(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Giants were one of the busiest teams in free agency but there is still plenty of work to be done in Gotham as the 2014 NFL Draft approaches.
Big Blue still looks awfully weak on the offensive line, as well as at linebacker and tight end.
"It really doesn't have a lot of effect on it," general manager Jerry Reese said Thursday at his annual pre-draft news conference when talking about the free agency period. "The draft is what it is, it stands alone. We try to take the best players we can in the draft. Really, in free agency you try to fill some holes, but in the draft you just try to pick the best players. That's what we try to do."
Eli Manning's poor 2013 season probably makes offense the top priority at No. 12 overall. Whether that ends up being an offensive tackle (think Michigan's Taylor Lewan or Notre Dame's Zack Martin), or a tight end like North Carolina's Eric Ebron is up for debate.
"We have work to do still on the offensive line," Reese said. "We brought some offensive linemen in but we're still going to try to get players on the offensive line, the defensive line, linebacker. Every position can be upgraded more for us."
The fly in the ointment could be if Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald happened to fall, a scenario which would almost make Reese obligated to pounce.
Linebackers C.J. Mosely of Alabama and Anthony Barr of UCLA are also good fits on paper because the only given at that position for the Giants is the aging and oft-injured Jon Beason.
"I think all of the drafts have good players in them," Reese said. "You just have to be able to pick them."
2013 Record: 7-9
Top Needs: OL, LB, TE, WR
First Three Picks: No. 12, No. 43, No. 74
Number of Selections: 7 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 6)
CALLING THE SHOTS: Reese has a great reputation but he has allowed this team to get old with few ascending troops in reserve. Last year was the first time New York finished under .500 since Reese took over as the top dog in the personnel department. Whether that turns out to be an anomaly or a trend will likely be decided by this draft,
RECENT FIRST ROUND HISTORY: 2013 - Justin Pugh (OL, Syracuse); 2012 - David Wilson (RB, Virginia Tech); 2011 - Prince Amukamara (CB, Nebraska); 2010 - Jason Pierre-Paul (DE, South Florida); 2009 - Hakeem Nicks (WR, North Carolina); 2008 - Kenny Phillips (S, Miami- Florida); 2007 - Aaron Ross (DB, Texas); 2006 - Mathias Kiwanuka (DE, Boston College); 2005 - none; 2004 - Eli Manning (QB, Ole Miss)*; 2003 - William Joseph (DT, Miami-Florida); 2002 - Jeremy Shockey (TE, Miami-Florida).
*Originally drafted by San Diego, then traded to Giants on draft day in exchange for New York first-round pick Philip Rivers.