When Jerry Reese picked Ramses Barden and Andre Brown in the third and fourth rounds of the 2009 draft, he likely envisioned nights like Thursday when those two players were able to lead an offensive showcase. Likely. We may never know.
"I can't even remember '09," the general manager said after the Giants' 36-7 win over the Panthers in which Brown ran for 113 yards and two TDs on 20 carries and Barden had nine receptions for 138 yards. "I can't even remember who we picked last year. We just try to pick good players."
Still, it was nice for Reese to see his gamble on those two players, particularly Barden who had all the measurables but was an unpolished player, finally prove to be a big winner.
"Ramses Barden has played well every time he's played, he's just been injured," Reese said after waiting so long for his gamble on the project pick to pay off. "That's all. We said this all along, all he has to do is stay in there and he'll do a good job for us. He's a talented player. We picked him in the [third] round. You expect guys like that to play."
Many believed that the clock was ticking on Barden's career. The general rule of thumb with draft picks is that if they don't show they can play by the end of their third season, they never will. Reese disputed that.
"That's nice for people to say but sometimes that's not true," he said. "I've seen a lot of guys after their third year and into their fourth year turn it on and be tremendous players. Amani Toomer comes to mind. His first three years he was trying to get it, trying to get it, and in his fourth year he was lights out. He was one of the all-time great receivers. It's not always the three-year rule with guys. Guys are different. The maturation process is different for guys. I'm just happy those kids took advantage of their opportunities."
And now he may be able to point to Ramses Barden as another example of how wrong that rule can be.