Giants GM Jerry Reese Leaning Towards Ezekiel Elliott at #10?
By Neal Lynch
After watching New York Giants GM Jerry Reese speak at his NFL Scouting Combine press conference, there’s a mild sense that Reese believes the Giants 6-10 record was due in part to their running game’s inability to close games. While he noted early on in the presser that the Giants have four good professionals who are capable, is that a ringing endorsement? Or is that a subtle hint Jerry Reese wants Todd Gurley 2.0 – Ohio State Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott?
The releases of guard Geoff Schwartz and tackle Will Beatty were statements that Giants brass like Reese want to strengthen the offensive line. But, does that mean Big Blue calls out Ronnie Stanley’s name with the tenth overall pick? Probably not considering the Giants’ history of picking the best player available. NFL Draft Analyst has Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott as the top prospect at the running back position. NFL Spin Zone’s mock draft had Giants selecting Elliott. The trend points to Ezekiel Elliott going to the G-Men in the first round.
Here are the quotes from Reese’s presser that point to Elliott ending up a Giant.
"“We have some solid runners on our roster. We have four good guys, I think we have four pros on our roster. We’ll continue to look in the draft, look in free agency, but we think we have four capable guys.”"
NFL Spin Zone
REACTION: If you have FOUR good, capable pros, you wouldn’t be looking in the draft and in free agency.
"“The run game came on late the last quarter of the season. I thought the run game came on pretty strong. Hopefully we can carry over into next season and keep the run game… I didn’t think we were able to run the ball like you should to close those games out. Rashad Jennings had more carries and got in a better rhythm. I think the run game will continue to progress and help us into the next season.”"
REACTION: Again, not exactly teeming at the brim with excitement about the current crop of guys. I understand the GM needs to keep a level head when discussing all personnel, but it’s clear Reese thinks the running game was to blame for the late game losses. Anyone who watched the games knows the Giants offense could’ve done a better job of managing the clock, but the defense still has to bear the brunt of responsibility for those losses.
"“We need good players, that’s what we need the most. We need good players, and we’ll try to look for good players at every level—offense, defense and special teams. That’s what we’ll do, that’s what’s important to us. We need help all over the roster and we’ll work hard to do that.”"
REACTION: This quote both contradicts, yet supports Reese’s first quote about the running backs on the roster. Again, if you have FOUR good, capable professionals, that usually means you don’t need help there. Yet, Reese continues to emphasize the team needs good players ALL OVER the roster.
"“Again, if we close out a couple of games, we could be 10-6 last season. We lost a lot of games close we had the lead going in late in the fourth quarter in a few games. We just didn’t close them out, and that’s for a number of reasons. It’s personnel, we made some bad decisions. But those kind of things—we couldn’t run the ball like we wanted to at the end of some games—and we just got to make some plays sometimes at the ends of games to close games out.”"
REACTION: Another jab at the running game. That falls on the running back position and the offensive line. Are the Giants really willing to take an offensive lineman so high? Does Ronnie Stanley slip to the Giants in the first? Reese has coyly pointed to a guy like Bobby Hart being able to step up and play the right guard position, but is Jerry willing to draft a right tackle in the lower rounds to compete with Marshall Newhouse?