Tonight is the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, and all week sports analysts, journalists and bloggers have been reading New York Giants’ GM Jerry Reese’s tealeaves to see how the team is going to draft. I’ll wager Reese has last year’s 17-16 defeat to the Washington Redskins on 12/3 firmly in mind for today’s draft.
If you can remember back to last season, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan berated his players in the media for giving up after the November 6th loss to the lowly Carolina Panthers. At that point in the season they were 3-6 and considered a long shot to reach the playoffs, but they won two straight before beating the Giants to climb back into the playoff hunt at 6-6. The Giants meanwhile were sitting atop the NFC East division and could have locked up another playoff run with a win. What went wrong then?
During the game, rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III and rookie running back Alfred Morris tore the Giants defense apart, rushing for almost 200 yards. RGIII also had 163 yards passing, giving the Skins a total of 370 yards gained. Big Blue put up 20 more total yards on that day but settled for field goals instead of touchdowns. In nearly every statistic the game was very close. However, it was this game that turned the season around for both teams.
Many noted the ineffectiveness of the Giants’ front line to get to RGIII during the game. Jason Pierre-Paul looked pedestrian where on some downs he even went unblocked and Justin Tuck confessed to the New York Times that the defense was confused as to who had the ball saying “we were just guessing.” If they are to reach the playoffs this year, the Giants’ defense will have to do better than just guess who has the ball.
That being said, I’d wager Giants GM Jerry Reese’s drafting strategy would be to stop one man, RGIII. For this reason he may stack his picks on athletic, quick defensive linemen and linebackers in order to contain RGIII inside the tackle box. It’s the broken plays outside the tackles that make the 2011 Heisman winner such a threat. If they can neutralize and eliminate the Redskins’ ground game thereby forcing RGIII to beat the G-men with his arm, the Giants will make the playoffs in 2013.