The NFL Draft is over, and so the two main events of the offseason – this one and free agency – have come and gone, and the Giants’ roster is very different.
They are clearly a team determined to overcome the bump, improve their record from 6-10 and return to the playoffs for the second time in a decade. There are still major question marks, admittedly, starting with Daniel Jones and the offensive line.
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But there is reason to be optimistic.
Giants fans will likely take this. This beats the alternative.
With that, here are five random thoughts that come out of the NFL Draft and look to the sequel:
1. The growth of Dave Gettleman: There was a lot to criticize the Giants GM during his first two years. But to his credit, where things failed the first two years, Gettleman actually showed a willingness to at least listen to new ideas. It helps that he and Giants coach Joe Judge seem to have a good working relationship.
Good enough for the judge to feel comfortable making a joke on Gettleman who finally took over the draft: “I’m sure Dave has a concussion or something,” he said with a smile on Friday. evening.
About it: This is obviously the most shocking change, considering Gettleman had served as general manager on eight drafts between the Panthers and Giants and had never traded. In any round. His explanations for never doing it didn’t quite make sense, although he insisted he was close in the past. The nature of the 2021 draft in the midst of the pandemic and the value of the 2022 draft picks have likely prompted action. So now they have two first-round picks in 2022, plus two third-round picks and two fourth-round picks, and 10 picks in total.
But all of this has already been written.
The most interesting piece of growth came from a quote Gettleman had at the end of the draft on Saturday night.
First, a bit of background: The Giants drafted two cornerbacks (Aaron Robinson in the third round, Rodarius Williams in the sixth) after signing Adoree ‘Jackson to a big money free agent contract. Last year, the Giants drafted Darnay Holmes in the fourth round and signed James Bradberry as a free agent.
The Giants therefore drafted two corners this weekend without touching the offensive line at all. But why?
“As the media say, and as the public perception is: this is a passing league,” Gettleman said. “So why not a lot of turns, okay?”
Take that in comparison to what he said at the judge’s introductory press conference last year:
“People say it’s a fleeting league, I understand that. But you know that Sunday afternoon graphic (in the 2020 playoffs) shouldn’t have been lost on anyone. The top four passing teams weren’t in the playoffs, the top four ground teams were in the playoffs. I think – don’t quote me – but most of the teams were in the Top 12 I think in terms of the rush. So, again, it’s a physical and violent game. If you don’t build your team to do this at the end of the year when the weather is bad and the weather is bad, tough teams will win.
2. Players in difficulty: The Giants added players to positions in their roster that were already in decent form at depth (outside of the running back): wide receiver, runner and cornerback. This means that some players who saw the squad in 2020 might struggle to make it to the 53-man roster after training camp. A few that come to mind:
– CB Isaac Yiadom: He was the No.2 starting cornerback for much of the year, now he will have to fight to make the squad, although he can still stick around if the Giants keep five cornerbacks . He restructured his contract to avoid being cut earlier this offseason.
– CB Sam Beal: One of Gettleman’s worst shots, using a third-round pick in the 2018 extra draft. In three years, he’s played six games, including an opt-out last year. He was hardly indoctrinated into the culture of Judge. He needs a really good camp to stay.
– WR Dante Pettis: He showed some promise when he finally got on the pitch at the end of last season. He has a speed that you cannot teach. But he could fall victim to a numbers game unless he becomes a prime option as a returner. The Giants signed Kenny Golladay and John Ross, drafted Kadarius Toney in the first round and bring back Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton. There’s no guarantee the Giants will keep even six receivers, but if they do, Pettis will still have to beat other players with more experience in this system.
– WR CJ Board / Austin Mack: Both played a decent amount last year for backup receivers and the Giants clearly love them both. They’ll push Pettis to be the sixth receiver, if they keep that much, but Mack in particular seems more likely to be a training player.
– EDGE Niko Lalos: For a few weeks last season, Lalos – an UDFA from Dartmouth – was the talk of the town. It was yelled at by LeBron James. He had an interception in a win over the Bengals and a breakaway in a win over the Seahawks. But the Giants recover Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines from injury, signed Ryan Anderson, and drafted two players this year (Azeez Ojulari, Elerson Smith) and last year (Carter Coughlin, Cam Brown) who will take precedence over him.
– DL RJ McIntosh: It has less to do with the draft and just a matter of numbers. McIntosh was on the active roster all season in 2020 but never played. The Giants lost Dalvin Tomlinson, but brought back Leonard Williams and Austin Johnson, and signed two more to Danny Shelton and Ifeadi Odenigbo. Dexter Lawrence and BJ Hill are also returning.
3. Sighs of relief: On the other hand, there are players who should be feeling pretty good about their job security after the draft has unfolded.
Evan Engram is probably not traded. Will Hernandez has a real chance to start right for the first time in his career. Jonotthan Harrison is a safe bet as a backup center. Tae Crowder and Reggie Ragland have no real competition for playing time now at inside linebacker next to Blake Martinez. And in safety, someone like free agent signing Josh Kalu has room to squeeze through the roster as a special teams player, as he hasn’t added any other important safety this offseason.
4. Crunch the list: The Giants agreed to sign three different undrafted free agents, but left the draft with 88 spots filled. So they’re going to have to make at least one cut, assuming all three prospects – C Brett Heggie, OL Jake Burton, DE Raymond Johnson III – sign contracts and don’t come as tries for the rookie minicamp.
Don’t expect the Giants to sign plenty of other undrafted free agents (if any).
5. Free agents still there: The Giants aren’t exactly at the same level as cap space ($ 5.04 million, per Over the Cap), but there is always maneuvering and players who can be cut off (like Yiadom or the punter Riley Dixon) to erase more if necessary. I wouldn’t expect a major splash, but some available players that might make sense (and Jason McCourty can probably be ruled out at this point):
– G Trai Turner: Maybe the Giants wanted to address the guard in the draft and the value wasn’t there. If so, it would make sense to go back to free agency for a veteran like Turner, which would at least be an upgrade on Zach Fulton and, if Turner is healthy, on Will Hernandez as well. Turner is not coming from his best year, cut by the Chargers after only playing nine games. He will still only be 28 in June, however, and Gettleman drafted him in Carolina.
– G James Carpenter: A 32-year-old veteran who played in Alabama when Joe Judge and offensive line coach Rob Sale were working there. Can contribute to good custody.
– T Cam Fleming: The Giants started him all 16 games last year and he’s still available. A pretty good backup on the cheap if he doesn’t get any offers.
– S Nate Ebner: There was a belief the Giants would bring him back to help with special teams, although it’s unclear if that’s still the case.
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Zack Rosenblatt can be reached at [email protected]. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.