In 2010 just before the draft I was asked what I thought the Giants would do with the 15th overall pick. With many needs, I knew the Giants and Jerry Reese usually stick to one philosophy. Best Available Athlete. The Giants are not an organization that normally drafts for position alone. They place all the picks in order and take the top guy that remains when their turn comes around. So in a draft with names like Suh, Berry, McCoy, Haden, Spiller, Pouncey, and Ryan Matthews……The Giants selected with the 15th pick…Jason Pierre Paul, a defensive end out of South Florida. Now this pick did seem odd to many at the time. Here was a team that had many talented players playing defensive lineman at the time, and clearly needed help at other positions. JPP, as he has become known, was not the clear choice for the Giants, but surely one that fit their philosophy.
JPP was born in Deerfield Beach Florida. At 6’5″ Paul lettered in basketball for four years and joined the football team during his junior year. In college he amassed 49 tackles, 14 sacks, 19 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles, one interception and one fumble recovery as a freshman at College of the Canyons (California) and earned First-team All-WSC and All-American honors. In 2008 Pierre-Paul played at Fort Scott Community College (Kansas), where his 70 tackles, 10.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries earned him First-Team little All-American honors.
In 2009, at USF, he played 13 games with seven starts and totaled 45 tackles (16½ for losses), 6½ sacks, one interception (returned 18 yards for a touchdown), three passes broken up, and two forced fumbles. He was named First-team All-America by Pro Football Weekly for his efforts, and was also first team All Big East. After his junior year he decided it was time to try the pros. Clearly someone on the Giants had done their homework. All we hear about in the mainstream media is JPP’s final year at USF, but clearly reading the stats of his previous two years would make anyone turn on the film and take a look. Shortly after the draft the following video surfaced of JPP showing just how athletic the young man was..JPP Does 13 Backflips.
In 2010 JPP started all 16 games and showed flashes of what is possible for the young talented man. He recorded 30 tackles, 24 solo, 4.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 6 passes defended, and 2 tackles for loss. Pretty impressive for a guy no one ever heard of before. This year so far, 61 tackles, 47 solo, 12.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 6 passes defended, 7 tackles for loss, and of course one huge block of a field goal. On Sunday night Cris Collinsworth made a statement that took me back a few years. He asked the rhetorical question “How nice is it to have a pass rushing defensive end that can also beat a running back to the sideline and tackle him for no gain” as JPP ran down Felix Jones. The answer is we had one in Osi. Osi did that in his first two years on a regular basis. The awful injuries that he has suffered has robbed him of that quickness and that ability to play the run either to his inside or the outside. JPP has that ability. His strength and quickness allow him to play both the run and the pass whether it be to his right or left. At 22 years old the upside on this player is tremendous. For all the grief Jerry Reese takes, this pick was clearly a success, and it show that the Giants philosophy of taking the best athlete can be a successful one.
Where will he go? I think the only concern for JPP is health as it is for all NFL players. If Al Michaels is ready to put DeMarcus Ware in the hall of fame after just 6 years as he stated Sunday night, then after 2 seasons JPP should be right behind him.