Many still feel as if the New York Giants gaffed on their general manager search back in 2018. As we all know, the team ultimately settled on Dave Gettleman, who through three years has compiled some promising talent, but also a record of just 15-33 over that same span.
One of the most notable candidates passed over in favor of Gettleman was Louis Riddick, who was viewed in many eyes as the front-runner for the gig at the time. The former Philadelphia Eagles director of pro personnel and current-day ESPN analyst has gone on record to voice his belief that the GM search process was fair. However, his latest comments have some, such as Giants Wire’s Doug Rush, wondering if he’s a bit sour about how things played out — even if the majority of what he said does in fact carry some weight.
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Riddick Slams Giants, Gettleman & Andrew Thomas
Appearing on ESPN’s Get Up, the Monday Night Football commentator ripped into the Giants in epic fashion, going after their personnel, coaching and management.
“Daniel Jones’ success and/or failure will be — although it’s on him because ultimately you’re responsible for your own performance — it will also be an indictment on the entire team-building operation in New York if he does fail because it’s not going to be just on him,” Riddick said.
“The offensive line has been mismanaged in epic proportions. To epic proportions,” he added. “They had their pick of every single offensive tackle in the draft last year, and they picked Andrew Thomas, who was by far the worst one. The worst. The worst.”
Thomas, who was selected No. 4 overall in 2020, struggled mightily out the gates. The Georgia product did show promise towards the latter end of the year, but still finished the season with an overall Pro Football Focus grade of 62.4. In comparison, two of the next three offensive tackles off the board, Mekhi Becton and Tristan Wirfs, each earned a mark above 74.0.
“That is on personnel, that is on coaching and development and utilization. That is something that John Mara is going to have to take a hard look at overall. It’s not just Daniel Jones but what has happened around him,” Riddick proclaimed.
Arguing for & Against Gettleman
More likely than not, Riddick does feel a type of way for being passed over for the Giants GM job — and frankly who could blame him. Anyone in his shoes would likely hold a grudge, especially when the person you were passed over for has failed to live up to the hiring. Having said that, it’s not as if Gettleman has completely whiffed at his duties.
While it’s easy to pick on his decision to draft Saquon Barkley at No. 2 overall as the running back works his way back from a torn ACL, it’s not as if there was a clear-cut quarterback on the board worth snagging. Two of the next three quarterbacks to be selected — Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen — could be considered busts at the moment. Josh Allen turned out to be a stud, but had Gettleman drafted him at No. 2, he would’ve likely been buried for reaching on an “inaccurate, raw small-school guy.” As for Lamar Jackson, he didn’t come off the board for another 30 picks.
Gettleman’s also vastly improved the talent of the roster over recent seasons, specifically at the skill positions and on the backend of his defense. He also landed a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in Leonard Williams, who at 27 years old is smack in the middle of his prime — a move Gettleman was readily mocked for at the time.
However, none of these “plus moves” will mean a thing if one, Daniel Jones doesn’t prove to be the answer under center, and two, the offensive line doesn’t improve tenfold this coming season. Gettleman has essentially bet his job on the third-year quarterback taking a massive leap forward, which likely won’t occur unless the five guys up front keep him clean.
The Giants lost their top lineman this offseason in Kevin Zeitler. Instead of finding a certified replacement for him at right guard, they opted to plug in Will Hernandez at the spot. This, despite the fact that he hadn’t played the position since high school. By saving money on the offensive line, Gettleman was able to splurge on big-ticket free agents Kenny Golladay and Adoree’ Jackson. While both can still prove to be homerun additions, it doesn’t help his case that each player is currently sidelined with an injury — something that played into their former teams letting them hit free agency in the first place.
While co-owner John Mara might argue Gettleman isn’t on the hot seat, the fact of the matter is, if the Giants perform similarly to how they have recently, the team will most likely be searching for Gettleman’s replacement this offseason.
Who knows, maybe Riddick will be up for undoing Gettleman’s touch on the Giants’ blueprint.
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