Jerry Reese Addresses Media at NFL Combine: New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese addressed the media on Saturday at the NFL Combine. The video of the media session is available at Giants.com.
Q: You said you saw a couple fast receivers out there – did it bring you back to last year?
A: I am not sure about that, but there were a couple of fast guys out there this morning.
Q: Where were you in the process last year with Odell [Beckham Jr.]? How did that evolve and what did you see from here?
A: We had our pre-[combine] meetings. There are a lot of holes until you do the combine, pro days and the interviews. We talked about him a little bit, just pre-combine.
Q: Did anything here sway you or really define your intentions towards [Beckham]?
A: He was fast and he caught the ball. He really caught the ball nice. We call it arrogant hands. He had that. That caught our attention and he was really fast.
Q: Odell told us at the Pro Bowl that he played the last half of the season with two torn hamstrings. Is that accurate or is that an exaggeration?
A: I don’t know about that. I think he is trying to be a hero. I don’t think he could play with two torn hamstrings and run fast like that.
Q: I assume if he would have had that, you would not have let him play…?
A: I don’t think so. I think our doctors would have caught that.
Q: To clarify, these were [injuries] that happened at the beginning of the year that healed?
A: According to our doctors, it was healed up. He may have gotten fatigued later in the season. I don’t think you can go out there and run like that if you have a couple torn hamstrings.
Q: Where are you with Jason [Pierre-Paul]?
A: We are talking, but that is all I am going to say about that. It really is not appropriate to talk about where we are with respect to that, but we are talking.
Q: Have you had discussions with Eli [Manning] that you could share?
A: It is inappropriate to talk about that, too.
Q: How difficult is it to evaluate these spread quarterbacks who don’t do a lot of the things you are asking them to do at this level?
A: I think it depends, if you have a run-spread, you have seen in this league that the spread offense works. If you are going to run that, then I think you draft those types of guys. If you draft a spread, read-option quarterback and ask him to drop back and read defenses, I think it would be difficult for him. He would have to – it would be a big learning curve, I think.
Q: How would you describe the balance of risk/reward with guys putting up great numbers at the combine to knowing if that is going to translate to being a great football player?
A: With us, like most teams, it is what you do on the field. [That] weighs the most when you are evaluating a player. You just fill in some holes and some of the blanks with the running and things they do at the combine, [such as] the interviews. What they do on the field carries the most weight with us.
Q: I know you don’t want to say specifically what is going on with JPP, but in the past when you have used the franchise-tag, it has been a way to buy time for a long-term negotiation. Do you have any philosophy with allowing that player to be on the tag all year long, even if it [takes up] a lot of cap space?
A: I am not going to talk about that. We are just going to keep our options open with respect to that. Sorry about that.
Q: How much healthier are you guys in regards to cap space than you have been the last couple of years?
A: I think we are in pretty good health. We are headed in the right direction with respect to the cap.
Q: Is it a concern to you at all with how that money gets distributed?
A: I think we will be able to do what we need to do. I think we will have enough money to do what we need to do in the offseason, as far as free agency goes and whatever we decide to do with the other guys.
Q: Do you take a look at [Marcus] Mariota just in case he winds up in your division?
A: We look at everybody.
Q: Do you look at specific players and say we may have to face them, so do you look at them with a different eye that way?
A: We are evaluating him if he is there when we pick at nine. We are evaluating him for that, not necessarily if he is going to be in our division or something like that. We are evaluating him as a prospect right now.
Q: Have the changes to the conduct policy changed the way you guys evaluate off the field concerns? Have you noticed any change in that regard?
A: We always try to weigh the options of what a guy’s off the field issues are. Sometimes we have taken chances on some guys who have had some issues. We have taken guys like that. You have to weigh the options.
Q: Now they come in with a strike against them because of the new policy… Does that change the way you weigh that?
A: I say this all the time; if a guy has a blotter of things, they usually don’t change that. Again, these kids are really young and they make some bad decisions. You can’t kill these guys, 18,19, 20-year old kids for decisions they make.
Q: How do you look at this year’s draft and where do you see more depth than possibly other positions?
A: There are good players in this draft all over the place. I don’t really have one position that is deeper than the other.
Q: How do you assess your offensive line going into the offseason now and the possibility of moving [Weston] Richburg and [Justin] Pugh around?
A: We are going to continue to build our offensive line just like we are going to do every position. I think we still have some work to do there. We are going to continue to try and build our offensive line.
Q: When you look at Richburg, do you see him as a center? Coach [Coughlin] said the other day that he is going to compete for center…?
A: He played center in college. We had some injuries early on, so we put him in there at guard. He really didn’t get a chance to compete for the job. He will get a chance to compete for the center job.
Q: Getting back to the issue of prospects with character questions – because of the fact now they are trained on how to answer questions, I s it getting more difficult to judge the sincerity of these kids?
A: They are really good. We had interviews the last couple of nights. They are well-versed in what they want to say. It is a little tougher right now. We have some crafty questions that we can get the right answers.
Q: Do you have every intention of having Jon Beason as your middle linebacker next year?
A: Jon is under contract. We will see where that goes, but he is under contract.
Q: What do you see from the kid from Washington, [Shaq] Thompson?
A: He is a good player. He is versatile. I think he has played a lot of different positions. He has played linebacker, he has played some safety and some running back. He is a Swiss Army knife-type of guy.
Q: Do you envision him in the NFL at one of those positions?
A: I think the more you can do in this league, I think whoever takes him, he will have a chance to play any of those positions.
Q: If you think back to this time last year, could you have known what you were getting with Odell?
A: We thought he was a good player, we really did. We thought he was a terrific player and he obviously had the injuries early on and everyone was down on him a little bit. We tried to put him back in there a little too soon. With those hamstrings, you just have to rest them and let them heal.
Q: When you are picking in the top-10, does it change anything [because] it is obviously more of an investment with that guy?
A: If you are picking in the top 10 or the top 12, you should be getting… That is how the system is built. You should be getting better players. If you are picking last, the players are not the same quality as the first 10 or 12 players. If you are picking high in the draft, you should get better players.
Q: Does that increase the pressure on you and your staff to not make a mistake picking a guy up that high?
A: No, we work hard on the ninth player just like we would the 32nd player. We work hard on it.
Q: How do view it after picking a receiver last year picking ninth and the potential to go back to that position… Do the odds of that happening decrease because you went in that direction last year?
A: Best player available. We will take the best player on the board.
Q: It is obviously a quarterback driven league… Do you get calls about Ryan [Nassib]?
A: I can’t talk about that. That is inappropriate to talk about that. I can’t speak about that.
Q: How do you feel about the safety position going into next year?
A: I think we are going to try to upgrade that position just like all the other positions. We are going to try to upgrade every position as we go. Free agency, the draft, we will try to upgrade very position.
Q: Do you view [Cooper Taylor] and [Nat Berhe] as guys who could step in there as starters?
A: They are going to get a chance to compete. Cooper, obviously, needs to stay healthy. I think both of those guys will get a chance to compete at that position.
Q: What did you learn from having the draft a little later in regards to how you adjusted your schedule?
A: I think with the schedule you have a little bit more time. If you are out of the playoffs, you have a little bit more time to start your evaluation process. We are working hard like we always were.
Q: The receiving position is not a huge need if Victor Cruz is back and healthy… Where is he in his rehab and how much can you count on him being the old Victor Cruz?
A: When a guy has a big injury like Victor had, you can’t put all your eggs in his basket. Our doctors said he looks good. I see him down in the training room working out with our trainers and doctors and he looks good. Until you get out there – his game is quickness. Until you get out there and move around, you never know how he is going to recover from that. We are hoping and praying that he comes back 100 percent and be the Victor Cruz that we know, but you can’t put 100 percent in that basket.
Q: Do you have to plan for a plan B with another receiver just in case?
A: We will upgrade receiver. We will try to upgrade that spot as well. If Victor is back and Odell and Rueben [Randle], that is a pretty good core. There are a couple of other guys [such as] [Preston] Parker, there are some more names, [Corey] Washington and there are some young guys. If there is a good receiver, we will draft him.
Q: After the season ended some of your guys stuck around and kept going as if they were in the playoffs, as it might be a benefit next year… Do you see that as a benefit?
A: It is good to see the guys hungry and want to get right into the offseason and start working. We want to be in the postseason, so to see some of those guys hang around, it shows me what kind of dedication they have and how hungry they are to get back into the playoffs. We like that. Obviously there are some rules now with the offseason program with what they can do with the coaches, but some individual stuff they can do on their own – we have had a lot of guys in there.
Q: How much of a priority is it for you guys to fill a role of what David Wilson was going to give you?
A: He is a little different. We have some big bangers. David was a fast, quick guy who could catch the ball out of the backfield and return kicks. When you lose that dynamic type player, I t stings a little bit, but it is football and we will try to replace that position.
Q: How do you feel Ryan Nassib is progressing?
A: I think Ryan has done a nice job. I think if Eli got dinged up in some kind of way during the season, I think he could jump in there and help us win games. I think he has done a nice job. He prepares himself as if he is going to play, so he has done a nice job.
Q: Rueben has had some ups and downs throughout his career… How do you feel about him and how comfortable with him are you right now?
A: I think Rueben gets banged on a lot. Sometimes he should get banged on, but I think he gets banged on sometimes a little too much. I think he is a good, young player and all he needs are some chances. With Odell and Victor, I think he will get plenty of chances.
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