After Odell Beckham Jr. exploded on to the NFL stage, Giants fans -- and the New York Giants themselves -- have to be feeling pretty good about how they have evaluated and drafted wide receivers. Over the past few years, the Giants have boasted some of the best receivers and most dangerous receiving corps in the NFL.
With receivers like Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Odell Beckham each putting up historic performances in turn, that feeling is pretty well justified. Even less accomplished receivers like Mario Manningham and Rueben Randle have been productive.
However, the advanced analytics and fantasy football website NumberFire disagrees with that feeling.
In a study of every team's drafts since the year 2000, Numberfire found that the Giants have actually been terrible. They found the fifth worst track record of drafting receivers since the turn of the century.
In the 16 years since 2000, the Giants have drafted 16 receivers, averaging one a year.
*Victor Cruz: 2010 - UDFA, 264 receptions, 3963 yards, 24 touchdowns
Numberfire doesn't offer evaluation on whether or not Victor Cruz's production counts toward the Giants. Because they use Jimmy Johnson's draft trade value chart to assign a value to draft choices. As an undrafted free agent, Cruz should have a massive positive value, considering he cost nothing, but he could be held out.
Looking at the Giants' drafted receivers, a couple things stand out. First, there is a drastic jump in the Giants' receiver production beginning with the 2007 draft. Between the 2000 and 2006 drafts, the Giants only drafted two really productive receivers: Tim Carter and Kevin Walter, and Walter never played for the Giants. After 2007 they only brought on two receivers that weren't productive.
Actually, it almost looks like two different teams. In a way, that's exactly right.
As we well know, current GM Jerry Reese took the reigns of the Giants' front office in 2007 from Ernie Accorsi. Since then, the Giants haven't invested as many picks on receivers as they did under Accorsi, but they have almost entirely been higher picks. It's only to be expected that the higher draft picks are more athletic and more talented, and should be more productive. The jump in production is too jarring to just be explained by greater draft investment though.
The other factor is likely quarterback play. From 2000 through 2006, the Giants fielded a young Eli Manning, Kurt Warner at the lowest point in his career, Kerry Collins, and Jesse Palmer. The 2007 season, particularly the post-season run to the Superbowl, is generally held to be the season where Eli Manning came of age as an NFL quarterback. After that season Eli's level of play, and the level of play of his receivers, raised markedly.
So which is it? Are the Giants terrible at drafting receivers, or are they good? Well the answer to that is "Yes". Taken as a whole, most of the Giants receivers drafted after Y2K haven't been productive. However, since Jerry Reese took control of the Giants' front office and Eli Manning has come of age as a franchise quarterback, the Giants' receivers have largely been tremendous.
How do you feel about the Giants' receiver selections?