Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages… The 2014 NFL Draft has finally arrived! As we gear up for the long night ahead, why don't you kick back, relax and enjoy your morning coffee over the following Draft Day headlines.
When John Mara dissected his franchise at the end of last season he left his general manager relatively unscathed.
He said he “firmly” believes Jerry Reese “is the right guy going forward” and made it clear the blame for another playoff-less season would not fall on the GM’s head.
But Mara’s endorsement of Reese’s performance on draft day — arguably the biggest day of the year for a front office that believes in building through the draft — was still far from ringing. He noted “we obviously overvalued certain people” in recent drafts. He lamented some of the “calculated risks” the Giants had taken and some of the “bad luck” they’ve had with second- and third-rounders. As a result, he said, “We have not gotten the production that we wanted out of certain draft slots.”
His demeanor made it clear that would soon have to change. That’s why this is a critical draft for the 50-year-old Reese — his eighth since taking over as GM in 2007. His job may not be in jeopardy, but his reputation is, along with the near future of the franchise. Reese was known for having the Midas touch in his first few seasons, especially after his brilliant initial draft brought the Giants seven rookies who were contributors on a Super Bowl champion.
“Just the elation of having your name called, the relief at finally hearing it,” Pugh recalled in a phone interview Tuesday. “And knowing where you’re going to be. My mom was worried I’d be picked by Seattle and play all the way across the country and she’d never see me again.”
A total of 256 players will be selected in the three-day NFL draft that begins Thursday. Those who make a living predicting who will go where and when have bloviated for weeks about the draft’s strengths and weaknesses and how it compares to the “Annual Selection Meeting” (as the NFL calls it) of recent years.
Even if he was inclined to pay attention to the many opinions uttered on television and the internet, Jerry Reese would consider it nothing but wasted breath.
“I don’t really look at drafts like that,” said Reese, who will preside over his eighth selection meeting as the Giants’ general manager. “I look at drafts as we’re trying to find seven good players for the Giants. We think there will be seven good players. I’m not sure if there are great receivers or great running backs or great linemen. I just think there will be seven good players for us.”
The top prospects gathered Wednesday at the NFL Play 60 Youth Football Festival at Chelsea Waterside Park. Quarterback Johnny Manziel was engulfed by cameras and recorders. Jadeveon Clowney was swarmed by more than a few media members.
Everyone was trying to get a sniff of where the NFL Draft's top prospects are going to land.
Player after player took the questions. What have they heard? Where have they visited? No one, other than Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan, mentioned a visit with the Giants. Lewan visited the Quest Diagnostics Training Center on April 24.
Lewan met with coach Tom Coughlin, general manager Jerry Reese, offensive line coach Pat Flaherty, who he called a "stud." He even had a few promising minutes with owner John Mara during his visit. Lewan stated his case, and once again told his side of the story.
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