In Jerry Reese we trust. Since Reese became the Giants’ general manager a few years ago, he has developed a well-deserved reputation as being one of the NFL’s best evaluators of talent at the top and bottom of the draft. Almost all of his draft picks have made the team and contributed on the field. Assuming there is an NFL season, 2011 looks like it will not be any different as the Giants drafted Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara with the 19th selection in the first round. Amukamara, the defensive player of the year in the Big 12 Conference, was surprisingly available for the Giants who gladly scooped him up.
In 2010, his senior season, Amukamara had 59 tackles and one sack. He did not have any interceptions, but that is more as a result of opposing teams refusing to throw in his direction – much like Derrelle Revis of the New York Jets. With Amukamara essentially negating his opposing team’s best receiver, the Cornhuskers allowed only 153.6 passing yards per game in 2010, which was the fewest in the Big 12 and the fifth lowest in the entire country.
Now the Prince comes to New York where he will likely step right in and play opposite Corey Webster forming a potentially formidable combination on the corners. Reese was thrilled to get Amukamara who he described as “big and fast, and a good tackler; a physical player.” Reese also acknowledged that he thought Amukamara “would get picked a lot higher than that.” Amukamara provided NFL-type defense while in college and received ringing endorsements from his coach, Bo Pelini, who thinks that he “has all the tooks to be an outstanding pro.” These tools will be put to the test as the Giants embark on their journey back to the playoffs after missing out the last couple years. Part of the reason for the Giants late season collapses was untimely defensive lapses and big plays allowed. Amukamara should help prevent that from happening again as he looks to establish the NFC’s version of “Prince Island.”