In a segment on 'The Opening Drive' on SiriusXM Radio, former Giants offensive lineman David Diehl had a few choice words for his former teammate Jason Pierre-Paul. In light of the defensive-end's fireworks accident, Diehl decided to speak his mind regarding the admittedly up-and-down career of Pierre-Paul.
"This is his sixth year. This isn't his rookie year. If they feel and you need somebody to watch you going into your sixth year because of immaturity, yeah, that's throwing up red flags for everybody all around. Why would you invest that long-term deal into somebody that you're not 100 percent confident that day-in and day-out they're gonna punch the clock [...] and when they leave at the end of the day, they're not the first guys leaving."
Diehl raises some valid points. While Pierre-Paul has behaved himself to-date, nobody outside the organization really knows what he's like to work with on a day-to-day basis. The fireworks incident may have thrown up a warning sign that perhaps the 26-year-old Florida native doesn't have the image of the model citizen that was afforded to him prior to this accident.
We see this a lot with players when an off-field incident occurs. Suddenly, whispers circulate and reports materialize about distrust between so-and-so and the management. In that light, Diehl's comments aren't so surprising because we have all become so used to the pattern that emerges with these kinds of events. However, what was interesting was Diehl's attitude towards the end of his JPP rant.
"Let's face it here, the biggest thing of all this, it's your hand. As an offensive lineman, as a defensive lineman, that is your most valuable asset that you can have on the football field. The way that you can punch, the way that you can grab, the way that you can pull, the way that you have to do all those things to get inside hand-leverage and control another football player. It's all about your hand placement and what you're able to do. If he has all these burns, if he's getting a skin graft, if he has nerve damage, that is possibly a career ending injury because if you come back and it's never the same [...], if you can't do all of those things with your hands, you're not going to be successful in the NFL."
Pierre-Paul was deemed a raw product coming out of college and it appeared as though the Giants' front office was okay with that because he could sit behind Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck to learn for a year. He was a prospect that earned his spot at the top of the draft board, not through mental sharpness, but through pure physical skill. Diehl was on the opposite end of that spectrum. While Pierre-Paul was selected in the first round, Diehl wasn't selected until the fifth. He played his entire career with the Giants but shifted to a multitude of positions. It would be tough for a player who had to overcome a lack of natural talent see someone of Pierre-Paul's pedigree squander the opportunity to be one of the best in the game.