Giants GM: Analytics saying not to draft a running back are “nonsense,” “a crock”

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Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman does not want to hear about any research saying that running backs are overvalued — especially after he spent the second overall pick in the draft on Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.

Asked about talk that the more analytics-oriented folks in the NFL world think running backs shouldn’t be taken that high, Gettleman scoffed.

“You know what I say about that. It is a crock. At the end of the day, a great player is a great player. He is a touchdown maker. He is a threat to take it to the house every time he gets his hands on the ball,” Gettleman said. “I think a lot of that stuff is nonsense. I think it is someone who had decided to get into the analytics of it and went through whatever. Jonathan Stewart is in his 10th year and he has not lost anything. I don’t believe in that. I don’t care who you take, they can all get hurt.”

It’s true that any NFL player can get hurt, but that doesn’t mean players at some positions don’t suffer career-affecting injuries at higher rates than players at other positions. And as for saying Jonathan Stewart is in his 10th year has has not lost anything, well, Stewart averaged a career-low 3.4 yards a carry last year at age 30.

So there are legitimate reasons that many people have soured on using high draft picks on running backs. Gettleman just has to hope Barkley develops into an All-Pro player — and that Eli Manning plays well enough not to make everyone ask why Gettleman didn’t draft a quarterback instead.

72 responses to “Giants GM: Analytics saying not to draft a running back are “nonsense,” “a crock”

  1. Not drafting a QB was a terrible decision for the franchise. When you were offered (allegedly) the Bills’ 12, 22, and next year’s first but stay put to take a RB you are screaming to the rest of the world how terrible you are as a decision maker. I’m sure the rest of the NFC East is OK with it though.

  2. Like anything in life, you have several sets of data but you still have to analyze it and incorporate all kinds of things in your decision process. It’s not like a certain stat commands you to do something. There is real skill in taking all that information into account and making good decisions. Nothing is “All or Nothing.” People who think analytics is the most important thing or not important at all are both wrong. There is nothing bad about having every advantage you can to making an informed decision, and there is nothing noble about celebrating ignorance. Even people who are “anti-analytics” still use it, they just don’t call it that.

  3. The problem isnt Barkley its the fact they couldve taken a QB, and their QB is getting up there in age. How many times are they going to draft that high? They arent an annual 2-14 team they are a 6-10 to 10-6 and wont be picking that high. Aside from Solder the line needs work, you need a succession plan with an aging QB. Barkley would be a good pick if he was a missing piece but they have a lot of missing pieces. They also let the Jets can Darnold which is a double whammy. Barkley is good but if Eli starts to decline it wouldve been nice to have his successor ready to go instead of trying to nail down one now in the mid firsts when they had a top 3 pick or bank on a guy on the roster now who was worse than Geno Smith in practice.

  4. Its no secret that Mara wants to protect ELi like Kraft does Tommy. Doesn’t want the fans screaming for the backup when Eli has a bad game. However, if Darnold develops into something special across town, Gettleman will be hearing about it as long as he’s there.

  5. I think he’s missing the point. Yes, Barkley is a phenomenal athlete and RB, but there’s better value to be had. Even though the washout rate for 1st round QBs is probably 50%, it gets even worse in the later rounds where QB wash out at 95% rate (see Class of 2013 late rounders: Matt Barkley, Ryan Nassib, Tyler Wilson, Landrey Jones, Brad Sorensen, Zac Dysert, BJ Daniels & Sean Renfree!!!)

    On the other hand, good RBs can be found 3rd round and later – ie Alvin Kamara, Kareem Hunt, Samaje Perine, Tarik Cohen, etc.

    He had a rare opportunity to draft the next franchise QB given that Eli Manning is 37 and wasted it.

  6. Analytics is just data analysis. Data can’t tell you to do anything. The people that analyze that data can tell you all sorts of things but the data itself is simply information. Just like anything else that very data analysis is still subject to human error. (both on the input and the output side.)

  7. I think I;m starting to see why the Panthers fired this guy. Running backs are the shortest term position in Football. You normally get a good 5-6 years out of them, if that, and then they are done. Overpaying a running back has historically been a mistake. Good back can be found in the 3rd round or later, see Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara last year. Gettleman is talking out of his behind on this one.

  8. Me thinks old man Gettleman is hell to work with. Probably throws hot coffee at secretaries when they forget they cream and tells his subordinates to “grow up” when they get Sour Patch kids out of the vending machine.

    Grumpy old man.

  9. edelmanfanclub says:
    April 27, 2018 at 1:56 pm
    The problem isnt Barkley its the fact they couldve taken a QB, and their QB is getting up there in age. How many times are they going to draft that high?

    ————————-
    Im expecting once maybe twice more before they climb out of it.

  10. I never would’ve expected this much push back on the Giants taking Barkley considering all of the hype surrounding Barkley. I would’ve taken a QB but then I don’t believe Eli Manning has much left in the tank. Obviously Gettleman believes in Manning more than most but I agree with him that analytics are not infallible and you have to trust your football instincts more often than not. If analytics were so wonderful then Sashi Brown would still be GM of the Browns!

  11. Barkley could be the next Kijana Carter, Lawrence Phillips, Curtis Enis, etc…
    Darnold could be the next Ryan Leaf, Jamarcus Russel, Todd Marinovich, etc…

    Barkely could be the next Emmitt Smith, Adrian Peterson, etc…
    Darnold could be the next Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, etc…

    The draft is a crapshoot, but there have been far more 1st round QB busts than RB busts.

  12. Let’s see…. draft an impact player who can be an immediate help to your roster now, or draft a project that may have completely different weapons at his disposal IF/when he gets his shot? I’ll take the immediate threat over a possibility any day.

  13. You have to assume they just didn’t like any of these quarterbacks–there are good solid reasons to doubt each one of them, and just conclude that the whole QB class is overrated and that you need to stay away from that mess.

    Fine. So then you trade down; there must have been offers. You turn a pick into three picks and later take one of the very good RBs in this deep class, rather than the great one. It’s really got nothing to do with analytics, it’s just basic draft management and roster building; your team won three games, you’ve got roster work to do. Very weird decision, and he sounds like he’s raving in the quotes, but Barkley does have the chance to be a great one.

  14. Remember who he drafted last year at Carolina with his first pick. He’s a dinosaur. It’s not about the player..it’s about the relative value between Barkley and the next RB and the value of picks the Bills were offering him. Sounds like he and Beane are not as friendly after this draft. Giants could have had Rb#2 (Michel/Guice) and 3 more starters.

  15. vysethelegend says:
    April 27, 2018 at 1:55 pm
    Not drafting a QB was a terrible decision for the franchise. When you were offered (allegedly) the Bills’ 12, 22, and next year’s first but stay put to take a RB you are screaming to the rest of the world how terrible you are as a decision maker. I’m sure the rest of the NFC East is OK with it though.
    ———-

    That’s why you’re on the couch… or at your desk job filing insurance papers and not the GM.

    Webb is as good as, if not better than any of those guys.

  16. rkt4mayor says:
    April 27, 2018 at 2:07 pm
    I never would’ve expected this much push back on the Giants taking Barkley considering all of the hype surrounding Barkley. I would’ve taken a QB but then I don’t believe Eli Manning has much left in the tank. Obviously Gettleman believes in Manning more than most but I agree with him that analytics are not infallible and you have to trust your football instincts more often than not. If analytics were so wonderful then Sashi Brown would still be GM of the Browns!
    ——–

    Eli hasn’t lost a thing. And please with the talk about the fluke and colossal disaster of 2017 that McAdoo and Reese caused. No QB — NOT A SINGLE ONE — would have thrived behind that offensive line, that failure of an “offensive scheme” AND losing all three of his starting wide receivers before the midpoint of the season.

  17. Mr. Wright 212 says: “Webb is as good as, if not better than any of those guys.”
    —————————————-

    Yet he couldn’t move up the depth chart past Geno Smith last year. Geno. Smith.

  18. Barkley is a great player and the Giants just got a lot better. As an Eagles fan, I wanted them to take a qb or Chubb, because I know Barkley is going to have some great games against the Eagles and preferred him being out of the division. That being said it’s a moot point if the line can’t give them time to do their damage

  19. “Eli hasn’t lost a thing.”

    LOL

    They need a replacement ASAP. It probably was Darnold. Taking Barkley puts them in win now mode except they aren’t in a position to win anything.

  20. Listen, if you think a player is LeVeon Bell type 3 down talent, and you can have him cheap for 4 years, then control him with franchise tag for the next 2 years, you do it. No hesitation. Saquon Barkely is that type of player. What Gm out there thinks a guy like leveon bell isn’t worth a top 5 pick if his draft year was done over again? So if you think saquon is that guy, you take him and you don’t hesitate. Kind of like the Giants did.

  21. Davis Webb was a 3rd round rookie last year so obviously he’s going to be behind Eli and Geno on the depth chart to START the season. The clowns responsible for him STAYING 3rd on the depth chart, even after it was apparent that the season was lost, were both fired (McAdoo and Reese).

    Webb likely isnt anything more than a capable back-up but it would have been nice to have seen him play the last 4-5 games last year. That’s when and why Eli should have been benched…not because ELi was costing the team wins, but because the team stunk and the season was lost.

  22. elmerbrownelmerbrown says:

    April 27, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Everybody is mad we got the next Walter Payton

    ————

    Except Elite Running Back’s don’t win Superbowls anymore.

  23. If a team has a chance to draft a playmaker who isn’t a knucklehead and will get along with everybody, that’s a home run. The position the person plays isn’t all that important. I think Barry Sanders was drafted #3 overall (behind Aikman and Mandrich). I’ll take a guy like that on my team all day, every day.

    No one will care when Barkley was picked if becomes just as dominant as Barry was. Likewise if he’s a bust … then he’s a bust. Wouldn’t be the first #2 to go down in flames. Ask Packer fans about the guy they took ahead of Barry.

  24. You take talent, no matter the position. If you don’t see Barkley’s talent, then you probably never played football. Last year, teams keyed on him, not just with one defender, but often with 2-3 players. When there wasn’t that overplay on him, which happened more frequently the previous year, Barkley almost always had a big gain. In the NFL, you cannot key on a RB like that, otherwise the receivers will be wide open. The Giants, with Beckham, Sheppard and Engram, have some talented receivers too. Playing the Giants will be a nightmare for defenses, so long as all these guys, and Manning stay healthy. And injuries are always a concern, but, unless the player has a history of being hurt in college, you don’t let that concern affect your selection. Always take the more talented player.

  25. Spending a first rounder on an RB is a waste because good ones can be had for cheap.

    Corey Clement, of the
    Superbowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles
    was an undrafted free agent.

  26. Only thing that matters is what happens when Barkley hits the field, and how it contributes to the Giants’ W/L record. All the know-it-alls also thought Darnold would go first last night, Rosen (who went 4th out of 5 QBs) is the best pure passer in the draft, etc. etc. Everyone has an opinion. I say go with your own.

  27. Terrible pick. Gettelman is awful.

    Broncos were trying to move up to 2 to snag Darnold. Giants, imo either do that, or draft a QB since Eli has 1, yes 1 year left in him.

    To pass on picking up Chubb at 5, and additional picks….silly. Every year a RB goes in Rd 2-4 and is awesome.

    Just bad, bad decision making in NY

  28. I’m not saying anything bad against Barkley. He is a fantastic athlete who can help a team in a lot of different ways. Rushing, passing and kickoffs. Is he the best runner in this draft? I don’t know about. I think there are other backs that will have equally successful careers. I would have drafted Eli’s successor. He is 37 and on the decline. Most teams do get the opportunity to draft franchise QBs back to back.

  29. I’m not saying anything bad against Barkley. He is a fantastic athlete who can help a team in a lot of different ways. Rushing, passing and kickoffs. Is he the best runner in this draft? I don’t know about. I think there are other backs that will have equally successful careers. I would have drafted Eli’s successor. He is 37 and on the decline. Most teams do not get the opportunity to draft franchise QBs back to back.

  30. FYI, best RBs the last 2 years have been Le’Veon Bell and E Elliott.

    Neither won a SB, neither went to a SB. You don’t need great RB’s to win in the NFL, they’re nice to have, not need to have.

    They could have taken a QB or defensive player at 2 and then a RB in the 2nd round. Is Barkley going to be that much better than the Michel, Guice, etc picked late in rd 1 or in rd 2?

    What, 1400 yds and 10 tds vs 1100 yds and 8 tds? Is that really worth the 2nd pick? Just think about this – Legarrette Blount has been the lead back on the last 2 SB winning teams, let that sink if for a minute then tell me that a great RB is needed.

  31. Corey Clement lol ,,74 carries for 350 yards in a season ,don’t give me Corey Clement ,Shaquon will have 350 yards in his first two games ! Iggles fans get one little graduation ring and they think they got all the answers !

  32. Anyone that thinks a RB is a dime-a-dozen has never played football at any level.

    I use the Chess analogy – a RB is like the Queen on a chess board – the most versatile, but not as important as the King. The King is like the QB, most important piece on the board, but has a very limited role – so they better be good at it.

    Without the Queen in chess it is very difficult to win. A great RB taxes the defense and makes passing much easier.

    Cleveland should have taken Barkley #1, and then the best available QB at #4 (since none of them are sure things). Having Barkley will make Eli’s life much easier. Watch how his stats improve this year.

  33. Analytics only go so far. Picking players in a draft is more than just data on a spreadsheet. You can’t operate on your preconceived notions of where you draft running backs. Some of you say Barkley is not that good. Those people never watched him play for sure. You people are going to eat your words and wish you never said them. Saquon was the best and safest pick in the draft, and it wasn’t even close. All professional analysts universally agreed this. He instantly makes you a contender again. Would a questionable rookie QB with known warts (pick one, they all had ’em) have done that for you? In fact, a rookie QB probably would have been part of another losing Giants season. Don’t just decide on teams like the Eagles or Texans who have had success with rookie QB’s recently…….for every one of them is the Jaguars, Dolphins, or Titans who have not turned the corner yet with their young QB after a few years.
    You got lucky the Browns are not too smart and passed on him to get a QB they could have still had at #4, and left you the best player, and still you are not happy? Sounds a little too much like New York. Sheesh………wake up from your sleep people. Barkley is gonna kill it in the NFL……Zeke who? And believe me, I take no comfort in it. I’m an Eagles fan.

  34. There are several non-defensive ways to answer that line of questioning, and this ain’t any of them.

    Way too defensive by far. Also sounds like he didn’t expect this line of questioning, which reinforces the idea of them being in a bit of a bubble.

    A generational talent at receiver hasn’t helped them win a single playoff game; maybe a generational talent at RB will do it!

  35. I have a problem with Barkley specifically as the second pick in the draft. He might be the most over valued prospect of all time. He goes down to arm tackles to easily. Rashaad Penny is a better football player.

  36. Ivan Pavlov says:
    April 27, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    I think Barry Sanders was drafted #3 overall (behind Aikman and Mandrich). I’ll take a guy like that on my team all day, every day.

    No one will care when Barkley was picked if becomes just as dominant as Barry was.

    ================

    I completely agree with you on the greatness of Sanders as a player, but it’s also a cautionary tale. The Lions won exactly ONE playoff game in Sanders’ entire career.

  37. Let’s talk again when Barkley is shredding the league. Even with an imperfect O-line tell me what DC isn’t having nightmares thinking about covering OBJ, Shep, Engram and now Barkley. When Barkley comes out of the backfield and is covered by a LB and… Saquon – Say Gone! People want to talk value, but anybody writing on this blog would love to have this guy on their team. One gm had the courage to buck the system take the player he liked. If we had passed and taken a qb at #2, he wouldn’t even have played this year. Please tell me where the value is in that?! You don’t draft at #2 to put something shiny on a shelf for later! C’mon people!

  38. Hard to justify a #2 for a RB that coukdn’t get 40 yards against Rutgers.

    Remind me, how many players off that awesome Rutgers D were taken last night? Even keying 2-4 guys on him, you need to do better than 40 yards.

    With all that attention paid to the next Walter Sanders – Penn State was surely a top passing team and play off contender, right?

    You took a likely Trent Richardson, not in attitude but NFL production.

  39. I can remember an older John Elway won two Super Bowls because of an elite back names Terrell Davis,,,,,,Corey Clement please,,,Iam still trying to get past that statement !

  40. a good running attack keeps the defense honest. They have to play both the run and the pass, instead of rushing the passer on every down. John Elway is a HOF quarterback, but he did not win his first SB ring until he had a good running attack. The first SB ring Peyton Manning won was when he had a good running attack at Indianapolis. The Giants too have won a Super Bowl when they had a great little running back named Joe Morris. Of course a quarterback remains the most important position but the running back can make a good quarterback great and a great quarterback a Super Bowl winner.

  41. There has been an anti-RB bias for the past 10 yrs but it’s ridiculous. Are the Cowboys regretting Zeke or the Jags Founette. Doesn’t everyone wish they hadn’t passed on Derrick Henry.
    Sure Trent Richards was a bust but so was Christian Ponder Kirk Cousins 4th rd was better than RG3 1st rd. Undrafted Keenum is better the 1overall Jamarcus but no one is arguing you should wait till late in the draft to take a QB.

  42. Now you see why the Panthers fired this guy. He still thinks the McCaffrey pick was great a year later, lol. For Barkley to live up to the pick, he needs to be Adrian Peterson, and that he ain’t.

  43. Copy Cat league ,,,Barkley lites it up this year ,running backs will be coming off the board next year faster than a fat kid chasing an ice cream truck !

  44. Better then all of the QBs in this year’s draft and only behind two players over Alle on most draft boards so I think he can be comfortable with his pick…also it does give them the best chance to make a run right now

  45. Some of you people amuse me. Eli’s best years came off the play action behind a stout o-lines. Additions like Soldier and Barkley should put the rest of the NFC East on notice. If Schumer can utilize the much deeper talent he has here compared to Minnesota then look out.

  46. don’t understand the confusion bout this pick…. everyone has barkley as a generational talent and by consensus there is no bonifide homerun pickk at qb…eli has plenty left look at what he’s done with zero line help and all top 4 wr hurt at once last season

  47. Unless you’re getting the next Barry Sanders, RBs are a dime a dozen in the NFL and there’s really no reason to draft them in the 1st.

  48. You can’t debate on paper this wasn’t a smart move. The fact is though paper doesn’t win games. None of know til it all plays out, whether it was the right or wrong.

  49. Yes, it’s true Blount was a factor in the last 2 Super Bowl winning teams, BUT , both Super Bowl winning teams had superb QB’s. Not Eli Manning!!!

    Umm…remember Eli Manning beat that ” superb” qb twice in the super bowl and has been held back really bad oline play along with bad coaching. Or have y’all forgotten. Plus from what I hear Davis Webb looks good or did you forget we drafted him. McAdoo was practically fired because he started Geno Smith over what could be the future of the giants. Worse comes to worse and the giants are as bad as everyone says they’ll be we’ll have a chance next year.

  50. Gettleman is doing the same thing Elway is doing. This is the deepest QB draft in at least a decade, so taking a QB high in the draft is dumb. None of these QBs are Elway or Luck, so GMs have just as good of chance of getting a solid QB later in the draft. I wouldn’t have taken a RB that high, but I get why he did.

  51. All I know is that if they don’t fix that line, I don’t care if Barkley is the second coming of Walter Peyton, he won’t be running anywhere. And Eli won’t be upright either.

  52. Gordon Andrews says:
    April 27, 2018 at 6:29 pm
    Yes, it’s true Blount was a factor in the last 2 Super Bowl winning teams, BUT , both Super Bowl winning teams had superb QB’s

    ==========

    Uhhhhh. No. Sorry. Nick Foles is NOT a superb quarterback.

  53. Gettleman obviously DID NOT learn his lesson from the McCaffrey pick last year. lol

  54. joshgordonsbong says:

    April 27, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    don’t understand the confusion bout this pick…. everyone has barkley as a generational talent and by consensus there is no bonifide homerun pickk at qb…eli has plenty left look at what he’s done with zero line help and all top 4 wr hurt at once last season
    —————————
    Look at what Eli did last season??? He was terrible! lol

  55. Mr. Wright 212 says:

    April 27, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Eli hasn’t lost a thing. And please with the talk about the fluke and colossal disaster of 2017 that McAdoo and Reese caused. No QB — NOT A SINGLE ONE — would have thrived behind that offensive line, that failure of an “offensive scheme” AND losing all three of his starting wide receivers before the midpoint of the season.
    ————————–
    Eli hasn’t lost a thing??? You are delusional sir.. GET HELP!

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