Former Giants GM Dave Gettleman speaks out on his draft picks succeeding after his retirement

New York Giants, Dave Gettleman
New York Giants, Dave Gettleman

The New York Giants are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Giants fans have endured years of suffering as the Giants annually found themselves eliminated from playoff contention before the month of December. This past offseason, Giants owner John Mara made a bold decision to hit the reset button. New York moved on from its general manager, Dave Gettleman, and fired its entire coaching staff. In their first year with the team, new general manager Joe Schoen and new head coach Brian Daboll have found overnight success, making good use of the roster that Gettleman left behind.

Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley are both having seasons to remember, despite being heavily scrutinized for the first few seasons of their careers. Dave Gettleman was the general manager who brought Jones and Barkley to the Big Apple. Gettleman recently spoke about the success that his two most controversial draft selections have had since his departure, saying he is “proud as hell” of both Jones and Barkley (New York Post).

Dave Gettleman is “proud as hell” of Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley

Dave Gettleman was often scrutinized for his many draft selections that never panned out during his time as general manager of the New York Giants. Among those criticized selections were quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley. Jones and Barkley struggled to find their footing under the previous two head coaches but have turned their careers around with Brian Daboll leading the charge.

Gettleman praised Daniel Jones for his ability to find success despite having to deal with so many coaching overturns, pointing out that Jones is “in his third system in four years.”

“Of course I’m proud of them. I’m really happy for them. It’s not because it justifies me. It justifies them,” Dave Gettleman said of Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley to the New York Post.

“I’m proud as hell, they both persevered and fought through.”

Dave Gettleman on the success of Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley since his departure via the New York Post

Dave Gettleman on Saquon Barkley’s “mental toughness”

Saquon Barkley is having the best season of his career, rushing for 1,312 yards (career-high) and 10 touchdowns, playing in all 16 of the Giants’ games this season. Prior to 2022, Barkley had played in only 28 of the Giants’ 49 games from 2019 to 2021. Injuries sidetracked Barkley’s career, but he has bounced back in 2022 to re-establish himself as one of the best running backs in the NFL.

“You talk about mental toughness, for Saquon to fight through those injuries and not getting a contract and being forced to play out his fifth year, he had to have a lot of confidence in himself, show some mental toughness.”

Dave Gettleman on Saquon Barkley’s mental toughness via the New York Post

Dave Gettleman is “thrilled” by the success of his draft picks

Dave Gettleman’s list of successful draft picks does not end with Barkley and Jones, though. Gettleman said he is “thrilled” to see all of his picks playing at such a high level. “Daniel and Saquon and Andrew Thomas and Dexter, where do you want me to stop? I’m thrilled they’re all playing well. They’re maturing as players and they’re getting coached.’’ 

Andrew Thomas and Dexter Lawrence are playing at an All-Pro level this season. Gettleman drafted Lawrence in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Thomas was Gettleman’s pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

After a slow start to his career, things are finally starting to turn around for Daniel Jones. The 2019 sixth-overall draft pick is beginning to establish himself as a franchise quarterback. This is no surprise to Dave Gettleman, though, as he said he has “always been confident with the pick.”

Gettleman said, “You look at the quarterbacks that have been brought in, that are getting drafted high, people were just taking shots and taking chances. A lot of GMs and owners acquiesce to the media and public opinion. You take a guy with the sixth pick in the draft, if you don’t believe he’s gonna be successful, what planet, what are you doing? I’ve never backed off of the pick, never once did I ever shake my head and say, ‘Boy, did I f–k up.’ Not once. If you were gonna bet money on a guy, that’s a guy you would bet on.’’

The New York Giants are on to a better and brighter future with Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll at the helm. With Dave Gettleman in the front office, the Giants were constant losers who never managed to make the postseason. Gettleman spent four years as the general manager of the New York Giants before retiring this past offseason. Thankfully for Joe Schoen, Gettleman left behind some solid players for Big Blue to build a contender around.