Believe in Second Round Draft Picks

Many years ago (pre blog, when this started as email chat amongst ~15-20 Giants fan), I went through the numbers on the Giants’ success in the first round vs the second round. It was staggering. The bottomline conclusion at the time was that the Giants were much more capable of finding the second round talent than the first round player. This was a GEORGE YOUNG conclusion. What about Accorsi and Reese? Let’s look.

Key dates: 1979 George Young’s first draft. 1994 Jerry Reese joins as junior scout. 1998 Ernie Accorsi hired as GM. May 2002 (2003) Jerry Reese promoted to Head of Player Personnel in charge of the draft. 2007 Reese’s first draft as GM.

Using a completely subjective rating system where a player who is making/made meaningful contributions = 1, and a player who faded out of the picture gets a 0, we add up the total from each Executive’s meaningful years. Young (1979-1997), Accorsi (1998-2006) and Reese (2003-2007).

Exec, # Yrs, Rd1 score, Rd2 Score
Young 19 9 12
Accorsi 9 4 5
Reese 5 3 4

Table explained- as an example, in 19 years, Young had 9 solid contributors from first round picks and 12 from the second round.

One would logically think that it would be easier to pick first rounders which could contribute to the team, but therein lies the enigma. There is slightly more impact from second round picks than first round picks. (Considering that Reese has only 5 years of data and that Accorsi was in charge for four of them, it is too little information to really draw any conclusions about his work.) The point is clear- second round picks are where this organization seems to thrive. Until we get much stronger hit percentages on the 1st rounders as compared to second rounders, it makes sense to get more volume of second rounders when given value on a trade down. The 1st rounder is the sizzle, the lure of the dominant player, but the Toomers-Strahans-Barbers of the world get plenty done without being the once in a generation Lawrence Taylor (… and how many OTHER times have we picked #2 in the entire draft?- none with the exception of a trade up for Manning).

SECOND ROUND DRAFT PEDIGREE GETS IT DONE OVER AND OVER.

Given this conclusion, what are the takeaways for this upcoming draft?
1) Sit tight with your #31 (really like a high second round pick) and #64 picks, pick up quality additions and do not worry about them not being super impact players. For the Giants this draft will not be sizzle, it will be steak.
2) Do not go chasing DeAngelo Hall. If you have to pay more than a #31 pick and you cannot extend his contract before he gets here, it does not feel like it is worth it. (I personally feel the #1 pick is not worth it either, but respect the value of a good corner enough to understand why the Giants would consider it. He has enough baggage. The most exciting thing about him is his age (24)… that is why the Giants are attracted to him. This is why you MUST extend that contract before making the trade. And therein lies the rub- you have to extend the contract, pay him plenty up front, all for him to be potentially volatile and blow up in your face if he is a malcontent in waiting.)
3) Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing. Reese did not go wild last year, so he has cap room this year as a result. “Folding” your hand and simply using your draft picks is not dereliction of duty if being proactive means going 1 step forward and 2 steps back. See Snyder for myriad examples of that.

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