The Giants went on the offensive in the NFL Draft.
In seven rounds of drafting over three days, the Giants chose seven players – five of them for the offense, including three of today's final four selections. General manager Jerry Reese said that was not the goal entering the draft.
"We drafted the best guys," Reese said. "That's really what I think it was. It just so happened some of the best guys were offensive guys this time. We don't go in there saying, 'Let's balance it out, offense and defense.' We just try to go in there and get the best players. And this time it was more offensive players than defensive players. It's as simple as that."
"I do feel very good about playmakers on both sides of the ball," coach Tom Coughlin said.
With the first of their two fourth-round selections Saturday, the 127th overall selection, the Giants chose tight end Adrien Robinson from Cincinnati. With the compensatory pick they were awarded at No. 131, they selected Brandon Mosley, an offensive tackle from Auburn. In the sixth round, the Giants added more youth to their offensive line with the 201st overall selection, when they chose Matt McCants, a tackle from UAB.
The Giants concluded their draft by selecting North Carolina State defensive tackle Markus Kuhn in the seventh round with the 239th overall pick.
Those players joined the three previously drafted by the Giants: Virginia Tech running back David Wilson in the first round, LSU wide receiver Rueben Randle on the second round and Virginia Tech cornerback – and Wilson's college roommate – Jayron Hosley in the third round.
The Giants did not have a fifth-round selection, having sent it to Cincinnati in a trade for linebacker Keith Rivers.
Because they won Super Bowl XLVI, the Giants never selected higher than 31st in any round in which they owned a pick. But Coughlin said that did not handicap them.
"From a standpoint of drafting where we were at the bottom of the round each round and remaining there, I think we have addressed some of the circumstances that we had to address with quality, quality people." Coughlin said.
The final-day selection likely to get the most attention is Robinson. Reese compared him to the team's 2010 first-round choice, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, in terms of being a raw talent with limitless potential. Robinson will benefit from working under Michael Pope, widely considered to be the NFL's finest tight ends coach.
"We really think 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. We like these kind of people. We will get Mike Pope involved with this guy. We brought him in for one of the (pre-draft) visits. We are excited about him. We think he can really come on and develop and be a terrific football player for us. So it is very exciting for us to get him.
"He is just a big, gigantic man with long arms. And he is really a good athlete. This guy is almost 6-5, 270 pounds. He ran 4.57. He has got those freakish athletic numbers. He hasn't scratched the surface – like JPP. When we got Jason we said, 'This guy hasn't scratched the surface.' And Jason still has a lot of learning to do – (he is) continuing to grow. This kid hasn't scratched the surface yet. He has a chance to be really something, we think."
"Adrien Robinson is a guy who we really like athletically," Coughlin said. "He did an outstanding job in his workout. (He) doesn't have much to show for his collegiate career – not many catches. Was a move guy – did some good things with the move action. Blocked in space pretty well. Wasn't used that much as a receiver. We do think he has those qualities, but he's a big kid. He's much more than that. We think he can develop. We think with Mike Pope, just like a lot of people think, he can become the player that we hope that he will be."
Robinson played four seasons at Cincinnati. An outstanding blocker, he caught 29 career passes for 434 yards and five touchdowns. As a senior in 2011, Robinson had career-high totals of 12 receptions for 183 yards and three scores. He believes he could have been productive had the Bearcats not had such a run-heavy offense.
"It wasn't bad for me because that was just how our offense was," Robinson said. "We had a good running back in Isaiah Pead. He went over 1, 000 yards. For me, personally, blocking was something I felt like I needed to work on the most. So individually, I think it actually helped me out because I got to block a lot more.
"I think I've gotten 10 strides better because I had (Cincinnati tight ends) Coach (Dave) Johnson. He coached at Georgia for seven or eight years. .. He taught me a lot about footwork and angles and leverage and understanding where to be on the football field. I think I improved a lot as far as my blocking goes."
Mosley and McCants, the offensive linemen, will have an opportunity to develop under coach Pat Flaherty and veterans like Chris Snee and David Diehl.
Mosley, 6-5 and 318 pounds, played two seasons at Auburn after playing tight end and defensive end for a year at Coffeyville Junior College in Kansas. He played in 27 games for the Tigers, including starts in his last 24 appearances. Although the 2011 season was only his second as an offensive lineman – and despite playing on an Auburn offense that missed 2010 Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton – Mosley was named to the All-Southeastern Conference second team.
McCants, 6-5 and 309 pounds, played just one year of high school football. But he went on to start 42 of the 47 games in which he played at UAB, all of them at left tackle. McCants was a first team All-Conference USA selection in his junior and senior seasons.
"(Mosley is) big, tough, smart, just like we like in our offensive line room," Reese said. "He reminds us somewhat of David Diehl. This guy has a good concept. He understands, knows how to play. We think he is going to be a good addition. We think he could go in there and play some guard as well if we needed him to play some guard. But he is an offensive tackle.
"(McCants) is definitely a tackle. He played left tackle for UAB. Really a pleasant surprise when you watch him. You have to look at him. UAB has not been a powerhouse of football lately, but you do your homework and go in and look at this guy, he is intriguing: long, 36-inch arms. I think at the Combine he was 308 (pounds). I think he is 315 now. I think he will be 325 pounds in a blink. A very interesting prospect for us. We think that in a year or so he could really make some headway and challenge for a spot in our starting lineup. I think he is going to be that type of player for us."
Mosley and McCants join a group of young linemen that includes Will Beatty, Mitch Petrus and James Brewer.
"Both of these guys are physical players," Coughlin said. "This Mosley guy, if he has a chance to put you on your back, he'll do that. McCants did the same thing. He hustles, he works. You see him downfield trying to get after people, and I watched him earlier in games against outstanding competition, so I was glad to see the way he played. There's no question in my mind that in the fourth round we did a very good job, where we picked, in getting what we call 'true value' for those two spots. Same thing with McCants at the spot where we took him."
Kuhn is another intriguing prospect with a high ceiling. He resides in Weinheim, Germany, where he started playing football at age 15; he was an outside linebacker and defensive lineman for the Weinheim Longhorns.
Kuhn played at N.C. State in 2007 and 2008, redshirted the following year and completed his career in 2010 and 2011. He played in 48 games with 15 starts and had 117 tackles (82 solo), 18.5 tackles for losses and 7.5 sacks. In 2011, he played in 13 games with 12 starts and had career-high totals of 47 tackles (32 solo), 9.0 tackles for losses and 4.5 sacks and was named All-ACC honorable mention.
"He has only played a limited about of time," Reese said of Kuhn. "But he is a gym rat: big, strong, tough, great to put in your D-line rotation. Obviously, he is still learning. I think he speaks three languages – something like that. But he is fun to watch. He is the Mitch Petrus of defensive tackles. He is a like a buzzsaw in there. He is big. I wouldn't call him a pass rusher. But he stays busy in there and he is a slugger."
Kuhn will be 26 when training camp opens.
*Reese was asked whether he explored trading Osi Umenyiora during the draft. The veteran defensive end has vocalized his request for a contract extension.
"All options are open with respect to that," Reese said. "Our first choice with respect to Osi is that he will play for the Giants and retire as a Giant. That is what we would like to happen. Osi has been offered an extension two years in a row now. So we would still like to make it work. Hopefully it will work out. But all of our options are always open."
Reese gave glowing re-evaluations of the Giants' first three draft choices:
*On Wilson: "We think he is a terrific player. It was reported that Tampa jumped in front of us (to beat the Giants to Boise State running back Doug Martin). That is not true. This guy was the second-rated running back on our board and the highest player on our board. So that part is not true. We think he is a really good player to add to our running back group; return specialist as well."
On Randle: "Like we said the other day, he was in the conversation with respect to our first pick. I think we were fortunate that he was still there; terrific, big receiver; pro-ready kind of guy. We think he will really thrive in our offense."
On Hosley: "Not a big guy, but thinks he is big; plays tough; interceptor, punt returner. I think he will compete right away for the nickel kind of spot and play on all of the special teams for us; tough, hard-nosed football player."