New York Giants: Offseason & Draft Recap
The Giants are in the midst of a full rebuild. The issue is they have been rebuilding since 2016 when they went 11-5. The Giants finished 6-10 last season under first year and first time head coach Joe Judge. The Giants were led on the field by second year pro Daniel Jones, who was drafted 6th overall in 2019. They had many holes in the roster during the 2020 season but still managed to get six wins in the worst division in football last year. They finished the season with the 11th overall pick. The team finished the season with the 31st ranked team offense, averaging 299.6 yards per game and 17.5 points per game. Their passing game came in ranked 29th and averaging 189.1 yards per game. Their rushing game was the best aspect of their offense, coming in ranked 19th and averaging 110.5 yards per game. The Giants defense was by far the best aspect of this team. Their team defense came in ranked 9th, giving up 349.3 yards per game. They came in ranked 16th against the pass giving up 237.9 yards per game in the air and ranked 23rd against the run giving up 111.4 yards per game. This was not the season the Giants had hoped for but it clearly showed some holes that this team needs to fill this off-season.
The Giants are led by General Manager Dave Gettleman. He has been the GM for the Giants going on his fourth season. Leading the team on the field is Head Coach Joe Judge. Judge is going into his second year as head coach. After being fired from the Dallas Cowboys head coaching position, Jason Garrett was hired by Judge to lead the Giants offense in 2020. Judge also hired Patrick Graham as the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. Graham has been working with defenses since 2010 and has been coaching at some level since 2002. With these coaches all going into their second year, there will still not be a lot of pressure on them to win anything of note this season.
Cap Space: $3.24 million ( 30th in NFL)
Key Free Agent Losses: Kevin Zeitler (OL), Dalvin Tomlinson (DT), Cameron Fleming (T), Kyler Fackrell (OLB), Colt McCoy (QB), Adrian Colber (FS), Wayne Gallman (RB), Golden Tate (WR), Dion Lewis (RB)
Key Free Agent/Offseason Additions: Leonard Williams (DL), Kenny Golladay (WR), Adoree’ Jackson (CB), Kyle Rudolph (TE), John Ross (WR), Devontae Booker (RB), Ifeadi, Odenigbo (DL), Zach Fulton (OL), Ryan Anderson (LB), Mike Glennon (QB), Reggie Ragland (LB)
The Giants were able to shed and restructure some contracts to free up enough money for them to have a pretty big free agency to this point. The addition of guys like Golladay, Williams, Rudolph, and Jackson are very good for this team. Jones needed a real WR threat and Golladay will solidify that. The addition of Mike Glennon will be a clear improvement over Colt McCoy at back-up QB. The Giants still have some major work to do on the offensive line as they gave up 45 sacks last season. They are also expecting to get Barkley back and if he can stay healthy, that will help Jones out a lot as well. They were able to improve their defense during free agency with the addition of Williams and Jackson. Look for the Giants to have a decent defense again this season.
Draft: 6 Picks (Prior to Draft)
Round 1 Pick 20: Kadarius Toney (WR, Florida)
The Giants came into the draft with the eleventh overall pick. After trading with Chicago, they ended up with the 20th pick, 164th pick, a 2022 first-rounder and a 2022 fourth-rounder. Then the Giants draft Toney. Toney is a legitamate playmaker and will be playing the slot. Look for the Giants to use him on special teams as well as in the backfield occassionally. He has been compared to another former Florida wide receiver in Percy Harvin. In his career at Florida, he had 120 receptions and 12 touchdowns. He also averaged 13.3 yards per catch. Last season he ended with 984 yards on 70 receptions and 10 touchdowns. Look for him to step in immediately this season and fight for the starting slot position. The Giants still had a need for playmakers for Jones. The addition of Toney and Golladay will help with Jones’ development.
Round 2 Pick 50: Azeez Ojulari (OLB, Georgia)
Gettleman, after never having traded back before this year, traded back again. The Giants started with the 42 overall pick and moved back the 50th and picked up a 2022 third-round pick in addition. The Giants came into this draft needing to pick up an edge rusher, and they got that in Ojulari. He was the 31st overall ranked player and the second at defensive end. He graded out at 88. He has very good size and is a very good athlete. He has the potential to be an elite edge rusher but will need to get stronger at the point of attack. The only reason he was not a first round pick and fell this far is due to arthritis in his knee from a high school injury. Look for Ojulari to come in and play a big roll in the Giants’ defense. He will be an important piece for the Giants’ future on defense. With the addition of the 3rd round pick, this was another great pick by Gettleman.
Round 3 Pick 71: Aaron Robinson (CB, UCF)
The Giants traded with the Broncos here, giving up the 76th pick and the 164th pick, they picked up in the trade with the Bears to move up to 71. I was a bit surprised by the addition of Jackson in free agency. Robinson was agreat value here, even with the trade up. He graded out as a second-round talent with a grade of 76. He is a very fast and physical corner, coming in running his 40-yard dash at 4.38 seconds. He will come in and start as a nickle corner and is good enough to move outside if the Giants needed him to. Overall, the Giants got a good player here who should compete for a starting spot, but they passed up on a bigger need on the offensive line.
Round 4 Pick 116: Elerson Smith (OLB, Northern Iowa)
The Giants came back in the fourth round and selected another pass rushing style OLB. It is clear that Gettleman wants to improve the athletic ability of his pass rushers. Smith is 6’6” and 252 pounds. His length and speed will be an advantage for him on the pass rush. He did not get to play in 2020 as their conference postponed their season. In 2019 he had 21.5 tackles for loss and 14 sacks. He will be a developmental pass rusher but look for him to be a guy who gets some chances on third downs this upcoming season. Round 6 Pick 196: Gary Brightwell (RB, Arizona)Brightwell is 5’11” and 218 pounds. He is not a smash mouth running back but he is not afraid of contact and has some speed to go with his size. He is a reliable pass catcher and a decet pass blocker. He played on all of Arizona’s special teams and played very well. Look for him to come in and make an impact on special teams right off the bat, and to be a developmental running back as well. He could also get some opportunities as a back-up if Barkley happens to go down with an injury again.
Round 6 Pick 201: Rodarius Williams (CB, Oklahoma State)
It was pretty clear what Gettleman was trying to do later in the draft. Williams is another player with special teams value. He comes in at 6’0” and 189 pounds. He has decent speed and size where he can hang with most receivers but he struggles with tracking the ball. He is an older rookie coming in at 25 years old, but he is an effective tackler. He, like Brightwell, will come in and compete for a special teams spot. Look for that to be where he makes his biggest impact for the team.
Draft Grade: B+
Note: The only reason I could not give this an A was because they did not do anything on the offensive line. With them giving up 45 sacks last season and being the 31st ranked offense, they really needed to address this hole. Jones will struggle to develop if he cannot stay on his feet. Other than that, with only six picks this draft, Gettleman did a great job picking up some draft picks for 2022 and still getting some picks that will help their team right away.