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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / State of the league: A Look at the New York Giants

State of the league: A Look at the New York Giants

The state of the New York Giants!
Publish Date: 06/03/2021
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

The NFL Draft and free agency is in our rearview mirrors. There is very little day-to-day NFL news aside from random minor transactions across the league and conversations about where/when this star or that future Hall of Famer will be traded. The NBA and NHL playoffs are in full swing. Baseball is gearing up for a long, hot summer. The dog days of Summer are upon us. But that doesn’t mean we can’t look down the line at what else the coming summer months hold for us: NFL minicamps and Training Camp. 

This leads us to a new feature here on The Grueling Truth – The State Of The League. We will be going over all 32 teams, division by division: their offseason player personnel moves, coaching changes, and projected preseason depth charts. Between the beginning of June and the 3rd week of July (Dallas and Pittsburgh can report to training camp as early as July 21st; Tampa Bay can report as early as July 24th; the rest of the league will be reporting on July 27th), new team reports will be released every few days until the start of training camp. We started with the Dallas Cowboys, so let’s stay in the NFC East and continue on with the New York Giants! 

 

New York Giants Pre-Training Camp Projected Depth Chart

 

Position Starters Backups
QB Daniel Jones Mike Glennon
RB Saquon Barkley Devontae Booker
FB Cullen Gillaspia Elijhaa Penny
WR1 Kenny Golladay Sterling Shepard
WR2 Darius Slayton John Ross III
WR3 Kadarius Toney Dante Pettis
TE1 Evan Engram Levine Toilolo
TE2 Kyle Rudolph Kaden Smith
LT Andrew Thomas Nate Solder
LG Shane Lemieux Brett Heggie
C Nick Gates Jonotthan Harrison
RG Will Hernandez Zach Fulton
RT Matt Peart Kenny Wiggins
DL Leonard Williams B.J. Hill
NT Austin Johnson Danny Shelton
DL Dexter Lawrence Elerson Smith
OLB Ryan Anderson Oshane Ximines
ILB Blake Martinez Tae Crowder
ILB Lorenzo Carter Devante Downs
OLB Azeez Ojulari Ifeadi Odenigbo
CB1 James Bradberry Darnay Holmes
CB2 Adoree’ Jackson Rodarius Williams
CB3 Aaron Robinson Isaac Yiadom
FS Logan Ryan Xavier McKinney
SS Jabrill Peppers Julian Love
K Graham Gano
P Riley Dixon Ryan Santoso
LS Carson Tinker
KR Darnay Holmes Darius Slayton
PR Jabrill Peppers Darius Slayton

 

***BOLD PLAYER NAME = 2021 ROOKIE***

 

New York Giants 2021 NFL Draft Class

 

Round 1 (20th overall): WR Kadarius Toney, Florida

Round 2 (50th): EDGE Azeez Ojulari, Georgia

Round 3 (71st): CB Aaron Robinson, UCF

Round 4 (116th): EDGE Elerson Smith, Northern Iowa

Round 6 (196th): RB Gary Brightwell, Arizona

Round 6 (201st): CB Rodarius Williams, Oklahoma State

 

New York Giants Free Agent Moves

 

Arrivals
Player Name Position Age 2020 Team
Kenny Golladay WR 28 DET
Adoree’ Jackson CB 26 TEN
Kyle Rudolph TE 32 MIN
Zach Fulton G 30 HOU
Devontae Booker RB 29 LV
Ryan Anderson OLB 27 WSH
Danny Shelton DT 28 DET
John Ross WR 27 CIN
Cullen Gillaspia FB 26 HOU
Mike Glennon QB 32 JAX
Ifeadi Odenigbo OLB 27 MIN
Chris Milton CB 29 TEN
Reggie Ragland ILB 28 DET
Corey Clement RB 27 PHI
Cole Hikutini TE 27 DAL
Joshua Kalu DB 26 TEN
Departures
Player Name Position Age 2021 Team
Kevin Zeitler G 31 BAL
Alex Tanney QB 33 (Retired)
Kyler Fackrell OLB 30 LAC
David Mayo ILB 28 WSH
Dalvin Tomlinson DT 27 MIN
Colt McCoy QB 35 ARZ
Wayne Gallman RB 27 SF
Cameron Fleming T 29 DEN
Adrian Colbert FS 28 NE
Re-Signed
Player Name Position Age 2021 Team
Leonard Williams DL 27 NYG
Austin Johnson DT 27 NYG
Casey Kreiter LS 31 NYG
C.J. Board WR 28 NYG
David Sills WR 26 NYG
Austin Mack WR 24 NYG
Madre Harper CB 24 NYG

 

New York Giants Offseason Review

 

This was an important offseason for the Giants’ rebuild – one in which the team significantly upgraded the weapons at Daniel Jones’ disposal, and added quality depth at positions of need on both sides of the ball. Now it’s time for Jones to take a big step in his development, cut down on the turnovers/holding on to the ball too long, and show why Dave Gettleman selected him 6th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. An improved Jones, a healthy Barkley, and a sneaky good defense will be key to building on last season’s bittersweet 6-10 finish that saw their playoff hopes end the last day of the regular season when the Washington Football Team defeated the Eagles, winning the NFC East and eliminating the Giants from playoff contention.

 

The only team in the NFL that was worse than the Giants on offense this past season was the lowly Adam Gase-led New York Jets. Barkley’s injury early in the season definitely did not help things at all, but Jones seemed to regress in his second season as the starter for Big Blue. This Jones-led offense was one of the worst in the league last season, and the Giants were last or near the bottom of almost every single passing category. Only the Jets offense was worse overall, while only 3 teams were worse in passing yards per game; two of which (Baltimore and New England) were top three in rushing attempts per game and bottom two in passing attempts per game. Big Blue also had issues converting on 3rd down, putting their defense at a big disadvantage game after game. 

 

With veteran free-agent additions in receivers Golladay (4 yrs/$72M) and Ross, tight end Rudolph and the athletic/versatile Toney gives Jones more talent than he has ever had as a quarterback at any level – and with a healthy Barkley coming back, there are no more excuses. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will be on the hot seat as well, as he now has a bevy of weapons at his disposal, and will have to help Jones take that next big step. Golladay is a former Pro Bowler who will step in as Jones’ new top target on the outside, but health has been an issue for the former Detroit Lion, as he has only been healthy for a full 16 games only once in his 4-year career (including playing in only 5 games last season). With Golladay/Slayton on the outside and Toney/Shepard in the slot, the Giants have solid young talent and SHOULD have more success in the passing game. Bonus points to the G-Men for getting Chicago’s 2022 1st round NFL Draft pick. They traded down after the Eagles again broke hearts when they traded up in the Draft to take Alabama wide receiver, DeVonta Smith, ahead of New York.

 

Evan Engram always frustrates Giants fans with untimely ugly drops in key spots, but he is coming off a Pro Bowl year (mostly because the position has become a barren landscape production-wise league-wide outside the best of the best) – despite leading the tight end position in drops – and has a new running mate in Rudolph who can take some pressure off of Engram. Rudolph gives Jones another big red zone target (NY was 31st in red-zone touchdowns and touchdown %) when healthy, and a solid in-line blocker. Since Engram is a liability as a blocker, this will allow him to focus more on being the receiver he is capable of. New York has a young projected starting offensive line unit led by Andrew Thomas, but no major additions were made aside from adding depth in free agency, so they hope the group grows and improves together moving forward. 

 

The Giants had a pretty solid defense last season, considering they constantly had to defend short fields and had an offense that couldn’t score points. Leonard Williams had a Pro Bowl season and was given a very nice contract extension this offseason after being franchise-tagged by the team. He is coming off a fantastic season that saw him finish 2nd among defensive tackles in sacks (11.5) and 3rd in the league in QB Hits (30). He and Bradberry (Pro Bowler in 2020; 3 INT, 18 pass breakups) are the leaders of this underrated defense, but the Giants had clear needs at edge rusher and corner that needed to be addressed. 

 

After their offseason additions, the Giants are now four deep at safety and four deep at the corner. Adding Jackson (3 yrs/$39M) on a big contract was questionable – he only appeared in three games last season for the Titans and hasn’t lived up to his billing as a former 1st round pick – but he is slated to start immediately opposite Bradberry and the team needs him to be an upgrade at the position. The team also added a couple of quality defensive prospects on the 2nd day of the Draft when they selected edge rusher Azeez Ojulari and cornerback Aaron Robinson. Ojulari, who dropped to the 2nd round due to medical questions, fills a big need and will see significant time right away; Robinson should push for time as the top nickel corner sooner than later as a rookie.

 

New York made some progress last year and looked to build on it this offseason. They addressed key needs on both sides of the ball, and the added depth will help later in the year. This is a huge year for Jones – he needs Barkley and Golladay to be healthy if the offense is going to make any relevant improvement. The NFC East is very winnable, but Jones has to play better if this team is to go .500 or better for just the 2nd time since 2012 (11-5 in 2016).

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