Folks, it’s no secret that the New York Giants have been a dreadfully bad football team over the majority of the last decade. Aside from winning the Super Bowl in 2011, they’ve really only had two seasons where they weren’t a complete and total joke. As a Giants fan, I’ve been left wondering where things went wrong over the course of the past decade. I wish I could get in a time machine and show John Mara, Jerry Reese, and everyone else in the front office what happens when you make absolutely awful decisions in football operations.
If I had that time machine, I’d easily take it to East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 26th, 2012 which is the date of the 2012 NFL Draft. This is the exact moment where things started to deteriorate for the New York Giants. The Giants had an absolutely miserable draft this year as none of their seven draft picks became anything remotely decent. This is the moment when things began to go wrong.
For starters, taking RB David Wilson in the first round was a complete joke. An unwise man by the name of Dave Gettleman says a lot of stupid things but one thing he’s totally right about is that when you draft for need over value then you end up in a bad spot. Gettleman is wrong roughly 75-80% of the time but he’s spot on there.
It’s pretty clear that the Giants were going to take a running back with the 32nd overall pick that year no matter what and they likely wanted Boise State RB Doug Martin. In typical Jerry Reese fashion, they couldn’t keep their draft board a secret (this happened in the 2016 first round as well where both the Titans and Bears jumped the Giants for Leonard Floyd and Jack Conklin) so Tampa Bay made a trade and jumped the Giants to select Doug Martin.
Wilson ended up having his career end early due to spinal stenosis but based on what he showed his rookie season, he probably would have been a bust anyway. He had no redeeming qualities as a pass catcher, just six catches in 21 games, and he couldn’t handle the load of being an every down back. He was an athletic home run hitter but he wasn’t a good football player. It was a horrible pick and Jerry Reese should be shamed for it.
Reese’s second pick in the draft in 2012 was also putrid. He selected LSU WR Rueben Randle who fans still hate to this day. Randle constantly ran the wrong routes due to his poor work ethic and Eli Manning carried him in his short four year career. The worst part about the Randle pick is that according to a press release put out by the Giants, they almost took him at pick 32! That alone should have been grounds for the immediate firing of Jerry Reese.
Jerry Reese & Co. followed up a horrible Rueben Randle pick by picking CB Jayron Hosley in the third round who was a bust that only played four very mediocre seasons for the Giants. He then selected Adrien Robinson, or as Jerry Reese called him, “the JPP of tight ends” in round 4. Robinson played just three seasons and he had 5 catches for 50 yards and 1 TD. Disgusting.
The bottom line is that when you hit on none of your first four draft picks in any draft it will drastically set your team back. When you miss on your draft picks, many times you have to fill those holes with overpaid free agents. We’ve seen Reese do this in 2016. We’ve also witnessed Dave Gettleman try and fix the team through free agency in 2018 and that turned out to be an absolute disaster.
Sitting there through all of this is John Mara, one of the most out of touch owners in the NFL, promising to fix things but not actually making any tough decisions that will actually help get this team up to snuff with modernized football operations. The fish does indeed rot from the head down and the past eight seasons of Giants football are on him just as much as they’re on Reese or Gettleman, and maybe even more so.
When the Giants fail to win more than six games again this season for the sixth time in the past seven seasons and you’re wondering why it happened, you can blame a lot of the aforementioned people. But just know that the moment the wheels came off the tracks was at the 2012 NFL Draft.