1. Taking a RB at #2 overall in 2018
Now, before everyone gets up in arms (as most New York Giants fans tend to do the second a negative word is dared to be uttered about Saquon Barkley), this has very little to do with Saquon, and everything to do with failing to understand positional value (which Gettleman has said is a hoax), and not taking advantage of a golden opportunity to make a move that would have jump-started a proper rebuild.
For all of those that say Gettleman took over such a bad situation, understand that he had the #2 pick in what was considered to be one of the best and deepest QB drafts in recent memory, while there were numerous teams that were desperate to land their QB of the future. To a shrewd GM, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to take advantage of the field, and coax a ton of draft capital to move down and set your team up for a true rebuild. As we’ve seen throughout his time here, Dave Gettleman is anything but a shrewd GM.
In this situation, you’ve either got to take a QB, or get off the pot. I’m totally fine with DG not loving any of these QB’s and not taking one, but once he made that assessment, he simply had to do what the Indianapolis Colts did and trade down. The Colts were able to more back only three spots to #6, and pick up three top 50 draft selections in doing so.
Objectively, (while leaving out punter) runningback is either last or second to last on the list of positional value. I could actually make a coherent argument as to why having a great kicker is much more impactful to a team than having a great runningback, but either way, it’s one of the least valuable positions in football due to how dependent it is on others, the shelf life and how easily replaceable runningbacks have proven to be.
What sounds better for a rebuilding (or really any) team? Quenton Nelson (maybe the best offensive lineman in all of football) and three high second-round picks, or Saquon Barkley? I don’t even think its much of a question at this point any more, but it shouldn’t have been at the time, either. Not to mention the Giants could have gotten even more from the Jets than the Colts did because they had the #2 pick instead of #3.
For a team that was completely devoid of offensive line and edge rushers to even think about taking a runningback with the second pick of the draft is so outlandish to me that I almost can’t fathom it. With the way the rookie pay scale is set up now, Gettleman decided to fork over 8M$ per year to a runningback, instead of using that on an offensive lineman, edge rusher, quarterback or any other impact position. So, instead of paying about 1/3 or 1/2 of what an elite player at their position gets, he paid basically the full price for the most replaceable position in football.
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For those that want to point to Saquon’s struggles in 2019 and talk about how poor the Giants’ offensive line, is you’re literally making the argument as to why a rebuilding team should never consider taking a runningback this high in the draft. When the Cowboys took Ezekiel Elliot at #4 in 2016, it was a completely different situation. They only fell that far in the draft because Tony Romo had been injured, and they already had a deep roster and the best offensive line in all of football.
And while it’s true I totally favor a runningback with Zeke’s style of matriculating the ball down the field rather than a home-run type like Saquon, Barkley would surely be a video game type player on the right team. Saquon is an all-world talent and person, and I hate that his career has to be questioned by people like me due to where he was drafted, but this was just never the right pick for this team to make.
So while Saquon Barkley will likely not go down as a bust because he’ll probably put up big numbers during his career, this move gets #1 on this list due to the overall impact it will have on this franchise over the course of the next 5-10 years.
Dave Gettleman was basically dealt blackjack and decided to surrender, taking only about 1/4 of the amount of payoff that was right there for the taking.