While, at times, viewed as mediocre when it comes to selecting players in the NFL Draft, New York Giants’ general manager Jerry Reese has made his fair share of picks — five, in particular, were steals on his part.After yet another first round exit in the 2006 NFL Playoffs, the New York Giants decided to go into a different direction. With Ernie Accorsi moving out of a full-time football role, the Giants opted to bring in a new face to run the franchise — Jerry Reese. The Giants brought in Reese to be the team’s general manager and many were uncertain as to what he would bring to the table.
Reese though proved himself early on, and in the biggest way.
By dominating and stealing the 2007 NFL Draft, while staying patient with Tom Coughlin (who was on the hot seat going into the year), Reese helped facilitate a Super Bowl season to the big apple. Reese’s selective drafting mentality was the biggest factor in that run. Reese though also helped put together another Super Bowl winning team in 2011. Both runs were special, but 2007, in particular, stood out. However, the 2007 draft wasn’t the only time Reese made shrewd selections.
In fact, in his 10-year tenure with the Giants, Reese has made key draft selections, many that have turned out as steals. Here are the top five:
5) Weston Richburg
After they underwent their first ever losing season in his time with them, Reese and the Giants were able to make some shrewd selections in the 2014 draft one being Weston Richburg.
In the second round of the draft, Reese and the Giants selected offensive lineman Weston Richburg from Colorado State with the 43rd pick. After drafting Justin Pugh in the first round the year before, selecting Richburg helped add some more size to the Giants offensive line.
From the get-go, Richburg was a presence on their line, but more importantly has been durable for the Giants. In his three years with them, Richburg has missed just one game for the Giants. His ability to remain healthy and stand tall on the inside has been a valuable asset for the Giants. His presence has also been key due to the fact that the Giants line as a whole has been relatively disappointing in year’s past.
His ability to start at center on a consistent basis, while holding his own against opposing defensive lines’ makes Richburg the Giants most important lineman, as well as a great selection by Jerry Reese.
4) Sterling Shepard
Throughout the course of the 2015 season, a common theme arose about the Giants West Coast offense — it was a two man show. Outside of Odell Beckham Jr. and Eli Manning, the Giants struggled to lean on anyone else for production. While the two were lethal, it was obvious that Beckham and Manning alone couldn’t lead the way going forward. As a result of that notion, the Giants found a new target for Manning in the draft.
In the second round of the draft, Reese and company selected wide receiver Sterling Shepard from Oklahoma with the 40th pick. Drafting Shepard was viewed as a way to help open things up for Beckham and returning wideout Victor Cruz. While not elite, Shepard did give the Giants another much needed threat for Manning and friends.
Reeling in 65 passes, Shepard finished the year with 683 receiving giving yards, to go along with eight touchdowns. While not quite to the level of Beckham, Shepard helped give Manning and the Giants’ offense another weapon on the outside. Also, given the addition of Brandon Marshall this offseason, Shepard should get attract less attention, allowing him to get open more often.
Shepard’s well rounded rookie campaign, as well as the potential to improve in the upcoming season, make him a great draft selection by Reese.
3) Odell Beckham Jr.
In addition to drafting Shepard, Reese has made another key selection for the Giants’ offense in his tenure with them — LSU wideout Odell Beckham Jr.
In the first round of the draft, Reese and the Giants selected Beckham with the 12th pick — a selection that has paid off in a number of ways.
Despite missing the first four games of his rookie year, Beckham has taken the city of New York by storm with his freakish talent. Ranging from his cheetah-like wheels, to his ability to catch anything in his general vicinity, Beckham has showcased greatness in his three years with the Giants.
From 2014-16, Beckham has recorded a combined 4,122 receiving yards, to go along with 35 touchdowns. His impact on the Giants goes beyond the stat sheet though.
While he is their clear go-to threat on the outside, Beckham plays with a passion like no other on the field. While nearly everyone gets on him for his temper, Beckham’s “attitude” is for the right reasons. He cares about winning and wants to do whatever it takes to do so. Anything short of that is unacceptable for him — a mentality taken for granted and out of context way too much.
In his three years with the Giants, Beckham has amazed the football world with his play on the field, as well as his ability to operate with an unstoppable motor. Being that he was selected with just the 12th pick, Beckham was a complete steal for Reese and the Giants.
2) Landon Collins
In the first round of the NFL Draft, the New York Giants attempted to help aid their offensive line by drafting left tackle Ereck Flowers (a selection which hasn’t panned out as expected). Going into day two of the draft though, the Giants made a key trade to help move up their second round pick.
Before the night began, the Giants traded up to get the 33rd pick in the draft. With that pick they selected Alabama safety Landon Collins. Collins, once projected to go in the first round, fell in the Giants lap in the second round, and trading up for him has and will continue to do wonders for their defense.
In just two years with the team, Collins has changed the mentality of the Giants defense.
In his rookie year, Collins led the Giants in total tackles, making his presence felt in their secondary. Leading the defense in total tackles (112), Collins quickly rose to be a leader on the defensive side of the ball for the Giants. The ensuing year, Collins continued to progress, and rise to stardom.
In the 2016 season, Collins rose to true stardom. Leading the Giants yet again in total tackles (125), Collins continued to play like a chicken with its head cut off. He also helped out in regards to one on one coverage and getting after the quarterback.
Picking off five passes, for a total 72 yards, as well as returning one of those interceptions for a touchdown, Collins was a threat in one on one coverage as well. He was also third on the team in sacks with 4.0. His elite play on the defensive end helped Collins appear in his first ever Pro Bowl, and also finish as the runner up for defensive player of the year.
Collins has progressed into one of the best, if not the best safety in the NFL, as he’s blossomed rather quickly into a complete and well rounded force in the Giants’ secondary. Based on the fact that he selected him in the second round, Reese made a phenomenal choice in drafting Collins.
1) Ahmad Bradshaw
Going into his first year with the Giants, Reese made a number of key draft picks in the early rounds, but also the later ones – one being Ahmad Bradshaw.
In the seventh round of the draft, Reese and the Giants selected the Marshall product (Bradshaw) with the 250th pick. The seventh rounder was viewed as a guy who would fight for a spot in training camp, but Bradshaw ended up making the 53 man roster, and also making a career out of the Giants.
In his rookie year, while not an overwhelming force, Bradshaw played a key role for the Giants. With veteran back Derrick Ward going down for the year, the Giants needed Bradshaw to step up and fill the void behind starting back Brandon Jacobs. Bradshaw was able to do just that, and also produce in the playoffs.
In the 2007 playoffs, the Giants split downs with both Jacobs and Bradshaw. In the downs he was granted, while not many, Bradshaw was able to contribute to the Giants’ Super Bowl run. Averaging 4.3 yards per carry behind Jacobs, and also run for a key touchdown in the NFC Championship versus Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers, Bradshaw found his niche in delivering the Giants their first Super Bowl victory in 17 years.
In the ensuing years, Bradshaw was able to break out.
After playing third fiddle in 2008, Bradshaw broke out in the 2009 season. In 2009, Bradshaw finally got some more consistent snaps, and began to make a name for himself. Rushing for a career high 778 yards, he finally broke out to be a go-to option for the Giants run game, but also their passing attack. Finishing the year with 207 receiving yards, Bradshaw became adept to helping facilitate for both the Giants run and pass game. In 2010, that two-way play only progressed.
After finally getting the starting nod, Bradshaw ran for 1,235 yards in the 2010 season, and reeled in 314 receiving yards – both career highs. Then, he helped facilitate yet another Super Bowl title for the Giants, despite dealing with injuries throughout the year.
While he did miss four games in the regular season, Bradshaw was still able to rush for a career high nine touchdowns and deliver the game-winning touchdown for the Giants versus the Patriots in the Super Bowl, despite potentially having other reservations.
The following year, he was a presence yet again for the Giants. Rushing for 1,015 yards and finishing the year with 245 receiving yards, Bradshaw was able to contribute to the Giants offensive attack. After the year though, he was cut in a movement inspired to get more youth at the running position.
At the end of the day, Bradshaw was a great Giant, and one who should be remembered as generations go on. His grit and ability to serve as a power back, despite his 5-foot-9 frame make Bradshaw a Giant great. Given the fact that he was a seventh round pick, and a force for them, Bradshaw is easily Reese’s best draftee in his tenure with the Giants.