The New York Giants nabbed Landon Collins with the first pick of the second round of the NFL Draft on Friday, trading up with Tennessee to do so. The Giants sent their second-round pick (No. 40 overall), their fourth-round pick (No. 108) and one of their two seventh-round picks (No. 245) to the Titans to move up and take Collins, a safety out of Alabama, 33rd overall.
Not a bad move from Giants general manager Jerry Reese. A little surprising, perhaps, but definitely not bad.
“No doubt, there was definitely surprise,” The Record Giants beat writer Art Stapleton said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I’ll tell you who else was surprised: Landon Collins.”
Collins was apparently driving home from a lake in Louisiana with his family when he got the phone call.
“When the phone rang, it was the Giants on the other line saying, ‘Hey, we just traded up. We picked you. You’re coming to New York, New Jersey,’” Stapleton explained. “So that’s really a bit of a surprise. It’s out of character for the Giants, but they recognize a need at safety. They recognize the talent and the value in Collins dropping out of the first round. And give them credit: they went up and got him.”
That’s something the Giants didn’t do in the first round, even though they didn’t necessarily know they had to. New York was reportedly high on Iowa offensive tackle Brandon Scherff, who went fifth overall to Washington. The Giants, picking ninth, settled on Miami offensive tackle Ereck Flowers.
Going into the second round, the Giants may have decided they weren’t going to play the waiting game any longer.
“I’m sure there was some of that,” Stapleton said. “But you got to remember, a lot of these teams, when they leave their facility, they have kind of developed a game plan for what they’re going to do in the second round. You’ll see (trades early in) the second round and then you’ll see (trades early in the) fourth round (Saturday). A lot of times deals will be made if there’s a guy on the board that people want to go after. I think the Giants, when they left their facility (Thursday) night, I think they initially put out some feelers last night talking to Jerry Reese briefly earlier. He certainly made it seem like the Giants were working the phones, and then they had all day (Friday) to kind of gauge what Tennessee was doing.”
In trading for Collins, the Giants may have beaten the Pittsburgh Steelers to the punch.
“Before the draft started – I’d say about an hour before – there were reports that the Steelers were looking to trade up into that spot,” Stapleton said. “And the feeling I got – not talking to anybody out in Pittsburgh – but you know what? Troy Polamalu retires. They haven’t brought in a safety to replace him. Collins is more of a strong safety than a free safety, at least on paper. Maybe the Steelers are looking to get up into that spot. I’m not sure if the Giants read the same tea leaves as I did, but they certainly went after it and went and got their guy.”