EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –**A total of 256 players will be selected in the three-day NFL draft that begins Thursday. Those who make a living predicting who will go where and when have bloviated for weeks about the draft's strengths and weaknesses and how it compares to the "Annual Selection Meeting" (as the NFL calls it) of recent years.
"I don't really look at drafts like that," said Reese, who will preside over his eighth selection meeting as the Giants' general manager. "I look at drafts as we're trying to find seven good players for the Giants. We think there will be seven good players. I'm not sure if there are great receivers or great running backs or great linemen. I just think there will be seven good players for us."
The Giants can use them. They are looking for a turnaround after compiling a 7-9 record in 2013 that left them in third place in the NFC East. And while they fortified their roster this spring by signing an NFL-high 16 veteran free agents, Reese said more than once at his pre-draft news conference that the draft "stands alone" in the player acquisition process. Which means the addition of four offensive linemen and four defensive backs will not preclude the Giants from selecting players from those position groups early in the draft. As always, the Giants are open to almost anything when it's their turn to select a player – provided those players have a chance to come in and immediately help the team.
"Your first three picks, you want to get some guys who can come in and contribute right away," Reese said. "You probably can get a couple starters out of your first three picks. After that, those middle rounds and later rounds, most kids are - actually sometimes in the second round, first and second round, some of the kids you draft are developmental. But after the first couple of rounds, you get into those fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh rounds, most of the kids are developmental."
Barring a trade, the Giants will select 12th in the first round, their highest selection since 2004, when they had the fourth pick. They chose quarterback Philip Rivers, whom they soon traded to the San Diego Chargers for Eli Manning, the first overall selection. The Giants would have picked 12th the following year, but that choice was sent to San Diego in the Manning trade.
They last selected the 12th player in the draft in 1992, when Notre Dame tight end Derek Brown was the choice. Last year, the Oakland Raiders selected cornerback D.J. Hayden with the 12th pick in the draft.
"You would like to think that the 12th pick would be a player that can come in and contribute right away," Reese said. "But you have to earn your positions here. We don't give guys positions. We don't draft you in the first round and say, 'Okay, this is your position.' You have to come in and earn your spot just like everybody. I think that's how teams grow and get better and create competition. You pick a guy at 12, you expect him to come in and make some contributions right away."
The Giants own seven selections in the seven-round draft, though they are not evenly distributed. They have one pick in each of the first four rounds and round six. They own two choices in the fifth round, including a compensatory selection. They Giants do not have a seventh-round choice, having sent it to the Carolina Panthers in the trade last October that brought linebacker Jon Beason here.
Reese conceded some of the Giants' mid and late-round selections have not contributed as they hoped they would.
"There are different reasons why guys don't make it," Reese said. "Sometimes you just miss on guys, and we've done that. Sometimes there are injuries as to why guys don't pan out and some of the guys have panned out. It's personnel and there's nobody batting 1.000 in personnel. We sure want to do better than what we've done in the past, in the last few drafts, with the middle and late-round picks.
"You try to pick the cleanest guy possible in your first few rounds. But you get later in the draft, guys have some warts to them in some kind of way in respect to injuries or maybe some off-the-field issues. You feel like you can take a risk on some guys, some talented players with some risk, in the latter part of the draft. You try to limit the risk with the first part of your draft."
Every draft is a risk and reward proposition. The Giants want to emerge from the 2014 selection meeting with players who can contribute to what they expect will be a turnaround season
The Giants currently own the following selections:
|**Round**||**Choice in Round**||**Overall**|
*Compensatory selection – cannot be traded.