Giants Reload, But Don't Go for Gold - NBC New York

Giants Reload, But Don't Go for Gold

Giants play it safe in the draft

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    Nicks is a safe choice when a little danger would have served the Giants better.

    It was a tale of two drafts in New York this weekend. While the Jets were going for broke with a pair of huge trades, the Giants were sitting back and waiting for players to come to them. They didn't deal for Anquan Boldin, Braylon Edwards or any other big-time receiver, instead they settled for Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden.

    They are an intriguing pair of receiver prospects. Nicks has great hands and is strong going over the middle, while the 6'6" Barden could be quite a weapon in the red zone. Neither one has game-breaking speed, though, and players with their skill sets have failed to become great pros in the past because their advantages are negated by the increased talent level.

    They were good picks with great value at the spots they were taken, though. So were linebacker Clint Sintim, tight end Travis Beckum and running back Andre Brown. All are solid, productive college players who should contribute to the Giants in 2009. None of them change the script, though.

    It's easy to say that the Giants didn't need to go crazy with any moves. They have a strong team, with one weakness that they attempted to address by picking Nicks and Barden. Fair enough, but with 10 picks and the chance to make a splash, they chose to stay out of the pool because sometimes people drown. 

    When G.M. Jerry Reese spoke about the decision not to make trades, he only focused on the potential downsides and didn't sound like he was bowled over by Nicks' ability. 

    "We felt like there was 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. "We investigated these players in the draft and we felt like there would be somebody there at 29. We didn’t want to overextend or reach in a trade."

    It's surprising that Reese's mentor Ernie Accorsi didn't tell him that it is only overextending or reaching when the player doesn't work out. That's why it wasn't overextending to trade for Eli Manning, even though there was a very good young quarterback available when the Giants made their selection. Bold moves -- Manning, drafting Osi Umenyiora, signing Plaxico Burress -- built the championship Giants, not sitting back and feeling like someone would be there.

    It's hard to believe that there wasn't one player in the first 28 picks that the Giants thought more of than Nicks, whether or not they were a receiver. He's a solid pick, the first of many solid picks who could have been turned into at least one impact player.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.