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In Defense of Giants First Round Pick of Pierre-Paul


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In Defense of Giants’ Pick of Pierre-Paul

By ANDY BARALL

Andy Barall writes about pro football history for The Fifth Down.

 

The question is not whether Jason Pierre-Paul was a good pick or a bad pick. We won’t know that for a while. The issue is whether he was the right pick.

 

Why dedicate hundreds of man-hours and millions of dollars to set up a value board only to deviate from it when it counts the most — on draft day? According to Marc Ross, the Giants’ director of college scouting, Pierre-Paul was the sixth-ranked player on their board. Picking him was hardly a reach. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. If they had taken their 30th-ranked player at 15, that would have been a reach.

 

The post-draft analysis usually revolves around position. If a team is perceived to be weak at middle linebacker, and that team then drafts one high, that pick is invariably praised. “They filled their needs” is the line you always hear. Well, maybe. The vast majority of these players, including many of the first-rounders, will not have successful N.F.L. careers. They’re not good enough. It’s usually wise to draft the player who has the best chance to succeed, no matter the position.

 

If the player does not play a position of need, that choice is often criticized. We’ve heard it all before.

 

In 1984, the Giants were coming off a 3-12-1 season. The strongest position on the team was outside linebacker. They had Lawrence Taylor, Byron Hunt and Andy Headen. All three were 25 or younger. They had needs everywhere else. Yet with the third pick, the Giants took their highest-rated player — another outside linebacker — Carl Banks from Michigan State. The choice was heavily criticized. “They don’t need another linebacker” was the refrain. I don’t think George Young ever regretted that decision.

 

Conversely, in 1975, the Baltimore Colts didn’t need a running back, so they passed on Walter Payton. They already had a promising young back, Lydell Mitchell, whom they had drafted from Penn State in the second round in 1972. He was coming off productive seasons in 1973 and 1974. The Colts had the third pick. Payton was the highest-rated player on their board. Needing a guard, however, they disregarded their board and picked their highest-rated one, Ken Huff, from North Carolina.

 

With hindsight bias, the selection of Huff over Payton looks ridiculous. That’s not the point. Even if Huff had developed into an All-Pro guard and Payton had washed out in three years, the Colts still would have made the wrong pick. They had Payton rated higher and they should have taken him.

 

Even without an extensive football background, Pierre-Paul quickly learned the different assignments of the various positions he was required to play in South Florida’s 4-3 defense.

 

On the weak side, he played in a 5-technique on the outside shoulder of the left tackle. Primarily, however, he played on the strong side, usually in a loose 9-technique outside the tight end. If they were having trouble stopping the run, they dropped the strongside linebacker down on the tight end and reduced Pierre-Paul over the tackle in a 5-technique. When they faced a one back set, he lined up in a 6-technique directly over the tight end. He even played a little 3-technique tackle.

 

When the offense ran the off-tackle power play or the counter play, Pierre-Paul did a good job of blowing up the pulling guard. He closed right down the line, ran through the guard and stopped the play before it got started. You could tell he had good coaching from Kevin Patrick, South Florida’s defensive line coach.

 

Pierre-Paul did a good job against the run, was an explosive pass rusher, and played some pass defense, too. When they slanted to the strong side, he dropped into zone coverage. In addition, about two or three times a game, they would blitz their nickel and dime backs. This put Pierre-Paul in a two-point stance and in man coverage on the tight end.

 

Studying Jason Pierre-Paul on film, you see a well-rounded player with good football intelligence, extraordinary athletic skill and a smooth running motor that doesn’t take plays off. He has an excellent chance.

 

After watching the draft, and the fan/media reaction to it, for more than 40 years, one thing is certain: If Pierre-Paul, in time, develops into an outstanding N.F.L. defensive end, some of the same people criticizing the pick today will claim they had predicted it all along.

 

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In 1984, the Giants were coming off a 3-12-1 season. The strongest position on the team was outside linebacker. They had Lawrence Taylor, Byron Hunt and Andy Headen. All three were 25 or younger. They had needs everywhere else. Yet with the third pick, the Giants took their highest-rated player — another outside linebacker — Carl Banks from Michigan State. The choice was heavily criticized. “They don’t need another linebacker” was the refrain. I don’t think George Young ever regretted that decision.

 

 

they wanted irving fryar but NE moved up and grabbed him.

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Good read, but still pissed at the pick. Article did not mention that in a case where you field two DEs, and your team has 3 DEs, each of which have the potential to be perennial pro bowlers, you don't pick another DE when there's a glaring hole in another spot. I'd like to know the Giants difference in ranking of BPA between JPP and Weatherspoon. and McClane

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Good read, but still pissed at the pick. Article did not mention that in a case where you field two DEs, and your team has 3 DEs, each of which have the potential to be perennial pro bowlers, you don't pick another DE when there's a glaring hole in another spot. I'd like to know the Giants difference in ranking of BPA between JPP and Weatherspoon. and McClane

 

I believe the Giants had McClain ranked higher...of course, it was a moot point because he was gone 7 picks before the Giants' pick.

 

Weatherspoon was the top outside linebacker in the draft, but wasn't considered a stud. McClain was the only real stud in the class of all linebackers. Sean Lee was up there if he still had knees. This was one of the deepest drafts in years, except for linebackers. I imagine the Giants had Weatherspoon ranked in the top 100, but I doubt he was ranked in their top 50.

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I believe the Giants had McClain ranked higher...of course, it was a moot point because he was gone 7 picks before the Giants' pick.

 

Weatherspoon was the top outside linebacker in the draft, but wasn't considered a stud. McClain was the only real stud in the class of all linebackers. Sean Lee was up there if he still had knees. This was one of the deepest drafts in years, except for linebackers. I imagine the Giants had Weatherspoon ranked in the top 100, but I doubt he was ranked in their top 50.

 

weatherspoon might not have been rated as high....but i do feel he is the most complete LB coming out of the draft....he can run cover and hit.....Scouts are saying he would have no problem starting at ILB in the NFL....he has the smarts to go along with the ablity.

 

now this is just me saying this a guy behind a desk so what do i know.....just my opinion

 

i also think if we drafted McClain there would be some diappointed fans out there........is he the best lber coming out from day one yeah probably....he played in an nfl style d....but some of his weaknesses are the same we had for years.....not the fastest LB struggles side line to side line...but he hits like a truck and has been the QB of the D in college very smart in terms of football IQ.......good run stuffer struggles in man coverage (sounds like AP dosent it)....some scouts feel sabans schem helped mask soem of his short comings......he is gonna be a quality MLB no doubt about it....but i think he is far from being a stud...compared to some of the other MLB that have came out in recent years and made impacts as a rookie and i say he is a step below.

 

being that we would have grabbed him at 15 or higher i would imagine fans would have high expectation of this guy and would think he would become a ray lewis/Urlacher type that dominates games....i just dont see that out of him....he will be far from a bust but labling him a stud not so much

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Bleedin, you and your propaganda never know when to quit. :P

I just prefer to keep a positive outlook on everything. We all have opinions and none of us know the future, let alone the "experts". Some people by their very nature see the negative in everything. In life, I always try to avoid negative people because it can become contagious and life's just too short to go through life whining about what could've/should've been rather than seeing opportunities and enjoying what we already have.

 

Regardless....I know you're just being facetious and busting my ass. No problemo. :)

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I just don't see the need to defend this pick.

 

The Giants would clearly have picked other players if they were available, it's like the worse kept secret the Giants coveted McClain!.

 

Instead they have a guy who has talent, and may well be needed by next season, it's possible that by the start of next season, both Osi and Kiwi are ex Giants.

 

in fact, of all the picks in recent years that the Giants should be questioned on, it is the Kiwi pick. I mean think of the career the guy has had, reserve de, linebacker, reserve de again. We had 2 solid young DE's and Strahan when Kiwi was picked. And that was Ernie's pick. The majority of Reeses picks since he's taken over have panned out and contributed.

 

I mean, why don't we ask the Giants to defend the fact they went 8-8 and got the 15th pick, why couldn't they have done worse and landed a higher pick?

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