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Marc Ross: Russell Wilson could have been a Giant

Former NYG executive says not properly evaluating Wilson was his biggest mistake with the Giants

Wild Card Round - Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The last decade of New York Giants’ football might look much different if former Giants VP of Player Evaluation Marc Ross could have a do-over.

Asked on a recent episode of ‘The Ringer NFL Show’ what one thing he would like to change about his 11-year tenure with the Giants, Ross said he would have pushed for the Giants to select quarterback Russell Wilson in Round 2 of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Ross said then-Giants’ scout Ryan Jones believed that Wilson was “the next Drew Brees.” Owing to Wilson’s 5-foot-11 stature and the fact that there were no current examples of players that size being big-time NFL quarterbacks, Ross and the Giants didn’t buy what Jones was trying to sell them.

“The signs were there. They really were. We just missed them. We just completely missed them on Russell Wilson. Everybody did,” Ross said. ‘If I had a chance to do it all over again definitely would have tried a little harder to fight to get Russ in the second round there for the Giants … it woulda changed the course of a lot of things.”

The Giants took wide receiver Reuben Randle at No. 63, and Randle had a less than stellar career. Wilson has made the Pro Bowl in seven of nine seasons as one of the game’s most outstanding quarterbacks.

Considering that the Giants had just won the 2011 Super Bowl and that Eli Manning was entering his age 31 season in 2012 and coming a second Suepr Bowl MVP, there is no way to know if the Giants actually would have drafted Wilson had Reese really tried to sell GM Jerry Reese, coach Tom Coughlin and co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch.

What, though, if that had actually come to pass? How long would Manning have remained a Giant? How much differently would the last few years have turned out?

That’s just something tantalizing to think about for a bit, maybe getting your mind off arguing about who the Giants should take at No. 11 this time around.

What about this draft?

Ross also had an opinion about that.

“They need a pass rush … I think that they have to address that in the draft … I don’t really think they have any sort of game-changer in there. I think they’ll look for that right there,” Ross said.

If they go elsewhere?

“I still think their OLine needs help, too,” he said. “They’re more confident in those young guys [already on the roster] than what I see as an outsider evaluating them, but I think they believe in them.”

“Make or break”

Ross opined that 2021 is a “make or break’ season for third-year quarterback Daniel Jones. He’s probably not wrong.

“They did all they could signing [Kenny] Golladay and Kyle Rudolph,” Ross said. “This is it for Daniel Jones, this is the make or break year for him.”

Admitting what we already knew

There has long been a belief that the Giants screwed up Round 1 of the 2016 NFL Draft, when they ended up selecting cornerback Eli Apple. Ross admitted as much.

“One year we wanted to take Leonard Floyd and he had some medical issues that we kinda had to dig in deeper on and I had sent one of my scouts down there [to Georgia] a few times, thought it was clandestine but all the information gut out there and I think we had some people in the building, too, leaking information, too. That’s when the Bears traded up over us to take Leonard Floyd,” Ross said.

The Bears moved to No. 8. To make matters worse, offensive tackle Jack Conklin was Plan B. The Tennessee Titans jumped the Giants to select Conklin.

“We had a lot of interest in him, too, and the Titans traded up over us to take him that year as well,” Ross said. “So, we kinda got bit that year.”

— Hat tip to @PLeonardNYDN for the find on this one.