Analysis

Hiring Joe Schoen Is Proof That The New York Giants Are Changing Their Approach

Joe Schoen

On Friday morning, Ian Rapoport reported that Joe Schoen has been chosen to be the next general manager of the New York Giants. Serving as the assistant general manager under Brandon Beane for the Buffalo Bills from 2017 to 2021, Schoen helped the team break their 17-year streak of missing the playoffs in his first year in the position. In these five seasons, Buffalo made the playoffs in four of them, including winning their division in 2020 for the first time since 1995.

Schoen got his start in the NFL as an intern with the Carolina Panthers, working in their ticket office while in college. The former DePauw University quarterback and wide receiver stayed with the Panthers following his college graduation, going from a scouting assistant to an area scout.

During his Carolina tenure, he worked for Brandon Beane, the current general manager of the Bills whom he spent the last five seasons with. After these roles, he became a national scout for the Miami Dolphins in 2008, working in this position for five years. He then was promoted to assistant director of college scouting, followed by director of player personnel, the last job before heading to Buffalo as the assistant general manager.

Per The 33rd Team scout & statistician Peter Engler, while Schoen was with the Dolphins, their first-round picks include Jake Long, Vontae Davis, Jared Odrick, Mike Pouncey, Ryan Tannehill, Dion Jordan, Ja’Wuan James, DeVante Parker, Laremy Tunsil and Charles Harris.

With the Bills, the team selected Tre’Davious White, Josh Allen, Tremaine Edmunds, Ed Oliver and Gregory Rousseau in the first-round. It appears that Schoen has found value in many of his early draft selections, one of the most notable and recent ones being Josh Allen, one of the top performers during Wild Card Weekend.

Perhaps the Giants are turning to Schoen in an effort to improve their drafting. But, one thing is for sure: they are changing their GM hiring process.

Former NFL executive Joe Banner believes “the Giants did a better job of having no preconceived litmus tests and truly keeping it simple and just trying to find the person they thought was most likely to succeed. Previously they shrunk the pool with rules and biases. All indications are that they didn’t do that here.”

Dave Gettleman, Schoen’s predecessor, was someone who the Mara family knew well. Gettleman worked for the Giants for fifteen seasons, serving as the director of pro personnel in many of these. After serving as the general manager of the Panthers, he was named the general manager of the Giants. The GM prior to Gettleman was Jerry Reese, another person the Mara family worked closely with. Reese began with the Giants in 1994, and he was promoted to general manager in 2007. Instead of hiring from within, the Giants chose to look at multiple outside candidates to find someone they thought fit best.

Although this hire is not a guarantee for success, such a hope may be a fallacy. Joe Banner, having hired coaches in his tenure as President of the Eagles and CEO of the Browns, understands not every coach sees on-field success despite any fit that may appear on paper. 

“Teams can have a good process and still hire the wrong person because these are all projections and it’s a very different job description than what the applicants have been doing.”

With this hire, the Giants hope to break their now five-year playoff drought soon and win a playoff game for the first time since their Super Bowl victory over Tom Brady’s Patriots. We won’t know whether Joe Schoen is the right hire yet, but New York adjusted their GM hiring this time around.

“Time will tell if the Giants hired the right person,” Banner says. “But what isn’t in doubt is that they changed the approach to a process that provided a real chance to get it right.”