Dan Graziano of ESPN.com stirred up controversy yesterday by challenging the draft record of New York Football Giants' general manager Jerry Reese. Graziano covers the Giants for the sport network's website, and he believes that because of the two super bowl championships that the team has won under Reese's tenure; he is normally given a pass by the fan base.
"There are New York Giants fans reading this who aren't sure how to feel about this year's draft but assume it'll be all right because they trust GM Jerry Reese as a good drafter. They shouldn't. Because the evidence says he's not," Graziano wrote.
There has been much attention placed on the Giants' front office, and Reese in particular, in the wake of New York's second consecutive non-playoff season. Traditionally considered one of the NFL's best run operations, the G-men stumbled to an 0-6 start last year, essentially eliminating the team from the playoffs before the halfway point of the season.
Giants' co-owner John Mara, in his year end press conference, called the team's offense "broken", a term that some considered too strong. In Mara's defense, the team ranked at the bottom of the league in offensive points per game and overall yards on offense, as well as being dead last in the NFL with 44 turnovers, according to SportingCharts.com. In addition, quarterback Eli Manning threw for a career high 27 interceptions and was sacked 39 times in 2013.
Reese's 2013 draft produced only one starter, Justin Pugh, and three defensive works in progress: Damontre Moore, Johnathan Hankins and Cooper Taylor. Running back Michael Cox did secure playing time, but only because of a plethora of injuries at his position. Quarterback Ryan Nassib held a clipboard for the entire year, after he was unable to unseat journeyman Curtis Painter for the backup quarterback role. And offensive guard Eric Herman was cut and ended up on Big Blue's practice squad.
Typically, poor win-loss results are often blamed on the coaching staff, but there appears to be a consensus forming that the roster had been devoid of talent enough to make a championship run last year. Graziano's theory seems to be supported by the fact that the Giants have been one of the most active teams in free agency, since the NFL season ended.
"There's miss after miss at key spots in early and middle rounds, and Giants fans know their names: Clint Sintim, Ramses Barden, Phillip Dillard, Marvin Austin, James Brewer. Since Bradshaw in 2007, there are no late-round gems who've surprised and become major contributors. Some of it is because of injury. Some can be blamed on those charged with player development. But this is a results business, and for whatever reason -- too many risks, too much trust in poor evaluations, whatever -- Reese hasn't delivered the kinds of draft results that help build strong organizations," Graziano opines.
Fans weighed in on Graziano's article with several strong comments in favor of Reese's record as general manager, but if the Giants go through another playoff-less campaign, the fans' patience will undoubtedly be tested.