Giants rookie DE Jason Pierre-Paul: Boom or Bust?

Pierre-Paul eyeing his prey, Cowboys QB Jon Kitna

The drafting of Jason Pierre Paul 15th overall for the NY Giants in the past draft was a lightning rod for NY Giants fans.

Jason Pierre Paul has all the measurables of an elite N.F.L. athlete.

At the combine, JPP measured in at 6?5” and 270 pounds with 34 3/4 inch long arms and hands that are 10 3/8 inches long.

Jason Pierre Paul also ran an unofficial 4.64 40 yard dash at the combine, he moves well for his size.

And who can forget the impressive array of back flips.

But many were concerned with his drafting because of the ominous “Boom or Bust” label, which stemmed from his lack of experience at a top major college program and the fact that he only registered 6 sacks in his Division 1 college career (he did have 16.5 tackles for loss though).

Terms that were most associated with Pierre Paul were “risky, raw, inexperienced, and potential”

But that didn’t stop the Giants from drafting him 15th overall because as Couhglin and Reese both stated separately “he was the highest rated player on our board”.

That was in April and now it is November (essentially) and with the news that Mathias Kiwanuka is out for the season Jason Pierre Paul is going to have to contribute the rest of the season.

What have we seen from him so far this season?

According to he has played in all 7 games this season and during that time he has registered a whopping 9 tackles and defensed one pass.

Based on his statistics he is 10th among defensive rookies in tackles (4th among Defensive Ends), and there are 12 defensive linemen rookies who have registered at least half a sack (Suh leads all rookie defensive linemen with 4.5). So on his statistics JPP has not shown much at all, but as usual the stats don’t tell the whole story.

Jason Pierre Paul has been a force on Special teams, often beating all of his kick coverage teammatess down the field despite being much bigger then they are.

He’s also drawing double teams on special teams.

As far as playing on the defensive line, Pierre Paul has shown versatility playing at both defensive end and defensive tackle.

I think he has been more impressive in the middle at defensive tackles where he is drawing double teams, at times, and more often then not collapsing the pocket and forcing the QB to move into the arms of another defender.

Jason Pierre Paul has shown a GREAT Bull Rush, he gets his hands engaged on the offensive linemen and shows pure strength and power I didn’t think he had, moving the offensive linemen into the backfield.

Coming off the edge, he seems a bit hesitant perhaps because of his lack of technique. Now he’s so athletic that he’s still getting PRESSURE on the Quarterback, he just hasn’t gotten his first sack.

The thing that has impressed me more than anything else though is that he seems to have some natural football instincts and an ability to think on the field as well, which was a big knock on him with people predicting wonderlic scores in the range of Vince Young or Mario Manningham (ie not good).

My thoughts on his progress

I am PRO Jerry Reese and think he is a brilliant drafter. I think his track record speaks to his abilities as a drafter (and I”m sure I’ll post an article on this sometime in the near future) Even though people want to knock him and not think about some of his great finds (Kevin Boss 5th round, Bradshaw 7th round, Manningham 3rd round, Goff 4th round, Nicks in round 1)

but I was ANTI-Jason Pierre Paul pick, especially because the passed over a player like Derrick Morgan who I liked better. Or Bryan Bulaga or Dez Bryant (althoguh I recognized the flack Reese would have to take drafting Braynt as well as probably shipping Manningham out of town so I did not find it probable or realistic that the Giants would consider Braynt),  but in retrospect I think I should have just trusted Jerry Reese. Especially considering my three absolute favorite options (in that range) C.J. Spiller, Earl Thomas, and Joe Haden were already drafted.

I don’t know what Pierre Paul will be in this league, but I think so far he has proven that if it turns out that he can’ t rush the passer as a Defensive End in this league, that he has the versatility to step in and play an effective pocket collapsing defensive tackle.

But I’m curious to what other Giants fans have seen out of Jason Pierre Paul so far this season. What do you expect him to be in three years: is he a Boom or Bust prospect.

Before I saw him play at the N.F.L. level I would have said bust, but now, I think he has the ability and work ethic, and surprisingly the football instincts to be a Boom (though I realize that is still a ways away because he does still have some refinement like most rookies)


After I originally posted this I thought about why I like Jason Pierre Paul so much more now than did before the draft because I like the numbers to show me what I’m seeing, which they are not yet. And I realize that JPP might lead the rookies in a statistic called “Forced Sacks” (like he pushes the QB into another defensive player if this was a real stat and not a stat I just made up right now) and this is what it came down to for me:

Jason Pierre Paul is a first round rookie draft prospects who is guranteed to make more money then I’ll ever make in my lifetime.

He’s 6-5 and 270 pounds, but he is DYING To get down the field and blow someone up on Special Teams. What first round pick, let alone a defensive linemen wants on the field so to play the unglamorous position of Special team blocker and wedge buster?

Very Few.

I believe from what I’ve seen that Jason Pierre Paul Loves Football. I do, I really truly believe that he loves football. And with the Giants good coaching staff, his insane athletic ability (which is not debatable), and what appears to be a true desire to play football. I do not think he’ll be a bust. Players of his ability bust because they are lazy and not dedicated. I don’t think that’s JPP. He needs refinement, but he doesn’t need motivation which is the difference between him and players like Andre Smith (T drafted by the Bengals a couple of years ago), or Jamarcus Russell.

There are other players, like Aaron Maybin who may want to play football, but have their athletic abilities over estimated by teams (which I clearly think the Bills have done with him) who bust.

But players who are as talented as JPP, Andre Smith, Jamarcuss Russel (who has undeniable TALENT, but no heart) don’t bust because they can’t play in the N.F.L., they bust because they don’t want to play in the N.F.L. And that’s why guys like Antonio Pierece, James Harrison, David Diehl (debatable this year), Rich Suebert Can play in the N.F.L. because they WILL themselves to play that way, and if JPP is willing to Give it all mentally, like it appears he’s done so far, I have faith that he’ll be a good starter in the N.F.L.

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