I think I learned all I need to know about this New York Giants squad when Damon Harrison decided not to lock up and throw some punches when things got chippy at practice, but weaponize a rookie’s helmet and try to bash that same rookie’s head in with it. Hey, fights are going to happen, tempers are going to fly, that’s a given. But using a helmet to concuss your teammate is something I don’t think coaches will want to see. Given the issues the Giants had under former head coach Ben McAdoo, you’d think you’d see a transformation akin to the San Francisco 49ers.
If the above incident is any indication, new head coach Pat Shurmur may have his work cut out for him keeping this team together. As of this writing, there’s also issues with star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr and the Giants being far away on a contract extension. Not good. Granted, there may be skepticism after Beckham comes back from an ankle injury, but it’s not a good start.
Eli Manning will be the starting quarterback, no more controversy, at least for now. But some of the bold decisions the Giants have made both to the coaching staff and the front office, one can only guess if this roster can compete for a championship. Then again, trying to analyze the Giants is next to impossible. The moment I throw dirt on the Giants, they turn around and limp into the playoffs, so I’m withholding judgment, but it seems like they have a long ways to go.
Round 1: Saquon Barkley (RB)
Round 2: Will Hernandez (G)
Round 3: Lorenzo Carter (LB)
Round 3: B.J. Hill (DT)
Round 4: Kyle Lauletta (QB)
Round 5: RJ McIntosh (DT)
Notable free agent acquisitions
Nate Solder (T)
Jonathan Stewart (RB)
Kareem Martin (LB)
The Giants draft picks were slim due to the trade of a fourth-rounder and a sixth-rounder to the Los Angeles Rams to acquire linebacker Alec Ogletree. The Giants also obtained a 2019 seventh-rounder as well.
The drafting of Saquon Barkley could be considered risky (the Giants needed talent at the position but I didn’t see it as a priority), given their need to get an heir to Eli Manning selected, but this is the first time the Giants potentially have a threatening running game rather than having one that’s seemed like an afterthought in recent years. Barkley will help take the stress off Eli Manning as well in the passing game. When the Giants do move on from Manning, Barkley can help take the pressure off the new quarterback with the offense not expecting much out of a pass catcher.
The selection of Will Hernandez was one I somewhat wanted the 49ers to pursue, but I knew there was no way he’d drop to the team in the second round. Add in Solder and you have a nicely upgraded offensive line that should give Manning more time to find his receivers. Potentially in the top-10 of the league.
The Kyle Lauletta pick is really the only head scratcher from this draft. The Giants needed a quarterback to groom and they wait until round four for this guy? It seemed to get mixed reviews from the community at our New York Giants sister site Big Blue View, also. I do, however, like the fact they are comparing quarterbacks to Jimmy Garoppolo.
Way too early gambling line
The Giants had an awful, awful season in 2017, thanks in part to quitting on Ben McAdoo and also thanks in part to underachieving. I really can’t pinpoint how good this roster is because it’s the same roster that went into the playoffs in 2016. Injuries were also a concern in 2017, which hurt the team early and they couldn’t quite recover from it. I think it’s much better than getting credit for.
I’d put the Giants down as a sleeper team for 2018. There’s just one problem: that division is one of the tougher ones in the league. If not for that, I’d say they could make the playoffs. There’s no science behind my statement here, I’m going off inconsistency and how they’ve managed to limp-in in the past. If you look at it on paper, nothing with the Giants besides a few key cogs stands out—but that’s always been the case, even when they won a few Super Bowls in the last decade.
Against the San Francisco 49ers, the oddsmakers have the 49ers with a generous spread. I think the Giants are much better than the spread indicates, but they are obviously trying to change some things with the way this roster is built. They are flying cross country and the offense’s ability provides the perfect test for the 49ers defense. The Giants offense isn’t going to put up god-like numbers in 2018, but it should have adequate production which will match-up well with our questions on where the 49ers defense stands. If anything, that’s something to watch. As a whole, the Giants are being reshuffled for the future, and the 49ers have already gone through their own version of this story. The Giants are traveling cross country and the 49ers will win this game. I don’t think it’s as handily as the spread indicates, but it’s going to be handily done.
But with the Giants, I have been wrong before. Several times.