I was filled with an incredibly unfamiliar sensation as the 2020 NFL draft came to a close … I was actually happy with the work done by Dave Gettleman?
Like many other Giants fans, I have been a critic of Gettleman’s for most of his reign as general manager. Even though Gettleman was hired a couple years after Tom Coughlin’s final year as the Giants head coach, I consider Gettleman a large reason why the Giants have been such a mess in the post-Coughlin era. To be fair, it is not exactly like we were winning that many games towards the end of Coughlin’s run—he went 7-9, 6-10, and 6-10 in his last three seasons—but the team at least felt like it had an identity when Coughlin was the coach. In the past few seasons though, the team has felt both identity-less and directionless. That is why many Giants fans, including myself, were encouraged by this year’s draft. It felt like, for the first time in a long time, the Giants actually had a plan.
Clearly, Gettleman’s main focus in this draft was improving the offensive line. Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart, and Shane Lemieux will hopefully all be starters on this team one day. I was surprised to see some Giants’ fans upset with the selection of Thomas during day one. As I pointed out in my pre draft blog, I wanted us to select an OT with our first overall pick. I’m aware that our defense could benefit from a guy like Isaiah Simmons, but I just thought we needed to select a lineman if our goal is to build this team around Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. Now, I can understand preferring some of the other top Tackles over Thomas, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say most fans do not have enough knowledge of college linemen to project which one is going to have the best career in the pros. Therefore, I think it’s a little silly to get furious at Gettleman over the selection of Thomas.
Obviously, getting a guy like McKinney in the second round really makes up for the fact that we focused on offense with out first pick. The McKinney selection was one of the steals of the draft, in my opinion. He should be able to help our defense out in a way that we desperately need. However, I will say that not addressing our lack of edge rushers is probably the biggest complaint Giants’ fans can have about this draft class. I would have loved to walk away from this draft with an edge rusher that I felt excited about. But to be fair, our defense has a lot of problems besides just getting to the opposing quarterback, so I can’t be too upset that we left this year’s draft with a decent amount of promising defensive backs.
As I was saying earlier, the best thing about this draft class is not necessarily the players themselves, it is the fact that we finally feel like we have a direction. I respect the fact that Gettleman and his staff clearly went into this draft with a plan, and stuck to that plan the whole way through. As much as I love Eli, his retirement makes it feel like the Giants are officially ready to start a new chapter in their history. This is the era of Joe Judge as our coach, Daniel Jones as our quarterback, and Saquon Barkley as our star. Hopefully, this draft is the first step in building a solid team around those guys to help us finally start winning some fucking games again. Pretty much all Giants’ fans have had problems with Gettleman in the past but I think we all have to, on some level, respect the work he did on this year’s draft. The past few years have felt like we were stuck in the same place, but with the hiring of Judge, the retirement of Eli, and the selections made in this draft, it finally feels like we’re starting to move forward.