In Reese We Trust
The 2013 NFL draft was Jerry Reese's seventh draft as GM of the New York Giants. Over the last seven years, he's developed a knack for spotting talent when it comes to the draft that has no doubt brought him and the team success during that time period. It's no coincidence that the Giants have won two Super Bowls since Reese was named GM, and have been consistently built to contend for a division title practically every season. So how did the Giants' draft this year compare to the other six drafts in the Jerry Reese regime?
Not surprisingly, it fits fairly well into the big picture of what Reese has done in previous drafts. Prior to this year's draft, Reese selected 46 draft picks, and they've been pretty well balanced between offense and defense. Over the last seven years, Reese has drafted 24 defensive players, 21 offensive players and one special teams player. The number is practically split down the middle, much like this year where Reese drafted four offensive players and three defensive players.
The main position that was noticeably missing from this year's draft was linebacker, which came as a surprise to many because it was arguably the Giants' biggest need going into the draft. Of the 24 defensive players that Jerry Reese has drafted in his tenure as GM, a combined 13 of them have been either linebackers (seven) or cornerbacks (six). Curiously, cornerback is another position you won't find among this year's incoming draft class. Instead, Reese targeted the defensive line this year, going with a defensive tackle and a defensive end, positions that he's drafted a total of seven times in the last six drafts.
On the offensive side of the ball, Reese went with a quarterback, running back, tackle and guard — positions that he's drafted regularly during his time in New York. Since 2007, the Giants have drafted five tackles and four running backs, along with two quarterbacks and a guard. While none of this year's picks packed the kind of punch that many fans were hoping for, they're practical picks, and picks that the Giants hope will pay major dividends years down the road.
And that will ultimately be the best way to compare this year's draft picks with Reese's past selections: how they perform on the field when their names are called. Over the course of the last seven seasons, 20 of Reese's 46 draft picks became starters or at least regular rotation players for at least a season, meaning that the team has consistently drafted talent that could significantly contribute right away. If all goes according to plan, this year's draft class should be a good bet to keep that tradition going, with Justin Pugh, Johnathan Hankins and Damontre Moore ready to pitch in on the offensive and defensive lines right away.
As for RB Michael Cox, there's no telling how he'll perform in camp and during the preseason, and whether or not he'll make the team, but you can never rule out young running backs, even if they were drafted in the seventh round. The Giants have been lucky enough to have a surplus of young talented running backs over the last decade. Could Cox become another?
Perhaps the most important statistic that reflects Reese's draft history over the course of his time with the Giants is this: three Pro Bowlers in seven seasons. Jason Pierre-Paul, Steve Smith and Zak DeOssie have all reached the Pro Bowl in their Giants career, and that number, along with the three playoff appearances and two Super Bowl titles are the only statistics you need to see just how successful Reese has been at evaluating, drafting and grooming talent at the NFL level.
Only time will tell if this draft class will measure up to the high standards that Giants fans have come to expect from their GM, but if the past is any indication, there's a good chance it will.