Dave Gettleman’s terrible NFL Draft picks sinking NY Giants in 2021

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Since being named NY Giants general manager ahead of the 2018 season, Dave Gettleman has put together a collective record of just 16-38, with his best season to date coming last year, when New York finished 6-10.

This season, the NY Giants are 1-5, and would need to finish out the rest of the year 6-4 to finish with a better record than the year before. Progress, for Dave Gettleman will be tough to come by.

With games left against the Chiefs, Cowboys, Buccaneers and Chargers, among others, the chances of that are slim to none that the NY Giants avoid another losing season.

In what could very well be Gettleman’s last season at the helm of the Giants, there’s plenty of decisions to reflect on from his time in charge.

While the NY Giants have largely been a disaster, Gettleman isn’t the sole person to blame, as the core problems from this organization stem from ownership.

However, since Gettleman’s fingerprints are all over this team, it’s fair to point to him as the main problem.

Here are Gettleman’s worst draft picks he’s made as the General Manager of the NY Giants:

Disclaimer: To be fair to Gettleman, I do believe he’s become a better drafter each year, as a handful of his 2020 and 2021 selections have either shown flashes or growth in their young careers.

Unfortunately for him, his early draft selections provided the Giants without a foundation for a winning team. At this stage of his professional career, there wasn’t room for error for someone of his experience to have as bad of a first draft as he did in his first year with the Giants.

RB Saquon Barkley (1.2, 2018)

This is the one pick that essentially doomed Gettleman’s tenure from the jump.

Coming out of Penn State, Barkley was considered a special talent that was can’t-miss for draft scouts. Across three years at the NCAA level, he tallied just over 5,000 yards from scrimmage and 51 total touchdowns in 38 games.

A safe pick? Sure. The right pick? At No. 2 overall, absolutely not.

The Giants rushing attack hadn’t been a threat for years, with the likes of Andre Brown, Andre Williams, Rashad Jennings and Orleans Darkwa leading the way from 2013 to 2017.
They also struggled for several years trying to rebuild an offensive line as members of the 2007 and 2011 Super Bowl winning offensive lines retired.

In an effort to fortify the line, the previous regime drafted Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg and Ereck Flowers in the 1st or 2nd round from 2013 to 2015. All three were gone by early 2018, as Pugh and Weston walked in free agency prior to the season and Flowers got cut by Gettleman in October.

The Cowboys, for example, took three offensive lineman in the 1st round in three of the four drafts prior to the draft in which they selected Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott. Those three lineman were Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin. The two were drafted into a stable setting and have thrived ever since.

Gettleman came into a putrid situation regarding the offensive line, as Jerry Reese and company brought on no linemen in the draft between 2016 and 2017 within the first five rounds. It was unquestionably a tall task, but four years in the job is more than enough time to at least build a respectable unit.

Instead, Barkley was Gettleman’s money pick in his first draft with the Giants as a GM and while the former Nittany Lion has been productive while on the field, he hasn’t been able to stay healthy, having played in just seven of the Giants last 22 games.

The best pick here would’ve been Quenton Nelson (1.6), who was an All-Pro guard in each of his first three seasons for the Indianapolis Colts. The anchor for that offensive line is already on a Hall of Fame track and would’ve been the perfect building block for Gettleman to get started on revamping the line as the consensus best lineman in the class.

Other potential picks: CB Denzel Ward (1.4), DE Bradley Chubb (1.5)