PFF Ranks Giants’ Success Rate in Drafting Specific Position Groups

The Giants have been fairly successful in drafting at two position groups over the last decade. But beyond that it's been hit and miss, according to a Pro Football Focus study.
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It's been well-documented by now that the New York Giants drafts over the last decade have not been very fruitful.

But how bad have the drafts been? According to Pro Football Focus's new study, the popular analytics site ranked every NFL team's draft success over the last decade at each position group. Given the findings, it's little surprise the Giants have gone 66-94 in the last decade, by far their worst since the NFL's 16-game schedule began in 1978.

Note: I used Pro Football Reference to get all the drat pick information. In some cases, the site lists the players at the position at which they were initially drafted, not necessarily the position they predominantly played while with the Giants.

Here are PFF's findings, from first to worst (excluding quarterback).

1. Wide Receivers

When it's come to drafting wideouts, the Giants have been the league's second-most successful team behind the Falcons.

During the 10-year study period, the Giants drafted six receivers: Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, Geremy Davis, Odell Beckham Jr, Rueben Randle, and Jerrel Jernigan. Slayton, Shepard, and Beckham can be considered homerun picks--Slayton (fifth round) and Shepard (second round) have proved to be tremendous value picks for the Giants.

Randle (second round) and Jernigan (third round) never really lived up to expectations given their draft pedigree. Davis (sixth round) didn't last his entire contract with the Giants.

2. Defensive Linemen

The Giants have devoted 15 draft picks to defensive linemen (both ends and tackles), which is by far the most picks they committed to a specific position group during the 10-year sample.

But while the Giants, who ranked seventh among all teams in the drafting of defensive linemen, have had more success with defensive tackles (Dexter Lawrence II, B.J. Hill, Dalvin Tomlinson, Jay Bromley, Jonathan Hankins, and Markus Kuhn), defensive end has been another story.

The Giants are still searching for that next Jason Pierre-Paul candidate. Currently, they're hoping for one of Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines (both of whom are listed as defensive ends per Pro Football Reference but who fall into that more broad "edge rusher" category) to emerge as a stud following an otherwise lackluster group that included a decent showing by Devon Kennard (listed as a defensive end Avery Moss, Owa Odighizuwa, and Damontre Moore

3. Offensive Line

The recent draft classes have helped salvage what was becoming a black hole for New York, which ranked 16th in the Pro Football Focus study.

Over the 10-year period, the Giants have drafted three guards (Will Hernandez, Bobby Hart, and Shane Lemieux), two "OLs" (Weston Richburg, Eric Herman), and nine college tackles (Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart, George Asafo-Adjei, Adam Bisnowaty, Ereck Flowers, Justin Pugh, Brandon Mosley, Matt McCants, and James Brewer).

Woof!

But seriously, the Giants appeared to have the start of an offensive line in place when they had Pugh and Richburg lining up for them. The only problem is that neither of those two earned second contracts despite having played decently (was it because each had injury issues toward the end of their respective Giants tenures?)

More recently, the Giants appear to have gotten it right with the additions of Thomas, Peart, and Lemieux. They also got some solid play from Hernandez in his rookie season and are now potentially looking at a situation where Hernandez and Lemieux will compete for the starting left guard spot.

(Lemieux appears to be the front runner in such a competition, given he's a little more athletic than Hernandez, especially on pulls.)

The bottom line, though, is the Giants needed to do a much better job with the offensive line. And it still boggles the mind why the organization waited until 2013 (Pugh) to devote a Day 1 or Day 2 draft resource at such a key position once it became evident the great offensive line of 2007-10 was starting to succumb to age.

4. Linebackers

Again, the study looks at players at the position they were drafted at, not necessarily where they ended up playing. And for a Giants franchise that was always well known for drafting quality players at linebacker, as the years went on, there was apparently a philosophical shift that de-emphasized the position to where Day 1 and 2 resources weren't used to select linebackers.

The Giants, who ranked 19th in the study, have drafted Jacquian Williams, Greg Jones, Ryan Connelly, Tae Crowder, T.J. Brunson, Carter Coughlin, and Cam Brown.

They did win a Super Bowl with Williams and Jones contributing to the defense. The most recent young group of Brown, Coughlin, Crowder, and Brunson showed some promise last year, though not enough to put the Giants in the same category as others who have devoted more resources to the position.

5. Running Backs

Finishing 24th in the study, the Giants have had two first-round draft picks at running back--Saquon Barkley (2018) and David Wilson (2012)--in this study's range. Wilson's career ended due to spinal stenosis before it began, while Barkley is trying to come back better than ever from a torn ACL.

While some will question the wisdom of drafting a running back in the first round, the reason why the Giants likely finished this low in the ranking at this position is that the Day 3 prospects they drafted never really developed, for whatever reason.

The closest they had was Wayne Gallman, a fourth-round pick in 2017 who, after being buried by three coaching staffs, finally got his chance last year when the Giants were seemingly out of options. Otherwise, Paul Perkins and Andre Williams were both flashes in the pan while Michael Cox and Da'Rel Scott seemed to settle more into a special teams role than anything else.

6. Tight Ends

Think Evan Engram is the only reason why this position group finished ranked 27th?

Yes, Engram has been a frustrating player. Still, when compared to fourth-rounder Adrien Robinson (whose athletic abilities were compared to Jason Pierre-Paul's by former general manager Jerry Reese) and Jerell Adams, a six-rounder who never made progress in his development, you can see why the Giants ranked near the bottom of the barrel at this position.

7. Defensive Backs

Ranking 31st--only the Raiders were worse when it came to drafting at this position--the Giants have had slightly better luck with drafting safeties than they have cornerbacks.

At safety, Landon Collins and Xavier McKinney are two solid draft picks among a group that otherwise included Darian Thompson, Mykkele Thompson, Nat Berhe, Tyler Sash Bennett Jackson, and Cooper Taylor.

Cornerback is an entirely different story, as if you think about it, over the last ten years, the only two Giants corners to earn a Pro Bowl nod--Janoris Jenkins and James Bradberry--were drafted by other teams and came to the Giants as free agents.

Among the cornerbacks are a couple of solid but still developing players in Julian Love (whom the team seems to view more as a safety than as a corner, his position in college) and Darnay Holmes. You can also probably make a case for Prince Amukamara being a solid player for them as well.

As for the rest of the group--Jayron Hosley, Chris Williamson, Deandre Baker, Corey Ballentine, and Eli Apple--all failed to finish their rookie deals for one reason or another, which likely contributed to dragging down the Giants overall rating.


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