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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New York Giants selected Miami offensive tackle Ereck Flowers with the ninth overall pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night.
Flowers is a huge, nasty player who excels in in pass protection, something bound to give Eli Manning more time to throw to Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz.
The selection should allow the Giants to move Justin Pugh inside to guard, although line coach Pat Flaherty wants all his linemen to be able to play all the positions.
The Giants (6-10) have missed the playoffs the past three seasons and have not been close the past two seasons.
New York still needs to find a defensive tackle and a linebacker later in the draft but the offensive line was the prime consideration heading into the draft.
This marks the second time in three seasons that the Giants have taken an offensive player with their top pick. Pugh was taken in 2013 and became the right tackle, while Beckham was the No. 1 selection last season and helped new coordinator Ben McAdoo's offense take off after overcoming an early hamstring injury.
The Giants now have to focus on the defense, which was among the worst in the league, particularly against the run. It led to the firing of coordinator Perry Fewell and the hiring of Steve Spagnuolo, who was the coordinator when the Giants won the Super Bowl in February 2008.
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