With the 15th pick of the 2010 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul out of South Florida. The move was one that was reasonably projected by draft analysts, and it was sure to please a fan base and team that was all too aware of defensive shortcomings towards the end of the 2009-2010 NFL season.
The most commonly projected pick for the New York Giants in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft was stud middle linebacker Rolando McClain out of Alabama. The linebacking core for the New York Giants was a weak spot, and without former team leader and middle linebacker Antonio Pierce for 2010 and beyond, McClain was going to be the obvious choice.
However, the Giants were sitting at number 15 in the draft, and it was questionable as to whether McClain would survive that long undrafted. Some draft analysts from networks such as ESPN projected that the Giants may consider moving to number 11, originally held by the Denver Broncos, or number 12, originally held by the Miami Dolphins, in order to get their number 1 choice onto the team.
However the always unpredictable Oakland Raiders threw a wrench in those plans by selecting McClain at the number 8 spot, a position that was not projected by most in their mock drafts. When Jason Pierre-Paul in turn survived to number 15, he was the obvious choice for a team desperate to find extra oomph on the defensive side of the ball.
The Giants front office, including GM Jerry Reese, very publicly restated before the 2010 NFL Draft that the Giants draft based on the theory of overall talent, and the best player available, as opposed to drafting on need.
That’s why the team took Mathias Kiwanuka in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft, despite having other defensive ends on the squad such as future Hall of Famer Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck. That unit went on to be the catalyst and driving force behind the team’s Super Bowl XVII victory over the New England Patriots.
With Umenyiora and Tuck still on the team, once again the Giants turn to a defensive end with their first round NFL draft selection. Drafting for need as opposed to drafting on talent can be a dangerous proposition, and by all metrics it appears that Jason Pierre-Paul is a more than qualified choice. Although his time at the top of the college ranks was brief, after two previous junior college stints, he’s an amazing athlete that has not yet come close to reaching his potential.
While Rolando McClain was the highly coveted selection and would have fit a more desperate need in the lineup of the New York Giants, in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft the team made a strong choice of a player with unlimited upside, at an impact position, on the side of the ball they need the most help. Here’s to welcoming defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to the New York Giants for 2010 and beyond.
ESPN NFL Draft Coverage