The New York Giants made an interesting and uncharacteristic move in the fourth round of the NFL draft, trading up six spots and picking Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib with the 110th overall selection. Nassib is the second Syracuse player the Giants and Syracuse-alum head coach Tom Coughlin have taken in this year's draft, joining first-round offensive lineman Justin Pugh.
The pick seems odd, of course, because the Giants are set at quarterback with Eli Manning, who hasn't missed a game since becoming the starter in 2004 and has two Super Bowl MVP trophies. Nassib is not someone they need. But the Giants don't like to draft for need. They like to draft for value. And a potential NFL starting quarterback in the fourth round is a value pick.
Manning is 32 years old, and while there's no indication that he's anywhere near done, drafting a quarterback whose talent you like and developing him behind your secure 32-year-old Pro Bowler isn't a bad play. (The Steelers took Oklahoma's Landry Jones five picks later, in a similar move.) Nassib could compete with David Carr for the backup job right away, but more likely the Giants are looking well down the road with him as a potential Manning successor or someone they can develop in a backup role and maybe someday trade for something of significant value in a league in which quarterbacks are valuable commodities.
The Giants have yet to draft a linebacker or a cornerback -- two positions that were obvious areas of need for them when the draft began. But again, this is the fourth round, and they're not likely to find a starting linebacker or cornerback here. Nassib is a commodity for them, adding depth at the most important position, and could turn out to be a more important piece down the road.
Plus, he went to Syracuse. And the Giants clearly dig that.