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New York Giants, GM Jerry Reese Follow No NFL Draft Trends; Expect the Unexpected in April

March 31st, 2013 at 9:00 AM
By Jen Polashock

As of mid-week, the New York Giants should enter the 2013 NFL Draft with 76 players already on their roster. Since free agency has slowed down and general manager Jerry Reese handled business in his calm, collected demeanor, quite a few conspicuous holes have been filled. While there are still some dealings to go down this offseason/free agency period, the focus has shifted full well onto the main event that is the draft.

'NFL Draft 2010 Stage from 2nd floor at Radio City Music Hall' photo (c) 2010, Marianne O'Leary - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Giants haven’t entered a draft with a glaring need since 2004 when they held the 4th overall pick. If you don’t know what transpired that April afternoon, please ask someone. Of the following eight years (2005-2012), mostly defensive players were drafted in the first round. Wideout Hakeem Nicks (2009) and tailback David Wilson (2012) were the exceptions. Offensive lineman hasn’t been a number one pick of blue since Luke Petitgout was chosen out of Notre Dame in 1999 (funny enough, with the 19th overall pick).

If you’re looking for a trend, stop. Reese is a bit harder to figure out in his method of building a draft board than Ernie Accorsi ever was. While BPA (Best Player Available) is part of the equation, many are wrong in stating it’s the sole method. Need (especially in the first round) is most definitely factored in. Funny part about that is that most armchair general managers and coaches have no idea of the Giants’ actual need. Remember when Accorsi drafted a Troy pass rushing defensive end by the name of Osi Umenyiora and the draft “experts” scoffed at the pick? You can never have too many pass-rushers. Those experts are dropping tears in their cheap beers as Mr. Umenyiora has now signed elsewhere.

Co-owner John Mara knows this is the time of year where his New York Giants have strength.

“The key to long-term success in this league is what happens at the end of every April," Mara noted. "You have to draft well."

Quite a few mock drafts have the same four names on repeat like a scratch in a record for Big Blue. Since the Giants do indeed need some assistance at the linebacker position, Alec Ogletree out of Georgia remains the pick from many gurus. Reese has been to the Pro Days, but the Giants don’t draft linebackers in the first round – well, not since 1984 when a little-known guy by the name of Carl Banks was drafted out of Michigan State. Do not expect the Manti Te’o talk to continue for blue either. It’s become passé.

Tight end Tyler Eifert of Notre Dame still rolls off the tongues of a few mockers, but Reese seems pretty high on recently-signed free agent Brandon Meyers.

“Number one, he knows how to play," Reese said (of Myers). "This guy has played quite a bit, caught 79 balls last year at Oakland, so there's not a lot of training. He's quarterback friendly. He catches 80 balls and people really don't know that much about him. We think he'll be a great piece to our offense and I think Eli will have a relationship with him really quickly."

Yeah, doesn’t sound like another offensive end-like first round pick for blue.

Offensive tackle D.J. Fluker out of Alabama is the last big name on mock-ups. If he’s there, it isn’t likely that he is more of a priority than a defensive player on the Giants board.

It’ll be another year the Giants end up going D-E-F-E-N-S-E. Just a gut…

Also…

Tags: Alec Ogletree, Carl Banks, David Wilson, Ernie Accorsi, Football, Hakeem Nicks, Jerry Reese, John Mara, Luke Petitgout, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Osi Umenyiora, Tyler Eifert

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22 Responses to “New York Giants, GM Jerry Reese Follow No NFL Draft Trends; Expect the Unexpected in April”

  1.  Hanshi says:

    “While BPA (Best Player Available) is part of the equation, many are wrong in stating it’s the sole method. Need (especially in the first round) is most definitely factored in.”
    Got that Paul?
    Happy Easter.

  2.  fanfor55years says:

    Figuring the Giants’ draft is a Fool’s Errand. Reese and Co. could go any of about a dozen directions depending upon who is on the board.

    I’ve said over the last month-to-six-weeks that I like Warmack, Cooper, Trufant, Rhodes, Bostic, Richardson, Fluker, Vaccaro, Jones (Datone), etc. I don’t see how we’d ever get Warmack, and Bostic is more a 2nd round or even 3rd round pick, but any of the others could easily be on Reese’s radar. The bottom line is that I expect to be very happy with at least our picks at #19 and #48. Our draft guys seem to just about always get those right, and contrary to the general belief, I happen to think this draft is very good in regard to positions of need for the Giants so I consider it both deep and of high quality. The pundits seem to think it’s a weak draft. I don’t agree.

  3.  rlhjr says:

    Excellent take on the Reese/Ross mystery tour Jen.

    I’ve always held the Giants draft strategy (Under Accorsi and Reese) has been BPA within need. But the underlying factor is, THEY WILL NOT REACH for a player in a need position. That would account for the seeming mind boggling selections.

    You also touched on something very key. We have no clue what is said behind closed doors. And there also an additional vail of keeping particulars away form other teams as to who can play and who can’t on the Giants roster. In other words there is plenty of misdirection going on. Remember, it’s a business.

    Reading between the lines and believing what you you see is the only mechanism available to fans who wish to make educated (or otherwise) guesses as to their favorite teams direction.

    They believe (good or bad) in developing players. They have not given in to “LETS WIN NOW” syndrome like so many other teams have. They keep both feet firmly planted “IN THE BOX” They only step out of the box when the scouting department plus Reese/Ross witness an undeniable mix of size, speed strength and agility. Then the will leap outside of that same “BOX” to draft that player. They become intoxicated, and position “ALMOST” makes no difference.
    I’m pretty sure if they feel they have sound starters and depth, all around the Giants take BPA. But how often does that happen?

    Does the Giant front office have faults? YES. Do they make mistakes in judgement in drafting players? (Clint Sintim) and YES. “Humans, I tell ya the would be fine if they never made mistakes.” (Just in case some of you are waiting to jump on that statement with both feet, it was so tongue n cheek.)

    But you can also get a resounding YES to these questions;
    Do the Giants have a plan for drafting players?
    Do they draft for depth?
    Do they understand team building?
    Do their methods work?

    There are gray areas too. But those areas have to do with the rate of player development, and drafting the so called “RED FLAG” kids who often turn out to be superstars. Here the Giants error on the side of caution. But it must be pointed out that signing Kerry Collins (Racist/Alcoholic) and drafting Jason Peter (Alcoholic/Abuser) and more likely than not other players who have committed grievous errors in judgement is also part of the picture.

    What’s important about those players is through careful consideration, it was determined that they could help the team and perhaps missed is the fact that this front office felt those players deserved a chance. Another chance to make a living or realize a dream. Think Will Hill. That is way outside the box in this day and age when a missed mortgage payment can keep you from a job or get you fired. But I digress.

    Another facet of the Giants draft day propose can always be traced to what the owner has to say. Mr. Mara does not speak often about the condition of his team and especially in specifics. His saying he wanted the Giants to recapture toughness along the line of scrimmage told me all I needed to hear.
    Most employees who last a long time in business are those who understand who the boss is and what he/she wants.

    So to my way of thinking, if the Giants draft anything besides a defensive tackle and an offensive lineman within the first three rounds the following will have happened:

    1. A trade will be made and their target players will be gone in rounds 1,2 &3.
    2. No worthy player at those positions on the board.

    In either case it will have been explained very carefully to Mr. Mara as to why
    the offensive and defensive lines were not made stronger via the draft.

    Understand that the Giants will be better on the offensive and defensive line as well as the linebacker positions. And that work will be done via the draft and not free agency. And those picks will be made this and next. No hurry up going one here.

    No, the team will not ignore other positions on either side of the ball.
    Injury and money are always risk variables to be dealt with. But baring those things, remember the Giants have a tradition of running, passing and strong defense. And the ownership believes in tradition and patients unlike many.
    Just as successful athlete’s understand the game and it’s history, so too does the Giant ownership and their head coach.

    This hopefully will never change no matter how pass oriented and “quick fix” the league the league becomes. And no matter who owns and coaches this team. Because, that’s how teams win championships in the NFL. You run the ball which sets up the pass. You put the other QB on the ground, and you protect your QB. BOOK IT.

    •  rlhjr says:

      Woops:

      The Giants believe (good and bad) in developing players.

      And those picks will be made this year and next. No hurry up going one here.

      AND

      This hopefully will never change no matter how pass oriented and “quick fix” the league becomes.

      •  fanfor55years says:

        Excellent post.

        I think the team is a bit more open to the changes that the Competition Committee has created than you are crediting, but I agree that they still want to “feed” the tradition of running the ball, stopping the run, and putting the opposing QB on the ground.

        I think, though, that given John Mara’s background and apparent astuteness, the management of the Giants knows that the new “name of the game” is strong offense + bend-don’t-break defense that stiffens inside it’s 30 yard line + strong kicking game (kicking and returning) + continuity and consistency in the approach + building through the draft and always having a succession plan for players and management.

        The difference from tradition is that, right now, having a great defense has been made nearly impossible so the best you can hope for is to stop the run and pressure the quarterback into enough mistakes to make up for the inevitable number of successful passing plays that are the product of allowing O-linemen to hold and not allowing defensive backs to grab and bump.

        You need to have a top quarterback with at least two targets at all times. You need toughness and success in the trenches. You need excellent pass-rushers. And you need defensive backs who can create turnovers when the QB is harried.

        In my view, the Giants have a shortage of defensive tackles and offensive linemen who are tough as nails; and they have a shortage of corners who are turnover machines (I think Hosley may become that in time, but we need more). That’s why I’m looking for corners, defensive tackles, and offensive linemen in this month’s draft.

  4.  demo3356 says:

    Hit the nail on the head as always Jen! Great piece once again! This is one of the reasons I’ve been saying no DE in the first round this year

  5.  norm says:

    Although Reese does not make draft picks based largely on “need,” the current makeup of his roster almost always factors into his selections in the early rounds.

    The Giants pretty much know how many roster spots they want to allocate to each position. While there’s always a little wiggle room in those numbers, they are more or less consistent from year to year.

    If the team always has “locks” filling most or all of the spots allocated to a particular position, it’s unlikely they will select another player at that position with no room for him at the proverbial inn.

    QB is a rather obvious case in point. The Giants typically carry two; they already have two (Eli, Carr) who are locks to make the 2013 roster. Hence no QBs will be drafted early, no matter how highly ranked on Ross’ board.

    This is why I believe it’s highly unlikely a DT will be taken early. The Giants rarely like to carry more than four. Looking at the players already on the roster we find:

    Landfill: The team’s best DT. Lock.

    Jenkins: $3 million guaranteed. Lock.

    Austin: Reese believes all young players (especially highly drafted ones) must be given the “chance to fail” Austin has not been given his chance yet. He will get it this year. Lock.

    That’s three of the four allocated spots already locked up. That leaves one remaining with the following two players currently under contract:

    Kuhn: Probably starts the season on PUP. But showed enough as a raw rookie to lead one to believe that he will command a spot once healthy. His PUP status affords the team some flexibility on whether or not they choose to use that spot on him this year. So I won’t count him as a lock.

    Rogers: Not a lock based on his age and uncertain health status. But he is a proven (badly needed) run-stuffer. More importantly, he’s a vet at a position that has historically been unkind to rookies. With all the questions surrounding Austin, it’s unlikely the Giants would want another greenhorn rounding out the roster at DT. If Rogers can’t make it, then I think Reese goes out and finds another seasoned player to replace him.

    If the Giants draft a DT early, then they would wind up needing to use a fifth roster spot to carry him on the roster – an unlikely prospect given their history. They’d have to really, really, really, really love the kid to make the expenditure of both a high draft pick AND an extra roster spot to acquire him. Doubt there will be a defensive tackle who is THAT special sitting at 19.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      I think there is a twist this year. Jenkins can be moved outside at times. He has done that in the past. And Kuhn almost definitely will be on the PUP list and did not completely establish himself as a future anchor (and is already 26 years old).

      If the right DT is there I would not mind at all if Reese takes him. I don’t think at this point we have ANY defensive tackles I’d absolutely count on as we go into the next few years at what I think is one of the critical positions on the team.

  6.  F0XLIN says:

    +1 Great article as always Jen

    I’m convinced Cooper or Warmack will be there at 19 as I’ve said for the last 3 months and that will be our pick. I’m a broken record but no 2 guards have gone in the top 18 since 1996. GM’s historically do not value Guards high. Boothe is on a 1 yr deal and Snee is getting old fast.

    Roll tide roll

    Warmack/Cooper in 1, Barret Jones in the 2nd

    •  fanfor55years says:

      If we manage that someone should tell Kevin Gilbride that his offense will be expected to be a 30-point + offense in 2014.

      I still cannot see Warmack dropping to #19. If he does Jerry had better pull that trigger.

  7.  giankees says:

    I know it doesn’t mke sense but if wormack and cooper are gone I think he may buck the trend and go ogletree and that move is something I would never imagine happening. I don’t see any other lb wiyh his skill set at lb. The highlights show him runnung down wrs and rbs at full speed on break away plays. And show his coverage deep in the secondary like a safety. I think you will see cooper and wormack gone cause now the cowboys have to go ol with the romo contract. Taking ogletree def moves kiwi to de and really solidifies both positions with speed in the lb now with rivers williams and ogletree thatbis a really quick set of lbs. Also moves kiwi whi has shown in the past that he is a very disruptive end yhat also has been moved inside and now has gained a little more pass def skills. Ibjust feel like it makes sense all around. And we can def find a ol in the 2nd and 3rd. And if they take an lb still I will be very surprised . And i think they believe they have a starter in the making with brewer. So even though I’ve been saying he will only go def end ol or cb. I see ogletree as the one guy that can make them go away from there trend.

  8.  CT GIANT says:

    One of the things left out of Mara’s comment about the “trenches” was “teams ran on us much to easy, we need to get better at stopping the run”.
    That said, there are only so many DT’s that can be on the roster, and with what has been said by others here, I looked at the current roster at DE.
    JPP; Tuck; Kiwi {listed as LB} Tracy; Trattou; Ojomo; Brotha.
    Although IMO, Ojomo can be one who at 6’4 270lbs of all motor, played with JPP, Tracy being a 6th round pick, both should make some noise in camp, and of course Kiwi, moving back to DE, is possible.
    But the “run stopping” starts in the middle IMO, and even with Connor, Herlizh, the draft might be a Ross/Reese pick because they might value that area more, but then who?
    This year, as I look at a O-Line of which all are north of 30+, and one, or two may get injured, add there playing time, most likely around 10 years or close, this might be the year, after 14 years, Reese might move up, if he sees the value of adding a “road monster” improvement and a can’t lose player.
    We all see the area’s of need, how Ross/Reese see them and how they add players to fill the need is simply not possible, but it’s fun to watch, listen, and think we know the answer.
    Happy Easter.
    CT GIANT

    •  GmenMania says:

      Beatty is 28 and Boothe is 29. However, your point is still valid. Our O-line is old. I’m hoping that Warmack will be there in the first.

  9.  jfunk says:

    Dirt – your recent posts regarding the salary cap not leveling the playing field I think are somewhat off target.

    Poor management is why most perennial dumpster teams are where they are, it has nothing to do with their small market. Jacksonville, Carolina, and Kansas City have all been successful at one point or another during the modern era.

    The salary cap can’t mitigate a determined owner’s ability to ruin his football team, it just makes it so cash won’t be the #1 excuse.

    •  Dirt says:

      Sure, everyone gets a turn at the occassional post season run. Not disputing that. But why aren’t these teams ever signing the big stars?

      Carolina and Jacksonville took advantage of liberal expansion rules, and outside of a brief run of success by Carolina neither have really been heard from since. KC, Cleveland, Buffalo, Cincinnati, etc. No one is going there, despite salary cap advantages that they should have to pull it off.

      It’s because they’re not landing the top stars. And when the front office doesn’t draft well either, well, you get decades of bad-to-mediocre-to-the-sometimes-out-of-nowhere-run.

  10.  Dave B. Gray says:

    Hello all, I have been reading these articles for years now. I just wanted to say thanks for the great reads and I especially enjoyed this one. All of the comments were methodically thought out and brought up interesting points. In my opinion I want Reese to deft ogletree, because he has the cover ability to shut down the new crop of tight ends teams are using these days. I believe we are only going to see more of them in the next few years. Teams are putting more emphasis in finding their version of gronk, so we need someone to cover them. With ogletree being a former safety and given his speed I believe he can be huge for the gmen going forward. Just my two cents. Anyways just wanted to chime in and say thanks for all of the good reads over the years and go gmen!

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Good point. These athletic tight ends aren’t about to go away. But Reese and the draft room may feel that in Williams, Paysinger and Rivers we already have 2-3 linebackers who can deal with those kinds of receivers. I wouldn’t mind Ogletree at all, but I’ll still be shocked if he’s the pick at #19. He’s very good. But we can find pretty good cover linebackers later (and next April) and I think a few of these offensive linemen are the kind that don’t come along every year. Same for the defensive tackles, and a few of the corners.

      How dumb will we all feel when Reese grabs a receiver with the first pick?

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