- Last Updated: 2:25 AM, May 15, 2012
- Posted: 12:29 AM, May 14, 2012
A week before the NFL Draft, Giants quarterback Eli Manning was asked by The Post what he hoped for from the team’s newly imported young talent, and he didn’t hesitate.
“Get a skill position guy who can help us get carries, get catches, in some ways get that same production from the guys we lost last year,’’ he said.
Manning is at the top of his game after his second Super Bowl MVP award, but he realizes the more the merrier when it comes to putting playmakers around him. He knew the losses of running back Brandon Jacobs and wideout Mario Manningham in free agency and tight ends Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum to injuries left the offense somewhat shorthanded.
The Giants try to make Manning happy, and there’s no doubt they heeded the wishes of their quarterback in their draft selections. They used three of their first four picks on skill-position guys, and judging from some very early returns at the rookie minicamp, the newcomers could be capable of producing in their first season.
David Wilson, the first-round pick, as promised showed some jaw-dropping quickness at running back. Rueben Randle, as advertised, is a tall, sure-handed receiver who indeed might look “NFL-ready,’’ which was the tag the Giants put on him after taking him in the second round out of LSU. Adrien Robinson might not yet resemble “the [Jason Pierre-Paul] of tight ends,’’ which was general manager Jerry Reese’s comparison for raw athletic ability, yet Robinson, a tight end taken in the fourth round, is a huge man with long arms and as he learns the ropes he’ll still be big.
“It’s definitely needed,’’ offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said of the reinforcements. “We lost a lot of guys. We lost five starters the year before on offense, you lost a couple other guys, you certainly needed to start to replenish the troops.’’
Wilson admitted at times he was trying “to wow the coaches,’’ and he caught Gilbride’s attention for the wrong reason on one play, looking for yards that weren’t there by taking the ball to the outside. It’s a trait that will have to be monitored with Wilson, who racked up big numbers at Virginia Tech but ran his way into too many negative-yardage plays.
“I kind of got on him the one time, the defensive end jumped upfield and he tried to bounce it outside, realized he couldn’t,’’ Gilbride said. “I said, ‘No, no, put your foot in the ground and go north-south.’ That may be an example of a guy who wants to try too hard to make a favorable impression, trying to make something out of nothing and making a bad play into a worse one.’’
An engaging personality, Wilson wore his shirt tied up above his waist, showing off his abs, a style that might not fly once the veterans are on the scene.
“Just get accustomed and learn the plays that they put in front of me and be prepared when the veterans come in,’’ Wilson said of what he wants to immediately accomplish. “You just go with the flow and be yourself. I think the only time I will feel like a deer in the highlights is if I’m running in the wrong direction or messing up a play. That’s something you don’t want to do because then you feel like maybe they’re second-guessing drafting me. You definitely don’t want that to happen. It’s a lot of pressure.’’
The Giants increased their roster to the expanded 90-player limit by signing two players who attended the rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. They signed LB Jake Muasau (Georgia State) and WR Brandon Collins (Southern Louisiana).Follow @NYPostsports