March 12, 2010
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Over the past few weeks, I have read a number of comments suggesting that NY Giants general manager Jerry Reese is "too smart" to draft based on need and that the good GMs draft the best player available instead of reaching for the best player at their position of need.
Using this logic and judging by Reese's three drafts as Giants GM, he does not fit the profile of a good general manager.
In 2007, the team's biggest need was a cornerback, and Reese drafted Aaron Ross.
In 2008, the team's biggest need was a safety to replace Gibril Wilson, and Reese drafted Kenny Phillips.
And in 2009, the team's biggest need was a wide receiver (or so everyone thought), and Reese drafted Hakeem Nicks.
To say that Reese will not draft for need in the first round is a statement that is not based on fact.
Is it possible that Reese selected the best player available according to the Giants' draft board, and that they just happened to coincidentally play the positions of biggest need?
I guess so.
But the more likely scenario is that the Giants selected the best player available at the position they deemed the greatest area of need. The fact they all turned out to be good players and that they filled these needs relatively quickly is a testament to Reese's ability to evaluate talent.
There's no way of knowing what goes on behind the scenes in the Giants' war room.
Reese was quoted as saying that Aaron Ross was both a need and value pick, but sports fans should expect to be given lip service when higher-ups are discussing the inner workings of the game.
The only thing I have to go by are the results of Reese's three drafts, and so far, he has used his first round pick to fill a pressing need 100 percent of the time.
I'm not saying that the Giants will certainly not draft based on value. I believe that throughout the draft, there are certain opportunities for a GM to make their team better by making value-picks: players that do not fit immediate needs but have fallen far beyond where the team has them ranked on their draft board.
When the Giants drafted Steve Smith, they had Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, and Jeremy Shockey as weapons for Eli Manning in the passing game.
Smith did not fill an immediate hole, but the Giants drafted him because they had him rated as the best player available with their second-round pick.
Smith turned out to be an important player down the stretch and one of the best draft picks the Giants have made this century.
Often, picks such as this are what make or break a draft.
Other examples of Reese's value picks are Kevin Boss, Ahmad Bradshaw, Michael Johnson, and Mario Manningham, all of which turned out to be valuable players despite not filling immediate needs.
But in the first round, when the premium players are still available, Reese has shown that he is not afraid to draft based on need.
So, can someone please explain to me where this idea that Reese doesn't draft based on need comes from?
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