The recent success of the New York Giants can largely be attributed to the foundation of young talent General Manger Jerry Reese has put together.
Once considered to be undisciplined and lacking focus, the Giants have bought in to the team concept that Head Coach Tom Coughlin has been preaching since their Super Bowl winning season of 2007.
Jerry Reese began working for the Giants in 1994 as a scout. Learning under the GM at the time, Ernie Accorsi, would leave a profound effect on Reese. Reese developed a logic, a system of evaluating players, and rules by which he would follow closely throughout his career.
From 2002 to the time he was named General Manager of the Giants in January 2007, Reese was the Director of Pro Personnel for the Giants. He learned that the key to success was building a team through the draft.
That is why, just this past offseason, when Jerry was forced to make a decision on whether he would pursue a veteran receiver to replace Plaxico Burress, he shied away from dealing too many valuable draft picks to rival teams.
A true testament to what Reese has done to change the mold of the franchise has been evidenced over the past two seasons.
The team has lost such stars as Tiki Barber, Jeremy Shockey and Michael Strahan, just to name a few. But each time a player has been lost to injury (Osi Umenyiora comes to mind) or been traded/released/retired, Reese has had an answer and replacement.
The depth and young talent on the Giants this season is the product of Reese's genius.
When Tiki retired, Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw not only stepped up, but became an even more effective triple-threat, benefiting from each other's unique styles.
When Shockey demanded a trade, a young Kevin Boss filled his role nicely with solid production and a quiet confidence on the field, unlike his former teammate. And when Strahan retired, Justin Tuck proved why he is one of the best defensive ends in the league, earning a trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl last season.
The point is, the best franchises in sports have depth and can overcome adversity. A great example last year, was how the Patriots were able to overcome losing the reigning NFL MVP at the time, Tom Brady, to a season-ending knee injury in Week One and finish with an 11-5 record with quarterback Matt Cassel.
Jerry Reese has changed the identity of the Giants and is the mastermind you never hear about. He is a 21st century mad scientist, expertly crafting a gem of a team each offseason.
His body of work speaks for itself. The 2007 rookie draft class consisting of Steve Smith, Kevin Boss, Jay Alford, Aaron Ross, Michael Johnson and Ahmad Bradshaw helped carry the Giants to the Super Bowl that season.
This year's draft class looks to do the same, with the notable additions of receivers Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden, H-back Travis Beckum, stud linebacker Clint Sintim and right tackle of the future William Beatty.
Obviously, these guys are going to have to produce on the field first before they receive the same distinction as the '07 draft class.
Make no mistake, Jerry Reese isn't done yet, and still has something to prove. This is only the beginning of what may soon become a dynasty. The key will be consistency. For now, we will just have to wait and see.