The Giants so desperately wanted a defensive lineman in round one that they selected the best one available when their turn to choose came at number 25. Big Blue, without hesitation, grabbed Miami's William Joseph to bolster its defensive front four. Joseph was the 10th DL taken in the first round.
"I thought I'd be off the board around 15," Joseph said. "But I'm excited about coming to the Giants."
As the first round unfolded, defensive linemen continued to come off the board as the Giants looked on nervously. New Orleans recorded the Draft's first big surprise by trading up to Arizona's number six spot to land Georgia DT Johnathan Sullivan. After that, Arizona State DE Terrell Suggs went to New England at number 10, Penn State DT Jimmy Kennedy to the Rams at 12, Texas A&M DT Ty Warren to the Patriots at 13 and then Penn State DE Michael Haynes to Chicago one pick later.
Of the aforementioned group, the Giants were seriously interested in at least Warren and Haynes.
But New York's bad luck continued when the rival Eagles jumped from the 30th slot ahead of the Giants to number 15, traded with San Diego and selected Miami DE Jerome McDougle. The athletic former Hurricane, who was strongly endorsed by Jeremy Shockey, was believed to be at or very near the top of Big Blue's wish list.
So, with McDougle long gone, New York went for his teammate, the 6-5, 308-pound Joseph.
"Nine defensive linemen got picked in the first 18 picks, at that point we really did not like our chances," GM Ernie Accorsi said. "We had given some thought to moving up earlier but the price was just too high."
New York would have needed to move a second-round pick in order to increase its first-round standing. "We were never tempted to give up our second," he said. "I'm not touching next year's draft."
Accorsi admitted the Giants didn't feel comfortable until they were three picks away and they had three players they liked, with Joseph at the top of that list. The other players were a defensive lineman and a cornerback.
The agile, powerful lineman posted 199 tackles and 19.5 sacks during his four-year career. Joseph is widely considered Miami's top DT since Warren Sapp.
"If you've started for the University of Miami for four years, you've done something," Head Coach Jim Fassel said. "I'm excited about this young man. He's a big, physical guy inside. I think he can get better."
"He's clean, he hasn't been hurt, he's got good speed, he's fast, he is a size and speed athlete," said Accorsi, who stated that Joseph caught his eye while New York was scouting McDougle. "This player has an upside. He's kind of untapped."
Joseph is expected to initially begin in the D-line rotation as a run-stopper as he continues to hone his pass-rushing skills.
"I can rush the passer, I can play the run, I can do it all," Joseph said. "I'm looking forward to coming in and competing and getting into that rotation."
Giants get DL help; trying to trade up in round 2
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