The development of Josh Allen is at the top of everyone's mind when they think of Brian Daboll, but it's not the first one that Joe Schoen witnessed. The Giants don't think it will be the last, either.
"It wasn't just Brian's ability to work with quarterbacks," said Schoen, who was hired as general manager one week before Daboll became head coach. "Again, it's all those things that he talked about, his leadership, his ability to bring a staff together, develop those underneath him, his relationship with the players. We're going to try and build a team and a strong foundation right off the bat and a team that can sustain success over time. That's the ultimate goal. Obviously, the quarterback position is important, but the overarching head coach, I think Brian Daboll can do all that."
The former offensive coordinator and assistant general manager of the Bills first overlapped in Miami, where Daboll served in the OC role while Schoen was a national scout. Schoen recalled a time that Daboll came in with a "very clear plan for what he wanted."
Daboll was looking for a fullback who could catch passes out of the backfield while also possessing the ability to play tight end and maybe run the ball, too, for good measure.
"I'm like, that's Jim Brown," Schoen said. "We can't find Jim Brown."
Instead, they drafted Charles Clay with the 174th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. He went on to play in 127 games in the NFL and make 110 starts.
"We ended up taking Charles Clay in the sixth round because of the vision that Brian had for that type of player," Schoen said. "And he had a lot of success."
Fast-forward to 2020 in Buffalo, and Daboll came in with another request. This time, he wanted someone who could play all four wide receiver spots and is also smart, tough, and dependable. That profile manifested in Gabriel Davis, the 128th overall selection who recently set the NFL playoff record with four touchdown catches in Daboll's final game as the Bills' play-caller.
"[Daboll] clearly defined what he looked for, and in the fourth round there's that guy that checked all those boxes," Schoen said. "He's done a really good job every staff I've been on clearly defining what he wants and that makes it so much easier for the personnel staff to go find those players and identify them. Again, when the value meets where we see them, you have a lot of success when you do that."
Of course, it would be remiss not to talk about the pièce de resistance.
"Just watching his work with Josh [Allen], not only when we drafted Josh and then where Josh is now, but through the quarterback process," Schoen said about when he realized that Daboll had the makings of a head coach. "When we were looking for a quarterback, he came up with a process to evaluate all the quarterbacks, whether it was in person, the private workouts, whatever it may be. Just seeing his ability, his intellect, he's very smart, he's sharp. When he came up with that process and we saw it through and then what he did after we took Josh and the plan that he put in place. I always admired him as a coach. I can't say I ever said, 'Man, if I'm ever a general manager, he's going to be a head coach,' but our ability to communicate over time and what he's done with the offense in Buffalo is impressive. He also started on the defensive side of the ball, so he's coached both sides of the ball, which I think is important for a head coaching candidate."
View photos from Brian Daboll's first days on the job as the new head coach of the Giants.