Dave Gettleman’s job security depends on NFL Draft 2020
Dave Gettleman gets this chance, this chance he nearly didn’t get when Pat Shurmur was fired, possibly his last chance if he fails to find Joe Judge the right players, starting with the fourth pick in Thursday night’s NFL Draft, so they can steer their titanic franchise safely around the iceberg that has been haunting and taunting it since Super Bowl 46.
The stakes were high enough a year ago for Gettleman, before he drafted Daniel Jones with the sixth pick and friends and colleagues thought it might be a good idea for him to immediately enter the Witness Protection Program, before he drafted DT Dexter Lawrence and CB DeAndre Baker as well in the first round.
“That’s why I always say, I’m on a tightrope,” Gettleman said a year ago at his pre-draft press conference. “I gotta think short-term, and I gotta think long-term. That’s the box I’m in. That’s the position I’m in.
“Coaches have to win now.”
The stakes are higher for him now because his rookie head coach isn’t the one who has to win now.
Gettleman is the one who has to win now. This is the kind of role reversal you get when the second head coach you hire gets a five-year contract with a promise from John Mara for more patience from ownership, and you are now the one on the hot seat, you are the one Mara was speaking to when he said: “He does know that the batting average has got to increase going forward.”
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Whether Gettleman steps to the plate with that fourth overall pick, or is able to trade down for the first time in his career, he needs to hit this one out of the park.
He passed on Sam Darnold and the opportunity to begin the Eli Manning succession plan with the second overall pick in 2018 because Saquon Barkley was his Gold Jacket Guy. Jones, his fumblitis notwithstanding, has the franchise believing that he is their next franchise quarterback.
“I would love to drop a franchise quarterback in this place, and then watch him from Cape Cod and enjoy the hell out of it, OK?” Gettleman said at the 2019 NFL Combine. “That’s a gift. That’s what I’d like to do for the New York Giants.”
He runs the risk of watching Jones from Cape Cod sooner than he would like if he does not move to protect his young franchise quarterback, if he does not fix an offensive line that he promised to fix when he arrived to kick ass.
It would be virtually impossible to pan a pick, if he is still on the board, of LB Isaiah Simmons, a dynamic freak of an athlete who would be the kind of here-there-and-everywhere playmaker uniquely capable of keeping offensive coordinators up all night. He would be Big Blue’s next defensive player the second he stepped on the field.
And Simmons would help Jones in a way that once-proud Giants defenses have shamefully neglected to help him and Manning in his twilight years.
But as long as he doesn’t sacrifice his principles and reach for one of his beloved Hog Mollies, he will be able to have his pick of the offensive tackle litter: Jedrick Wills, Tristan Wirfs, Andrew Thomas or Mekhi Becton.
The pressure will be on Gettleman to draft the right one.
He can’t afford to draft an Ereck Flowers.
The right one would start from Day 1, either on the right side or left side, opposite Nate Solder.
The right one would help keep Jones safe in the pocket and plow holes for Barkley, whose first two NFL seasons have been compromised mostly by inferior blocking.
Remember, Solder will be gone in 2021, and Cameron Fleming is better suited as a swing tackle, and center remains a source of concern.
Remember, imminent Redskins DE Chase Young will be chasing Jones twice a year for a long time.
Remember, controlling the line of scrimmage and time of possession can keep your defense off the field.
If Jones can take a second-year leap, Judge will win more games. If Judge wins more games, Gettleman will be able to make the case to ownership that the Giants are on the right path, and keep his job.
Gettleman’s 2018 and 2019 drafts will look more promising if the current coaching staff develops all the young defensive players. Judge will have a longer leash than Ben McAdoo and Shurmur. He will also have a longer leash than the GM.
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