EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** The Giants entered the NFL Draft owning eight picks and with several positions to fortify and left it with six young players and a strong belief they had improved their team.
The three-day draft ended today with the Giants selecting three players: safety Mykkele Thompson, wide receiver Geremy Davis and offensive lineman Bobby Hart. They joined the previous three choices: tackle Ereck Flowers, safety Landon Collins and defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa. Collins was selected with the first pick in the second round after the Giants surrendered two of their choices – one each in the fourth and seventh rounds – in a trade with the Tennessee Titans.
"We think we picked good players," general manager Jerry Reese said. "Obviously, you don't know until you get them out there and you let them play, but we feel good about this draft class. There are some talented football players. I think we have some tough players. We've got some athletes and talent. We like it."
The Giants were able to address needs, notably on the offensive and defensive lines and at safety, while adhering to their long-held philosophy of taking the highest-rated player on their draft board.
"We tried to tie that together," Reese said. "We were all about the best player available, but we tried to tie in need with value as well. We were definitely cognizant of that and we tried to do that."
"This is a franchise that in all the years that I have been around, you may have some legitimate (value vs. need) battles … but the best player is going to get taken," coach Tom Coughlin said. "Sometimes it looks as if we already have people at that spot, but over the years, that has been proven the way to go. This organization does not change from that policy.
"I think you can see what the intent was going into the draft, not only had a need, but we were also able to put ourselves in a position to help ourselves out from a standpoint of the quality of the player."
The Giants' third-day selections:
In the fifth round, No. 144 overall, the Giants chose Thompson, a 6-2, 191-pound safety from Texas. Thompson played in 52 games with 31 starts in four years for the Longhorns. His career totals included 213 tackles (125 solo), two interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. As a senior, he started all 13 games and had 69 tackles (48 solo), including a career-high four for losses, and an interception.
"This was the only team I took a visit up to," Thompson said of the Giants. "I'm just glad they believed in my ability and picked me up."
Thompson was the second safety selected by the Giants in their first four picks, joining the second-rounder Collins.
"It was a position that we talked about," Reese said. "He was in the group of players we were talking about with the skill set we were looking for. It fit what we wanted and we drafted him."
While Collins has been portrayed as more of a run-stopper, Thompson is touted as more of a centerfield-type safety who can cover receivers running deep routes.
"We felt like in Thompson we had a guy that actually will go very well with Landon Collins," Coughlin said. "Thompson has played corner the majority of his collegiate career. He is a good cover guy and he is fast."
"I'll play wherever they want me to," Thompson said. "In college I played every defensive back position, so wherever they want me to go, that's where I'll play and, of course, special teams is really big."
Thompson's first name is pronounced my-KELL. He was born in Naples, Italy.
Photos of Texas DB Mykkele Thompson
The Giants' sixth-round selection, No. 186 overall, was Davis, the wide receiver from UConn. Davis, 6-3 and 216 pounds, played in 46 games in four seasons for the Huskies and caught 165 passes for 2,292 yards (13.9-yard avg.) and seven touchdowns.
"From a receiving standpoint, I am a big, physical guy," Davis said. "I am not afraid to open up big blocks for running backs and other receivers. I am not afraid to go across the middle. I have great hands. From a special teams standpoint, I can use my physicality on the front line for kickoff returns or blocking for the punt, running down on the kickoff and making a tackle. I am just going to give my all."
In 2013, Davis had a stellar season with career-high totals of 71 catches and 1,085 yards. He also scored three touchdowns, a total he matched last season when he caught just 44 passes for 521 yards.
"I missed two games with a high ankle sprain (on my left leg)," Davis said. "Then when I hurt my ankle, it was in the beginning of the (East Carolina) game, so I pretty much missed three games. Prior to that, I was on pace for another year like I had (in 2013), but unfortunately I had the injuries. I came back strong at the pro day, Combine and all-star games. I am happy that the Giants realized it."
Davis joins a talented and star-laden wide receiver corps that includes Rookie of the Year Odell Beckham Jr., former Pro Bowler Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle and Dwayne Harris.
"(Beckham) is a great talent and I am happy to be working with him and a lot of the other guys like Victor Cruz and Randle," Davis said. "I just hope I can get under those guys' wings and contribute on special teams and eventually at the wide receiver position."
Because of the surfeit talent the Giants have at wide receiver, Davis' first opportunity to contribute likely won't be on offense.
"In Geremy Davis, we took a big wide receiver that also is going to be a contributor on special teams," Coughlin said. "Davis is a big, fast wide receiver who catches the ball well. I don't know if he is going to separate the way some of people that we have would, but he is going to contribute on special teams as well."
Photos of UCONN WR Geremy Davis
In the seventh round (No. 226 overall), the Giants chose Bobby Hart, a 6-4, 315-pounder who played both tackle and guard at Florida State.
"We project him as a guard up here for us," Reese said. "He has played a lot of football. I think he's only 20 years old. I don't want to say really long arms, but his arms are 33 inches. He has good arm length. He's played a lot of ball at a high level of competition for Florida State. I see guys like that with his skill set. We see them every Sunday playing in the National Football League. But we do think he's a guard and not a tackle."
Like all the draft choices, Hart wants only to impress and please his coaches.
"Guard is fine with me," he said. "Whatever they need me to play, that's what I'm willing to play."
- The draft choices will be on the field for the first time when the Giants hold their rookie minicamp next Friday and Saturday. Reese said about 60-65 players will attend the camp, though most of them will be there on a tryout basis.
Immediately after the draft ended, the Giants began reaching out to the rookie free agents they believe will help the team. If enough of them are signed, the Giants would exceed the 90-man roster limit, so "there could be swap outs," Reese said. Translation: some players will be released.
Photos of the Giants 2015 official roster