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Eisen's Mailbag: Answering your questions

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Today's edition of The Mailbag on Giants.com.

I live in New Mexico and have been a Giants fan since I was 11. I know you probably get asked a lot about the Keith Rivers trade and I know we shouldn't question Jerry Reese too much, but as I watched the games on the NFL ticket I liked what I saw in our young linebackers. Until proven otherwise I feel this was a waste of a draft pick where Reese could have found another gem. What do you think?

Dear James: *
*I respectfully disagree. I think the trade with Cincinnati to acquire Keith Rivers was a smart move with little risk or downside. Rivers was the ninth overall selection of the 2008 draft. He clearly has talent. His issue has been an inability to stay on the field. If he's healthy, Rivers can be a valuable addition to the defense. The Giants surrendered only a fifth-round draft choice – after they received a compensatory pick in the fourth round. So they still have seven draft choices, plus they have a potential starting linebacker. Yes, the young linebackers played well, particularly Jacquian Williams. But their best work was largely on special teams. They will all have an opportunity to develop. But the draft has no guarantees. The Giants have added a linebacker who has proven he can play in the league. I definitely think that's worth a fifth-round pick.

Do you think it would make more sense for the Giants to take their highest rated player available in the first round rather than trying to fill a need? I believe the Giant's have stuck to that strategy and it has paid off ala Nicks, Pierre-Paul & Amukamara. What are your thoughts?

Dear Cody: *
*When I started covering the Giants in 1986, the late, great George Young was the general manager. One of his oft-repeated lines at this time of year was, "Never bring your depth chart into the draft room." If you did, Young believed, you'd reach for a mediocre player to fill a need while leaving a potential Hall of Famer on the board. That philosophy was passed down to Ernie Accorsi and from him to Jerry Reese. The idea in the draft is to come out with the highest possible number of good football players. That's less likely to happen if you draft strictly by need. And in the process, you're weakening two positions – the one where you chose a lesser player and the one where you passed up a better player. As you rightfully pointed out, look at the previous two years. In 2010, the Giants had Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Mathias Kiwanuka and drafted JPP. Last year, Corey Webster, Terrell Thomas and Aaron Ross were on the roster and they secure Amukamara. Nothing wrong with have multiple talented players at any one position.

Chase Blackburn was good enough to come in midseason and step right into a starting position, but he is not good enough to start from jump? I don't get it.

Dear Kenny: *
*The Giants do not have an offseason depth chart for a reason – it's meaningless. So, really, is the ceaseless speculation about who is going to play in the middle of the defense, whether it's Boley, Blackburn, Herzlich or someone currently not on the roster. After the draft, the coaches will assess the roster and make decisions based on what is available to them. It could always change with the addition of another free agent. But until they line up for the first time in the full-squad minicamp, it's all speculation. My guess is multiple players will get a look at middle linebacker.

Don't you think Kevin Boothe should deserve a spot on the line over Will Beatty? It's not the permanent solution, but Boothe has simply played better than Beatty over the past 2 years.

Dear Rich: *
*I don't know that I agree with you statement. Frankly, I'm no offensive line effort, but I think the coaches were pretty pleased with Beatty. In some ways, we're dealing with apples and oranges here. Beatty is the left tackle. Boothe is very versatile, but I don't know if he's as good on the left edge as Beatty. I do think the coaches will search for the five best linemen in training camp. How they will line up exactly is impossible to say right now.

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