New York Giants NFL Draft Strategy Could Prove Costly
Feb 25, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Giants senior vice president and general manager Jerry Reese speaks to the media during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese often drafts the best player available, but that strategy isn’t without it’s flaws. 

Jerry Reese has maintained a consistent draft philosophy since he took over as general manager of the New York Giants in January of 2007–take the best player available. That philosophy has produced highly productive players over the years like Odell Beckham Jr., Landon Collins, Justin Pugh and others. However, that same decade old philosophy also has its drawbacks.

After spending over $200 million in free agency during the 2016 offseason, the Giants returned to relevance and made the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Now, only a few pieces are left to complete what could be a championship puzzle, and Reese’s draft this past April showed he’s still loyal to a philosophy that prioritizes talent over need.

Evan Engram is likely to make an immediate impact and gives the Giants offense another dimension. A pass catching tight end was a major need and Reese, to his credit, addressed it early. Let’s give him a pass in round one.

Dalvin Tomlinson also could make an immediate impact on the defense. After Jonathan Hankins left in free agency, there was a hole on the defensive line. However, addressing this position could have been done later in the draft or through free agency, say, maybe a guy like Jared Odrick? The offensive line has been the biggest issue on the team for several years, and the Giants haven’t selected anyone higher than the sixth round to address the problem area.

Furthermore, whoever stepped in as the Hankins replacement would benefit from numerous one on one match-ups playing next to three pro bowl caliber defensive linemen.

Why was Tomlinson taken over an offensive lineman? While there’s little doubt that this past draft wasn’t deep with offensive line prospects, a second round pick is still a premium selection with good value at most positions. Reese told the media on Monday that, “He was the highest guy on our board (at the time of the pick).”

Doesn’t that reasoning sound familiar?

When the third round was upon the front office, California’s Davis Webb was the selection. It’s likely that Webb won’t play for two or three years, barring an injury to Eli Manning. If the Giants really believe Webb is the signal caller of the future, the pick is justified. However, with a roster that’s ready to win now, was taking a player several years away from seeing the field really necessary?

The offensive line was still in need of an upgrade while linebacker was also an area of concern. Most of the Giants’ current linebackers are free agents after the 2017 season, not to mention that they haven’t had a pro bowler at the position since 2008.

Typically, Reese informed the media that (Webb), “He was easily the highest guy on our board at the time when we picked him.”

Yet again, need was ignored in favor of the best player available.

During round four, the Giants took Clemson running back Wayne Gallman. An accomplished and physical runner, Gallman gives the Giants a power back they have lacked in years past. However, with four running backs already on the roster, it was a questionable pick.

The Giants have three good cornerbacks on their roster (Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) in what is one of the better secondaries in the NFL. However, if one of them were to go down, they don’t have much depth otherwise. That was visible when DRC left last year’s Wild Card Playoff Game against Green Bay. The New York Giants won’t face many passing attacks as lethal as Green Bay’s but they will face similar opposition in the postseason if they want to live up to championship expectations.

A cornerback in round four made much more sense than a tailback. This draft was very deep at corner, evidenced by Iowa’s Desmond King not being selected until round four, just as one example.

Reese has won a Super Bowl and produced his fair share of pro bowlers. However, if team needs continue to limit New York’s potential, he can look to his decade old philosophy as the culprit.

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