In a column written for ESPN Insider yesterday, former Indianapolis Colts General Manager-turned-NFL analyst Bill Polian ranked the league’s best talent evaluators.
Among his top six was Giants GM Jerry Reese, who was praised for his ability to find the right players to thrive under the tutelage of head coach Tom Coughlin.
He goes out and finds players who fit what head coach Tom Coughlin wants, which points to one of his greatest strengths as a GM: Not only is Jerry a terrific judge of talent, he’s also an excellent manager in the way he includes his staff and the coaches in the process. Throughout the organization, every scout is working from the same script and knows that their voice will be heard in the player-evaluation process.
The column also includes some of Reese’s better finds, including drafting former Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich, who many teams shied away from due to his long-fought battle with cancer.
Polian also credits Reese for seeing talent in a player like Victor Cruz, who many GMs overlooked coming out of UMass and as a practice-squad player. Despite missing an entire season due to injury, Reese retained Cruz even though he didn’t make the roster.
Finally, Polian looks at drafting David Wilson in the first round of the NFL Draft a year ago as fitting the team’s needs for now and the future. With Ahmad Bradshaw on the roster when the team selected Wilson, it appeared to be a bit of a questionable move. But with Bradshaw a free agent and Andre Brown coming off of a season-ending injury, it appears to be the right move for the team both on the field and financially.
Along with Reese, Polian mentions Kevin Colbert of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Trent Balke of the San Francisco 49ers, Ozzie Newsome of the Baltimore Ravens, Ted Thompson of the Green Bay Packers and Thomas Dimitroff of the Atlanta Falcons.
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