Draft Architecture

The oracle of Berra once said:

If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.

He also gave us this nugget:

You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.

What is the Giants plan? When it comes to the Draft, the Patriots have a plan. Over the last 10 drafts they have AVERAGED 9 selections. It is important to understand, because right now everyone is doing cartwheels that the Giants have amassed 10 picks for 2019. This is the biggest draft for the Giants in 16 years. Let that sink in.. the Giants have a haul that is one more pick than what the Patriots average each year.

Gettleman may have screwed up Free Agency and he may have gone the wrong direction with star Saquon Barkley, but at least Gettleman is doing some good things in the draft.

How do you get more draft picks? There are typically three ways:

(1) You trade down.

(2) You do less in Free Agency.

(3) You trade away veterans.

That’s it. Jerry Reese traded up, he was busy in Free Agency and he rarely traded away veterans. Along with poor draft choices, that systematically gutted the team of youthful draft restocking.

The decision to sign Patrick Omameh ($5.6M for 8 games) was a costly Free Agency blunder. Because of the losses of Pugh + Richburg, cutting Omameh in midseason allows the Giants to get a compensatory draft pick they would have otherwise lost by formula. Good. You need those draft picks.

Just ask the Patriots.

They stopped bidding for Solder when the price got too high and they’ll take more draft compensation instead. In the 2019 draft, they’ll get more from this mechanism than anyone, tying the Rams with TWO 3rd Round picks. That’s a lot. Quality too. The Patriots haven’t been killing it with great selections but the sheer quantity helps them continually rebuild their roster without missing a step. That’s good architecture. That’s a plan.

In the past 10 drafts (Gettleman inherited the 2018 setup from Reese with 6 picks), the Giants have averaged 7 picks. That’s what the NFL gives you. So the Gmen managed to gain a net of zero selections, as whatever compensatory picks they gained was lost from trading up and never trading down. That’s pretty hard to do. Even more telling, as the Giants scrambled in later years, they only averaged 6 picks per year THE LAST FOUR YEARS. Is it any wonder that the Giants are threadbare? Reese missed on too many picks and he didn’t even give himself enough bullets to miss.

Juxtapose this- the last 4 seasons the Patriots are shooting 1.5X more often for players in the Draft than the Giants. That’s a structural disadvantage. With Gettleman’s 10 picks in 2019, the Giants are hopefully on a new path with a new plan. Respect the Draft. Rebuild.

Random Thoughts at Week 11

The Giants are 2-7 after a come-from-behind victory over SF. They are favorites this weekend (the first time this season) against the Bucs.

I got a chance to watch a lot of the Bucs-Skins game last weekend. They are two pieces of garbage. The Redskins are a nice story in 2018, but they are the poster child for NFL mediocrity. They win because other teams lose. As an example, the Bucs went into the red zone 5 times and collected 3 points. On one of those possessions, the Center snapped the ball yards away from Fitzpatrick. The Bucs were lucky to recover the ball with a 10 yd loss. It resulted in a missed FG from 48 yds.

On another possession, Fitzpatrick overthrew his receiver at the Goal line for an INT. Another was stopped at the 12 yd line for a 30 yd FG that was missed. Another saw the RB run free into the red zone only to have the ball punched out for a Skins fumble recovery in the end zone-> a touchback. And if that wasn’t enough, yet another drive ended at the 2 yd line on a sack strip turnover when Fitzpatrick tried to do too much. He coughed up the ball at the 7 yard line. It was a remarkable implosion.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers generated 500 yards of Offense and scored 3 points. When your kicker is 1/3 and you turn over the ball 4 times, that’s going to happen. The Giants face both of these teams down the stretch and neither are particularly good. Both are good enough to beat the Giants. The Redskins win ugly. The Bucs lose ugly. If the Bucs don’t protect the ball they’ll lose, but if they do, they have more than enough offensive firepower to beat the Giants.

In the Giants remaining schedule, they have 2 opportunities for wins vs the Bucs and Cowboys. They should lose to the Eagles, Bears, Washington, Tenn and the Colts. Tennessee just beat the Patriots. The Bears are a better team. The Colts are beating bad football teams, and at home they should win… against a bad football team.

The Giants should finish 2018 at ~4-12. If Jamon Brown stabilizes the OL they may find a way to 5 wins. They can just as easily lose out and finish 2-14 if teams like the Bucs and Cowboys show up. Versus a pile of garbage opponents, the Giants are equally if not more offensive. They have a lot of holes that need to be addressed in the draft. We’ll talk about that in a post between the Bucs and Eagles games which has been scheduled for Wednesday. On Monday we’ll have a special guest post on the anniversary of a notable moment in Giants history. Out of the ashes another Phoenix will rise.

NYG 27 SF 23

The Giants bested a bad 2-7 team with a come from behind victory. The OL gave enough time for the Offense to function. Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley were able to do damage in enough spots to help the team win.

A word on Jamon Brown, who was picked up off waivers from the Rams. He certainly helped shore up a beleaguered OL. But our analyst, the same one who panned Omameh in May, gives Brown the same review. “Just a guy.” Do not get carried away with visions of grandeur. Yes, Brown was part of a more respectable effort. I don’t want this win to change the need for a rebuild.

On Defense, the Giants lacked a pass rush and the ability to cover the TE. Mullens looked good in his 2nd career start. His inexperience showed at the end, as he didn’t have enough time to win it. It should be noted that when the Giants drove down for the winning TD, the 49ers called a timeout with the play clock at 1 second left. It was a killer because that extra timeout was critical.

Eli collected his 36th come-from-behind win. He was good enough to win vs a weak opponent. But let’s not get overly excited about the win. Eli missed a wide open Beckham, whom if he hits in stride, OBJ is still running. He also missed him uncovered at the goal line in a run formation. It’s a reminder that Eli’s future is not with the Giants. The OL needs to be rebuilt and Eli will not win without a lot of consistent protection.

Ogletree and Collins had trouble in coverage. Collins just doesn’t look like the 2nd year All-Pro Strong Safety from 2016. He’s a half step too slow in coverage of the TE. He’s very good against the run (9 tackles led the team) but the Giants cannot overpay for him when his contract gets renewed.

Special Teams were mixed. They had a lot of big mistakes which were costly. One punt return by SF enabled a FG. Another out of bounds kickoff let SF start a TD drive at their 40. Still, newly acquired Corey Coleman made a great kickoff return to the 47 yd line. That field position allowed the Giants to put together a 53 yd drive for a TD to answer the 49ers and make the game 20-17.

Engram was silent until he wasn’t. He made a big catch on the final comeback drive.

Carter, sans 15 yd personal foul, had an effective game. He racked up 7 tackles with 3 of them for a loss. He’s a gamer who is part of the team’s future.

Goodson collected 2 INTs off of deflected balls. One of those two turnovers led to a TD from the gift-wrapped 5 yd line.

Eli’s still got it, against an albeit weaker team. A better opponent will have a CB who won’t get flagged to kill his team on pass interference on the final drive. A better opponent won’t have their LBer (Smith) out of position on bracketed coverage of Barkley out of the backfield. The Giants capitalized on more of the other team’s errors than the 49ers did to the Giants.

It’s a win. The Giants play another weak team, the 3-6 TB Bucs next weekend. Let’s not lose focus on getting better, and playing rookies. Rebuild.

Patrick Omameh Cut

There are many takeaways to yesterday’s news that the NY Giants cut RG Patrick Omameh. Here are 7 of them.

Some are pointing to the good news that (1) the Giants are quickly taking their losses. Yes, true, it is a valid observation that the front office is confronting the brutal facts. That is a mantra from Jim Collins’ book Good to Great which we preach regularly here on this NY Giants blog. The quicker you respond to problems the faster you will move on.

No one understands the need to take losses and move on better than a (former) trader. That was my day job in a previous life. I get it. Discipline. Next.

Nick Korte of OverTheCap.Com reports that the Giants will get a Round 4 compensatory pick for cutting Omameh (before Week 10). This is proof positive that (2) taking losses here generates something out of a bad situation.

Here’s the rub. The best analogy I can come up with is that the Giants built a dumpster fire for a house and now they are quickly salvaging it by selling the raw lumber before it completely burns down. Is it good that they are moving forward? Yes. But please (3) do not sugar coat this dumpster fire sh*t hole. It’s a dumpster fire sh*t hole.

The Giants signed Omameh for 3 years, $15M, and $5.6M guaranteed. A journeyman Guard just got $11.2/yr adjusted salary. Nice work if you can get it. I won’t link for the 30th time that in May we noted that Omameh was “just a guy, barely.” The Giants are very good lately at wasting time, money, cap dollars, draft picks and seasons with little to show for it. Maybe we should somehow be grateful that Richburg and Pugh had enough value so that the Compensatory draft pick formula yielded some 2019 help. It’s the salvage lumber from a teardown.

(4) The Giants own the distinction of having the #2 amount of dead cap space in 2019 in the NFL. Only the lustrous Buffalo Bills franchise surpasses the Gmen. Ah, the company you keep. This is another reminder of all of the mistakes Reese and Gettleman have made.

Gettleman has to take the lumber and (5) REBUILD. As big a disaster as the 2018 Free Agency campaign was, at least the GM snagged 4 very solid players in the Draft. Barkley, Hernandez, Carter and Hill show promise for the future. Be patient. Draft young Offensive Lineman. Whoever the next QB is, give him the support structure that Reese robbed Manning of in the last half of his career. That is the way out of this hole.

(6) Stop digging in the “Win-Now” Free Agency rat race. Everyone knows that FA means B players for A prices. It’s ok to grab one player here or there. But if you are feeding at that trough every year, your organization is going to bleed resources over the long haul. I’m not talking about the role players that every team needs to pick up. I’m talking about consistently buying the big splash high priced ticket items. Just. Say. No. The most successful NFL franchises don’t do this (regularly each year). Work the Draft/UFAs. Stop chasing the Omamehs and Solders. Stop dropping $3M on the Stewart’s. Reese’s failures started this Free Agency binge to fill in the holes. It’s a bad habit. (7) The most important takeaway from Omameh is not the player or decision but the failure of over-reliance on Free Agency.