From the moment Roger Goodell uttered the words, "With the 15th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the New York Giants select Jason Pierre-Paul," New York Giants fans have been in a panic.
Why didn't Jerry Reese pick a linebacker? Are they going to trade Osi Umenyiora? Who is Linval Joseph?
What is going on?
There are two ways to look at the fact that Giants GM Jerry Reese used five of his seven draft picks on defensive players.
The first is to look at the final six weeks of the 2009 season, when the Giants' entire defensive unit gave up under first-year, first-time defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan.
On their way to surrendering more points than any Giants team since the 1960's, a lot of last season's free agent acquisitions were either injured (Michael Boley), disappointing (Rocky Bernard), or both (Chris Canty).
So were a lot of the 2008 season's defensive stalwarts: injured (Kenny Philips), disappointing (Osi Umenyiora), or both (Aaron Ross).
The second is to look at the entire 2009 season, during which the Giants offense scored over 400 points for just the third time in the last 30 years.
They managed to do this with Brandon Jacobs on one leg, Ahmad Bradshaw on one foot, and a wide receiving corps that many viewed as the team's biggest question mark going into the 2009 season.
They also managed to do this without the running game that had powered the 2008 and 2007 seasons. And without the two best receivers Manning had ever had to throw to.
How did they do it?
Eli Manning responded with career highs in passing yards, touchdowns, and completion percentage last season. His single season totals slotted him into the top five in numerous team statistical categories.
This season, the young trio of Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith, and Mario Manningham is more experienced. The Giants' running back stable is healthier and deeper than last year's.
And Eli's comin'.
Jerry Reese's 2010 draft selections reflect that.
Thanks to Jerry Reese's drafting and free agent signings, the Giants still have the ingredients of a dominant defense, with a deep, flexible defensive line, and a sturdy secondary.
But for the first time in over 18 years of rooting for the Giants, the Giants offense has the chance to carry the team on its back. Get ready for that.
Because Eli's comin'.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!