EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** General manager Jerry Reese kept to a customary script today at his annual pre-draft news conference, revealing little about the current draft class and his assessment of the Giants' needs.
The NFL Draft begins with the first round a week from tonight, continues with Rounds 2-3 on Friday, May 1, and concludes with the final four rounds the following day.
The Giants, who were 6-10 in 2014, own the ninth pick in the first round, and Reese expects to select a player who will contribute immediately.
"If you draft at nine, whoever it is, it is a premium position, regardless of the position that he is," Reese said. "It doesn't matter what position. If you draft him at nine, he is a guy you expect to come in and play and play quickly."
Reese provided no hints as to which positions he is most concerned about.
"We want to try and upgrade every position as best we can every opportunity we get," Reese said.
Most mock drafts have the Giants selecting an offensive lineman – usually Iowa's Brandon Scherff, a defensive lineman or perhaps a wide receiver. At that last position, the Giants have Rookie of the Year Odell Beckham Jr., Ruben Randle, newcomer Dwayne Harris, Preston Parker, Corey Washington and Victor Cruz, who expressed confidence he will be at full strength after missing most of last season following surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon.
But don't tell Reese he has adequate depth at the position.
"As soon as you say you have a lot of depth at any position, you don't have depth. I know better than to say that.
"I think there are good receivers, just as there were last year. I think that is every year. I think there are good players at every position every year. I don't know if that is a good answer or not, but I think there are good wide receivers, and I think there are good players at every position."
That includes the offensive line. Scherff is widely considered the best lineman in the draft, but a debate exists whether his best position is guard or tackle.
"I think he can play both," Reese said. "I think he can play tackle and he can play guard. I think he can play somewhere."
Reese discussed several other subjects during his 20-minute news conference:
Photos of the Giants speaking to the media
On the importance of investigating a player's character, particularly in light of the negative off-the-field news that plagued the NFL last year.
"I think we are always mindful of a player's character and background," Reese said. "That always goes into the equation. It is not really anything new for us. Obviously, like all teams, we have taken some guys on the back end of the roster, more risk-reward kind of situations on the back end of the roster. We are very conscious and have been for a long time about backgrounds and character.
"The thing you have to think about (with) these young players is that they are young. They do young kid stuff. You can't just absolutely kill them. You wouldn't have anyone to draft. Kids do kid things and do college things and it happens. If a guy has a long list of issues, that is when you have to throw the red flag in there. Is this guy going to stop? If you have a couple things that college kids do, you can't just throw it away."
- The Giants currently have little experience at safety, though former Indianapolis Colt Josh Gordy, signed last week, has played the position. Neither Cooper Taylor nor Nat Berhe, draft choices the previous two years, has started a game.
"We are going to try to upgrade that position, just like the rest of the positions," Reese said. "We are not going to make do. We have some young players that we think have some talent, but we are going to continue to try and upgrade that position as well."
Reese was asked if cornerbacks Chykie Brown and Bennett Jackson could potentially move to safety.
"I think so," he said. "You never know. You have to experiment in the spring. Obviously, you would like to get a guy who has played there and done the job, but you have to be creative in this day and age with your personnel."
- Reese said the Giants "tried to get" defensive back Devin McCourty when he was a free agent, but McCourty re-signed with New England. "We thought he was the best player in free agency (at his position) and after that we thought there was a drop off and that is what happened."
- Reese is bullish on Eli Manning and the Giants' offense in the second year under coordinator Ben McAdoo.
"I am excited," Reese said. "It should be a big year for him (Manning). He is not learning the offense. A lot of the players were in the offense last year. He'll get another piece back hopefully with Victor Cruz coming back. The tight ends will have a little bit more experience. I hope the offense – we got (running back Shane) Vereen, who we think is a good piece, to help our offense as well. I think our offense should be a pretty good offense."
- Former safety Shaun Williams will announce the Giants' second-round selection in the draft next week in Chicago. Each team's second-round pick will be announced by a former player of that franchise. Williams was the Giants' first-round choice in 1998 and played eight years for the team. He was a starter in Super Bowl XXXV. Williams is currently the defensive coordinator at William Paterson University.
See which prospects the experts say the Giants will take with the No. 9 pick.