Jerry Reese, the New York Giants’ senior vice president and general manager, affirmed his standing as one of the game’s smartest executives when he took considerable steps during this past weekend’s NFL Draft to ensure that his team remains a playoff contender for the foreseeable future.
His first choice with the 29th overall selection was Hakeem Nicks from the University of North Carolina, a powerful 6-foot, 210-pound wide receiver who will immediately upgrade a receiving corps decimated by the departure of Plaxico Burress. Nicks knew he would be a late-round draft choice, but Reese said, “We liked him a lot. He’s a big, strong kid, very productive.” Indeed. Nicks is North Carolina’s all-time reception leader (181), all-time in reception yards (2,588) and all-time in reception yards TD’s (21).
The biggest game of his career came in his last collegiate game, with eight receptions for 217 yards against West Virginia in the Meineke Bowl. “New York is a great team. I’m ready to get up there to win,” said Nicks. Nicks was one of six receivers taken in the first round. Reese determined that the team would be better served drafting and developing a homegrown player. “We felt like there were some very good young receivers in this draft and we were not going to overextend ourselves with the veteran wide receivers on other teams,” Reese said in an interview
there would be somebody there at 29.”
The core of championship teams are built with players taken between the second and fifth rounds. And Reese displayed a keen third eye in plucking several youngters that all could have an ample impact this upcoming season, including on special teams. Following Nicks, the Giants secured linebacker Clint Sintim and offensive tackle William Beatty, both second rounders; 6-foot-6 receiver Ramses Barden and tight end Travis Beckham in the subsequent round; and tight end Travis Beckham in the fourth round. In round 5, the Giants chose QB Rhett Bomar as an understudy to Eli Manning.