All football fans love the NFL Draft. It seems they just can't get enough draft material thrown at them these days.
I've been following the draft since I was a wee lad and there were two leagues wading in the same pool of talent.
Needless to say, a lot has changed since then, and through the years, the draft has gone from a clandestine meeting between team and league officials in a hotel room to an international trade show-like carnival.
Like any carnival, the draft features its share of freaks, hucksters, charlatans, and daredevils. With that in mind, I still wonder why people take it so seriously and continually fail to put it in its proper perspective.
The Truth About the Draft
The NFL Draft is a crapshoot. Teams take players based on what they believe that player can do to help their team; every selection is a gamble.
Teams that believe that the players they select can help them immediately are foolish. The odds are that the players they select this year won't make much of an impact until next season and beyond.
That is a fact. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. The Mel Kipers of the world seem to think that teams should draft based on immediate needs. Wrong-o. The draft should be used to build and augment a team's overarching strategy, not fill holes with unproven rookies.
That's a recipe for disaster, especially if you are not in rebuilding mode (like the Giants). If you have immediate needs, sign a free agent.
You're drafting for next year and beyond. Any GM worth his salt knows this. He knows whose contracts are expiring when, who he wants to extend, and who he doesn't.
His draft should reflect the composition of the team he wants next season.
That being said, your holes for this season should have been addressed already, either through prior drafts of through free agency.
Every wingnut in the media sees a gaping hole in the middle of the Giants’ defense and barks that the team needs to draft a middle linebacker.
The bottom line is the Giants have already done that. In 2006, they drafted Gerris Wilkinson and in 2008 they drafted Bryan Kehl and Jonathan Goff.
Jerry Reese drafted the latter duo specifically for this moment. They would get first crack at the MLB spot when Antonio Pierces' Giants career was through. Well, he's through....
Wilkinson is a talented player who has not lived up to his potential due to injury. He's finally healthy and it turns out he also wants to play MLB for the Giants.
So, why aren't Giants fans allowing this natural progression to play itself out? Why the urge to draft a MLB so high in the draft? Has everyone suddenly lost faith in the collective football acumen of Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin?
I believe Reese will take a linebacker somewhere in the draft, but he is not going do so because of outside influences. He will only do so if he loses confidence in his current stable of candidates.