PROVO — Going into the NFL draft, linebacker Bryan Kehl was hoping to be selected by a winning franchise.

Kehl got his wish.

The former BYU star was picked by the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants Sunday in the fourth round. He was the 123rd player taken overall.

"That's the name of the game, you want to get with a team that wins," Kehl said. "You can't get much better than the team that just won the Super Bowl."

The Giants had been planning to draft Kehl in the third round, but when Michigan's Mario Manningham slipped, they grabbed the talented wide receiver, hoping Kehl would still be available in the fourth round. Just to make sure, New York traded up, in a deal with Pittsburgh, in order to acquire Kehl with the 24th pick of that round.

Kehl, who predicted before the draft that he would be picked in the third round, was somewhat disappointed that he fell to the fourth. But he is thrilled that he landed in New York.

"Another outside linebacker was drafted in the third round by Detroit," Kehl said. "No disrespect to Detroit, but I'd rather go in the fourth round to New York than go in the third round to Detroit. This is a great situation for me. They just lost two linebackers to free agency."

After he was drafted, Kehl talked to Giants coach Tom Coughlin and linebackers coach Bill Sheridan. "They've told me who they have, what they plan for me and where I'll fit in. I feel like I will be able to go in and make an immediate impact on special teams and then work my way in to the rotation. It's honestly a privilege and an honor to be drafted by the Giants. I'm looking forward to getting out there."

Kehl will participate in the Giants' mini-camp on May 8.

Prior to the draft, he told his family that he had a feeling he would drafted by New York. He said after interviewing with the Giants, they were in the list of top five teams he would like to play for.

"I'm excited to get out there to New York," Kehl said. "It's a great opportunity for me."


E-mail: jeffc@desnews.com