Team: New York Giants
2018 Record: 5-11
Notable off season moves:
Traded away Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon
Used 3 first round picks for QB Daniel Jones, DT Dexter Lawrence, and CB DeAndre Baker
Acquired OG Kevin Zeitler, WR Golden Tate, Jabrill Peppers
Lost Landon Collins in free agency
The question that’ll be asked ad nauseum in the Big Apple is when will Eli give way to Duke’s Daniel Jones whom the Giants selected with the 6th pick in this spring’s draft. Clearly Eli’s ability to lead a competitive NFL franchise has disappeared, much like Giant fan’s respect for GM David Gettlemen who has been ROASTED by the fanbase for selecting Jones at 6 ahead of the more popular QB prospect, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, who later went to division foe Washington. So that drama could potentially play out for the next decade. Like it or not, Jones’ reputation will be tied to how he compares to the Redskins’ new signal caller.
Just to make his life easier, the Giants also traded away their best receiving weapon as Odell Beckham Jr. was banished to Northeast Ohio. The receiving corps are a barren wasteland or anything. Plenty of teams would be happy to have Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard. The later of which just signed a long term extension… which means nothing if Beckham’s departure taught us anything.
The star of the show though is the sophomore phenom Saquon Barkley, the ground game marvel out of Penn State. It’ll be both a blessing and a curse for him to have OBJ gone. He’ll certainly become THE focal point of the offense, which is great for his usage. But on the flip side he now becomes THE absolute focal point for every defensive coordinator he’ll face.
The hope is that Nate Solder’s second year in the meadowlands goes better than his first. That former Bengal and Browns guard Kevin Zeitler stabilizes the right side of the line. That center Jon Halapio can stay healthy, and that 2nd year guard Will Hernandez continues to develop and fulfill his all pro level potential. If the line can improve just a bit, and they have plenty, and I mean PLENTY of room to improve (that’s me being an optimistic S.O.B) then Barkley has an opportunity to post some special numbers this year.
If he doesn’t, it’ll be a really long year for the Giants.
A lot of draft capital this year went into improving the defense, in particular the secondary. They used a 3rd round pick to select Sam Beal in last summer’s supplemental draft, but Beal couldn’t make it out of training camp before getting roughed up. Along with Beal, they used a first on DeAndre Baker, a fourth on Notre Dame’s Julian Love, and a 6th on Corey Ballentine.
While losing Oliver Vernon will be a blow to the pass rush, and its a pass rush that wasn’t exactly flush with production before losing Vernon, they do have hope that second year backer Lorenzo Carter out of Georgia will take a leap this year and provide consistent pressure from the edge. Something that based upon his collegiate production he is capable of doing. To help him, you can expect to see a solid helping of 3rd round selection Oshane Ximines out of Old Dominion who was one of the better pass rush prospects coming out this year, but who still needs a lot of improvement defending the run game.
When it comes to stopping the run, they have added some big boys up front the last couple of drafts with BJ Hill flashing last year. He’ll be helped by behemoth Dexter Lawrence out of Clemson and Chris Slayton from Syracuse who could be a 7th round steal.
All these young pieces will be led by solid veterans such as Janoris Jenkins, Antoine Bethea, and Alec Ogletree. Overall, this could be a year of growing pains for the defense, but they have some interesting pieces to play with.
If the NFL had a draft lottery, the Giants would be looking at plenty of ping pong balls. They’re in a tough position of trying to carry a franchise icon who is well past his prime… hell, he passed the exit for his prime about 50 miles ago. Ideally this would be a year of letting Jones work through his growing pains, instead it’ll likely be a swirl of controversy as they attempt to figure out when enough is enough. All the while they’ll be wasting another year of Saquon Barkley. NFL running backs only have so many years, and you never know how soon an injury can knock an emerging stud back off his pedestal (just ask Todd Gurley).
They’ll be fighting for a 3rd place finish in their division with the Redskins.
Names to know for your Fantasy Drafts:
- Eli Manning
- Daniel Jones
- Saquon Barkley
- Wayne Gallman
- Rod Smith
- Evan Engram
- Golden Tate
- Sterling Shepard
- Darius Slayton
- Aldrick Rosas
- Written by Jason Sullivan
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