The Giants underwent a monumental transformation this off-season, between the changes in the front office and coaching staff.
One significant difference from last year is the addition of Assistant General Manager Brandon Brown.
Brown, 33, spent the previous five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, serving as director of player personnel in 2021, when he oversaw the team's pro scouting department and did some crossover work on the college scouting side.
He returns to the area after growing up in Glen Cove, NY, and attending Fordham University. As a native to the area, Brown knows just how much Giants fans care about their team.
"The greatest thing about coming back to this area is the sense of responsibility," Brown said on the new "Giants Huddle: Front Office Edition" podcast. "This is one of the flagship franchises in the league. The biggest thing coming back to this area is knowing that the fan base holds you accountable, and it means so much more than just football. A lot of people depend on this. I just feel like being a part of this organization, I don't want to let anybody down. I know we have a collective effort in getting back to where we all want to be - where the fan base wants to be and where the organization wants to be."
Brown joined the Eagles in 2017, and spent his first two seasons as the assistant director of pro scouting. He was promoted to director of pro scouting in 2019, another position he held for two years. Prior to his time in Philadelphia, Brown was with the Indianapolis Colts for two seasons as an advance scout (2016) and scouting assistant (2015).
He joined the Colts following two years at Boston College, first as a recruiting specialist (2013) and then as the assistant director of player personnel (2014). His NFL experience began as a pro personnel intern with the New York Jets in 2012.
Now, Brown will serve as the right-hand man to General Manager Joe Schoen. Despite not having previous experience working together, the two have immediately hit it off.
"With Joe and myself, we've crossed over on the road on the college side," Brown said about his previous relationship with Schoen. "He's someone I've always admired from afar. He's a tireless worker. A lot of the traits I see in myself, I see in him. You always want to work with like-minded people…
"With Joe, we've been like peanut butter and jelly. Just in-sync. When you're a kid and you go to camp, and you meet a guy that becomes your friend. You're like 'I didn't know I needed this kind of friend.' That's how it's been with Joe."
Brown and Schoen have similar career paths. Both spent time on the college scouting side before accepting a role as director of pro personnel, which eventually led to a position as assistant general manager. Before he joined the Giants, Schoen was the assistant GM for the Buffalo Bills from 2017-2021, when he served directly under Brandon Beane. Prior to that, Schoen was with the Miami Dolphins, first on the scouting side (2008-2013) and then as director of player personnel (2014-2016).
With the two top executives in the front office having experience on the college and pro scouting side, Brown is confident the Giants will be able to take full advantage of the draft and free agency to fill out the roster with players who fit well with the new coaching schemes. This dynamic would occur with strong and constant communication between the front office and coaching staff.
"When you talk about marrying the pro side with the college side, I like using business analogies, and it's like knowing the marketplace," Brown said. "You can't really put accurate value to a player, into his role, until you know where he is on the market. Once we understand the marketplace, we're able to find the sweet spots, where we can find players within the margin.
"It's guys that may not be super attractive maybe on the total market, but it's going to fit with (Head Coach Brian) Daboll wants to do. It's going to fit what Wink (Martindale) wants to do, it's going to fit what TMac (Thomas McGaughey) wants to do on special teams. When we do that, it allows us when we want to make the big splashes, we can do it in a very conscious way and efficient way. We have the right checks and balances because we know we've crossed our T's, dotted our I's and done everything in the right way that there is no negligence in spending, no negligence in evaluation … It's very much like if you're in a restaurant, it's the chef to sous-chef relationship. We can't go out and 'buy the groceries' unless we know exactly what the recipe calls for."
View photos of the 2022 New York Giants coaching staff, led by Head Coach Brian Daboll.
Brown's philosophy was developed over five seasons under Philadelphia general manager and fellow Fordham grad Howie Roseman. Roseman has a track record of finding players from outside-the-box places. Jordan Mailata, who has become one of the top offensive tackles in the league, landed on the Eagles' radar after playing professional rugby in Australia. Linebacker Alex Singleton, who has played in 32 games (19 starts) over the past two seasons, played three seasons with the CFL's Calgary Stampeders before signing with the Eagles in 2019. Then, there are key offensive contributors like Dallas Goedert, Boston Scott and Quez Watkins – each arrived in Philadelphia following collegiate careers at small schools.
Finding players from unique places is just one of the things Brown plans on bringing to the Giants.
"Just being progressive," Brown said of his time with the Eagles. "Pushing the needle. The biggest quote I like to use is 'When everyone knows what we know, what we know is no longer important.' You always want to be pushing the envelope forward and not be reactive to what's going on. Whether it's involving the scheme, whether it's involving the player usage, whether it's involving where to find players. That's a process I put into practice in Philadelphia, was football players come from every walk of life.
"That was shown through finding players in Canada, finding players who played rugby, finding players that came from small schools. It doesn't matter. If you have the developmental mindset and the developmental physical traits, and you have the aptitude to learn, then it's our job in terms of personnel and coaching and player development to get you onto the right onboarding process and that maximizes you as you're going on in your role and eventually on game day."
Both Schoen and Daboll have noted their time and close relationship in Buffalo as one of the key factors for why they believe they can get the Giants back on track. Open and honest communication between the front office and coaching staff is of paramount importance when it comes to building a successful roster. Brown acknowledged this in his interview with Giants.com, noting the significance of collaboration between both parties throughout the process of putting the roster together.
"The term I like to use is synergy," the assistant GM said. "It's having open-door communication where a good idea can come from anywhere. When you find a player, it's not your guy, it's not my guy, it's our guy. It's what is our vision of what does a New York Giant look like, and at each position, and holding everyone to the standard. We have to be able to poke holes in whether it's the roster, whether it's in position rooms, and know that when the standard isn't being met, we have to make changes.
"When the standard is being met, we have to applaud it and lift it up because it goes both ways. It's a salt and sugar approach. Salt and sugar looks the same, but it tastes different and feels different. When we do those kinds of things, it allows us to be collaborative in the process. We need to know how the guy is from a 360 (degree) view. What he is in the building, what he is on the field and what he is in the community. All of that plays a factor into what our brand is and what our style of ball is."
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