Year after year, professional football analysts laud the New York Giants’ draft classes. GM Jerry Reese’s strategy of taking the best available player has added several key components to the Giants: Jason Pierre-Paul and David Wilson, for example.
However, Giants’ head coach Tom Coughlin is generally restrictive of Giants’ rookies. Wilson was benched for a sufficient amount of time during his rookie campaign after a poorly-timed fumble cost the Giants possession in an opening-day rout by their NFC East Rival, Dallas Cowboys.
It wasn’t until the Giants’ mid-season matchup against the equally ailing New Orleans Saints that Coughlin decided to detach Wilsons’ training wheels once more. Wilson ended up scoring three touchdowns in a breakout performance for the ages.
Likewise, Pierre-Paul — greatly limited for the majority of the 2010 season — became a factor toward the end of the season, when he was allowed more playing time and hence began to accumulate sacks. While he was still raw, his emergence foreshadowed the defensive terror that came about in the 2011 season.
Third is the curious case of Reuben Randle — a wide receiver who was drafted in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. For the majority of his rookie season, Randle seemed submerged within the shadows of New Yorks’ depth chart, which is especially odd considering the overall lack of production from Domenik Hixon and Ramses Barden during 2012.
The only true action that Randle experienced was in an ill-fated, last-ditch playoff push where the Giants thrashed the Philadelphia Eagles; the wideout of subject torched Philadelphia’s secondary for two touchdowns.
So while Coughlin is clearly an exemplary coach with an outstanding resume, it would certainly benefit him to play younger players over underwhelming veterans. While they may lack the mental aspect that Coughlin seeks, they provide a spark to the Giants’ roster that the veterans do not.
After all, look at what Wilson did for the Giants’ kick return game after he was forgiven for his Week 1 blunder.