“We did not have Odell Beckham Jr. ahead of Sammy Watkins,” Reese said in the interview, transcribed here by Giants.com.
“We really liked him,” Reese said on Watkins. “We had him ranked up there really high. I can tell you this, we had him ranked inside our top 10 picks. We liked the big receiver that Tampa Bay took (Mike Evans). We liked him as well. We felt like Watkins would be gone. (Zack) Martin was there, the offensive lineman. He was a guy that we liked as well. We took the best player on our board at the time and that was Beckham. We thought he could be a game-changing type player. He has been that for us. He has a chance to really develop and be a dynamic player for a long time.
“We liked (Martin) as well. We had those guys ranked close together. We would have been happy taking him if he was the best player up there available, but anytime, I am speaking for myself, not just for our personnel department and our organization, anytime there is dynamic playmaker and a guard, I am taking the playmaker.”
Watkins was selected fourth overall by Buffalo, the pick acquired in a trade with Cleveland in which the Bills' surrendered their 2014 first round selection (9th), and their first and fourth round selections in 2015. Watkins, nor any of the first eleven selections in the draft are going to the Pro Bowl.
Reese was spot on in his judgement. The meat of the draft would start with the 12th pick.That is when the Giants selected Beckham over three other rookies who would also make the Pro Bowl. DT Aaron Donald, OL Zach Martin and LB CJ Mosely were selected 13th, 16th and 17th respectfully.
All three men who spoke to Mike Francesa on WFAN Wednesday, cited that any success in 2015 would start with an improved offensive front line.
“Geoff Schwartz will definitely help us if he can come back healthy," said Reese. "He had a pretty big injury there at the end. He had missed most of the season, then he got back in there and got hurt again. That was a big free agent acquisition that we made that got hurt. If he can come back healthy and strong, that will definitely help us because he can play guard or tackle. We need to continue to upgrade our offensive line, that is for sure."
There are possibilities galore here. As I've been writing the past year or so, the Giants have been looking to move some players around. Reese dropped hints yesterday that Justin Pugh could be moved inside after a mediocre sophomore campaign at RT.
“If we get a big, dynamic right tackle via free agency or the draft, he is a guy that can move in at guard. He can play left tackle and he can play right tackle. There are a lot of places he can play for us. I don’t think he played as well as his rookie year, but the latter part he did come back and solidify himself as a good player for us," Reese told Mike Francesa Wednesday.
The line has two constants and several variables right now. Pugh and Schwartz are the constants. Will Beatty and Weston Richburg are two of the three variables. The third variable must be filled this offseason.
Reese sees Richburg as the center of the future, but the Giants had to use him at LG most of the season in Schwartz' absence. JD Walton, a veteran journeyman, played the majority of snaps at center. John Jerry played 99.8% of the Giants' offensive snaps this year, mainly at RG. The Giants would like to upgrade over both of them.
Don't count out a move of Beatty to RT of the Giants can find a better option at LT in the draft or free agency.