Jerry Reese is just a couple hours away from hearing hordes of Giants fans packed in Radio City Music Hall either give him a standing ovation, or boo his first round pick straight out of the building.
Either way, Reese won’t care.
Since 2007 Reese has attacked the draft one way. His way. Trust your scouting department and pick the best player available on your board. This is a philosophy that he developed working under Tom Boisture, George Young and Ernie Accorsi while coming up through the scouting ranks. It has served him well for the most part.
Back in 2011, Reese was widely considered one of the better general managers in football. Two Super Bowl titles on your watch will do that to one’s reputation. His first two draft classes help build the foundation for two championship teams in 2007 and 2011.
But in recent years, Reese’s draft classes have been mostly ineffective and often injured. As of last season, 13 of Reese’s draft picks since 2009 were currently out of football and two were playing for other teams. The third and fourth round picks of these drafts, which should make up the backbone of the Giants current roster, haven’t produced one starter. That’s shocking.
Needless to say Reese has had his share of disappointments on draft day lately. Every general manager does, but the alarming number of players drafted on his watch that haven’t meet their full potential, or can’t stay healthy, is adding up.
Reese has bought himself time though. Winning does that. And while some of his drafts have been less than stellar the past few years he has still managed to mix in enough useful parts via the draft, or free agency, to keep this organization very competitive.
Below are Jerry Reese’s 5 best draft picks and 5 worst draft picks since he took over the general manager position in 2007.
5 Best Picks:
1.) Jason Pierre Paul – South Florida (2010 Draft / 1st round, 15th pick): The sky is the limit for this special talent. When healthy JJP is one of the most disruptive forces in the NFL. He’s a player that must be game planned around each week by opposing offenses. His athletic ability, coupled with his burst off the line of scrimmage, make him almost unblockable at times. He helped led the Giants through the 2011 season with 16.5 sacks as the Giants went on and won Super Bowl 46. That’s exactly what you want out of a first round draft choice. Although injuries slowed this freak of nature last season he still has a chance to be extremely special going forward. He is the only pro bowl player in Giants’ last 38 draft picks.
2.) Ahmad Bradshaw – Marshall (2007 Draft / 7th round, 250th pick): Rarely do 7th round picks make such an impact in the NFL, but that’s exactly what Bradshaw has done. In his six years playing with Big Blue, Bradshaw rushed for 4,232 yards and 32 touchdowns. His late season play in 2007 as a rookie helped the Giants reach and win Super Bowl 42. Bradshaw also scored the game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl 46. He left the Giants in 2013 to play in Indianapolis.
3.) Hakeem Nicks – North Carolina (2009 Draft / 1st round, 29th pick): Nicks was a large target with even larger hands that could stretch the field for Eli Manning. Nicks went over 1,000 yards twice in his five years in New York and scored 27 touchdowns. While Nick’s stock plummeted in recent years he was a major cog in what the Giants did offensively. His performance in the 2011 playoffs was unbelievable. In the Giants four playoff games he caught 28 passes for 444 yards and four touchdowns. His 28 receptions and 444 yards rank him second all time for a single season playoff in NFL history. Nicks left the Giants this off-season and signed with Indianapolis.
4.) Linvel Joseph – East Carolina (2010 draft / 2nd round, 46th pick): Joseph quietly became one of the better players on this team during his four-year tenure with the Giants. He was a durable player that missed only one game over the last three seasons and started 15 games in 2011 when the Giants won the Super Bowl. He had become a solid force inside against the run and had the ability to rush the passer. Joseph was signed by Minnesota this off-season where I believe his best football is still in front of him.
5.) Justin Pugh – Syracuse (1st round, 19th pick): My pick of Pugh is more based on a projection of where I think his career will go. After starting every game as a rookie last season, Pugh is ready to make a jump. He flourished in the second half of the season and only gave up 5 sacks in 2013. He has 10-year starter written all over him.
5 Worst Picks:
1.) Ryan Nassib – Syracuse (2013 Draft / 4th round, 110th pick): Normally I would never give up on a player with such a short sample size in the league, but this pick made no sense for the Giants. Eli Manning is one of the most durable quarterbacks in league history. Even if Nassib earned a backup spot behind Eli he wasn’t going to play. With all the needs on this roster at that time taking Nassib wasted a quality 4th round pick.
2.) Clint Sintim – Virginia (2009 Draft / 2nd round, 45th pick): Sintim came from playing linebacker in a 3-4 defense at Virginia and was asked to change to a 4-3 with New York. It never worked. Sintim never seemed comfortable with the transition. A second knee injury ended up costing him his career after just two seasons.
3.) Marvin Austin – North Carolina (2011 Draft / 2nd round, 52nd pick): There were red flags all over this kid coming out of UNC. A projected top 10 pick at one time, Austin slid to the second round in the 2011 draft after questions arose about his character. Austin was suspended for his senior season after receiving improper benefits. New York gambled on Austin and lost. His work ethic was constantly questioned by Tom Coughlin and he was injured the majority of his time in New York.
4.) Ramses Barden – Cal Poly (2009 Draft / 3rd round, 85th pick): The next Plaxico Burress? Hardly. Barden, who showed small flashes of talent during his time with Big Blue, was primarily a backup during his Giant tenure. He was used in goal line packages early because of his size but never really found a role with this team. Worse, the Giants moved up six spots in the third round of the draft to select Barden giving up a 3rd and 5th round pick. Barden sat out 2013 before signing with Buffalo in January.
5.) Matt Dodge – East Carolina (2010 Draft / 7th round, 221st pick): Dodge makes the list simply because he was apart of one of the most infuriating moments in Giants history. “Miracle at the Meadowlands.” Just kick the ball out of bounds and the Giants probably win that game and make the playoffs. Instead a 10 win team sat at home during the playoffs.
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