There's a reason why championship clubs become the preeminent teams in their respective sports: they make the critical decisions in their front offices that translate to success on the field.
Coming off their Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots, the New York Giants knew that they would not be able to retain everyone who had contributed to their most recent world championship. Most notably, the Giants lost running back Brandon Jacobs and wide receiver Mario Manningham during the off-season, but Giants' general manager Jerry Reese used this years NFL Draft to begin to set things right again.
"We drafted the best guys," Reese said following the conclusion of this year's event. "It just so happened some of the best guys were offensive guys this time."
The departure of Brandon Jacobs left a glaring need at running back, but the Giants used their first selection to quickly plug that hole with Virginia Tech running back David Wilson, a speedy, elusive runner of whom NFL analyst Mike Mayock said simply: "Great pick by the Giants."
Incredibly, the Giants actually scored less points last season than they surrendered, and the loss of wide receivers Mario Manningham (to San Francisco) and Devin Thomas (to Chicago) was going to further decimate the offense in the coming season. With that concern in mind, the Giants picked LSU wide receiver Rueben Randle with their second selection, supplementing the acquisition of tight end Martellus Bennett via free agency. Bennett's signing is directly due to the health issues of tight ends Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum, and the Giants moved to address those concerns by using their 4th-round pick (127 overall) to nab tight end Adrien Robinson from the University of Cincinnati.
"Adrien Robinson is a guy who we really like athletically," said Coach Tom Coughlin. "We think he can develop." It was a sentiment echoed by general manager Jerry Reese, who added, "The sky is the limit for that guy."
While the early half of the Giants' draft selections addressed clearly-identified needs, good management is proactive rather than reactive. With the potential looming for the Giants to lose Kareem McKenzie, Stacy Andrews or Tony Ugoh from the offensive line, Jerry Reese used two consecutive picks to grab Auburn's Brandon Mosley (4th round, 131 overall) and Matt McCants (6th round, 201 overall) from UAB to bolster the offense.
Clearly, the emphasis for the Giants in this year's draft was offense, but with the free agent losses of cornerback Aaron Ross to Jacksonville and defensive end Dave Tollefson to Oakland, the Giants utilized their 3rd and 7th round selections, respectively, to re-stock the cupboard.
Defensive back Jayron Hosley from Virginia Tech is considered a skilled zone corner with a solid reputation for delivering hard hits and will address the void left by Ross, while the Giants used their final pick in the draft to select Markus Kuhn from North Carolina State to supplement the uncertainty created with Tollefson's departure to the Raiders, and the still-unsettled contract situation of Osi Umenyiora.
Of course, success in the NFL is a double-edged sword. While winning the Super Bowl is the pinnacle to which all teams aspire, it also means that your organization will occupy the 32nd spot in the upcoming draft.
"From a standpoint of drafting where we were at the bottom of the round, each round, and remaining there," explained Head Coach Tom Coughlin, "I think we have addressed some of the circumstances that we had to address with quality, quality people. We got some more firepower, and that is what we are trying to do—create more opportunities for ourselves to have playmakers everywhere at every spot. Whoever goes on the field gives us a chance to score and make a big play."
And that is how champions get it done.