Giants’ Super Bowl Defense Strengthened Through Draft
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The Super Bowl-champion New York Giants got more than value and need in the NFL Draft.
They got characters, too.
First-round draft pick David Wilson does backflips and chases rabbits. Receiver Rueben Randle is coming to camp with a chip on his shoulder after a draft slip. Cornerback Jayron Hosley, the third round pick, failed his combine drug test and vows not to let it happen again
The Giants also drafted a tight end who didn’t catch many passes but has Jason Pierre-Paul-type potential, two offensive linemen who had academic problems in their college careers and a German defensive tackle who speaks three languages and is still learning the game.
The bottom line for the Giants was they found prospects to replace backup running back Brandon Jacobs, receiver Mario Manningham, cornerback Aaron Ross and right tackle Kareem McKenzie.
Jacobs. Manningham and Ross signed with other teams as free agents. McKenzie remains on the market.
“From a standpoint of drafting where we were at the bottom of each round, we addressed some of the circumstances that we had to address with quality, quality people,” coach Tom Coughlin said.
Wilson, Randle and Hosley are going to get a chance to contribute right away, while fourth-round pick Adrien Robinson of Cincinnati got put on the spot by general manager Jerry Reese shortly after the draft ended.
With Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum both coming off major knee injuries in the Super Bowl, Robinson is going to get a shot to fill in along with Bear Pascoe and the recently signed Martellus Bennett.
Robinson’s resume coming out of college is only 29 career receptions for five touchdowns playing in a spread offense in which the tight end didn’t get many passes thrown his way.
The Giants, however, love the potential of the 6-foot-4, 265 pounder.
“This guy has a huge upside,” Reese said. “He is a big, big man; long arms. He didn’t catch a lot of balls for them. But he is kind of a late bloomer who has really come on. And we think this guy is kind of a JPP of tight ends.”
Reese noted that Robinson has the same freakish athletic ability that the team saw in Pierre-Paul, who this past season earned Pro Bowl and All Pro honors.
Reese insisted the Giants never altered from their game plan, taking the highest rated draft picks on their board. In many cases, they were able to get players they had high rated.
The general manager said Wilson was the Giants’ second-rated running back in the draft and that Randle was a first-round talent who lasted until the end of the second round. He said Hosley reminded him of Adam “Pacman” Jones, a smaller cornerback who is a feisty hard hitter.
Hosley didn’t say much about his failed drug test, other than it was a mistake and it won’t happen again. He also knows it caused him to fall in the draft.
Talking about Wilson, his teammate at Virginia Tech, and all the stories about him was easier for Hosley.
“You probably heard ‘em all. David chasing rabbits, just catching a rabbit off campus,” Hosley said. “Just a wild guy. You never know what to expect coming from David, man. He’s just a guy that has a lot of energy, always running around. He’s definitely a fun person.”
Hosley had nine interceptions in 2010 but his total slipped to three this past season.
“Truthfully I felt like the college game was getting a little too easy for me. I wanted a challenge and it was more of a challenge in the NFL,” he said.
After taking Robinson with their first pick in the fourth round on Saturday, the Giants closed by taking three big bodies. Auburn offensive tackle Brandon Mosley was taken with the Giants compensatory pick in the fourth round, offensive tackle Matt McCants of Alabama-Birmingham was taken in the sixth round and North Carolina State defensive tackle Markus Kuhn was taken in the seventh round.
New York traded its fifth-round pick to Cincinnati in acquiring linebacker Keith Rivers before the draft.
Mosley, who failed to qualify for a major college coming out of high school, played two years of junior college football before joining Auburn, where he started his final 24 games at right tackle.
“Big, tough, smart; just like we like in our offensive line room,” Reese said, adding he reminds the coaches of starting tackle David Diehl.
McCants started 42 of 47 games at left tackle for UAB. His missed the 2008 season after being ruled academically ineligible.
“Really a pleasant surprise when you watch him,” Reese said. “You have to look at him. UAB has not been a powerhouse of football lately, but you do your homework and go in a look at this guy. He is intriguing; long, 36-inch arms. I think at the combine, he was 308. I think he is 315 now. I think he will be 325 pounds in a blink. A very interesting prospect for us.”
Kuhn is a big, strong defensive tackle who reminds Reese of fiery guard Mitch Petrus.
“He is a like a buzz saw in there,” Reese said. “He is big. I think he ended up with five sacks during the season. I wouldn’t call him a pass rusher. But he stays busy.”
NOTES: Marc Ross, the director of college scouting, said the team signed 10 free agents after the draft, including Rutgers running back Joe Martinek.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.)