We used to opine that former New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese possessed a “magic draft board”.
Obviously, that was written with tongue firmly in cheek, as the New York Giants drafted such luminaries as left tackle Ereck Flowers, cornerback Eli Apple, defensive end Owa Odighizuwa and defensive tackle Jay Bromley.
Heck, the story was that Bromley took the call that he had been drafted by the G-Men at a movie theater with his girlfriend. Hence, he didn’t even think that he was NFL Draft day two selection!
That story actually spoke volumes about the Giants war room during the Reese years. But with new general manager Dave Gettleman in tow, surely things would change, right?
The early returns on the 2018 NFL Draft were certainly positive, although unless you’re the Cleveland Browns, it’s difficult to totally squander really high draft selections. The absolute best thing that Gettleman did was not over-think the draft.
For example, in Round 2, guard Will Hernandez was there to be taken, and the New York Giants pulled the trigger. It wasn’t a sexy pick, but Hernandez will continue to be an effective selection for Big Blue. For purposes of brevity, however, we won’t get into the Kyle Lauletta selection.
Unfortunately, everything isn’t coming up roses for the G-Men. No one, I mean no one, can debate that the 5-11 record wasn’t earned. Yes, there were many close losses, but no team gifts a win to their opponent in the NFL.
You have to grab wins, and the New York Giants routinely had their lunch money swiped away on the playing field.
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And just like a head coach who doesn’t want to answer questions about his team’s performance, or lack of it, Gettleman decided to slow walk the process of specifically outlining areas of improvement.
The general manager said, per Giants.com:
"“We’re in the evaluation process. I know that you guys want answers now, but very frankly, I didn’t come in yesterday. I’ve got to do what I do, which is get in my office and watch film. We’re going to meet this week with the coaches and get their evaluation, we’ll meet next week with pro personnel and get their evaluations, and get their feelings on everything. “"
So while the draft board may have improved, Gettleman’s procurement process for veteran players obviously needs work. It doesn’t take game film study to know which veteran imports failed to produce.
We already wrote about Gettleman’s signings of guard Patrick Omameh and running back Jonathan Stewart. Despite the affable general manager’s attempt at spin, those were horrible signings.
We haven’t gotten into other Gettleman acquisitions, specifically the defensive ones, since improving the defense appeared to be the theme at his end-of-year presser.
To be clear, Gettleman signed edge defender Kareem Martin, safety Curtis Riley, linebacker Connor Barwin and cornerback B.W. Webb. Three of these guys were starters, and Barwin was supposed to get significant snaps in the team’s defensive rotation.
According to Pro Football Focus, after averaging 38 snaps per game over the first five weeks, Barwin became an afterthought. In the final three games of the season, Barwin played 11 snaps. He didn’t average 11 snaps, that was the entire amount of time he was on the field.
Was there a reason for that?
The good news is that Gettleman’s game film analysis of Barwin shouldn’t take that long. For good measure, Barwin received a 48.6 PFF grade, which is an clear cut indictment of his overall play. Webb checked in with a 62.6 grade, and that ranked 79th in the league.
Martin was at 60.8, which placed as the 79th highest edge defender. Riley finished with a 58.0 grade, casting him as the 77th best safety in the 32-team NFL.
All of these players were Gettleman signings, and they comprised about one-third of the team’s defense. Now “Trader Dave” can go and watch his game film, talk to the coaches and do his comprehensive evaluation process, but unless he has magic game film, it won’t change how these guys performed in 2018.