With their top two choices off the board, the Giants selected the next best man, South Florida DE Jason Pierre-Paul. Giants GM Jerry Reese dismissed claims that Pierre-Paul was a ‘hit or miss’ pick, saying that he believed he has “the biggest upside of anyone in the draft.”
Reese also immediately put to rest any potential rumors regarding the future of Pro Bowl DE Osi Umenyiora.
“We’re not trading Osi so you don’t even have to ask that question,” Reese said.
TGI learned shortly before the draft that the Giants had the following four players in their crosshairs, in order: Clemson RB C.J. Spiller, who was drafted ninth by Buffalo, Alabama LB Rolando McClain, who went to Oakland one pick earlier, Pierre-Paul and Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan, who was chosen by Tennessee with the pick immediately after New York selected.
“I’m glad I’m a Giant,” Pierre-Paul said shortly after being drafted. “I was nervous at one point, I felt like I wasn’t going to get picked and then I got a call from the New York Giants. Drew (Rosenhaus) said it might be the New York Giants and it was. I was surprised because I visited a lot of teams and I didn’t know who was going to pick me. I’m just glad I got picked. Now I get to come in, settle down and become a great football player.”
While many scouts see Pierre-Paul as a raw, risky pick, Reese strongly disagreed.
“You hear guys on TV say that,” Reese stated. “But I don’t think you’ll hear any scouts say that.”
Reese added that the 6-5, 270-pounder is “uncommon” and has “freakish” abilities “that you can’t teach.”
An excited Reese mentioned Pierre-Paul’s length, speed, long arms, athletic ability and speed. “It’s hard to find a package like that,” he said.
In three seasons at three different collegiate stops, Pierre-Paul played in 35 games, recording 161 tackles (119 solos) with 31 sacks, 56 stops for losses. He also forced seven fumbles and recovered three others.
Last season, in his only campaign at USF, Pierre-Paul broke onto the national stage in a win over Florida State when he had three tackles for loss, including a sack and a forced fumble.
Obviously the Giants had seen more than enough from Pierre-Paul to spend the 15th overall selection on him. However, with Spiller and McClain already gone, Reese was asked if he had considered trading up or down in the first round.
“I can’t say we were close to moving up or down,” he stated.
With a first-round pick spent on a DE and Umenyiora seemingly unhappy in New York, it was no surprise that the rumors started flying almost immediately. Reese squelched them just as quickly.
“Osi knows he’s going to be a Giant in the fall and he’s looking forward to it,” Reese said.
Just as the Giants are really looking forward to having the tremendously athletic – yet still raw – Pierre-Paul on board.
To say he hasn’t played a lot of football would be an understatement.
Pierre-Paul’s parents, Jean and Marie, emigrated from Haiti to Florida a few years before Jason was born. The only football his family knew was soccer.
Making matters significantly worse, Jean Pierre-Paul went blind when Jason was still an infant.
Pierre-Paul admitted it was tough when his father could no longer provide for the family and his mother had to begin working multiple jobs.
“It was difficult,” he said. “Christmas day, no gifts.”
But boy did the man who didn’t even play organized American football until late in his junior year of high school receive a big-time gift when he was selected in the middle of the first round.
The Giants feel just the same way. They’re not looking at his inexperience as a negative; more so that he’s only going to continue to improve.
“He is rangy like Mathias (Kiwanuka) in that kind of height,” Giants Director of College Scouting Marc Ross said. “But when you see this guy – this guy is a freak of nature, really, some of the stuff that he can do and the way he looks. He is just a different guy. He has done things that I haven’t seen in scouting – in games – that I just haven’t seen.”
With Osi Umenyiora staying put, it seems like the Giants made a very wise decision in taking Jason Pierre-Paul, a guy with very little experience. He'll have plenty of time to learn, and be groomed and molded by the veterans until the Giants really need him to contribute. In the meantime, with his athleticism, he'll be able to chip in on passing downs and special teams. While not the splashiest of picks, this one could turn out real good down the road for the Giants. While he might actually be a ‘hit or miss’ pick, which Jerry Reese understandably rebuffed, it sure seems like if he ‘hits,’ it could be in a big way.