Since the Giants selected former Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib in the fourth round of last month's NFL Draft, opinions have varied about the intelligence of that pick. Some thought it was a strange move with franchise QB Eli Manning still on the team. Some -- like the Giants, I imagine -- think it was a great move to trade up and grab Nassib.
This quote from general manager Jerry Reese afterward didn't make things any clearer: "Yeah, if he doesn't ever play, that would be great."
(Obviously, I get what he meant, but still, it's sort of a strange thing to say.)
Well, let the confusion end. Giants owner John Mara has spoken, and he likes the draft pick very much.
“We came into the third day of the draft, and he's sitting on top of our board -- by far and away the best player we had left,” Mara told the NFL Network (via PFT). “I talked to Jerry and Tom Coughlin about it and we agreed that you have to respect your board. Your scouts and your personnel people put so much time putting that together. If you just continue to take the highest player on your board, in the long run you're going to be better off as an organization.”
Remember, some draft analysts had Nassib slotted for the first round.
Obviously, his former coach, Doug Marrone, who is now in Buffalo, wasn't one of those people. He had the opportunity to grab Nassib multiple times, but he surprised many of us by drafting former Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel in the first round.
“You grow attached to them but, obviously, the attachment to Ryan is far deeper than anyone else," Marrone said soon after the draft. "We didn't put anything out there saying we were talking to Ryan or saying we were going to take him or anything else. But the media really pumped it up, and I'm thinking to myself when we made the decision on who we want to go with, you're talking not just on draft day but days leading up to it of being ‘Ugh, this is awful.' And everyone asking you, ‘Hey, you gonna take Ryan?'
"It was just tough, and you're right. You make the decision on what's best for your organization."
Which is exactly what the Giants thought in taking the possible successor to Manning (or, you know, his injury replacement if something bad happens in the near future). Because taking the next best player on your board is preferable to drafting (and maybe reaching) for need.
“It's been awhile since we've drafted a quarterback,” Mara said. “We've been very, very fortunate that Eli has been healthy for so long, has not missed a snap in I don't know how long, but you have to get ready to groom somebody just in case. The guy was a quality player in college. We think he has what it takes to be a quality player in the NFL. To me, it was an obvious choice for us. He was so high on our board that we expected him to be gone on the first or second day, and we were shocked that he was still there on the third day.”