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For Dave Gettleman and the Giants, pressure is on to execute their plan

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GM says this draft is “thick” with talent in the first four rounds

Dave Gettleman
Photo by Ed Valentine

Everything the New York Giants have done since the mid-point of last season seems to have pointed to this moment. To the 2019 NFL Draft.

The Giants have traded away talented players like Odell Beckham Jr., Damon Harrison, Olivier Vernon and Eli Apple, shedding a lot of salary along the way. They watched a talented core player in Landon Collins leave via free agency.

They have added some talent as well, players like wide receiver Golden Tate, safety Jabrill Peppers and guard Kevin Zeitler.

Mostly, though, the moves they have made allowed them to collect draft capital. They enter next week with a king’s ransom of 12 picks, tied with the New England Patriots for most selections in this draft. Two of those are in the first round, sixth and 17th overall.

GM Dave Gettleman has said throughout the offseason that collecting those picks was part of the plan — you know, the plan some people have not been certain he actually has.

Gettleman and the Giants are set up in the position they hoped to be in. A spot where they have an opportunity to collect a stable of players who can help change the direction of the franchise, can help point them toward the sustained success they seek.

Now, it is simply up to Gettleman and his staff to execute. To get difference makers on defense. To add talent in the secondary. To add to the offensive line. To be right if he chooses to spend an early pick on a quarterback.

Gettleman, though, isn’t buying the idea that the stakes are higher for the Giants than they were last year, on in any other draft in which he has participated. I asked him about that, and here is how he responded:

“There’s pressure getting it right every year. Every year,” Gettleman said. “Last year we had five picks, that’s all we had. There’ s no less pressure with 12 than there was five.

“You just kinda roll with it. That’s kinda what I do.”

“Having 12 picks is crazy”

The various trades made and the compensatory picks they gained leave them with a dozen selections in the draft. “It’s a lot of picks,” Gettleman said in a Captain Obvious statement.

“If we get 12 starters out of this draft, man I’d have a helluva time on Cape Cod,” Gettleman joked.

Reality is, Gettleman couldn’t really have made it clearer that he doesn’t expect to make 12 selections in the draft.

He said the Giants draft board is “basically set,” and the top half of the draft is “thick” with talent.

“We have more players rated as first, second, third and fourth-round values than I’ve had in any draft” as a GM,” he said. “In terms of the volume of players on the board this is the thickest.”

Gettleman pointed to offensive tackle, wide receiver and defensive back as positions he thought were deep all the way through the draft.

Wheeling and dealing

The Giants go from pick 37 early in the second round to pick 95 at the end of the third. That will be a loooong wait, and both Gettleman’s history and his words show that he probably won’t sit there and do nothing while watching nearly 60 players come off the board.

“Look at my history, I’ve traded up a number of times,” Gettleman said. “We’re going to do what we need to.

“If the situation calls for it, if there is a guy there we feel can really help us and it’s a few picks in front and we’re not comfortable with the team in front of us. If we feel the need we’ll make the move.”

Those two first-round picks

Gettleman said having two first-round picks was “fun “ and that he was excited about it.

If you want a hint about his plan at No. 6, he said he felt there was no chance that the entire group of defensive players the Giants consider the premier ones in the class will all be selected before the Giants pick in that spot.

What about the 17th pick?

“It’s a really good draft. If nothing happens, if we don’t move, sitting at 17 we’re going to get a really good player. Not gonna panic, it’s gonna be a good player.”

As he has often throughout the offseason, Gettleman returned to the idea of value.

“It’s still about value. It’s who’s going to give you the most value at this spot. You start reaching for need, you do that, you get into trouble,” he said. “The priority is to select the best players.

“First second third round, that’s what you’re looking for. Guys that can walk on the field and help you win now.”

Final thoughts

Gettleman deflected the pressure question, but there is little doubt this draft is critical to the build/rebuild/revamp of the Giants, whatever you want to call it.

In a deep draft where there appears to be considerable talent in a number of areas where the Giants could use the help they need to come out of the draft with some impact players. Especially on defense.

If the Giants execute and add quality players Gettleman’s plan will look good and he might be able to plan his exit to Cape Cod on his terms. If the Giants mess this up they will have missed a terrific opportunity to change the direction of a franchise that has been spinning its wheels for too long. As for the GM, he might find someone else setting the terms of when he relocates to Cape Cod.