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Pierre-Paul is the draft's biggest risk

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Recent posts by Eric Edholm

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Posted April 27, 2010 @ 3:56 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

You can have your Tim Tebow or your Tyson Alualu, your Dez Bryant or anyone else who has yet to prove himself from the draft.

But for me, the biggest boom-or-bust guy, the player with the highest ceiling and the lowest floor, is South Florida DE Jason Pierre-Paul. And it's not even close.

Some teams, like the Giants, were in awe of Pierre-Paul's raw talent and freakish athleticism. Other teams that were more suspicious of the holes in his game slapped as low as a fifth-round grade on him. Pierre-Paul, who went No. 15 overall, has played football for about four years since being talked into it by a high school coach. And Pierre-Paul has only seven starts at the FBS level to his name.

In his one season of major-college ball, he flashed brilliance. If you get a chance, watch the video of his interception return for a TD against Syracuse. You'll know, then, why Giants GM Jerry Reese and Co. were drooling over Pierre-Paul's talent.

"You put the (game) tape on and you say, 'Wow. Who in the world is this guy?' " Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross said.

And really, it's a question we all could ask: Who is Jason Pierre-Paul?

There's just not that much tape on him in the first place, and those critics would tell you there's just not enough good tape of him to take him so high in the draft.

Of course, if you're online surfing for Pierre-Paul videos, you probably will happen upon him doing 16 consecutive back handsprings before his team's bowl game against Northern Illinois. It has become urban legend by now.

But let's hope that Reese, who has ­gambled more on greatness successively with each of his four drafts, was not blinded by the light. Reese said prior to the draft that he was not just a riverboat gambler when it comes to the draft.

"We are looking for good players," he said. "If we can hit home runs, that is good. If we can get a double, that is good.  If we can get a single — we just want to get on base in the draft. We don't want to have a bunch of strikeouts. It is tough when you have a bunch of strikeouts."

Rest assured, Pierre-Paul will not be a dribbler through the box. He's either going to be a home run or a strikeout, plain and simple.

The Giants have a plan for this young man. The hope is that director of player development Charles Way can take Pierre-Paul under his wing and teach him to grow up and be a pro. In practice, he'll be pushed by DL coach Robert Nunn and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, but they'll help shepherd him, too.

On the field, the message will be simple in Pierre-Paul's first season: Rush the passer, young man. Don't expect any exotic assignments for him right away.

But he believes he's ready for greatness now. On the one hand, you love the kid's bravado. On the other, you wonder whether he thinks he already has arrived.

"I'm a very good pass rusher," he told the New York media. "Actually, I'm a great pass rusher. Pass rushing is just one of the things I can do, though. I feel I can become better and better at that, and I want to come up to New York and hopefully become a better football player."

For this pick not to be a major miss, Pierre-Paul will have to improve. He's not ready for prime time yet — and might never be.


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