New front office, new offensive star, same disappointing results.
The frustration level is at an all-time high for New York Giants fans as their anticipation for the 2018 season has been tempered by a disappointing start. Continued blocking issues with the offensive line have resulted in a very predictable offense that can be easily stopped on crucial third down situations.
On the other side of the ball, the defense hasn’t been able to replace two injured starters, Olivier Vernon and Eli Apple, in the lineup. Their absence has resulted in a non-existent pass rush, miscommunication in the secondary and untimely penalties that have extended drives that resulted in a score for the opposition. The loyal fanbase is tired witnessing the same disappointing results each week.
Poor Drafting a Culprit in New York Giants Roster Depth Issues
Who Is the Prime Suspect?
What’s more frustrating is there are no solutions on the current roster. So, who is the prime suspect for the demise of the Giants? Well, you have to look no further than former general manager Jerry Reese, who made too many mistakes in the draft selection process.
Look at the top teams contending for a Super Bowl title. Each have an abundance of talent on their roster. All are eager and ready to contribute when their number is called on. The NFL is a results-oriented business and the current configuration of the Giants roster doesn’t offer the depth required to contend. Poor drafting has led to them missing the playoffs five of the last six seasons.
The Ups and Downs of Reese’s Tenure
It seems like a lifetime ago when Reese was applauded for his draft proficiency as the majority of the picks selected were instrumental in the franchise’s last two championships. All seven players from his first draft class played a significant role in the unlikely victory over the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Second-year starters, Jason Pierre-Paul and Linval Joseph, were impactful performers in the Giants second Super Bowl win over the Pats.
However, the Giants depth issues began to arise following the Super Bowl XLVI victory as players left the organization without a suitable replacement in place. Reese’s draft selections looked over-matched and rarely made an impact in games.
Let’s take a closer look at these draft classes:
Reese’s Draft Classes Since 2012
- 2012 Draft Class: None of the seven players selected are still playing in the NFL as Rueben Randle had the most productive career with 188 receptions for 2,644 yards and 20 touchdowns. Reese had a bit of bad luck with David Wilson suffering a spinal injury that abruptly ended his playing career.
- 2013 Draft Class: Only two (Justin Pugh and Johnathan Hankins) draftees currently playing in the NFL, and neither are with the Giants. The biggest bust from the class is Damontre Moore who couldn’t generate the type of pass rush exhibited in his collegiate career.
- 2014 Draft Class: Five draftees (Odell Beckham Jr., Weston Richburg, Jay Bromley, Nat Berhe, and Devon Kennard) currently playing in the NFL, but only one (OBJ) remains with the Giants. The selection of Beckham Jr. stands alone in legendary status, but the toughest break was Bennett Jackson, who had the desire to play in the NFL, but multiple knee injuries prematurely ended his career.
- 2015 Draft Class: Four draftees (Ereck Flowers, Landon Collins, Geremy Davis, and Bobby Hart) currently playing in the NFL, but only two (Flowers and Collins) remain with the Giants. This draft class isn’t about the selection of Flowers and more about Reese drafting for a need instead of selecting the best player available. Sometimes, this approach works to your advantage, but the Giants had the opportunity to draft Todd Gurley who was taken with the next pick by the then St. Louis Rams. The toughest break came with Mykkele Thompson who tore his Achilles tendon in the first preseason game and could never return to the roster. The strangest selection was wasting a third-round pick on Owamagbe Odighizuwa who lacked the desire to play in the NFL.
- 2016 Draft Class: Three draftees (Eli Apple, Sterling Shepard and BJ Goodson) remain and all are currently playing with the Giants. Apple cannot be considered a bust as his improved play might be the biggest turnaround in the NFL this season. The toughest break in the draft class was Darian Thompson who could never stay healthy enough to remain in the lineup.
- 2017 Draft Class: Three draftees (Evan Engram, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Wayne Gallman) remain and all are playing with the Giants. Two other draftees (Davis Webb and Avery Moss) are still trying to earn a regular roster spot after being signed to another team’s practice squad.
Poor Drafting Has Caught Up With the Giants
Times are tough, and the sad reality is only nine of Reese’s 39 draft picks from 2012-17 are still with the Giants. Nine other draftees are still playing in the NFL, but none have made a significant contribution to their new team. Years of poor drafting have caught up with the Giants and sunk them to the bottom of the NFL barrel.
Reese was a victim of drafting players who had outstanding workouts at the NFL Combine, but they lacked the on-field production to warrant the round they were selected in. Too often, he reached for talent that never materialized and quickly faded from the roster.
Mistakes have been made, but the partnership of Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur are confident they can bring the Giants back to prominence in the NFL. The current rebuild might take another draft cycle before much-needed depth is added to the roster, thus creating a new chapter for the franchise.
Sometimes, you must look back before you can move forward.