Many New York Giants fans cringe when they think back to the Jerry Reese era, mainly because of the many dry drafts and dubious decisions made late in his tenure as the general manager.
A lot of those draft decisions were made by Reese’s vice president of player evaluation and director of college scouting, Marc Ross. Let’s begin by saying that Ross is responsible for the Giants drafting such players as Odell Beckham Jr., Hakeem Nicks, Landon Collins, Terrell Thomas, Evan Engram, Justin Pugh and Sterling Shepard.
One player Ross admits he lucked into is defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who the Giants ended up selecting with the 15th overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
Ross was scouting South Florida defensive lineman George Selvie when he stumbled upon a kid who was playing at another level than the other 21 players on the field. It wasn’t Selvie, who Ross believed to have recorded 16.5 sacks and 22 tackles for a loss.
“I’m watching tape and this number 90 just keeps jumping off the tape,” Ross said on WJFK’s Zach Brook’s Upon Further Review podcast on Monday. “I had to keep checking the chart. I’m supposed to be watching George Selvie, he was 95, but this 90 guy…I kept looking up and thinking ‘Damn, I must be looking at the wrong guy.’ But it was JPP.
“He had just gotten to South Florida and was kind of an unknown. He had went to junior college, a couple different junior colleges and went to South Florida.”
Ross reported back to Reese that he may have a find on his hand.
“I asked ‘What’s up with this guy?’” Ross said. “And sure enough, he just kept getting better and better throughout the year, and they played Rutgers later in the year, and I brought our GM at the time Jerry Reese and told him ‘You gotta come see this guy.’”
By year’s end, the word was out on JPP. The Giants’ no longer had a sleeper on their hands. They had to use their first round pick on him. Pierre-Paul had a meteoric start to his NFL career, making the Pro Bowl in 2011 and 2012 and helped lead the Giants to a Super Bowl championship.
JPP was eventually traded to Tampa Bay after several injury-laden seasons and recently earned another Pro Bowl berth and Super Bowl ring with the Buccaneers.