EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – JULY 27: New York Giants General manager Dave Gettleman speaks to the media following New York Giants Training Camp on July 27, 2018 at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

When the New York Giants announced Dave Gettleman as their general manager last December, the hire had a feel of a cherished family member returning to the fold. Gettleman was brought to New York because of his proven track record to build a Super Bowl contender in a short period of time.

He earned his stripes by working 15 years in the Giants front office before being hired as the general manager for the Carolina Panthers in 2013. Gettleman’s time in Carolina was quite successful as the Panthers went 40-23-1 under his reign, including three NFC South division titles and a 15-1 season in 2015 that culminated with a Super Bowl appearance.

Gettleman is an NFL executive that firmly believes in building a roster through the draft. Once you have the foundation in place, then you can add the final pieces to the puzzle via free agency. The goal is to have a roster with an abundance of young talent that keeps your franchise in Super Bowl contention for years to come.

Let’s compare Gettleman’s first draft classes with Carolina and New York as this will show if the Giants are on the right path.

Gettleman’s Panthers 2013 Draft Class

The Panthers immediately improved under Gettleman, largely because of his drafting skills. He achieved success by adding quality complimentary pieces to the star players that were already in place on the roster. The first order of business for Gettleman was initiating a strategy to draft players that could make an impact either as a starter or special teams performer.

His first draft class is quite impressive as Star Lotulelei, Kawann Short and A.J. Klein have all been productive starters for the majority of their NFL career. Kenjon Barner has rejoined the Panthers after being a top contributor with the Philadelphia Eagles. Of this quartet, Short has emerged as the lone Pro Bowl participant, but all played a key role in the success of the Panther franchise.

Gettleman’s Giants 2018 Draft Class

It’s too early to give a true assessment of the Giants draft choices as all have shown glimpses of becoming useful contributors at the pro level. This is all provided that each draftee continues to develop and remain injury-free. This could be challenging for some, but Gettleman’s first draft class has the makings of becoming a rock-solid foundation for a contending team. Four players have stood out and become key contributors for the Giants this season.

Saquon Barkley is the franchise’s third generational draft pick in team history behind Lawrence Taylor and Odell Beckham Jr. Barkley has been a matchup nightmare all season long as the Giants offensive coaching staff are still gaining a better understanding to utilize his athleticism each week. Lorenzo Carter has the potential to become a quality three-down defender, especially if he continues to improve on his pass defending skills. Quietly, B.J. Hill is developing into a force off the snap of the football by controlling the line of scrimmage. R.J. McIntosh is a promising talent but must show that he can stay healthy and remain on the field for an entire season.

What to Expect from Gettleman This Offseason?

It’s impossible to think that in today’s NFL, franchises can retain all of their top players with the amount of money that could be gained on the open market. The key to remaining competitive is having a front office that has a keen eye on identifying collegiate talent that could become excellent candidates to replace those starters who left via free agency. The Giants have struggled in this area, which has caused them to fall in the NFC East standings.

One thing for certain on draft night is you can expect the unexpected to take place. The Giants are in the midst of overhauling their roster as Gettleman began the process last spring by drafting an impressive class. He rarely drafts for a need, so you can expect him to identify and select quality players to add to the mix next April. Gettleman gained this philosophy from his first tour of duty with the Giants. This ideal helped built a team that achieved two Super Bowl victories over the New England Patriots.

Gettleman’s first draft class with the Giants should give the fans some confidence that this franchise is going in the right direction. The evidence provided has proven that Gettleman built a solid foundation in Carolina, which has allowed them to continue to contend for a playoff berth since his departure.

Similar success has been accomplished in New York by making smart selections, especially with those high-profile draft picks.

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