Big season for Judge, Jones, Barkley and restocked Giants
NEW YORK GIANTS (6-10)
CAMP SITE: East Rutherford, New Jersey
LAST YEAR: Despite the devastating injury to RB Saquon Barkley in the second game of the season and a 1-7 start under rookie coach Joe Judge, the Giants went on a four-game winning streak and went 5-3 in the second half of the season. They were in first place until losing to the Cardinals, Browns and Ravens in December. DL Leonard Williams, who was franchised last season, had a breakout year to lead Patrick Graham’s unexpectedly good defense. QB Daniel Jones was inconsistent, but provided a much-needed spark with his legs. James Bradberry gave New York a shutdown cornerback. LB Blake Martinez was a sure tackler in the middle, and a group of young defensive backs and linebackers provided Graham’s defense with versatility. PK Graham Gano was automatic and special teams were generally good. The Giants have made the playoffs once (2016) since winning the Super Bowl after the ’11 season.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: WR Kenny Golladay, CB Adoree Jackson, rookie WR Kafarius Toney, TE Kyle Rudolph, DE Ifeadi Odenigbo, DT Danny Shelton, QB Mike Glennon, RB Devontae Booker, WR John Ross, rookie LB Azeez Ojulari, LB Ryan Anderson, LB Reggie Ragland, FB Cullen Gillaspia, G Zach Fulton, G Jonotthan Harrison.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: DT Dalvin Tomlinson, G Kevin Zeitler, WR Golden Tate, LB Kyler Fackrell, OT Cam Fleming, QB Colt McCoy, LB David Mayo, RB Wayne Gallman.
CAMP NEEDS: While free agency and the draft filled many of the missing pieces for Judge, there are major question marks. Can Barkley again be a dominant player coming off an ACL injury? Jones will be under the microscope heading into his third season. The offensive line will have a new right side coming off a so-so season. Jason Garrett’s offense lacked a deep threat and it remains to be seen if Toney, Ross or veteran Darius Slayton can fill the need. Golladay is expected to the touchdown maker, especially in the red zone. The defense needs to take the next step but expectations are high that Graham’s unit will be even better with Jackson flanking Bradberry at the cornerback spot. Re-signing Williams to a long-term deal and having a bunch of young, quick linebackers is expected to provide a pass rush.
KEY CAMP COMPETITIONS: Slayton will be pushed by Toney and Ross for the deep-threat role. The O-line seemingly is 60% set, with Andrew Thomas at left tackle, Shane Lemieux at left guard and Nick Gates at center. The right side is open. Will Hernandez, Fulton and Harrison will compete for the guard spot. Nate Solder, back after opting out last season, and second-year pro Matt Peart will look to be the tackle. The outside linebacker spots are wide open with Lorenzo Carter (Achilles tendon) and Oshane Ximines (shoulder) returning from injuries and facing challenges from Cam Brown, Carter Coughlin, Ojulari, and the new veterans, Anderson and Ragland.
EXPECTATIONS: Despite being four-games under .500, the Giants had a chance to win the weak NFC East on the final day of the season. A second-place finish behind Washington only raises the ante for Judge’s second season, especially with GM Dave Gettleman getting busy an aggressive approach in free agency and the draft. New York traded down in the first round and got Toney. Many observers have put a target on Jones to produce. The real key for the team will be Barkley bouncing back from the injury and the line opening holes and keeping Jones upright. If it happens, it’s likely back to the playoffs.
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