Jason Pierre-Paul at the NFL scouting combine in late February...

Jason Pierre-Paul at the NFL scouting combine in late February 2010. Credit: Getty Images

You might think taking yet another defensive end - when the Giants already had three starting-caliber ends on the roster - goes against conventional draft-day wisdom. Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka, Osi Umenyiora . . . and now Jason Pierre-Paul in the first round?

Are the Giants nuts?

Actually, they're not. In fact, they've been doing it for years.

Too many linebackers in the early '80s? Never.

Too many offensive linemen in the late '80s and early '90s? What in the name of Jumbo Elliott do you think?

Too many defensive linemen earlier this decade? How about taking Kiwanuka when the Giants already had Michael Strahan, Umenyiora and Tuck?

It's a technique general manager George Young adhered to when he got to the Giants in 1979. It was carried on by his successor, Ernie Accorsi, and it continues to this day with GM Jerry Reese, one of Young's last hires in his highly respected front office.

Even when the need doesn't seem to be apparent, there's nothing wrong with loading up in an area in which a team is strong to become even stronger.

That doesn't guarantee the Giants won't do what's been rumored and shop Umenyiora, who has been unhappy since losing his starting job to Kiwanuka last season. But it doesn't mean dealing him is a lock, either.

"When you pick a guy in the first round, you expect him to play," Reese said after drafting Pierre-Paul. "[And] Osi knows he is going to be here."

Nothing wrong with having too many defensive linemen. Just go back to 2007, the season the Giants won the Super Bowl, and you recall a defensive line rotation that included Strahan, Umenyiora, Tuck and Kiwanuka. The four-man unit was brilliant and a major factor in the team's third Super Bowl championship. And now it's back up to four with the addition of Pierre-Paul.

The merits of taking Pierre-Paul the player can be second-guessed, even if drafting the position itself was the right move. Pierre-Paul is one of those boom-bust players who can make you look brilliant if he pans out but can rip your heart out if he bombs. Unlike a lot of blue-chip defensive linemen, Pierre-Paul is a gamble.

Terrific athlete, no question. A star basketball player in high school, he played only one year of football before attending the College of the Canyons, a junior college in California.

Gifted with tremendous natural ability, he had 14 sacks. A year later, he enrolled at Fort Scott Community College and had 10½ sacks. He eventually was recruited by big-time programs, opting for the University of South Florida, where he had to report late because he needed to finish two online elective classes.

He started only seven of 13 games and had 6½ sacks, but his freakishly good athletic talent made him a consensus first-round pick.

Will it translate at the NFL level? He and the Giants are about to find out. But at least they have the luxury of easing him into the lineup with all that veteran talent around him.

And who knows? In 2003, the Giants took a chance on another small-school pass-rusher with an uncertain upside. They gambled a second-round pick on Umenyiora, who quickly blossomed into a Pro Bowl pass-rusher and helped win them a ring four years later.

Best-case scenario with Pierre-Paul is that he takes a similar path. And even though there appears to be a logjam at the position, competition has a way of sorting these issues out.

At least that's what Reese is counting on.

The formula is a sound one, standing the test of time for a franchise with the luxury of unparalleled front-office stability the last 30-plus years.

Now all that's left is for Pierre-Paul to validate the Giants' conviction that he can make the quantum leap from small-school phenom to the NFL.

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