FanPost

Giants Draft History and Future

Since a few people have mentioned this post lately, I decided to get around to posting it here. I originally posted it on Mocking the Draft earlier than expected when too many mocks over there annoyed me. I knew not to post draft discussions on here until the season was over. My main goal in putting this together was to show that the Giants have a well-developed drafting strategy and that the advice Giants fans were giving others was backed up by some factual history.

I decided to do an in-depth analysis of the Giants' draft history to back up my statements. I went back over the past two decades, with picks grouped into 1992-2001 or 2002-2011. This may seem like too long of a time to be relevant. But there have been only three GMs and four head coaches in that time. The GMs were hired from within, and three of the head coaches were assistants under Parcells in the 1980's. So the thought process has not varied greatly (although we did start the 90's with a 3-4 defense). Since the core staff has remained the same, I also think that it is important to see what mistakes were made in the past that may have affected recent drafts.

Here is the Giants draft history chart. The first row for each position is 2002-2011, the second row is 1992-2001. The column headings are the draft round. I added notes at the end of the row; comments generally are in comparison to the other decade. I do not list all of the players here since that would be too much. If you want to see the actual picks, I would suggest the Giants draft history page at nfl.com.

Number of Players Picked by Draft Round

Position

Decade

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th-7th

Comments

WR

02-11

1

3

3

5

College production = more success

92-01

2

2

2

1

Height + speed = failures

TE

02-11

1

2

1

Strong + athletic = better results

92-01

1

2

Big but not athletic = poor results

RB

02-11

2

2

Better results

92-01

2

2

1

1

Many big guys, failures

T

02-11

1

1

2

1

Performance related to draft spot

92-01

1

1

1

2

Performance related to draft spot

G/C

02-11

1

4

One high pick all-pro

92-01

2

3

DE

02-11

2

1

1

2

Size & athleticism

92-01

1

1

2

3

DT

02-11

1

2

1

1

Good results but for the 1st

92-01

1

1

3

Not given positional value

LB

02-11

1

1

4

7

Special teams players

92-01

1

3

5

Special teams players

CB

02-11

2

2

1

4

6'0"+ players

92-01

1

3

1

5

S

02-11

1

4

High when need great

92-01

1

1

2

High when need great

Positional Value

A few things jump out from this chart. Linebackers and interior OL are continually picked low. Wide receivers, cornerbacks, and defensive ends, the "skill" or "impact" players, are given high and numerous picks. I would say that the TE picks would be higher than league average. This shows the Giants value certain positions more than others. People are constantly commenting on how the Giants linebackers could be better. This has been true for the entire decade. THE LINEBACKERS ARE THEIR WEAKEST POSITION BECAUSE THEY PLANNED IT THAT WAY. The Giants would rather improve an already strong position that they value rather than a weak position that they do not value.

Linebackers

The Giants have not favored drafting college linebackers to develop as pro linebackers. The one 2nd round LB pick had a 1st round grade on their board - a BPA pick in a year they had two 2nd rounders. And the damn Rams beat us to Laurinaitis. They have often sought free agents for MLB - Mike Barrow, Mike Brooks, Antonio Pierce. They have drafted college DL for the LB position - Ryan Phillips, Corey Widmer, Reggie Torbor, Clint Sintim (the 2nd rounder), Adrian Tracy. Kiwanuka is playing SAM right now.

BPA

The Giants are also known as a team that takes the best player available. That does not mean that they will ignore needs. It means that they will surprise people with an unexpected pick in the top rounds of the draft. Prince Amukamara and Marvin Austin were not on the high need board last year. Jason Pierre-Paul, Matthias Kiwanuka, and even Justin Tuck were surprises at DE. Kerry Collins was doing fine at QB when they picked Manning. But they were picking at #4, so they felt they had to grab a franchise QB.

"The idea philosophically (is) take the best player who is on the board. That way you are not doing any reaching, you are not trying to make somebody up who doesn't belong there. And I think we have always done that. If you just take the first two picks in the draft (Prince Amukamara and Marvin Austin), we have two guys (who belong in) in the first round. And I think that speaks highly of itself. Do you solve all of your problems? Of course not." - Tom Coughlin, from "Giants add Speed and Size", 4/30/11, www.giants.com

"Size and Speed"

This is something that is often mentioned by Giants fans. The reason why is that these words have come directly out of Jerry Reese's mouth on a frequent basis. I am including a few relevant quotes and a comment to illustrate my point:

"We took a flyer on the guy [Da'rell Scott] because he is big and fast," Reese said. "He is fast, he had a terrific sophomore season. His production fell off, but late in the draft this is what you look for. You look for guys with some redeeming qualities. This guy is big and fast." - from "Giants Add Speed and Size", 4/30/2011, www.giants.com

Here is Jerry Reese on the 2006 draft, from "Jerry Reese Addresses the Draft", by Ken Palmer, 5/23/2006, www.nyg.scout .com:

"He [Gerris Wilkinson] was attractive to us because he was very smart, he has size and speed."

"He [Guy Whimper] just out-athletes everybody right now. He is big, he has long arms, he is fast."

"Gerrick [McPhearson] has good size and speed"

Quick, use three words to describe an offensive lineman:

"James Brewer, Indiana - height, weight, speed, offensive tackle. A bit of a late bloomer, but we think he has a tremendous upside." - "GM Reese on OT James Brewer", 4/30/2011, www.giants.com

And other professionals notice it too:

""The Giants bring a system that really wants to have big guys that are fast," said former NFL general manager Mike Lombardi, an analyst for the NFL Network." - from "Giants vs. Eagles: Eli Manning, Giants aim to end six-game slide against rivals", The Star-Ledger, by Zach Berman, 9/25/2011

A look at the draft picks shows the type of favored player. Jason Pierre-Paul is a great example - one year of major college ball, but look at those backflips and wingspan. In the 2011 draft, they selected Da'rell Scott, Jacquian Williams, Prince Amukamara, and Marvin Austin, all whom turned in great 40-yard dash times for their positions, and none are small for their position. Austin put up the second best combine bench number for DT. James Brewer had a great 40 times for a large 6'8" man, the players his size that beat him were 1st and 2nd round picks. In 2010, they drafted Mitch Petrus (top bench in combine) and Linval Joseph (second-best combine bench at DT). Phillip Dillard had the third-best 40 time at the combine for MLBs/ILBs. In 2009, the speedy Travis Beckum placed first in the bench press among TEs (yeah, I could not believe this either). Probably would have been first in the 40 if he had run. William Beatty finished fifth in the 40 and sixth in the bench among tackles.

Learning From Mistakes / Adapting Over Time

The draft position of RBs and DTs flipped between decades. Poor RB draft results in the 1990's may be partially to blame. In the 1990's and early 2000's they favored WRs that were tall and fast. None of them became good players. In recent years it has been mixed. There have been small speedy guys like Sinorice Moss and Jerel Jernigan, to larger players like Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden, to route runners with no distinguishing physical traits or abilities like Steve Smith and Victor Cruz (undrafted). Except for Moss, picked several years ago, all of them had college production. The good college producers in the 1990's (Amani Toomer and Ike Hilliard) had the greatest success as well.

Thinking Ahead

Many of the comments and analysis done on the mock drafts on this site and everywhere else are based upon talent levels at various positions and age. Sometimes oversized contracts or known free agency situations are considered. But it is rare to attempt to analyze needs and free agency for future years. The Giants do that in their drafts. Prince Amukamara was seen as a pure BPA pick but the Giants #2 and #3 CBs are free agents now. James Brewer was drafted last year because Kareem McKenzie completed the last year of his contract. Linval Joseph was a 2nd rounder drafted a year before Barry Cofield hit free agency. The Giants like to slowly develop players. The last Giants rookie to start more than half of the games in his rookie season was Aaron Ross in 2007. The last to win a starting job out of training camp was Barry Cofield in 2006.

Conference Favoritism?

In the 1990's the Giants were well known as a Big 10 team. Looking at the first four rounds, the Giants drafted players from the Big 10 twice as much as any other conference. In the last 10 years, that has changed. The Giants have drafted players from the ACC twice as much as any other conference. Another trend that has emerged is a willingness to spend high picks on smaller school players. In the last 10 years, they have picked players from minor conferences in the first four rounds twice as much as the next highest major conference after the ACC. The way scouting has progressed over time, this may be true of the NFL as a whole.

Character

There has been a lot of talk here in past years about the Giants being a "character" team. While I think that is true, it is not necessarily in relation to the draft. The Giants have been willing to take chances on some players with minor (stupid things college kids do) infractions that have fallen in the draft past the slot their talent deserves. Marvin Austin, Mario Manningham, and Ahmad Bradshaw fit this category. As a result I would believe that all of the Ohio State players are on their board. I think the character reputation comes more from the top of their organization. The owners display a lot of class. The same for the management and coaching staffs. There are no negative comments, there is no gossip. They like to promote people from within the organization. They are generally patient with their staff. The players are allowed more freedom to act as they choose. However, the one thing I would add is that the Giants have shown an interest in drafting and signing players from good academic schools. They have two Ivy Leaguers right now, tops in the NFL, and have had players from Duke, Northwestern, William & Mary, etc. on the roster.

How This Applies to the 2012 Draft

The Giants have needs. Our starting MLB missed last season with an ACL tear and Kiwanuka may eventually be moved back to DE. But the idea that they would draft two LBs early is completely contrary to their draft history and philosophy. More important to the draft is that their 3rd WR and two important CBs are unrestricted free agents. The Giants have a bunch of late-round draft picks and undrafted players at linebacker that show promise. They will sooner roll the dice on one of them being successful than use an early pick on a linebacker instead of a player at a position that has a greater influence on the outcome of a game.

So in the first 2-3 rounds, instead of asking "What are the Giants needs", you should be asking "What kind of player fits the Giants mold? Who has size and speed? Which player is a potential game changer?"

FanPosts are written by community members. This is simply a way for community members to express opinions too long to be contained in a comment.

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