This one is a bit hard to swallow. “The crew at the Football Fix picks the worst moves of the NFL season, including … the Giants drafting Ereck Flowers over Todd Gurley.” As if Jerry Reese hasn’t been criticized enough for the subpar roster he’s assembled, now comes some heat over his decision to bolster what was considered a porous offensive line instead of adding yet another running back to an already crowded backfield. Woof.
How quickly we forget that teams were petrified of drafting Todd Gurley after his horrific ACL tear at Georgia. The Giants already had Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams, and newly acquired Shane Vereen. The confidence in then starting left tackle Will Beatty was shaky. The right tackle position was shuffled as Justin Pugh moved to left guard and free agent Marshall Newhouse was signed, though many didn’t think he would end up starting. The plan was to stick Flowers at right tackle. Can you imagine if Beatty didn’t rip his pec? That’s a pretty strong line.
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Now, you’ll have those stat geeks (to be fair, I’m a stat guy until the numbers don’t prove my point) who’ll cite how Pro Football Focus graded Flowers the lowest among all first round draft picks who took snaps. Here’s their official summary:
"“Flowers has done a pretty decent job in the run game, but that’s where the accolades end. Though his pass protection form has improved slightly, it’s clear that injuries put him into a spot he’s wasn’t quite ready for.”"
Injuries! Flowers has been hampered by a faulty ankle since Week 1 and has only missed 1 game. Coach Coughlin has commended the Miami rookie multiple times for his gutsiness. Did the big guy’s play ever suffer to the point where it lost the Giants games? I don’t think so.
But, Todd Gurley is “going to be a star” and has been a fantasy football beast on a team without a quarterback. Some think the sky’s the limit as he still has room to improve. Some think he’s “average“. He’s been a workhorse who can take control of the game and the clock, adding minutes of possession, and taking pressure off the passing game.
"Grade: 80.2Summary: Gurley took the league by storm when he first got on the turf, but things have really hushed since those explosive first four starts. Gurley does carry with him a home run threat that can open things up elsewhere for the Rams, even when he’s not churning out yardage."
The Giants run game struggled early on, but found its stride in the past few weeks. One can only wonder what the win total would’ve looked like had they been able to run the ball in the waning minutes instead of resorting to passes that stop the clock and leave time for opposing QBs to orchestrate comebacks.
Did Jerry Reese make a mistake by not drafting Todd Gurley? Was drafting Flowers really that bad?