New York Giants: A sense of new life after Gettleman’s draft
By Henry Buggy
It’s only been a week since the New York Giants wrapped up their first draft under general manager Dave Gettleman but there is already a sense of new life within the organization.
Heading into the offseason, there was little hope for Big Blue. New York Giants ownership fired general manager Jerry Reese and head coach Ben McAdoo before the season ended.
The team posted a franchise-worst 13 losses in 2017. Two-time Super Bowl MVP, Eli Manning, was benched for a quarterback with a 12-18 career record. The entire season was a mess from start to finish. And to make matters worse, Giants fans witnessed the Philadelphia Eagles hoist their first Lombardi Trophy.
The good thing for Big Blue and their fans is a new chapter has already begun. It started with the hiring of Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur and has continued through free agency and the draft.
The signing of Nate Solder in free agency was the first turning point for the franchise from a personnel standpoint. After years of neglecting the offensive line, Gettleman made it a priority to address Big Blue’s “Hog Mollies” up front.
No More Reaching
The Giants’ acquisitions and departures through trades and free agency contrasted those of Big Blue’s former general manager. Gettleman traded Jason Pierre-Paul, acquired Alec Ogletree, and let both Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg walk.
The difference between Gettleman and Reese was quickly evident.
But it wasn’t until after the 2018 NFL Draft that it officially felt like there was a sense of new life within the franchise.
New York Giants
The Giants continually reached on draft picks during the Reese era. Big Blue’s former general manager had some great picks throughout his tenure but far too often reached on prospects, especially in recent years.
Ereck Flowers, Eli Apple, and Evan Engram were all reaches given their draft selections. Both Flowers and Apple were projected to be first-round selections, but neither was expected to be a top ten pick. Engram was projected to be a second-round selection in 2017.
Reese took him with the No. 23 overall pick.
It’s not as though Engram wasn’t a valuable addition. The pick just didn’t make sense given New York’s needs along the offensive line and their depth of talent at the wide receiver position.
To be fair, Reese did make some great early picks, selecting players like Odell Beckham Jr., Landon Collins, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Sterling Shepard within the first two rounds of their respective drafts. At the same time, it’s impossible to overlook all his reaches.
Even Dalvin Tomlinson, who had a great rookie year, was a reach in the second-round. He was projected to be a third- to fourth-round draft selection in 2017, according to NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein.
Filling Needs With Value Picks
It’s not just that Reese reached on draft selections. He consistently seemed to zero in on a prospect regardless of the team’s need or the projected value of that respective player.
Taking a pass-catching tight end over Ryan Ramczyk or Cam Robinson was mind-boggling at the time. Selecting Apple with the No. 10 overall pick after signing Janoris Jenkins that same offseason left many Big Blue fans scratching their heads.
All these examples show why there’s new life within the organization. The Giants biggest reach in the 2018 NFL Draft was arguably their first-round pick, Saquon Barkley.
And that’s only based on the value of his position. In terms of talent, Barkley was considered the No. 1 overall player in this year’s class. He also fills a significant need for the Giants.
Landing Will Hernandez in the second-round and Lorenzo Carter in the third-round were draft steals that also filled priority needs.
Both B.J. Hill and RJ McIntosh were selected in their projected draft rounds. Kyle Lauletta was expected to come off the board on day two, making him a solid value selection in the fourth-round.
The Giants received no shortage of praise following the draft. NFL Network gave Big Blue the No. 1 spot on their draft power rankings. Sports Illustrated’s Andy Benoit gave the Giants an A grade for their draft selections. And Pro Football Focus gave the G-Men an “above average” overall grade.
Next: New York Giants Draft Grades
Big Blue fans should feel free to be happy about this year’s draft. They’ve spent enough years pulling their hair out over Reese’s draft decisions.
There’s clearly a sense of new life with Gettleman and Shurmur leading the way. But none of that will truly matter if doesn’t translate on the field come September.