With the NFL draft less than a month away, the Giants are preparing to select the players that will determine their success on the field for the next three or four seasons and beyond. Orchestrated by Jerry Reese, the draft is the life blood of an NFL franchise and it is difficult to sustain success without a steady influx of young talent replenishing the roster each spring. Reese has been the Giants General Manager since 2007, and in that time, the team has won two Super Bowls, but the has also failed to make the playoffs in 4 of the 8 seasons that he has been at the helm.
Prior to being elevated to GM, Reese was a scout and the Director of Player Personnel for the team. But was he better at evaluating talent than managing those that do and making the final drafting decisions? This season is make or break for Reese as co-owner John Mara has made his frustration with the Giants recent failures publicly known. We’re going to examine the seven NFL drafts that Jerry Reese has presided over in his time as GM and look back at how the players have fared.
Glossary of Pick Ratings:
Home Run – A great pick. Could not have made a better pick in that draft slot
Solid – A good pick. The player is a starter and solid contributor. Injury may have played a part in preventing the pick from being a home run
Neutral – The player has or may still contribute. Better players may have been available, but the pick is not considered to be a complete failure. Yet
Failure – Just what it says, they player has not been and is not expected to be a contributor
Pass – Pick is not rated due to extraordinary circumstances.
An (A) indicates that the player is still active as of the 2013 season, while and (X) indicates that the player was not on an NFL roster.
2007 Draft: Kick starting the first Super Bowl run; this is the draft that Reese hangs his hat on as five players were major contributors to the team that won Super Bowl XLII
Round 1: (A) Aaron Ross, Cornerback, Texas. Started 43 games for the Giants and played well, but was not the blanket coverage corner hoped for when picked. Considering that Joe Staley, picked by the San Francisco Forty-Niners eight picks later, was still on board, this was a reach pick based on need. Pick Rating: Neutral.
Round 2: (X) Steve Smith, Wide Receiver, USC. Injured for most of the 2007 season, Smith returned to contribute in the Super Bowl and was on the verge of stardom when he suffered a severe knee injury in 2010. He caught 107 passes during the 2009 season and became Eli Manning’s favorite target. The knee injury effectively injured his career. Pick Rating: Solid.
Round 3: (X) Jay Alford, Defensive Tackle, Penn State. Was on the verge of breaking out in 2010 when he suffered a devastating knee injury during the preseason. He will be best remembered for his huge sack of Tom Brady during the last drive of Super Bowl XLII. The Carolina Panthers selected star Defensive End Charles Johnson two picks later. Pick Rating: Neutral.
Round 4: (A) Zak DeOssie, Linebacker/Long Snapper, Brown. Has not contributed as a linebacker, but settled in for the long haul as the team’s long snapper. Any Giant fan who remembers the Trey Junkin fiasco in the January 2003 playoff game in San Francisco realizes the value of a good long snapper. His time may be nearing an end, but that doesn’t diminish the value of this pick. New Orleans selected Offensive Tackle Jermon Bushrod nine picks later. Pick Rating: Solid.
Round 5: (X) Kevin Boss, Tight End, Western Oregon. Boss caught 119 passes for 1,600 yards and 18 touchdowns. Seen as a developmental project coming into the NFL, Boss panned out and started 45 games in four seasons with the team. In Super Bowl XLII, his only reception was a 45 yard catch and run that shifted momentum in the Giants favor. Boss was an excellent blocker. Pick Rating: Solid.
Round 6: (X) Adam Koets, Offensive Tackle, Oregon State. Coming into the league with all the tools needed to succeed, but questions about his work ethic, Koets had four starts in four years with the Giants. The Green Bay Packers selected linebacker Desmond Bishop four picks later. Pick Rating: Failure.
Round 7a: (X) Michael Johnson, Safety, Arizona. Although he struggled with injuries in college, Johnson started 35 games in four seasons with the Giants. Had an unremarkable career that ended after the 2010 season. Pick Rating: Neutral.
Round 7b: (A) Ahmad Bradshaw, Running Back, Marshall. He is the sixth leading rusher in Giants history. Carried the ball 921 times for 4,232 yards and 32 touchdowns, and added 132 catches for 1,087 yards and 3 touchdowns in his six seasons with the team. Pick Rating: Home Run.
Draft Summary: Home Runs: 1; Solid Picks: 3 Neutral Picks: 3; Failed Picks: 1
2008 Draft: Another solid draft for Reese. The Giants went in with specific needs and came out filling the holes in their roster with good players. The defending Super Bowl champions were playing the best football in the NFL until Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg, robbing the team of their best chance to repeat as champions in their four opportunities.
Round 1: (X) Kenny Phillips, Safety, Miami (FL). Despite an injury history during his college career, Phillips had 41 starts in five seasons with the team. Played well but not at a superstar level. Was allowed to leave as a free agent before the start of the 2013 season and signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. Released in August 2013 and was not picked up. Pick Rating: Solid.
Round 2: (X) Terrell Thomas, Cornerback, USC. Also started 41 games for the Giants and was on the verge of super stardom before back to back knee injuries in 2011 and 2012 derailed his career. Returned in 2013 and made it through the season without another injury. He had a long history of injuries in college that Reese was aware of when drafting the cornerback. Pick Rating: Solid.
Round 3: (X) Mario Manningham, Wide Receiver, Michigan. He will always be remembered for his sideline catch in Super Bowl XLVI. Manningham has a reputation as a poor route runner. He returned the Giants last season after two injury plagued years with the Forty-Niners, but failed to make the team. Manningham caught 160 passes for 2,315 yards and 18 touchdowns in his previous four season stint with the Giants. Pick Rating: Solid.
Round 4: (X) Bryan Kehl, Linebacker, Brigham Young. Kehl was a special teams player who has bounced around the league after spending three seasons with the Giants. The Atlanta Falcons selected linebacker Kroy Biermann a full 31 picks later. This was a wasted pick. Pick Rating: Failure.
Round 5: (X) Jonathan Goff, Linebacker, Vanderbilt. A good middle linebacker who started 20 games and played well until a knee injury ended his career. Pick Rating: Neutral.
Round 6a: (X) Andre’ Woodson, Quarterback, Kentucky. Woodson never played a snap in the regular season. The Indianapolis Colts selected receiver Pierre Garcon seven picks later. A wasted selection. Pick Rating: Failure.
Round 6b: (X) Robert Henderson, Defensive End, Southern Mississippi. Yet another player who never stepped onto the field during the regular season. Players picked after Henderson include running back Peyton Hillis, wide receiver Stevie Johnson, and guard Geoff Schwartz, who the Giants later signed to a free agent contract. Another wasted draft pick. Pick Rating: Failure.
Draft Summary: Home Runs: 0; Solid Picks: 3 Neutral Picks: 1; Failed Picks: 3
2009 Draft: The most disappointing draft in Reese’s tenure as General Manager. Armed with an extra second round pick courtesy of the Jeremy Shockey trade, and nine overall selections, the Giants were poised to set themselves up for success for years to come. This was one of the deepest talent pools of the seven being reviewed, which makes the results that much more disappointing.
Round 1: (A) Hakeem Nicks, Wide Receiver, North Carolina. Prior to leaving for the Indianapolis Colts as a free agent, Nick started 59 games for the Giants and posted two 70+ reception seasons. His rapid decline in 2012 is explained by knee and leg injuries, but is 2013 performance, that included no touchdown receptions, remains a mystery. His work ethic has been called into question. Pick Rating: Solid.
Round 2a: (X) Clint Sintim, Linebacker, Virginia. A series of injuries kept him off the field for long stretches, and poor play failed to justify his presence on the field when he was healthy. He had one start and 11 solo tackles in three seasons with Giants. To make matters worse, the Eagles selected LeSean McCoy eight picks later. Also on the board when Sintim was picked, offensive tackles Phil Loadholt and Sebastian Vollmer, safety William Moore, and defensive end Paul Kruger. Pick Rating: (Mega) Failure.
Pick 2b: (A) William Beatty, Offensive Tackle, Connecticut. Elevated to starter in 2011 and has started 63 games. His play had been solid, earning him a long term contract, but dropped off in prior to his 2013 end of the season broken leg. Seen as a developmental prospect coming into the league and developed into a starter. He’ll never be a “Franchise” left tackle, but he’s not a scrub either. Pick Rating: Solid.
Pick 3a: (X) Ramses Barden, WR, Cal Poly. A raw talent drafted for his 6’6” size as a developmental project who never quite developed into the red zone target envisioned. In five seasons with the team, Barden has 29 receptions and 1 start. Four picks later, the Tennessee Titans took tight end Jared Cook. Pick Rating: Failure.
Pick 3b: (X) Travis Beckum, Tight End, Wisconsin. Injured in Super Box XLII (Along with tight end Jake Ballard, it was a bad game to be a Giants tight end), Beckum started 4 games in 4 seasons with the team. He showed little before the injury and didn’t play after. Had questions about his durability prior to the draft. The Chicago Bears took defensive tackle Henry Melton five picks later. Pick Rating: Failure.
Round 4: (X) Andre Brown, Running Back, North Carolina State. Oft injured, well travelled (Seven teams in seven seasons, if you include his recent free agent signing by the Houston Texans), and a thought to be another late round steal, ala, Ahmad Bradshaw, Brown was poised for a big role with the 2013 Giants before, surprise, suffering a preseason leg injury. Brown had a history of injuries in college and there were questions surrounding his durability prior to the draft. A promising player when he can stay on the field. In eighteen games for the Giants, he had 212 carries, 877 yards, and 11 touchdowns. Pick Rating: Failure.
Round 5: (X) Rhett Bomar, Quarterback, Sam Houston State. Bomar was another developmental quarterback who didn’t pan out. The Miami Dolphins picked safety Chris Clemons fourteen picks after the Giants wasted this one. Pick Rating: Failure.
Round 6: (X) DeAndre Wright, Cornerback, New Mexico. He never made it into a regular season game. Players that remained on the board included: Tight end Brandon Myers, running back Bernard Scott, and cornerbacks Jason McCourty and Captain Munnerlyn. Pick Rating: Failure.
Round 7: (X) Stoney Woodson, Cornerback, South Carolina. Recent free agent signee, running back, Rashad Jennings was taken twelve selections after the Giants took this cornerback who’s name sounds more like a Flintstones character than that of an NFL player. He apparently played like Barney Rubble as he never took the field during the regular season. Pick Rating: Failure.
Draft Summary: Home Runs: 0; Solid Picks: 2 Neutral Picks: 0; Failed Picks: 7
2010 Draft: A feast or famine draft for Reese, he his early with his first two picks and then took the rest of the draft off. This could have been another draft for the ages, but none of the late round picks panned out, and there were some good players left for the taking.
Round 1: (A) Jason Pierre-Paul, Defensive End, South Florida. Described at the time as the ultimate hit or miss prospect, Pierre-Paul is a definite hit. A rising superstar until back and shoulder injuries caused him to have a shortened, poor 2013, a healthy Pierre-Paul bounced back to finish 2014 strong. The team franchise tagged him in 2015, guaranteeing him $14 million dollars for the season. He needs to have a monster season to justify earning that salary. Pick Rating: Home Run.
Round 2: (A) Linval Joseph, Defensive Tackle, East Carolina. Considered another developmental prospect coming out of college, Joseph replaced departing free agent Barry Cofield in 2011 and the team never looked back. Stout against the run, and providing good pressure up the middle on passing plays, Joseph was everything the Giants hoped when they drafted him. He left after the 2013 season for a big money contract with the Minnesota Vikings. Pick Rating: Home Run.
Round 3: (X) Chad Jones, Safety, Louisiana State. Before reporting to the Giants, Jones was involved in a horrific car accident that cost Jones his NFL career and nearly cost him his life. While it’s hard to be critical of this pick with no football centric data to evaluate, had the Giants selected the player that the Forty-Niners took fourteen picks later, linebacker Navarro Bowman, it would have been three straight home runs. Pick Rating: Pass.
Round 4: (X) Phillip Dillard, Linebacker, Nebraska. Dillard played mostly special teams in his three seasons with the Giants. The Seattle Seahawks selected safety Kam Chancellor eighteen picks later. Pick Rating: Failure.
Round 5: (X) Mitch Petrus, Guard, Arkansas. Four starts in three years with the team. He never distinguished himself. The Dolphins picked safety Reshad Jones fourteen picks after the Giants took Petrus. Pick Rating: Failure.
Round 6: (X) Adrian Tracy, Linebacker, William & Mary. In Tracy’s two seasons with the Giants, developmental prospect Tracy played mostly special teams and failed to morph into anything more. Eleven picks after the Giants took him, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted receiver Antonio Brown. Pick Rating: Failure.
Round 7: (X) Matt Dodge, Punter, East Carolina. WHY DID HE KICK THE BALL TO DESEAN JACKSON??? EVERYONE KNEW NOT TO KICK THE BALL TO DESEAN JACKSON. Dodge played one season, and is out of the NFL. Good riddance. Pick Rating: (Super Epic Mega) Failure.
Draft Summary: Home Runs: 2; Solid Picks: 0 Neutral Picks: 0; Failed Picks: 4; Pass: 1
2011 Draft: In a shallow talent pool, Reese had an especially weak draft. Draft day pundits were raving about the Giants results early, proving yet again that draft results can’t be analyzed until players have been on the field for 2 or 3 seasons. Although I consider the Giants last several picks to be failures, other teams didn’t fare much better as none of the names called in the 6th and 7th rounds in 2011 have had celebrated NFL careers.
Round 1: (A) Prince Amukamara, Cornerback, Nebraska. A solid starter, and good cover cornerback, Amukamara will be a key player in the Giants secondary for the foreseeable future. He was expected to be drafted higher than the 19th overall pick and the Giants were delighted when he slipped to them when four quarterbacks were taken in the first twelve picks. Pick Rating: Solid.
Round 2: (X) Marvin Austin, Defensive Tackle, North Carolina. The Giants were also initially delighted when Austin was available as their turn in the second round came up. In hindsight, they wish someone else took him. Injuries, combined with a poor work ethic, resulted in Austin starting no games prior to his release last season. A few other teams gave him a look-see and decided he wasn’t worth a roster spot. Randall Cobb went to the Packers twelve picks later. Pick Rating: Failure.
Round 3: (A) Jerrel Jernigan, Wide Receiver, Troy. Prior to the last 3 games of the 2013 season, Jernigan appeared to be another draft bust. When injuries to other players gave the speedy receiver playing time, he stepped up with 19 receptions. In 2014, he started out slow in Ben McAdoo’s offense, injured his foot resulting in his placement on injured reserve, and has been allowed to leave as a free agent. He remains available to any interested team. None have shown any thus far. Pick Rating: Failure.
Round 4: (A) James Brewer, Tackle, Indiana. Seen as a raw, developmental prospect coming into the NFL, Brewer failed to impress in eight 2013 starts. More than a full round later (the Giants traded their 5th round pick to Cincinnati for linebacker Keith Rivers), the Seahawks selected cornerback Richard Sherman. Brewer played out his rookie contract and was signed as a free agent by the Jets. Pick Rating: Failure.
Round 6a: (X) Greg Jones, Linebacker, Michigan State. Started 5 games, was injured, and has not resumed his career. The Eagles picked up linebacker Jason Kelce, a 46 game starter, six picks later. Pick Rating: Failure.
Round 6b: (X) Tyler Sash, Safety, Iowa. Sash was on the team for two years, and played mostly special teams. Pick Rating: Failure.
Round 6c: (A) Jacquian Williams, Linebacker, South Florida. A college teammate of Pierre-Paul‘s, Williams has been unspectacular in 22 starts and has struggled though injuries. Although he showed some flashes of ability when healthy, Williams was never able to keep it together, and was allowed to leave as a free agent after the 2014 season. He remains unsigned although has reportedly drawn interest from several teams. Pick Rating: Neutral.
Round 7: (X) Da’Rel Scott, Running Back, Maryland. A speedy halfback and kick returner, Scott was on the Giants roster for the just over two seasons until he was waived-injured after pulling his hamstring in the week 6 game against the Bears game last year. He remains a free agent. He started one game at running back, and his work returning kicks was also less than memorable. Pick Rating: Failure.
Draft Summary: Home Runs: 0; Solid Picks: 1 Neutral Picks: 1; Failed Picks: 6
2012 Draft: Another weak draft class, the jury is still out on many of the Giants picks. The early round picks were for need, and it’s too soon to tell if any of the late round picks will develop into starters or reliable rotation players. 2014 will be a make or break year for some.
Round 1: (X) David Wilson, Running Back, Virginia Tech. It was rumored that the Giants really wanted Doug Martin and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers jumped in front of them to take him. We may never know as Reese will always publicly say that Wilson was their target all along. He is fast, shifty, and has electrifying ability. His weakness remains his pass blocking. After suffering a neck injury early in the 2013 season, Wilson’s career ultimately ended when he re-injured it in 2014 training camp. When healthy, he was a quality NFL running back and he can’t be marked down for getting hurt. Tom Coughlin would have solved his early fumbling issues. Pick Rating: Solid.
Round 2: (A) Rueben Randle, Wide Receiver, Louisiana State. A big, fast, and raw player, who appeared to struggle in Kevin Gilbride’s complicated offense, but showed signed of emerging in Ben McAdoo’s simplified scheme. Randle started 13 games in 2013, doubled his career receptions with 71, for 938 yards, but still only caught 3 touchdown. 2015 will be a make or break year for Randle. Pick Rating: Solid.
Round 3: (A) Jayron Hosley, Cornerback, Virginia Tech. After showing some flashes in his second season, Hosley was suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, and returned to have a 6 bad games, including 2 bad starts, and was benched for the final 4 games of the season. The Giants hold out hope that Steve Spagnuolo can revive his career similarly to how he turned around Corey Webster, but it’s a long shot. Pick Rating: Failure.
Round 4a: (A) Adrien Robinson, Tight End, Cincinnati. Reese infamously called Robinson “The Jason Pierre-Paul of Tight Ends,” a reference to his considerable, but very raw athletic prowess. Unlike the defensive end, however, Robinson’s promise has remained unfulfilled. Injuries and lack of development have limited him to only 5 receptions for 50 yards and one touchdown in 3 seasons. He will have a hard time sticking on the roster in 2015 if second year player Jerome Cummingham continues to develop. Pick Rating: Failure.
Round 4b: (A) Brandon Mosley, Offensive Tackle, Auburn. A converted tight end needing time to develop as an guard, Mosley started one game in a 2013 season where the Giants were desperate for offensive line help. He was them unable to beat out John Jerry for the right guard position in 2014. Need I say more? He’s still on the roster as of today, it’s doubtful he will be when the season opens in September. Pick Rating: Failure.
Round 6: (A) Matt McCants, Offensive Tackle, Alabama-Birmingham. Another developmental project when drafted, McCants started three games for Oakland in 2013. Unfortunately for him, this is an evaluation of the New York Giant’s draft performance at a time when they desperately needed offensive line help. And he wasn’t good enough to make the team. Pick Rating: Failure.
Round 7: (A) Markus Kuhn, Defensive Tackle, North Carolina State. Kuhn is another developmental project, but this time taken in a round where developmental projects are expected to be drafted. Kuhn has shown some potential in his time on the field but has been injury prone and can’t seem to put it all together. It’s doubtful he will make the team in 2015, but he’s done enough to rate neutral. Pick Rating: Neutral.
Draft Summary: Home Runs: 0; Solid Picks: 2 Neutral Picks: 1; Failed Picks: 4
2013 Draft: The 2013 draft class played a much larger role last season. Justin Pugh has established himself as a fixture on the offensive line, although questions remain whether he is best suited for tackle or guard. Jonathan Hankins emerged. Damontre Moore has flashed, and if he can keep his head straight, should become a capable pass rusher. This has all the makings of a good draft class, and the best by Reese since 2007.
Round 1: (A) Justin Pugh, Offensive Tackle, Syracuse. A good value in a position of need, Pugh started all 16 games for the Giants and has a good rookie year. He is short armed compared to the average NFL offensive tackle and this may cause struggles in pass blocking and eventually force the Giants to move him inside. His overall talent gives him promise. Pick Rating: Solid.
Round 2: (A) Jonathan Hankins, Defensive Tackle, Ohio State. Hankins is expected to step into the starting position vacated by departing free agent Linval Joseph. While he has looked good in his very limited 2013 playing time, we will know all we need to know about Hankins midway through the 2014 season. Pick Rating: Home Run.
Round 3: (A) Damontre Moore, Defensive End, Texas A&M. Moore burst onto the scene with a blocked punt in his first preseason game, promptly got hurt, and his development was slowed as a result. He is an accomplished pass rusher and will be expected to play a larger role in 2014 with Justin Tuck’s departure. Moore is another player who can be better evaluated in six month’s time. Pick Rating: Solid.
Round 4: (A) Ryan Nassib, Quarterback, Syracuse. Pugh’s college teammate was the shocking pick of the 2013 draft. Labeled by some a first round talent, Nassib had a great 2014 preseason and force Curtis Painter off the roster. Giant fans hope to never see him in a regular season game, unless it’s in a mop up role in a blow out win. It’s possible the Giants will seek to trade him before in a season where quality quarterbacks few and far between. Pick Rating: Solid.
Round 5: (A) Cooper Taylor, Safety, Richmond. A size/speed combination rare at safety in the NFL, Taylor played in 10 games last season, mostly on special teams. His development has been stunted by injuries. Taylor’s durability concerns going into the draft that resulting in him being taken off some teams draft boards. As of right now, he would be the starting free safety, a statement as to the Giants need at the position. Pick Rating: Neutral.
Round 7a: (A) Eric Herman, Guard, Ohio. The Giants offensive line was in shambles in 2013 and Herman didn’t see the field. What more can be said? Pick Rating: Failure.
Round 7b: (A) Michael Cox, Running Back, Massachusetts. Cox had 43 yards in his one start in 2 seasons at running back and was unspectacular as the Giants primary kick returner. With his speed, he could develop into a third down back, but I won’t be holding my breath for him to pass Orleans Darkwa for a role on the team. Pick Rating: Failure.
Draft Summary: Home Runs: 1; Solid Picks: 3 Neutral Picks: 1; Failed Picks: 2
2014 Draft: The 2014 draft may well be viewed as the one that turned the Giants back into a playoff contender. The team’s new draft strategy was on full view, as high character players were drafted and 5 of the 7 had a noticeable impact on the field last season. Lead by Offensive Rookie of the Year Odell Beckham, Jr., this draft class is filled with current and future starters. The Giants has no 7th round pick as they traded theirs for Jon Beason in October 2013. The additional 5th round pick was a supplemental pick awarded by the NFL.
Round 1: (A) Odell Beckham, Jr, Wide Receiver, LSU. When the Giants passed on Aaron Donald and Zack Martin in favor of a wide receiver that no one had associated with them, cries of “Here goes Jerry Reese, reaching again,” were heard thought the land of Big Blue. They were exacerbated when the rookie had hamstring issues that cost him the entire preseason and the first five games of the regular season, and Martin pushed the Cowboys offensive line into a new stratosphere. But then he hit the field running and in 11 starts, caught 91 passes for 1,305 yard and 12 touchdown, powering the Giants offense, and breathing life into what was otherwise moribund season. What will he do for an encore?. Pick Rating: Home Run.
Round 2: (A) Weston Richburg, Offensive Line, Colorado State. Forced into the starting lineup at left guard by injuries to Geoff Schwartz and Chris Snee, the latter suddenly retiring prior to training camp opening, the rookie experienced growing pains, but grew into his role. He will switch to his natural position of center this season, and is expected to flourish. Pick Rating: Solid.
Round 3: (A) Jay Bromley, Defensive Tackle, Syracuse. Perhaps the only reach in this draft class. Bromley is a raw, skilled prospect who did not see the field often in 2014. His development this season will determine if this was a worthwhile pick or another second day swing and a miss for Reese. Pick Rating: Neutral.
Round 4: (A) Andre Williams, Running Back, Boston College. Forced into the starting lineup by Rashad Jennings knee injury, Williams rushed for 721 yards and 7 touchdown on 271 carries behind one of the worst run blocking lines in the NFL. A powerful runner with deceptive speed, his development, combined with an improved offensive line, should be the core of a Giants power running game for the next half decade.. Pick Rating: Solid.
Round 5a: (A) Nat Berhe, Safety, San Diego State. Playing mostly on special teams in 2014, Berhe will be thrust into the starting lineup this season as the departures of Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown, and Quintin Demps leave the team with no alternatives. If the coaching staff did not believe that Berhe was the answer at strong safety, Rolle would have been retained. However, it’s too early to rate him, as he’s not seen the field. Pick Rating: Neutral.
Round 5b: (A) Devon Kennard, Linebacker, USC. From the moment he his the field, Kennard started making tackles in the backfield and putting pressure on the quarterback. He is the first linebacker drafted by Reese that has had a significant impact on defense, and would have started more than 6 games had hamstring and foot injuries not limited his playing time. Pick Rating: Solid.
Round 6: (A) Bennett Jackson, Cornerback, Notre Dame. Jackson started the season on the practice squad and finished it on injured reserve with a knee injury. Coughlin mentioned that Jackson is a candidate to convert to safety with the team’s lack of depth at the position. Time will tell. Pick Rating: Neutral.
Draft Summary: Home Runs: 1; Solid Picks: 3 Neutral Picks: 3; Failed Picks: 2
The evidence speaks for itself. Reese has been a gambler, often taking players from small schools and/or players seen as having great potential or players with an injury history hoping they can stay healthy and contribute. After early success that laid the foundation for the Giants two Super Bowl teams, Reese’s middle term draft results have been disappointing. His philosophy makes him look like a genius when the players pan out (Pierre-Paul, Joseph), but causes problems when they don’t develop as planned (Pick any offensive lineman taken after round 2). It may be that Jerry Reese the General Manager misses the work product of Jerry Reese the Director of Player Personnel. Or he may need to be a bit more conservative when evaluating a player‘s perceived potential and history of injury.
The 2013 draft may be turning point as twice as many picks from those draft classes appear to be starters than abject failures with the jury still out on a handful. That momentum must be continued in 2015 if the Giants are to return to prominence.
When evaluating by position, Reese has done reasonably well selecting running backs with Ahmad Bradshaw being the best of the bunch. Andre Brown’s college injuries were a red flag and continue to limit his success as a pro, and David’s Wilson’s neck injuries finished his sad tale of potential unfulfilled. Reese has also had his greatest success in drafting wide receivers, with Odell Beckham leading the way, and Hakeem Nicks, Rueben Randle, Mario Manningham, and Steve Smith all making contributions to the team. His greatest wide receiver success story, Victor Cruz, was an undrafted free agent. Conversely, Offensive linemen have been a disaster with 6 of the 9 drafted categorized as failures. That statistic may best explain the Giants struggles in 2013. I also implore the Giants general manager to stop drafting quarterbacks after the 4th round. The results are not pretty.
On defense, Reese’s greatest success has been on the line with Jason Pierre-Paul, Jonathan Hankins, and Linval Joseph leading the pack. Only 2 of his 9 selections of defensive lineman are considered abject failures. Similar success can be seen in the defensive backfield where only 3 of the 10 picks (Chad Jones is not counted here) were called failures, but there were no home runs. The group drafted is unremarkable and this explains the high number of free agents signed this year at these positions. The ability to convert a cornerback to safety will determine the ultimate success of this group in 2015.
Linebacker is a complete disaster with an underwhelming, injury riddled group that has just 1 solid pick, and no home runs, just 2 neutrals, and 5 failures. And the play of this unit over the past several seasons reflects these results. Devon Kennard may be the turning point of this sad, sorry group of draftees.
We won’t discuss special teams, because there have only been two players drafted in this area and I don’t want to think about Matt Dodge punting to DeSean Jackson again.
The new drafting draft philosophy of bringing in high character players, with no history of injuries, and avoiding small school projects should continue starting April 30th in Chicago.