Published on: 23rd April, 2010



GIANTS37- 6/16/2009-EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY New York Giants co-owner John Mara named the new facility the Timex Performance Center. Richard Harbus Original Filename: GIANTS37.jpg  | read this item

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New York – In an exclusive interview this evening with Scott Mandel of, New York Giants owner John Mara discussed the Giants number one draft pick, Jason Pierre-Paul, the defensive end from the University of South Florida.

Having noticed Mr. Mara walking out of the Giants administrative offices and headed towards his car shortly after his Giants had picked Pierre-Paul with the 15th pick in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, I asked Mara, as we stood in the parking lot why he was leaving the Giants complex so early, with the first round less than half completed.

“I don’t think we’re making any deals to get players at the bottom of the first round,” he told me. “I’m ready to get home and come back tomorrow for the rest of the draft.”

I wondered  how it felt to have chosen a player many of the so-called experts were describing as either a hit or miss type of athlete, meaning, Pierre-Paul had the potential to either become a huge star or a huge bust.

“We’re really happy about it,” he said. “He was the highest rated player on our board. If you told us before the draft that he’d be available to us at number 15, we’d have been very happy.”

There was a potentially terrible moment for the Giants early in the draft when the Oakland Raiders, that bunch of unpredictable clowns, went against type and chose Rolando Mclain, the 6’3”, 255 pound star linebacker from Alabama. The Giants had been known to have focused their loving eyes on Mclain, given their lack of run-stopping ability last season. 

“I kind of expected Mclain to go off the board that early but we had a big grade on Pierre-Paul so we’re really happy with who we ended up with,” said Mara.

Pierre-Paul is not an experienced football player, having played only one year of high school ball and only one year of Division I football at South Florida, after having bounced around two junior colleges. I wondered if Mara was concerned by the limited exposure on the kids’ resume.

“His lack of experience was one of our concerns but he showed rare talent and all of our scouts felt athletically, he had no limitations but does have a huge ceiling so we thought it was worth the pick.”

I reminded Mara that the Giants last general manager, Ernie Accorsi, used to love making baseball analogies when it came to football. In baseball, the old adage is you never have too much pitching. I told the Giants owner how Accorsi used to tell me, “in football, you never have enough people rushing the passer.”

John laughed loudly and confirmed how Ernie used to tell him the same thing.

“We do have a lot of defensive ends now (Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Mathias Kiwanuka, Dave Tollefson and now, Pierre-Paul) but they’re all players who will play in the rotation. Three years ago, we won the Super Bowl and had a bunch of defensive ends playing in that rotation, too.”

Pierre-Paul is the only former USF player expected to get drafted in tonight’s first round. He was projected to go as high at No. 8 to the Raiders by some NFL draft analysts. If he is selected No. 24 overall or high, he’ll supplant Dallas Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins (25th overall in 2008 draft) as the highest-drafted USF player in school history.

Pierre-Paul’s stock exploded when a video of him doing more than a dozen back-flips became a YouTube hit, drawing more than 500,000 hits and the attention of NFL scouts. The 6-foot-5, 270-pound Pierre-Paul also impressed scouts at the NFL combine with his athleticism.

“They ask me do I feel like I’m ready for the NFL, I say I just feel ready,” Pierre-Paul said at USF’s Pro Day. “Put me on the field and I will produce.”

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