The period from now until the NFL Draft is critical for the New York Giants.
There’s no shortcut to success. Long-term growth for the New York Giants emanates from having a vision and executing it. Now if Big Blue has undertaken any strategic planning, a white grease board gets filled with concepts.
That wish list, if you will, eventually gets whittled down, as participants separate actual goals from fantasy. It’s okay to dream, but dreams shouldn’t replace reality.
Which brings us to New York Giants quarterback Kyle Lauletta.
After Lauletta’s awful professional debut against the Washington Redskins and arrest on motor vehicle charges, many folks sprained ankles jumping off the bandwagon. Yet last year at this time, Lauletta was flying up the mock draft charts, and it all started at the Senior Bowl.
Per the New York Post:
"“It was in that showcase one year ago that Kyle Lauletta, a fairly unheralded quarterback out of Richmond, backed up a solid week with an even better performance to earn MVP honors. The Giants were impressed and took Lauletta in the fourth round of the 2018 draft.”"
NFL coaching, for the most part, is good, but it cannot take players and make them into something they are not. And franchises can’t reinvent themselves every offseason in order to fit personnel.
At the Senior Bowl, the NFL hype machine begins to go into overdrive. That process meanders through pro days, as well as the NFL Combine. Keep in mind, the hype machine doesn’t produce Peyton Manning, but it does produce Kyle Lauletta.
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Last April, according to The Ringer:
"“Scouts are convinced [Lauletta’s] a catch. Eric Edholm of Pro Football Weekly called him Bill Belichick’s ideal successor for Tom Brady. Bleacher Report’s Mike Tanier wrote that he had the skill set that every team looks for in a quarterback, not just the Patriots. Mel Kiper’s April 10 mock draft has him going in the second round.”"
I know it’s cliche, but Lauletta really did go from the penthouse to the outhouse last year. After his mop-up duty debacle against the ‘Skins and his run-in with the law, many are speculating about a release from the New York Giants.
How did that happen?
If you haven’t seen it, NFL.com has compiled scouting reports on college players, it’s comprehensive and worth a look for avid fans. Based on their evaluation, they gave Lauletta a 5.31 grade that predicts NFL success.
Per the NFL.com grading scale:
"“5.20-5.49: NFL backup or special teams potential.”"
That’s not a close facsimile to the endorsement we saw in The Ringer. To be fair, NFL.com also gave Lauletta a third-round prediction, which may be the mindset utilized by general manager Dave Gettleman to move up in the fourth-round in order to grab the former Richmond Spiders’ signal-caller.
Gettleman got a deal. Or did he?
Truthfully, there were many red flags about Lauletta’s skill-set that were willfully ignored, so it makes you wonder if the New York Giants scouting staff has evolved from the Jerry Reese days. Recall that Reese famously called draft pick Adrien Robinson, the “JPP of tight ends”. That comment alone highlighted Reese’s disconnect between prospects and professional players.
If you don’t know, Robinson hung around for three seasons in the league and caught all of five passes. One catch was actually a touchdown, so his ratio was good in that respect.
Remember the old adage, if it seems to good to be true…
Lance Zierlein wrote this overview:
"“Lauletta has decent accuracy and mechanics to work with, but his lack of NFL arm strength will limit the number of teams who are willing to consider him. Lauletta’s interceptions come due to arm issues rather than decision-making and that may not be correctable in the pros due to the increase in play speed that he will see in NFL secondaries.”"
Just spit balling here, but if a player has a fairly weak arm and just decent accuracy, what exactly is his upside at the most important position on the field? These reports were available prior to the draft, and then, or now, it doesn’t seem Lauletta was worth a fourth-round investment.
Let’s also not forget that he came from an FCS program. There was a reason for that. And if you want to claim that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz played at the same level, remember Wentz is big, mobile and strong-armed.
No doubt the draft is a hit or miss endeavor, and this isn’t criticism that Gettleman and company didn’t bat 1.000 last year. No one does 100 percent. It is a statement, however, that Trader Dave needs to view these prospects without the rose-colored glasses on.
You definitely want players who project higher at the next level, but coaches aren’t miracle workers either. Every coach believes that he can mold the guys under his control into legitimate NFL players. I suppose to large extent, you want that in a coach.
It’s also why the New York Giants have steadfastly bifurcated the areas of scouting and coaching, while some NFL teams allow one guy to play both the part of head coach and personnel director. In the case of Big Blue, surely the coaching and personnel departments interact along the way, but the personnel side has to be vigilant in knowing the limitations of coaching. Last time I looked that round peg still doesn’t fit into that square hole.