Giants Draft Leaker, Revealed

April showers bring May flowers. For the Giants, April Drafts bring April Leaks.

It is frustrating as all hell for Giants fans every year to watch as seemingly “everyone knows” what the Giants are going to do in the NFL Draft… and I am here to tell you that not only is the Giants Leaker real, we are pretty certain we know who he is and we are going to reveal him here in this blog post. All that we want as Giants fans is for the leaks to stop so that the team can be more competitive and make selections without the world knowing who they are taking beforehand.

UltimateNYG has been blogging the Gmen for over 15 years. Generally speaking, the mainstream media is compromised in what they can say in order to maintain access to their sources. We aren’t, so we get to say what we want. We just have to back it up with track record.

Here is the back story on The Leaker from last April. We knew there was a leaker but could not disclose who it was. For the beat writers, this is their grist, their livelihood.

What I could not tell you then, but which I can finally reveal now, is that we had a source with the same information overlapped from Ralph Vacchiano in 2019’s Draft. That does not mean he got his information the same way we got ours (perhaps he did, and we do not know), but I will share with you a story and you can draw your own conclusions.

As a reminder, on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, let’s set the table.

It is Wednesday, April 24, 2019, and I get a text from a Giants Source (“GS”).
“Call me.”
UltimateNYG: “Hey, what’s up.”
GS: “You’re not going to believe it, but I know who the Giants are taking tomorrow at 1.06.”
UltimateNYG (knowing how credible GS is): “Wow. Who?”
GS: “Just don’t share the information (on Twitter or the blog).”
UltimateNYG: “Not a problem. Who are they taking?”
GS: “You are going to freak. They’re taking Daniel Jones.”
UltimateNYG: “What???!!! You’ve gotta be kidding me. Jones at 1.06?! Overdraft. Let me check… Wonder has him as the 50th ranked player on his board. What a waste. What are they doing? They could get him at 1.17, or maybe even in early Round 2. How did you find this out?”
GS: “You’re not going to believe it. It’s John Mara.”
UltimateNYG: (stunned silence)
GS: “Yep. John Mara was playing golf at Winged Foot and he blabbed the pick. There were enough people there within earshot.”
UltimateNYG: “What is he doing? How can he be reckless with that kind of information?!”
GS: “I know. I know.”
UltimateNYG: “I do not know what is worse, overdrafting the 6th pick on Jones or the owner blabbing his own team’s draft intentions. GS, this is like Warren Buffett announcing the stock he is going to buy in the open market BEFORE he buys the stock. How can Mara do that?”
GS: “Yah, I don’t get it either.”
UltimateNYG: “He’s the leaker. Can I at least share the pick privately.”
GS: “Yes, but you can’t reveal the source of the information.”

The information was held in confidence, until now.

The pieces of the puzzle fit. Mutiple different draft leaks. Multiple General Managers. Who else would be that senior? And think about this- why do you not hear any effort on behalf of the Giants to flush out and fire the employee who keeps leaking? Surely, logically, Reese or Gettleman would have gotten rid of the person who was undermining their efforts! Only one answer makes sense- the leaker can’t be fired because it is John Mara. This kind of conclusion, reached via inference from more than a few, is shown in the confounded nature of Todd McShay coming up with yet more leaks about Charles Cross, followed by one exasperated fan and another…  

So let’s summarize- Vacchiano and others have had such good information for years. The Titans and Bears fronted the Giants in 2016. There was an “intelligence failure,” a leak that reporters had shared, that was disclosed prominently by John Clayton a few weeks later. Fast forward to 2019, and we are told via John Mara that the Giants will make an outlier move and take Daniel Jones at 1.06. That same evening, Ralph Vacchiano reports the same thing on Jones. 24 hours later, the Giants confirm what we heard and what Vacchiano reported, and they take Jones at 1.06. Maybe a pair of outsiders in Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll can put an end to the leaks. If national Draft guys like McShay “keep(s) hearing” about Giants Draft intentions, we aren’t so sure.

Section 5: NY Giants Rounds 1-2 Plan

SECTION 5: NY GIANTS ROUND 1-2 PLAN

Last year we tee’d it up with all kinds of ways for the Giants to select Offensive Linemen. The chump GM took none, and said that no linemen were available when he selected. We (and anyone with an IQ over 60) called bull****. Months later, the boob GM was busy scrambling for Offensive Linemen at the end of Training Camp 2021. What a disgrace. We got 4 years of horse manure from David Gettleman. We were on record for not wanting him in December 2017, wanting him gone in December of 2019, and calling him out numerous times for his mistakes. Now it is 2022, he is finally gone, and everyone has figured out how he absolutely destroyed the franchise. The Giants are in dead last in Cap Space for the 2022 season; Schoen just restructured Adoree Jackson’s contract to free up room. But this is where we are.

How does the state of the franchise tie into this year’s Draft? You must regroup. There was only one legitimate starting Offensive Lineman on the roster. GM Joe Schoen has rapidly plugged up OL in Free Agency by getting the following players:
T Matt Gano
C/G Jon Feliciano
G Jamil Douglas
G Mark Glowinski
C Max Garcia

One would argue that the Giants don’t need to draft OL as hard, now that they have restocked the shelves. But that would be incorrect. Of those 5 new players, how many were signed to deals that were greater than 1 year? Bueller? Bueller? Try only one, Glowinski. Everyone else is stop gap. Show me. We have no idea what Gates will look like after injury. Lemieux and Bredeson are the offseason Gettleman survivors in the new regime. Do ANY of these players get you excited about the future of the Offensive Line, beyond the only player I intentionally did not mention, Andrew Thomas? None. Even Glowinski, who is the best of the bunch, is 30 years old. So Daboll and Schoen have to be thinking about getting at least 2 if not 3 credible draft picks for the OL. Me? NUKE THE #$@%^&# and draft it hard. And early. They won’t do that. But they should. If you told me they got Neal or Ekwonu, traded down for Linderbaum, and then got Green or Johnson in R2, I would be speechless. Because that is what I would do. That would give me 12 Linemen coming into camp and 4 get cut. My starting line, by the latest/midyear would be

THOMAS GLOWINSKI LINDERBAUM GREEN EKWONU

Oh. My. God. It can happen. End this 10 year drought. Protect QB.

Let’s talk some strategy. Many people are thinking to get the OT at 1.05 and Trade down with the 1.07 pick. It all depends. Does a QB get drafted really high? Does the team that wants a QB try to move up beyond 1.05? To 1.05? Either way, it would be great. Those dominoes help the siutation enormously.

Let’s say there are a total of 3 highly regarded players (EDGE + Tackle). You could trade down the 1.05 pick and take at least one of the remaining players at 1.07.

Please do not discuss taking a player other than Tackle or Edge in the top 7 picks. We discussed this in the previous post. Wasted real estate.

Can we be blunt here? Wink Martindale, the new Defensive Coordinator, needs to take a back seat in this year’s draft. I want I want I want. My scheme needs CB. Yes, I get it. Defense matters. I love Defense. But if I see another year of a stinking garbage OL, I am going to scream. Maybe we just won this battle with Bradberry not getting cut so that Wink stops asking for CB/S so that we can take care of OL.

OL OL OL

This offseason we saw this narrative come in about how you can get OL in later rounds. Yes! Yes, if your OL coach is Dante Scarnecchia or Bill Callahan. The Giants OL coach is a guy named Bobby Johnson. Johnson has 3 years experience coaching OL. Daboll knows him from Buffalo, so hopefully he can get the job done. But with 3 years experience, Scarnecchia and Callahan know more in their sleep than this guy awake. That does not mean Johnson cannot do well. But it also means that if you get this guy Round 4-7 Day 3 guys, you are likely going to continue to have the same problems we have been having for the past decade. And I do not know if I can take that kind of stuff much longer. So Wink, please be kind. Let the OL get priority here.

THOMAS GLOWINSKI LINDERBAUM GREEN EKWONU

We have Tyler Linderbaum ranked at 1.15. This is not 1980, when Centers rarely if ever got selected in Round 1. Centers are now understood for their value. So anywhere from 1.14 to 1.20 is fine.

The Giants need a TE. But this is not the Class of 2010, so calm down. The only two names who interest the UltimateNYG Draft analyst from this year’s draft are Jeremy Ruckert as a blocking TE and Greg Dulcich as a receiving TE. Do not take either before late Round 3. This means that Dulcich will likely be gone, as he is projected to go in Round 2-3. But Ruckert could be there, as he is projected to go in Round 3-5.

Running back? There are none worth fighting for early in this draft. By early, we NEVER mean Round 1. Drafting a RB in Round 1 is for neanderthals. Early for RB means the Round 2 types like King Henry or Dalvin Cook. In this year’s draft, Wonder is shocked at how many RBs are ~5’11” with great speed. So sit back, let the draft pass everyone by, and collect a credible RB in Round ~4. Plenty of players available.

There is an outside chance the Giants could and may need to trade one of their 2 first picks out of the first round entirely. This would not be an entirely bad thing. If they can amass so much value and collect an additional Round 1 pick for the 2023 Draft, that could be valuable collateral for a trade should the new GM and Head Coach choose to move on from Daniel Jones.

Summary: Go with Tackle (Neal or Ekwonu), trade down (for Linderbaum or even out of Round 1), get another Guard (Green or Johnson), and stop trying to solve OL by committee. If you love EDGE (there are 4 of them at the top of the Draft), take one of them also.

What’s Your Side Hustle?

A side hustle is a second job, hobby, or other vocation. In no way does it attempt to replace one’s primary job. I was at a dinner recently and the four of us went around the table telling each other what (if anything) they did as a side hustle.

One was a drummer in a cover band. Another had a real estate license. The third was a belly dancer. The fourth was a NY Giants blogger. It was pretty clear that none of us were giving up their day jobs.

My family follows the University of Illinois. Last year, the Illinois Mens College Basketball team flamed out early in the NCAA tournament. Ayo Dosunmu, their star, had a very poor game. Despite having a terrific collegiate career, his stock suffered and he fell to the second round (a virtual death sentence in the NBA), getting selected 38th by his hometown Chicago Bulls. There was plenty of criticism for his game. I do not profess enough knowledge about the game to explain it all.

Watching Dosunmu’s rise in his rookie year has been inspiring. With humility, hunger, and energy, Ayo set out to be a sponge, and do whatever he possibly could do to improve his game. He made mistakes. But he got a few minutes of playing time. Getting on the court for any minutes at all as a Round 2 rookie was noteworthy. The kid worked on his defense. He worked on his shooting, and even collected some points and assists. That alone would have made his rookie year a success. He continued to work on his game, listening intently to the coaches whenever he made mistakes, correcting them as quickly as he could. As the coaches saw the rookie repeat his mistakes less often, he got more confidence from the coaches, and received even more playing time. His defense improved too, and he made the most of it.

Then 2 teammates got hurt. And Ayo’s number got called to start. He has not backed down.

“To watch this kid play… He knows how to play the game of basketball. He can come in right away. He can take charges. He can defend the other team’s best player. Some nights you see him scoring in the 20s.”

Dwyane Wade

If this NY Giants blogger likes Offensive Linemen in the NFL, what stat will I love about a young player in the NBA. Do you really have to ask?

I had an interesting conversation with Wonder about Dosunmu. I noted his effort, his desire, his zeal to pick everyone’s brain, what Wonder calls “the intangibles.” There are some players who live and die on the court/field/ice. Those are the ones you want. Wonder says that, beyond the NFL talent assessment, he wants (1) the medical report and (2) to interview the player’s High School coach to find out about work ethic, passion for the game and their desire to be great, leaving it all on the field. 

When I hear that Kadarius Toney had red flags because of his interest in his rap career, that’s a big issue to me. Toney then said, in reaction to that, “football doesn’t make me who I am.” Naive or not, the ones you want are the ones who will die on the field. 

Jerry Rice was a workaholic and a perfectionist. In one game, Lawrence Taylor had torn shoulder ligaments and a detached pectoral muscle, but he strapped on a harness and had seven tackles, including three sacks, and two forced fumbles. Rice and Taylor made football.

Coincidence or not, R1 WR Kadarius Toney had multiple Covid absences, hamstring, ankle, thumb, quad, oblique and shoulder injuries combining for 7 missed games. Inauspicious? Yes. Concerning? Absolutely. That Julius Randle of the Knicks can show up in shape for his contract year, get paid, and then not be in shape tells you all you need to know. 

Everyone in Chicago was talking about Dosunmu’s dagger he put in the Pacers Friday night. But what has all the fans excited about him? They LOVE HIM. They love the attitude, they love that after he throws it down, he’s hustling up the floor to get back on defense. He respects his coaches, his teammates, the game.  

If you draft Dosunmu at 38 in Round 2, he’s got a chip on his shoulder. He has something to prove. Brady had that Round 6 chip on his shoulder for 20 years. If I draft a football player in Round 1, or a basketball player in the lottery, they better have a Michael Jordan desire to be the very best that the game has ever seen, because they already got recognition (and a check). Those are the intangibles. There must be something else fueling their desire. And that goes double for Round 1 Wide Receivers with a side hustle. 

It’s Always Darkest Before the Dawn

Growing up in the 1970s with bad NY Giants football was an interesting learning experience. All we really had in those days were the Giants and Jets. And Monday night football. That was it. Television was super-restrictive of what you saw, because in those days the gate was far more important than the TV contract. The Jets stunk too, so we had no real choice but to be supportive of our Gmen. When the playoffs came, we were treated to real football. The Dolphins, Cowboys, Steelers and Raiders were great teams.

And then, the Giants became one of them in the 1980’s.

In 1979, amid endless losing, an outsider GM named George Young arrived. That was the dawn of a new era. It took 7 years to win a Super Bowl, but the rebuilding began. Hope was present. Ray Perkins. Rob Carpenter. Lawrence Taylor. The first playoff appearance in ages. Bill Parcells. Turnaround in 1984. Mark Bavaro. Phil Simms (yes, in that order, it took a while for Simms to develop). 4th & 17. Pasadena. XXI.

This blog has spent 9 seasons from 2013 to 2021 chronicling the collapse of the Giants. Every step of the way we were critical of decisions, even dating back before that, when we were critical of Draft decisions. We did not like the Strength & Conditioning program. We did not like Reese. Or Gettleman. The endless series of toys (skill players) preferred over the boys (Offensive line). Wilson, OBJ, Engram, Barkley, Toney. Overreaching for Jones. When would it end?

It ended yesterday.

The Giants hired a General Manager from outside the building. His name is Joe Schoen (pronounced shane). Before you get too excited, we do not have 100% certainty on Schoen. What we have is 100% certainty that this is a credible shot at a General Manager that can turn it around.

Listen to this podcast by Dan Schneier and Nick Falato. These guys do the heavy lifting so that I get to do this blogging part time. Notice how they refer to inside out and outside in. This is what we refer to in the toys and the boys. Notice how the Bills do not draft Running Back high. Note the word “patience” in what Dan sees. Did you pick up on the word “value,” a word we preach nearly every post on this NY Giants blog?!

We do not KNOW that Schoen will draft like the Bills have drafted. We will soon find out. George Young did not get everything right. Schoen will not get everything right. But if he makes a series of better than average decisions, he will put the NY Giants on much better footing and in a position to be competitive again. This is what it looks like at the dawn of a new beginning. Hope.

An external GM.

When the Giants were 3-7, we thought the chances of Mara going outside the building with an external GM were ~10%. We held out hope. But things continued to spiral lower, with a finish at 4-13. Maybe we got just enough nails in the coffin to convince both Tisch and Mara to blow it up and bring in a George Young II. Good. Maybe 1-6 and wholly uncompetitive football made an external GM possible.

What did Wonder, the UltimateNYG draft analyst, have to say about the Schoen selection? “Reasonable.” That is a thumbs up. Schoen’s first decision as GM is his choice of a Head Coach. Flores or Daboll? “Daboll for sure. They need OFFENSE!”

Nick Falato’s summary of quotes from around the league in praise of Joe Schoen:
“He’s very smart, detailed, and ambitious. He’s an excellent evaluator and it’s not a matter of if, but when he gets a GM job.”
“Super smart, a good football mind. The guys in BUF really respect him. Has experience on the research side too.”
“Worked for 2 playoff organizations. Started at the bottom and earned each promotion along the way.”
“Works hard, has an eye for talent, and good media savvy.”

When Bill Parcells gives you a thumbs up, that’s always earned.

Schoen was in Miami in 2016 when they drafted Laremy Tunsil. He came over to BUF in 2017. In 2018 (the Giants went RB at 1.02 and) BUF went QB with Josh Allen at 1.07. These moves are, in a nutshell, the opposite of how the Giants have drafted in the past decade. And that is why the Giants have been literally at the bottom while BUF plays tomorrow in the playoffs with championship aspirations. This is the kind of future that Giants fans dream of. It won’t happen overnight. It has to start somewhere, and Schoen gives them a fighting chance. We do not know for sure that Schoen is “the” guy. Any assistant GM’s track record is never completely clear in terms of what he said and how much of his input was involved in each decision at each organization. Yet the signs are good. And the baggage from the Giants dysfunction is not present.

Maybe I saved the best for last. Warning- do not get your hopes up too much, but if taken at face value, this could be HUGE….

Even more important than Schoen is what is being given to Schoen: “carte blanche to reshape the organization.” If true, this is indeed the dawn of a new era. The last 10 years from 2012-2021 can be put to rest.

Let’s show some patience. The cap has been hamstrung. The Offensive Line needs to be rebuilt. A Head Coach needs to be selected. Coordinators will need to be brought in. The personnel department needs a housecleaning. The Giants were #1 in injuries, so S&C/Medical Services needs to be reevaluated. We are talking about years of foundational work which will be required. Help is on the way. And if Raanan’s report is correct, Schoen has been given the latitude to make the changes required to enable the Franchise to become competitive again. GO GIANTS!