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New York Giants Co-Owner John Mara Wants to See Better Selections in Middle Rounds of NFL Draft

January 10th, 2014 at 6:56 AM
By Anthony Raia

The best way to compete in today's NFL is to have quality drafts and sprinkle in free agent signings to fill the remaining holes. When Jerry Reese first took over as General Manager of the New York Giants, he had a great draft in 2007. A draft that included immediate contributors in Aaron Ross, Steve Smith, Jay Alford, Zak DeOssie, Kevin Boss, Michael Johnson and Ahmad Bradshaw. Reese hit the jackpot, but injuries and free agency tore that draft class apart, with the exception of DeOssie and Bradshaw. Since then Reese's drafts have had a lot of misses, and have left the team with a ton of holes. Why have his drafts fallen so far off the map?

“There are a few cases where we took a chance, knowing we were taking a chance, knowing if we hit on this guy maybe we would knock it out of the park and if we missed, we missed. And we missed entirely," co-owner John Mara said recently. "That’s going to happen. There’s no question over the past few years we’ve missed on some of them for whatever reason.”

Injuries are one major factor, and the Giants have had a string of bad luck on draft pick injuries. Kenny Phillips and Terrell Thomas looked like they were on their way to be perennial Pro Bowlers, but injuries diminished their skill set. Chad Jones was a phenomenal athlete that looked like a perfect fit for the Giants defense, but a late night car crash ended his career before it started. Even before he left to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles, it was unlikely Steve Smith would have returned to his once Pro Bowl form.

The Giants have also had a propensity for drafting potential instead of more finished projects. An example of this is in 2009, when the New York Giants drafted wide receiver Ramses Barden, while passing up on cornerback Ladarius Webb. Barden is essentially a street free agent, while last year Webb ranked second in Yards Per Coverage Snap, giving up only 111 yards on 185 snaps.

They also took chances on high ceiling players like Clint Sintim and Travis Beckum — both who really did not have positions at the NFL level. Given the questionable status of their offensive line, the New York Giants decided to trade up to take Ryan Nassib, while passing up on guard Barrett Jones a year ago. Past drafts are littered with project offensive line man that never panned out, so player development could be an issue as well.

It's no secret that Tom Coughlin and his staff prefer to play veterans over young players; we saw it with Kenny Phillips and Hakeem Nicks who both took half a season to get significant playing time despite veterans who couldn't get the job done. With practice time limited under the new CBA, the best chance for players to improve is by playing in game situations. That isn't easy to do when trying to compete for a Super Bowl, but there were moments this season that the Giants could have played guys like Damontre Moore in blowouts.

Did it make more sense to play Curtis Painter after Eli Manning's ankle injury in Week 17 or to have Nassib active and see what he has? The cynic in me thinks that if by some miracle the Giants ended up with Jadeveon Clowney, it would take until Week 8 for him to see significant playing time. There is a long list of offensive line picks that either failed to materialize or played but didn't improve. Are they just drafting bad players or are they not developing them properly?

Being successful is also part of the problem, as the Giants have not had a loosing record in the last decade. As a result, the Giants haven't picked in the top half of the draft. The Giants finally are picking in the top fifteen of the draft this year, with the goal of not being in this same spot next year. They absolutely need to hit home runs in the first four, possibly five rounds. The window to win with Eli is slowly closing, it's time to start collecting more talent and less projects.

Photo credit: ryan lejbak / / CC BY-NC-ND


Tags: Aaron Ross, Ahmad Bradshaw, Barrett Jones, Chad Jones, Clint Sintim, Curtis Painter, Damontre Moore, Football, Jerry Reese, Kenny Phillips, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Steve Smith, Travis Beckum

12 Responses to “New York Giants Co-Owner John Mara Wants to See Better Selections in Middle Rounds of NFL Draft”

  1.  turkish says:

    I’ll keep banging this drum until something happens. The S&C program stinks.

  2.  James Stoll says:

    Sounds to me like Mara is putting Reese on notice
    This coming season, if it goes badly, a real house cleaning may finally come

  3.  turkish says:

    On Wilson, awful news for the kid. Hope he fully recovers and truly wish him all the best.

    Truth is Wilson was a MONSTER miss by Reese and co. He was seen as a “boom or bust” pick, and the boom does not appear to be coming in 2014 after Reese’s comments. Durability had to be a concern as Wilson headed to the next level. One year wonder to 1st round pick. Again, hop I’m wrong in 2015, but right now Wilson was a colossal miss by the Giants.

  4.  Michael Cervellino says:

    In reality, giants got scooped on draft day, when Tampa Bay traded up to get Doug Martin. Wilson is a phenomenal athlete with some real game breaking ability, but needed to learn the nuances of the running back position. It’s a shame he is injured because he seemed to be pretty strong and durable to that point. As for misses, where have you gone Clint Sintim, Travis Beckum, Phil Dillard, et al. This year’s draft has tremendous depth in rounds 3-5, so we’ll see what Reese does.

  5.  GOAT56 says:

    I’m not a fan of the Bama kid but I also don’t deny his upper tier measurables. I assume that any kid we start at 12 will start out at RT so he has time to learn the ropes. My point though more was I don’t like the other LTs at 12.

    I don’t like WR because I think with Jernigan WR isn’t a first round need. Plus assuming we keep the same system it’s going to be hard to get a real contribution from a rookie WR. But I do like the possibility of Lee or Watkins. I just don’t see Evans as an impact NFL player. I feel like with all the WRs that came out we can get quality WRs in he 2nd-3rd rounds.

    RB wise I’m firmly against a has been like MJD. He’s another guy that has taken a ton of punishment and will probably be no more than a JAG going forward. Reminds me of Steven Jackson this year. Give me a hungry mid round college kid and/or a guy like Jennings from Oak than never really got more than spot duty.

  6.  William says:

    In defense of JR the mid round misses have a direct corelation to are draft position that has been near the 20th pick for years. Not an issue talent wise in the first and even second round but a big deal in the later rounds. The skimming of another 18-20 picks before you make a choice in round 4 is a huge disadvantage. Nature of the beast and his job but has to be considered.
    I think it might be in his best interest to put emphasis on the o-line which I have to believe as we have found out is easier to be succesful versus the skill positions.But, this takes an orginazational reboot of the importance and priority to positions in both the draft n free agency.

  7.  Michael Cervellino says:

    The developments in the last week will have a drastic effect on how teams draft regarding the offensive line. With Cameron Irving and Cedric Ogbuehi electing to return to school, that leaves Jake Matthews, Greg Robinson, Taylor Lewan, and Cyrus Kouandjio as the most well regarded tackles. The second tier includes Tiny Richardson, Morgan Moses, Jack Mewhort, and La’el Collins. Cyril Richardson, Zack Martin, and David Yankey are your high level guards, and Travis Swanson, Bryan Stork, Tyler Larsen, and Weston Richburg are centers of note. if you are in desperate need of a tackle, you may have to get one early because the ones you want may not be there in rounds 2 or 3. At 12, Giants would probably go OL, WR, or LB, but depth is greater at WR and LB. I know we desperately need a second corner, but not sure I’d go for that so early. If I had my way I’d get Greg Robinson in round 1 if he’s there, and come back with TE Austin Sefarian-Jenkins or DL Aaron Donald in round 2. We may see compensatory picks for guys like Bennett and Osi in later rounds as well. There are so many good players available in rounds 3-5 this year that we need to be strong in those rounds. We are no longer the perceived bullies on the block with a roster that requires only depth. This is an older, relatively unathletic (by football terms) roster in need of a serious talent upgrade, despite what you may hear to the contrary. You need to score 5-6 contributors in the draft, with at least 3 starters coming by way of free agency.

  8.  JimStoll says:

    I’ll say this about JR’s draft record: he’s largely been ok in Round 1, injuries aside – 1 bust (Wilson), 1 so-so pick (A Ross), 1 promising player (Pugh), 1 solid player (Prince), and 3 really good players felled or in the process of being felled by injuries (Phillips, Nicks, JPP).
    After the first, his 2d and 3d round picks have included a ton of misses — Sintim, Barden, Beatty, Austin, Beckum.

    But it is the 4th round where JR really seems to strike out. going backwards:

    Nassib, Adrien, Robinson, James Brewer, Phillip Dillard, Andre Brown, Bryan Kiehl, Zak SeOssie

  9.  BadBadLeroyBrown says:

    Listening to some Giants fans whine about Jerry Reese’s drafts are sickening.

    Giants fans all of a sudden are starting to sound like UNGRATEFUL Yankee fans.

    Compare Reese’s drafts to any GM in the league ANY…and tell me he isnt ranked at the top of the league.

    1.31 Kenny Phillips, FS, Miami
    2.32 Terrell Thomas, CB, Southern Cal
    3.32 Mario Manningham, WR, Michigan
    4.24 Bryan Kehl, OLB, BYU(Not great but solid career as a backup)
    5.30 Jonathan Goff, LB, Vanderbilt(was a solid promising starter til injury)

    1.29 Nicks, Hakeem, WR, North Carolina
    2.28 Beatty, William, OT, Connecticut
    3.21 Barden, Ramses, WR, Cal Poly(His failure is on Coughlin)
    4.29 Brown, Andre, RB, North Carolina State

    1.15 Pierre-Paul, Jason, DE, South Florida
    2.14 Joseph, Linval, DT, East Carolina
    3.12 Jones, Chad, FS, LSU(Injuries)
    5.16 Petrus, Mitch, OG, Arkansas(was a BIG help for that last Championship)

    1.19 Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
    2.20 Marvin Austin, DL, North Carolina
    3.19 Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy
    4.20 James Brewer, OL, Indiana
    6.33 Tyler Sash, SS, Iowa
    6.37 Jacquian Williams, LB, South Florida
    (ALL contributors)

    1.32 David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
    2.31 Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
    3.31 Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
    4.32 Adrien Robinson, TE, Cincinnati
    4.36 Brandon Mosley, OT, Auburn
    6.31 Matt McCants, OT, UAB(Coaching staff screwed this up and the Raiders LOVE him say he is part of the future)
    7.32 Markus Kuhn, DT, North Carolina State(Looked good prior to injury)

    1.19 Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse
    2.17 Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
    3.19 Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
    4.13 Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
    5.19 Cooper Taylor, S, Richmond
    7.19 Eric Herman, OG, Ohio
    7.47 Michael Cox, RB, Massachusetts
    (Jury still out)

    •  BadBadLeroyBrown says:

      Compared to the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

      2013 Draft
      2.20 Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Miss
      2.27 Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall
      3.21 Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers
      3.29 Duron Harmon, S, Rutgers
      4.05 Josh Boyce, WR, TCU
      7.20 Michael Buchanan, DE, Illinois
      7.29 Steve Beauharnais, ILB, Rutgers

      2012 Draft
      1.21 Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
      1.25 Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama
      2.16 Tavon Wilson, FS, Illinois
      3.27 Jake Bequette, DE, Arkansas
      6.27 Nate Ebner, DB, Ohio State
      7.17 Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
      7.28 Jeremy Ebert, WR, Northwestern

      2011 Draft
      1.17 Nate Solder, OL, Colorado
      2.01 Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia
      2.24 Shane Vereen, RB, California
      3.09 Stevan Ridley, RB, LSU
      3.10 Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
      5.07 Marcus Cannon, OL, TCU
      5.28 Lee Smith, TE, Marshall
      6.29 Markell Carter, LB, Central Arkansas
      7.16 Malcolm Williams, DB, TCU

      2010 Draft
      1.27 McCourty, Devin, CB, Rutgers
      2.10 Gronkowski, Rob, TE, Arizona
      2.21 Cunningham, Jermaine, DE, Florida
      2.30 Spikes, Brandon, LB, Florida
      3.26 Price, Taylor, WR, Ohio
      4.15 Hernandez, Aaron, TE, Florida
      5.19 Mesko, Zoltan, P, Michigan
      6.36 Larsen, Ted, OL, North Carolina State
      7.01 Welch, Thomas, OL, Vanderbilt
      7.40 Deaderick, Brandon, DE, Alabama
      7.41 Weston, Kade, DT, Georgia
      7.43 Robinson, Zac, QB, Oklahoma State

      2009 Draft
      2.02 Chung, Patrick, SS, Oregon
      2.08 Brace, Ron, DT, Boston College
      2.09 Butler, Darius, CB, Connecticut
      2.26 Vollmer, Sebastian, OL, Houston
      3.19 Tate, Brandon, WR, North Carolina
      3.33 McKenzie, Tyrone, OLB, South Florida
      4.23 Ohrnberger, Rich, OG, Penn State
      5.34 Bussey, George, OT, Louisville
      6.25 Ingram, Jake, LS, Hawaii
      6.34 Pryor, Myron, DT, Kentucky
      7.23 Edelman, Julian, QB, Kent State
      7.25 Richard, Darryl, DT, Georgia Tech

      2008 Draft
      1.10 Jerod Mayo, OLB, Tennessee
      2.31 Terrence Wheatley, CB, Colorado
      3.15 Shawn Crable, OLB, Michigan
      3.31 Kevin O’Connell, QB, San Diego State
      4.30 Jonathan Wilhite, CB, Auburn
      5.18 Matt Slater, WR, UCLA
      6.31 Bo Ruud, OLB, Nebraska

      I’d take Jerry Reeses Draft ALL DAY EVERYDAY over that

      Some of you are SPOILED to the core and forget the Draft is a LOTTERY….You hit some you miss some we’ve hit more than miss…

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