NFL training camp gets going in three weeks, and that means the NFL regular season is only two months away. I imagine most of us will be focusing on our San Francisco 49ers during training camp, but it will help to know a little bit about the rest of the league. SB Nation’s 32 NFL sites are putting together basic rundowns of what their team has been up to this offseason.
Each explainer includes free agent additions and departures, trades, draft picks expected to contribute as rookies, biggest offseason addition, biggest storyline, underrated storyline, and notable injuries. The idea is to give you a quick but thorough background on each team. We’ll use these to look at 49ers opponents, but if we have time, I want to try and use all 32 to give us a nice look around the league.
Today, we move on to the New York Giants, courtesy of our friends at Big Blue View. The two teams square off in Week 10, and it’s safe to say expectations are slightly different. While the 49ers are rebuilding, the Giants are looking to squeeze out any last playoff runs they can from Eli Manning. The 36-year old is coming off a season in which he was not necessarily really bad, but was definitely not all that good. Football Outsiders ranked him No. 20 in DYAR, and he finished No. 27 in QBR. The Giants went 11-5 and earned a wild card berth, only to be thumped by the Green Bay Packers in the first round.
The Giants added some serious playmaker options, signing wide receiver Brandon Marshall and drafting tight end Evan Engram. Add those two to Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard, and you’ve got some serious pass catchers. Paul Perkins is taking over as the starting running back, with Shane Vereen serving as the pass catching complement. The most notable problem on offense would seem to be the lack of any improvement at the tackle positions. Manning is going to be under the gun, and his lack of mobility is not going to help make his offensive line look better.
Can they get a serious playoff run out of this group?
Notable free agent additions: WR Brandon Marshall, TE/FB Rhett Ellison, RB Shaun Draughn, OL D.J. Fluker, DE Devin Taylor, DT Corbin Bryant, CB Valentino Blake
Notable free agent departures: DT Johnathan Hankins, WR Victor Cruz, TE Larry Donnell, RB Rashad Jennings, CB Coty Sensabaugh, CB Trevin Wade, DB Leon Hall, OT Marshall Newhouse, QB Ryan Nassib
Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies:
TE Evan Engram, Round 1 -- Could be the starter. Should join Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard in a dynamic receiving corps. The Giants didn’t have a big tight end who could threaten the seam or be a consistent red zone threat last season. They believe Engram can do those things.
DT Dalvin Tomlinson, Round 2 -- Could start in Hankins’ spot next to Damon Harrison. In fact, almost certainly will start.
RB Wayne Gallman, Round 4 -- An all-around back who could become part of the team’s running back rotation.
QB Davis Webb (Round 3), DE Avery Moss (Round 5) and OT Adam Bisnowaty (Round 6) are further down the depth chart right now.
Biggest offseason addition: The single transaction that has gotten the most attention is the addition of Brandon Marshall. Perhaps the answer, though, is the combination of Marshall and Engram. That gives the Giants size and a multitude of options in their passing attack that they did not have last season.
Biggest storyline heading into training camp: The fact that the Giants, with a stationary 36-year-old quarterback and possibly the worst offensive tackle tandem in the NFL last season, did nothing to upgrade that position this offseason. They are depending on improvement from Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart. If they don’t get it, that will be a major problem.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp: Contract stuff. Odell Beckham is due what everyone knows will be a monster contract after the season. Offensive linemen Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg can also be free agents. It’s an under-current, but the Giants are heading toward critical -- and expensive -- decisions on many key players.
Notable injuries heading into training camp: No major ones that occurred in the spring. Rhett Ellison missed time with a calf issue that is worth monitoring. Darian Thompson missed 14 games with a foot injury last year, and his status is a bit of a mystery as the Giants haven’t really turned him loose. Eli Apple had a hamstring that kept him out of mini-camp.