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Why Giants GM’s preferred draft strategy isn’t in play this time.

They get some right. They get some wrong. If they get a whole bunch more right than wrong, they get to stay around. If not, they are sent packing. It is the reality and fate of general managers in the NFL and it is the assignment soon to be accepted by Dave Gettleman, who understands...
Time: 22:12     Date: 16.04.2018
Last US Sport News: Why Giants GM’s preferred draft strategy isn’t in play this time. NY Post 24 - US News

If they get a whole bunch more right than wrong, they get to stay around. If not, they are sent packing. It is the reality and fate of general managers in the NFL and it is the assignment soon to be accepted by Dave Gettleman, who understands the higher the draft pick, the more critical it is to not screw it up.

This is the first time Gettleman gets to direct the NFL draft for the Giants, but it is not his first draft rodeo. He ran the show for the Panthers from 2013 through the 2017 draft. The Giants own the No. 2 overall pick when the first round gets underway April 26 and they are in prime position to select a player who will make an immediate impact.

“There’s obviously players people are talking about worthy of being the second pick in the draft and it leaves us a ton of options, it really does,” Gettleman said.

There is always a first time, but Gettleman’s track record is that he has never, ever traded down in the draft. Now then, he never owned a pick as valuable or seductive as the second overall selection. His first-round picks in his five years running the draft for the Panthers were Nos. 14, 28, 25, 30 and 8. With those picks, Gettleman selected two defensive tackles (Star Lotulelei, Vernon Butler), one receiver (Kelvin Benjamin), one edge rusher (Shaq Thompson) and, last year, running back Christian McCaffrey.

GettlemanMichael Chang

If history is a guide — and why would it not be? — Gettleman’s modus operandi is to wheel and deal on draft day — in one direction. He was the point-man for five drafts with the Panthers and five times traded up in order to select a targeted player. The only year he did not make a trade was 2013. Gettleman headed into the 2015 draft with nine picks and knew he would ship a few of them away to land his desired players. He sent a second-, third- and sixth-round pick to the Rams to move up 16 spots in the second round, selecting receiver Devin Funchess. In that same draft, Gettleman sent fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round picks to the Raiders to move up 20 spots in the fourth round to take offensive lineman Darryl Williams.

In 2014, Gettleman sent a fifth- and seventh-round pick to the Vikings to move up in the fifth round to get cornerback Bene Benwikere. In 2016, Gettleman moved up in the third round and took cornerback Daryl Worley, swapping fifth-round picks and also sending the Browns a third- and fourth-round pick. In 2017, Gettleman’s final draft with the Panthers, he swapped third-round picks with the Cardinals and also sent a fourth-round pick to Arizona to move up in the third round for defensive end Daeshon Hall.

Sense a pattern? Gettleman will gladly give up picks at the lower end of the draft to move up and get a specific player to fill a specific need. That cannot happen this year; his maneuvering in offseason trades bringing in linebacker Alec Ogletree and sending away Jason Pierre-Paul leaves the Giants with no sixth- or seventh-round pick. Gettleman has only five picks to work with, although four of them are in the top 69. There is not enough late-round fodder for any serious trade-up in any rounds this year.

In his first draft for the Panthers, Gettleman sent a message and attracted a share of skepticism when he used his first two picks on defensive tackles, Lotulelei and Kawann Short.

“Everybody looked at me like I had brain damage,’’ Gettleman once told The Post.

He inherited a team coming off three consecutive non-playoff seasons. In his four regular-seasons running the Panthers, Gettleman’s record was 40-23-1, with three playoff appearances and one Super Bowl. All his draft picks were not hits, but there were far more hits than misses. Defensive end Kony Ealy (second round, 2014) did not pan out. Funchess did not prove to be worth the trade-up. Last year’s second-round picks, receiver Curtis Samuel (injury) and offensive lineman Taylor Moton (failure to crack the lineup), did not produce as expected.

Soon enough, Gettleman adds to his draft legacy, his first time in charge with the Giants after previously spending 15 years with the organization, mostly in pro personnel. Soon enough, Gettleman is on the clock.

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