From the minute that Dave Gettleman took over as the general manager of the New York Football Giants, he said that he had a plan.
Gettleman asked everyone to be patient; that rebuilding a team with such a historic ledger of success would take some time. But Gettleman assured us that he indeed had a plan moving forward.
So that plan included trading the best run-stopping defensive tackle in the league for a fifth round pick and shipping off a former first-round cover cornerback for a seventh rounder.
The plan obviously included trading the team’s best pass rusher for an offensive guard, allowing the team’s best safety to walk away free and clear with getting nothing in return and then, the best move of all, trading the franchise’s best player and top receiver, one of the best pass catchers to ever play the game, for a package of draft picks and a player who was already declared a bust in his former place of employment.
So trading Snacks Harrison and Eli Apple, getting rid of Olivier Vernon and Landon Collins and finally jettisoning Odell Beckham, Jr. aside, Gettleman headed into this week’s critical NFL Draft with 12 picks, the highest total of any team in the league. This was going to be a make-or-break draft for Gettleman. This was going to be the draft that would set him above everyone as an elite executive in the NFL.
So what does Gettleman do with his crucial draft, with the No. 6 pick overall? He takes a quarterback that no one had on their radar going that high.
We don’t know whether or not Daniel Jones is going to be a good signal caller in the NFL. He might be the second coming of Peyton Manning or even Eli Manning for that matter. We have no idea.
But it looks as if Gettleman has no idea either. And that’s what is scary.
Why in God’s good football-loving name would you take a quarterback at No. 6, a guy who you have declared as being a “franchise quarterback,” when you just agreed in principle to pay the heir apparent in the QB role, namely the aforementioned Eli Manning, the absurd total of $26 million to play this season for the Giants? If you were intent with taking a quarterback that high in the draft, then why give Manning the $5 million signing bonus you handed him last month? Why not just cut Manning free and turn the team over to Jones?
That is, if he’s truly the “franchise quarterback” you proclaim him to be. If he’s that good, then let Jones play right from the outset and let Eli find another job elsewhere.
The whole thing makes absolutely no sense. But then again, neither did the trades of Harrison and Apple for less than their value, neither did getting rid of Vernon when everyone knows he’s more talented than the rest of the pass rushers out there and certainly neither did getting rid of the franchise’s best player in OBJ for two draft picks and Jabrill Peppers, who you believe can actually play strong safety in the NFL, but you may be alone in those thoughts.
If Gettleman has a plan like he says he does, it would be nice to clue the rest of the world in on it. Because if he does have a plan, then why does he sign a slot receiver like Golden Tate to a ridiculously overpriced contract when you have a great slot receiver already in Sterling Shepard? And then, you make matters worse by giving Shepard an inflated contract, which means you now have two slot receivers making $10 million a year. Unless you’re bringing Mouse Davis out of retirement and installing the old “run and shoot” offense for Eli to run this season or for that matter Daniel Jones, then spending $20 mill on two slot receivers is frankly asinine.
But let’s get back to the source of this rant: Why in the world would you take a quarterback at No. 6 when you have so many other glaring needs? I mean, Josh Allen of Kentucky and Ed Oliver of Houston, two defensive studs who have graded out to be future All-Pros, were available to the Giants when they picked at No. 6. I firmly believe Oliver will be the second coming of Aaron Donald. I think Oliver is a superstar and the Buffalo Bills fleeced the rest of that league with that pick.
However, I also said that Olivier Vernon would become the second-best defensive player to ever play for the Giants and I kind of got that one wrong. Hey, I was right about LT being the best one. So give me some credit.
But I absolutely love Ed Oliver as a player and I think Josh Allen is a sure-fire stud as well. Gettleman doesn’t think so, because he took a quarterback that no one had that high on the draft board. No team was taking a quarterback in this draft. It was a weak draft for quarterbacks.
Notice that the next team to take a QB was Washington and they took Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State with the No. 15 pick. And the Redskins had a desperate need to take a quarterback because they don’t have a healthy one on their entire roster.
Still, there’s a big difference between No. 6 and No. 15, besides nine draft slots. Gettleman had to take a look at what the other teams needed and play the draft. After all, Gettleman had another first round pick at No. 17, you know, the pick they got for getting rid of OBJ. So Gettleman could have picked either Oliver or Allen with the No. 6 pick, then waited to see what happened. If he still wanted Jones, more than likely, he was going to be there at No. 17.
Then if Gettleman took Jones, even though he didn’t have a dire need for a QB, at No. 17, he could have taken the stud defensive player and a quarterback and everyone would have applauded, although it still didn’t make sense to pay Eli all that cash if you were intent on drafting his eventual replacement.
The Giants were 5-11 last season for a reason. They weren’t very good. In fact, they haven’t been very good for a long time now. So they obviously had some glaring holes to address all over the field. One of those holes wasn’t quarterback.
Because despite what some people may think, Eli Manning wasn’t the cause of the Giants’ woes last season. When he had time to step into the pocket and throw the ball, he was still like the Eli of old. He just struggled when the rush got too ferocious and the boys in front of him were not blocking like they were paid to protect.
And obviously, both Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur believed that Manning had a lot left in the tank, otherwise they would have sent him packing during last offseason and would have selected a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick last year instead of taking Saquon Barkley.
Barkley turned out to be a brilliant pick, because he instantly became the best running back in the history of the Giants’ franchise, rushing for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns (new rookie records for the Giants), catching 91 passes for an additional 721 yards and four more TDs while winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
No one is questioning Gettleman’s decision to take Barkley over a quarterback like Sam Darnold, who turned out to be a blessing for the New York Jets.
But the reason why Gettleman decided to take Barkley over a quarterback last year was because he was certain that Eli Manning was still a more than serviceable signal caller.
So if Manning was okay in his Gettleman’s last year, why is he not this year? After all, Manning had a great year last season, despite having an offensive line in front of him that was in total disarray. Manning threw for 4,299 yards and 21 touchdowns against 11 interceptions last year and posted a QB rating of 92.4, higher than his career average of 84.1. For all intents and purposes, Manning had a sensational year in 2018, one that showed a lot of promise once the Giants found out what to do with their mismanaged line.
Again, the whole “plan” that Gettleman seemed to have in rebuilding the Giants doesn’t look like much of a plan at all. It appears as if the affable Gettleman is flying by the seat of his pants and making moves at a whim.
This draft was supposed to be Dave Gettleman’s shining moment. But frankly, he’s not shining anything any time soon.
For many years, the Giants were the New York franchise that we could all count on, the most stable, the most professional. The franchise that made smart moves, like drafting Phil Simms, Lawrence Taylor and Mark Bavaro, like bringing in Bill Parcells and Tom Coughlin to run the show, just doing the right thing over and over again. We never had to worry about the Giants. They were the old reliable franchise in a Big Apple overrun with sporting buffoons.
Please keep the great Granelli family in your prayers this weekend. Elizabeth Granelli, the wife of legendary St. Peter’s College women’s basketball and soccer coach Mike Granelli, passed away Friday night after a lengthy illness. Elizabeth’s five children were at her side, as was her beloved husband of more than 50 years.
The Granelli family is a great sports family. Since his days as a young coach at the Hoboken YMCA, then later Hoboken High and finally St. Peter’s, Mike Granelli has looked after thousands of kids, some of whom turned out to be excellent citizens and role models in their adulthood. It’s too hard to mention all the people Mike Granelli has touched and helped over the years. But there are plenty. And through it all, Elizabeth Granelli was right there. She was the rock of the family, much tougher than Mike ever was.
You can read more of my work at www.hudsonreporter.com and www.theobserver.com and follow me on Twitter @ogsmar