Chosen One - Nicks is Giants' Pick

Giants GM Jerry Reese said Big Blue never really came close to trading up, down or for either Braylon Edwards or Anquan Boldin. The Giants felt confident they'd get a good player at 29, and that player is North Carolina WR Hakeem Nicks.

"We got a very good player," Reese said. "We like him a lot. We feel good about picking Hakeem at 29."

Reese said Nicks was one of a cluster of four players that the Giants were prepared to select but that Nicks was the best fit for the club. A trio of linebackers was among those considered: USC's Rey Maualuga, Virginia's Clint Sintim, whom they were able to select in the second round, and James Laurinaitis of Ohio State.

But the 6-1, 212-pound Nicks was the pick.

"He's a good football player," Reese continued. "There are a lot of things to like about this guy."

While Reese denied the Giants were attempting to smokescreen other clubs, he stated that the team did not have Nicks in for a workout or visit before the Draft.

"We saw enough of him," Reese said. "We really didn't have a reason to bring him in."

Coach Tom Coughlin sounded like a guy that couldn't wait to get his hands on Nicks.

"Hakeem Nicks is a guy that averaged 18 yards per catch (last) year," he said. "A big, strong receiver."

And Nicks proved that very point during the two-day minicamp. With the exception of one pass, Nicks caught everything thrown his way during his first four practice sessions with the Giants. He was constantly able to get open and basically looked exactly the part of a first-round receiver.

"Pretty good," the 20-year-old said of his first workout as a Giant. "Everything I anticipated. I feel like we were out there flying around, having fun, playing football."

Coughlin was clearly pleased with his top pick's debut as well.

"He worked well; he was humble," Coughlin said. "He seemed to do well coming out of his meeting. The information that we have on him is that he learns all the positions and he can line everybody up in the receiving corps. So that was a good plus for us. But he handles himself, carries himself well."

The only negativity surrounding Nicks during the pre-draft process was that he gained some weight after injuring himself at the Combine. Due to a hamstring pull he was unable to work out much until the leg muscle healed. However, the weight is back off and Nicks said his hamstring feels "100 percent." Simply put, he's raring to go.

"It feels great, just a great feeling," the Charlotte native said of being drafted. "It's a dream come true. I'm just ready to get to my team and just contribute my best way possible."

With the tag of being a first-round draft choice comes the extra attention, focus and pressure. The natural comparisons that he's here to replace Plaxico Burress have already begun. Nicks said he's not the least bit worried about any of that.

"No, I didn't feel any pressure at all," he said. "I just want to go out and play the game that I have been playing – do what I have been doing to get me up to this point. Nothing is guaranteed … I have to work hard for my spot. That is what I am looking forward to right now.

"I just have to be myself; that is what got me here."

As for the long talked-about possibility of a draft-day trade, Reese said ‘no deal.'

"We didn't come close at all," he confirmed. "We talked about it a couple of times but again, to reach in the first round is just not the right thing for us to do. We don't want to compromise the strength of our team by reaching for guys and reaching for need too early in the first round. I think you make mistakes when you do that. So we felt good about where we were at 29. We knew we would get a good player at 29. And we are very pleased with what we got."

As well they should be.

There's no questioning Nicks' production at UNC. His 181 career receptions are the most ever in school history and rank 13th in Atlantic Coast Conference annals. His 2,840 receiving yards also set a school mark and placed him 11th all-time in the ACC. Almost needless to say, his 21 career touchdown receptions are also a school record. Nicks capped a stellar career against West Virginia in the Meineke Car Care Bowl when he hailed in eight passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns. Included in that breakout performance that catapulted him into the draft as a junior entry was an unbelievable behind-the-back catch. If you haven't yet seen it, do yourself a favor and look it up on youtube.com.

Reese compared Nicks to Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin, while Nicks' college coach, Butch Davis, likens him to Michael Irvin. Not bad company, to be sure.

As Nicks embarks on his new career, he sure sounds like he's plenty mature enough to handle the difficult transition.

"I feel like I am ready for the next step," Nicks said. "But at the same time nothing is going to be given to me. I still have to work hard for everything. I don't think anything is going to be put right in my hand. I don't expect it to. I just want to continue to do good at what I do and just perfect it."

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