historically we’ve relied on our tight end?
Q: Well, they’ve had a prominent role.
Q: I seem to remember the tight ends catching important passes.
A: Yeah, well, we think we have some tight ends who can catch some important passes. Prominent role? We want all of our positions to be prominent roles. I’m not sure if we had, if our tight ends had prominent roles in the past. We want a competent tight end. We think we have a couple of young tight ends that have been here for a couple of years that we want to develop and we’ll continue to look as we move forward. Was the question would I move up in the draft for a tight end? Is that what you said?
A: Ok, I’m sorry.
(I thought it was funny at least)
Q: Victor Cruz the other day, I realize he doesn’t sit in on your draft meetings, but he said the other say that you really need a big outside wide receiver here. When a prominent player expresses a feeling that this is what you need, does that have any influence on your thoughts at all?
Q: When you pick 12th, which you guys haven’t picked that high in a while, do you say to yourself, ‘Whoever we pick day one is a starter for us because of where we’re picking him.’ If he’s the 12th-best player in what everyone believes to be a pretty strong draft, he should be able to step in immediately.
A: Again, you would like to think that the 12th pick would be a player that can come in and contribute right away but you have to earn your positions here. We don’t give guys positions. We don’t draft you in the first round and say, ‘OK, this is your position.’ You have to come in and earn your spot just like everybody. I think that’s how teams grow and get better and create competition. You pick a guy at 12, you expect him to come in and make some contributions right away.
Q: The draft is obviously a lot of work for quite a long time, is it fun for you and which parts of it might be the most fun or the most energizing part?
A: it’s always fun. It’s like game day. I’ve said this to you guys a few times – it’s game day for our scouts. Our scouts are the guys who really go out and do the legwork for us and find players. They’re on the road for around 200 days out of the year and it’s game day for them, to be able to go in there and do this work and find the players and help put our draft board up and get all the information that we need on the players. It’s fun to see them rewarded with players that they feel like are good players for us and we get a chance to win a championship. Again, I’ve said this to people a few days ago, they were asking me about scouts and scouting, you never see any of the scouts on the podium at the Super Bowl. You never see any scouts up there holding the trophy but they’re really kind of the lifeline of what we do. I have a lot of respect for our scouts and what they bring to the table for us.
Q: How do you feel right now about your defensive line? A couple key contributors in Joseph and Tuck gone from last year.
A: We have guys who need to step up. We brought in some defensive linemen in free agency, we have some guys from last year, Jenkins, we have Hankins from last year, we have Kuhn coming back from the knee injury so we have some defensive linemen, Jason Pierre-Paul is coming back from his injury. So we have guys that we like, Damontre Moore. Our defensive line, we want to upgrade everywhere. We’ll try to upgrade our defensive line as we move forward as well.