Prince Amukamara had never been to New York City until this week. After being taken as the 19th pick in the National Football League draft by the Giants, he’ll be spending a lot more time there.
The 21-year-old cornerback was chosen by the Giants last night at Radio City Music Hall in New York after being named the Big 12 Conference defensive player of the year.
“I wouldn’t actually call myself the Prince of New York yet, but I’m definitely glad I landed here in New York City,” Amukamara told reporters.
Amukamara is the 34th first-round NFL pick in University of Nebraska history. He had 59 tackles and a sack in his senior season. Behind the 6-foot, 206-pound defensive back, the Cornhuskers allowed 153.6 passing yards per game last season, the fewest in the Big 12 and fifth lowest in the nation.
“This guy is big and he’s fast,” Giants General Manager Jerry Reese said an e-mailed statement. “He’s a good tackler; physical player.”
The Detroit Lions selected Ndamukong Suh of the Cornhuskers as the No. 2 overall pick last year. Amukamara’s selection gives Nebraska back-to-back first-round picks for the first time since Michael Booker was chosen by the Atlanta Falcons in 1997 and Grant Winstrom and Jason Peter were taken by the St. Louis Rams and Carolina Panthers the following year.
‘All the Tools’
“He has the all the tools to be an outstanding pro,” Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said about Amukamara on the school’s website. “He has worked hard to get to this point in his career.”
Amukamara joins a Giants secondary that ranked ninth out of 32 NFL teams last season. New York gave up 3,352 passing yards and 24 touchdowns through the air.
“We were surprised that he was there when we picked,” Reese said. “We thought he would get picked a lot higher than that.”
The Giants had a 10-6 record last season to finish second in the National Football Conference East division behind the Philadelphia Eagles. Amukamara said he believed he was better off being picked at No. 19 by the Giants, who won the 2008 Super Bowl, than he would have been as the first overall selection.
“The Giants are already good, that’s why they are picking at number 19,” he said. “I’m just glad they picked me to help contribute to win another championship.”
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