2019 NFL Season Preview- New York Giants
Despite another losing season, the Giants have some hope moving forward.
New York started the year 1-7, but went 4-4 in the last half of the season. Despite this, the Giants were in 12 one-possession games and lost eight games by seven points or fewer.
Quarterback Eli Manning set a career high for completion percentage, but will be entering the final year of his deal and has shown he isn't a fit for this league anymore. Running back Wayne Gallman made the most of what opportunities he did had while Jonathan Stewart didn't produce on the field, but brought a positive mentality to the locker room. Tight end Evan Engram reduced his number of drops to three, but dealt with some injuries early. Rhett Ellison was used mainly as a blocker and wasn't great down the stretch. After signing the richest contract in league history for a wide receiver, Odell Beckham Jr. missed four games due to injury and his level of play has gone slightly downward from his rookie year. Sterling Shepard saw his role expand, but struggled against press corners. After four different combinations, New York seemed to find their best situation at offensive line. Right guard Jamon Brown started the year strong but was completely flat by season's end. Right tackle Chad Wheeler was overwhelmed and likely will be replaced. Left tackle Nate Solder played better late after a rough start to the year.
The team traded Defensive tackle Damon Harrison to Detroit in October which allowed Dalvin Tomlinson to return to his natural position at nose tackle. Defensive end Kerry Wynn had his best year since his rookie season. Outside linebacker Connor Barwin didn't make much of an impact in what few snaps he did get. Inside linebacker Alec Ogletree started the year slow but finished strong by leading the team with five interceptions. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins continues to be one of the biggest gambling corners in the league.
Punter Riley Dixon finished seventh in the league with 41.8 net punt average. Corey Coleman showed some flashes as a return man late.
The team had five Pro Bowlers in running back Saquon Barkley, outside linebacker Olivier Vernon, free safety Michael Thomas, strong safety Landon Collins, and kicker Aldrick Rosas. Vernon missed several games with high ankle sprain but still finished with seven sacks on the season. Thomas made his first Pro Bowl as a special teams gunner. Collins was asked to do everything on defense but failed to record an interception. Rosas went from being the worst kicker in the league to the best as he made 97% of his kicks.
The Giants hit a homerun with their rookie class. Running back Saquon Barkley shattered numerous franchise records like touchdowns and rushing yards by a rookie and league records including most scrimmage yards by a rookie and receptions by a rookie running back. For his efforts, he was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Left guard Will Hernández developed quickly and helped stabilize the offensive line. Outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter showed flashes of being an elite edge rusher, but needs to improve his run defense. Defensive tackle BJ Hill came on strong after Damon Harrison was traded. Quarterback Kyle Lauletta had a disastrous hear which included being arrested for a traffic violation and going 0-5 play relief which got him demoted to third string.
Opponent Passing YPG
Opponent Rushing YPG
Going 5-11 in his first season in New York, head coach Pat Shurmur has to keep the energy high if they expect to improve on the latter half of 2018. He also has to keep the team from blown fourth quarter lead situations. General manager Dave Gettleman believes the Giants are on the rise as they have a never say die spirit.
On July 26, wide receiver Corey Coleman tore his ACL in training camp and will be out for the season.
On July 27, wide receiver Golden Tate was hit with a four game suspension by the NFL for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing drugs.
Notable Additions- RB Rod Smith, WR Golden Tate, T Mike Remmers, OLB Markus Golden, FS Antoine Bethea, SS Jabrill Peppers
Notable Departures- RB Jonathan Stewart, WR Odell Beckham Jr, DE Mario Edwards, DE Kerry Wynn, OLB Connor Barwin, OLB, Olivier Vernon, CB BW Webb, FS Curtis Riley, SS Landon Collins
Saquon Barkley Rookie Highlights
2019 NFL Draft
Thanks to the team traded Odell Beckham Jr. to Cleveland, the Giants had two first round picks to acquire top talent. Especially at positions like right tackle, edge rusher, and safety.
Chad Wheeler was not suited to be a powerful run blocking tackle. Mike Remmers was signed in the offseason, but he is a career journeyman.
Olivier Vernon is now Cleveland and Connor Basin was released. Markus Golden was acquired in free agency and Lorenzo Carter has promise, but the team needs something more concrete.
Landon Collins is now with division rival Washington. Jabrill Peppers haw potential, but it is unclear if he can handle the workload Collins had.
On draft day, New York selected Duke quarterback Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick. Jones was praised for his ability to read defenses, but was criticized for never living up to his potential. With the Brown's 17th overall pick, the Giants selected Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence. Lawrence was viewed as the top run stopping defensive tackle in the draft class, but doesn't have much skill as a pass rusher. New York also made noise by trading back into the first round with Seattle in order to draft Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker with the 30th overall pick. Baker has the best read & react skills of any cornerback prospect this year, but his lack of long speed may limit his skills in man coverage.
Other Notable Draft Picks:
Oshane Ximines, LB, Old Dominion- Accelerates quick off the snap, struggles to get free once latched on
Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame- Aware of route development, average size and speed
Ryan Connelly, LB, Wisconsin- Walk on mentality, lacks sideline to sideline range
Darius Slayton, WR, Auburn- Great after the catch, limited route tree
Corey Ballentine, CB, Washburn- Fluid hips and feet, faced mediocre competition
George Asafo-Adeji, OT, Kentucky- High respected leader, one year as a starter
Chris Slayton, DT, Syracuse- Strong nose tackle, underwhelming production
Daniel Jones Highlights
What To Expect
The Giants have a lot of optimism going into 2019, but I don't think it's enough to get them over the hump.
Gettleman has said he believes Eli Manning has many years left in him, but I don't think that's the case. He will likely be the starter at the beginning of the year but he struggles, fans will scream for Daniel Jones and I don't know if he's ready. Saquon Barkley will be the focus point of the offense, but must improve in blitz protection. Evan Engram should continue to develop as a great receiving option if he can remain off the injury report. There will be concerns at receiver as I don't see Sterling Shepard as a No. 1 receiver in an offense, Golden Tate will be 31, and Cody Latimer is unproven. The offensive line still has concerns with the right side of the line and it will be crucial for Barkley to continue to grow.
The defense still has some questions. Dexter Lawrence will be put in as the run stopping nose tackle which will move Dalvin Tomlinson out of position to defensive end. The linebacker corps has some nice young depth and could be one of the more underrated units on the league. Deandre Baker will be a nice compliment to Janoris Jenkins but there is concern at safety. Antoine Bethea will be 35 at the start of the season Jabrill Peppers will be on his third defensive coordinator in as many years.
New York made a lot of moves, but they still have some glaring holes at key positions which will ultimately keep them from challenging Dallas and Philadelphia, but should leapfrog over Washington in the NFC East division standings.
Best Record They Can Hope For: 6-10