New York Giants: Inside Look at GM Reese's Draft Philosophy
In regards to Reese’s drafting philosophy on linebackers, the only time he has drafted a 1st or 2nd round LB was when he drafted Clint Sintim (second round, 2009, after Nicks in the first round). Reese historically, drafted linebackers in the mid rounds or via free agency. A case could be made that Reese is picking talent first. DE wasn't a perceived need by many when JPP was selected in the first round. Prince Amukamara was selected a year later when he fell into the Giants lap. So if you believe that Reese is all about drafting the best available player, well the middle rounds should prove otherwise.From the 3rdto 5throunds, there has only been one DE/DL selected (Jay Alford), who never lived up to expectations for the Giants when he was with them. Reese left pass-rushing off his list of middle rounder’s, choosing to go for glaring needs instead.
3 of the 14 picks were used for WR's. Ramses Barden was a stretch, selected as a low risk because he was taken the same year as Nicks. The upside for him has always been his size and fluidity in and out of breaks. The vote is still out on him; he has a tough time making the game-day roster because he isn't very effective on special teams. As previously mentioned, Manningham was selected in the 3rd round. Jerrell Jernigan was drafted last year for several reasons: depth, as a kick-return specialist and to compete for the third WR spot behind Manningham and Nicks. Remember, nobody knew that Victor Cruz would emerge the way he did. Reese has drafted 4 linebackers in the middle rounds, which is the most of any other position. It has been the position the Giants need the most help in since Reese has taken over at GM. Jonathan Goff succeeded Antonio Pierce, when he retired. Phillip Dillard (4th round 2010) was released last year after being outplayed by the class of 2011 Linebackers in the preseason.
The next largest group was 3 offensive linemen, a growing need as the Giants OL has aged and has slowly started falling off traumatically. Mitch Petrus (5th round, 2010) and James Brewer (4th round, 2011) will both compete for starting jobs in 2012, while Will Beatty (3rd round, 2009) began the '11 season as the starting left tackle. Interesting fact is that 7 of 14 picks at the perennial need positions of LB and OL. Add two TE's (Kevin Boss and Travis Beckum), and that makes 9 picks of direct need over the theory of "best player available."
The portion of the draft where Reese has excelled the most is in the later rounds. In his first season as GM of the New York Giants (2007), Reese used his 7th round selection to take Marshal RB Ahmad Bradshaw. In last year's draft, Reese added Tyler Sash (S), Greg Jones (LB), Jacquain Williams (LB) in the 6thround and Da'Rel Scott (RB)in the 7thround. Other than Scott, all of the players were major contributors on the field. While Reese still explores LBs and pass-rushers late, he has taken more DBs than any other single position (four out of 12).
Reese will draft with the same need/best available formula that has brought him success so far. It will shake down like this:
Rounds 1 and 2: Reese wants the first 2 round selections to be players who can be a major contributor as a rookie. Make no mistake, Reese will most likely draft the best player available in these 2 rounds as history suggests.
Rounds 3-5: If Reese has not taken a TE by this point, he will in the next 3 rounds, especially if player's such as: James Hanna, Rhett Ellison, Michael Egnew, Ladarius Green and DeAngelo Petereson are still available. Hanna may be the exact reason Reese will not take a TE in the first two rounds. In a weak TE class, Hanna had probably the best combine performance. WR, DB, DE and OL are all likely in these rounds as well, as all four are need positions and again history suggests Reese usually drafts within these rounds of need.
Rounds 6 and 7: These rounds have been very good to Reese throughout his tenure and I expect no less in this draft. A combination of best player available and need will be the criteria here as Reese works his magic.