BIGGEST LOSER – Ereck Flowers
Drafted with the ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft, Ereck Flowers is not just the biggest draft bust of the 21st century but arguably the worst use of a top ten pick in franchise history. He was the New York Giants highest draft choice since they selected quarterback Philip Rivers fourth overall in 2004 before trading him to the San Diego Chargers for Eli Manning.
New York drafted Flowers to replace former 2009 second-round pick, Will Beatty. The G-Men thought Flowers would be the long term solution at left tackle. Tasked with the responsibility of protecting Eli Manning’s blindside, the former Miami Hurricanes lineman consistently looked overwhelmed and unfit for the job.
In his first three years as a starter for the Giants, the slow-footed Flowers was the cause for a whistle 34 times, amassing double-digit penalties in all three years. When he published his scouting report for NFL.com ahead of the draft, this was Lance Zierlein’s assessment of Flowers:
"Flowers has good size and short area foot quickness, but he also features some lower body tightness and struggles to get proper depth quickly to consistently meet edge rushers. Some of Flowers’ pass protection issue may be difficult to overcome. On the other hand, his strength as a run blocker and ability to uproot his man and get them turned is undeniable. Flowers may be drafted as a tackle, but his best position could end up being as a guard.”"
The big lineman showed flashes of being able to use his power to help in the run game, but ultimately his poor footwork and body movement made him a liability in pass protection. Between 2015 and 2017, Flowers allowed 19 sacks, 34 hits, and 124 hurries for a whopping 177 total pressures, according to Pro Football Focus.
"“In the pros, you have to be a puncher…The biggest thing you have to do, whether you are at left tackle or right tackle, is re-direct the defensive end’s rush.That is one thing he definitely has to work on is timing his hands and feet together so he is punching and he gets his hands inside the framework.”"
I hated this pick from the outset. The New York Giants hadn’t put a solid rushing game on the field since 2010, and Todd Gurley was still on the board. After witnessing Odell Beckham Jr.’s electric rookie season, I was convinced that Big Blue needed an elite running back prospect like Gurley in the first round.
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They could take an offensive lineman or linebacker in the second round. That strategy would make the offense more potent and maximize the window to make another Super Bowl run.
As we know, their respective careers traveled in two different trajectories. The G-Men only made one playoff appearance since then. My anger towards former General manager Jerry Reese and Flowers gradually grew until they were both no longer part of the organization. Good riddance.
Anyone looking for a reason for the New York Giants not to draft Mekhi Becton, here it is. All three of the players listed, at the time they were drafted, their school was in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Becton played at Louisville, an ACC school.