The Giants are eyeing about a half-dozen players in tonight’s first round of the NFL Draft.
So said the team’s president and CEO, John Mara, in an interview with Chris Russo on Mad Dog Radio this afternoon.
“We have it narrowed down to five or six different possibilities, any one of which we would be happy with,” Mara said. “I think this year it’s more unpredictable than ever because a lot of teams have completely shut down and have not divulged any information whatsoever. I’m really not sure who is going to be available at 15. I just know that any of the five or six guys we would be very, very happy to get at that spot.”
Mara also said having the draft start at 7:30 p.m. with only one round on the first day is taking some getting used to.
“Some of our guys were complaining about it before because it is a long wait to get to this point,” he said. “There’s a lot of anxiety and everybody is excited. I told them they’d better get used to it because I think its going to do a very good number tonight on television and we think it’s going to stay in prime time for quite some time.”
A few other points from Mara:
He said he’s still irked by the way the 2009 season ended.
“I would say that the sting is still there,” he said. “I don’t know that I will ever recover from seeing our team play that way in the final game at Giants Stadium and then following that up with a thorough embarrassment in Minnesota. That sting will stay there for a while. But it’s a new season now. We have a chance to getter over the next couple of days and that’s what we intend to do.”
He said that his message after the season was not a warning to Tom Coughlin or Jerry Reese, putting them on notice.
“That was certainly not my intention,” he said. “I was speaking partially out of frustration and just the way the season ended, I certainly didn’t see that coming. I also think it was something that our fans wanted to hear. I didn’t want them to have the impression that we were in any way satisfied or content with the way the season ended. I wanted them to know that I was just as angry as they were, if not more so. It wasn’t intended to send a message to Tom or to Jerry. If I want to send them a message I’ll walk into their office and deliver it to them face to face. I was just speaking probably as much as a fan as anything else. You never like to see the team perform like that, particularly when you think you’re better than that.”
He spoke about the Super Bowl bid and the possibility of cold weather if the Giants and Jets host the game in 2014.
“I’ll sign up for 25 degrees right now,” he said when Russo said he was not looking forward to sitting outside in that temperature. “We’re talking about 6:15 or whatever in February. But we’re going to take some measures to keep people warm. We’re going to have a lot of heaters around and heated seat cushions and I think we’ll be able to handle that.”
Does he think the New York Super Bowl is a done deal?
“I’ve been in a lot of those sessions and there have been surprises from time to time,” he said. “Who knows at this point?”
He did say that he and Woody Johnson will each get a vote in the process. “What they’re not going to let me do is, I used to count the votes, but I don’t think they’re going to let me do that.”
Mara wasn’t asked about any of the recent rumors regarding a trade of Osi Umenyiora, but it sounded like the Giants plan on keeping him.
“Players say crazy things from time to time,” he said. “I think Osi is a very proud guy and his pride was probably hurt a little bit but he’s an important part of this franchise and I didn’t really pay too much attention to that.”
Woody Johnson and the Jets made a stink over the infamous coin toss that gave the Giants the first regular-season game in the new stadium. What was Mara’s reaction?
“I wasn’t thrilled about that either,” he said. “But once he informed us that we had won the coin flip that ended it as far as I was concerned.”
And if the Giants had lost the coin flip?
“I probably would not have been very happy.”
Finally, Mara was asked for insight into what the Rooney’s are doing right now with their quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, suspended for at least four games.
“It’s hard to answer that question without having first hand knowledge of all of the facts,” he said. “I understand the position that the Rooney’s are in and it’s a tough one. They’re as classy a family and they’re just great owners and I’m sure that they’re going to investigate this very thoroughly … They’ll end up making a decision that is in their best interest. It’s very easy for people on the outside to say ‘You have to trade him, you have to trade him.’ But he is your franchise quarterback and ultimately they’re going to determine: Is he capable of changing and turning his life around and being a good citizen going forward? If the answer to that is yes, then I feel like they’ll keep him. If the answer to that is no, then they’ll probably look to do something else.”
“Let’s face it, it’s pretty difficult to get a franchise quarterback,” he added. “If they have serious doubts about his ability to do that then I think you’ll see them try to move him. But only they can answer that.”