QB Jim Sorgi, LB Keith Bulluck, FS Antrel Rolle, S Deon Grant.
Early Draft Picks:
DE Jason Pierre-Paul, NT Linval Joseph, S Chad Jones, LB Phillip Dillard, G Mitch Petrus.
QB David Carr, DT Fred Robbins, OLB Danny Clark, ILB Antonio Pierce, CB Kevin Dockery, SS C.C. Brown, P Jeff "Philadelphia" Feagles.
2010 New York Giants Offense:
It's kind of ironic that the Giants failed to make the playoffs for the first time since Eli Manning's rookie year because Manning set career-bests in completion percentage (62.3), passing yards (4,021), YPA (7.9) and touchdowns (27).
It's also ironic that Manning was able to do this without Plaxico Burress. With the former Pro Bowl wideout serving a nonsensical and inexplicable prison sentence, young receivers Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham really stepped up. Smith proved to be the ultimate possession guy, notching 107 receptions, 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns. As a rookie, Nicks collected 47 receptions for 790 yards and six scores despite having just four catches in the first four weeks of the season.
Manningham, meanwhile, received a ton of exposure on a national stage, totaling 10 receptions for 150 yards and a score on a Sunday night in Dallas. However, Manningham struggles with route running, and is clearly behind Smith and Nicks.
With better stats and talented young receivers at his disposal, how did Manning fail to qualify for the playoffs? There were a few reasons, one of which was a lacking running game. Brandon Jacobs rushed for 1,089 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2008, but saw those numbers drop to 835 and five last year. Jacobs suffered a knee injury in the opener and never recovered, so he should bounce back this season if he can stay healthy (which is a big if). Ahmad Bradshaw was the better runner in 2009, but he also had nagging injuries late in the year.
Another reason for New York's failed postseason appearance was that the offensive line sustained injuries late in the year. Left guard Rich Seubert and right tackle Kareem McKenzie missed the final two weeks of the season. Manning took seven of his 32 sacks in those contests, as the Giants were outscored by a combined 85-16 by the Panthers and Vikings.
Seubert and McKenzie will be back to join center Shaun O'Hara and right guard Chris Snee; O'Hara and Snee are the two top blockers on the line. Left tackle David Diehl is serviceable, but would be better off inside. Reserve tackle William Beatty could play on the blind side if the Giants decide to move Diehl into Seubert's spot.
2010 New York Giants Defense:
The third of four reasons why the Giants failed to qualify for the postseason was the pass rush. When former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was on the sidelines, New York was renowned for accumulating tons of sacks. That was not the case last year, as the team registered just 32 sacks, with no player having more than seven.
Osi Umenyiora had those seven sacks, but was benched for the final five games of the year. He's currently behind Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwankuka on the depth chart, which is why he's been whining this entire offseason. Umenyiora, now two years removed from a knee injury that made him miss the entire 2008 campaign, is a talented player, so if he stops complaining and begins working hard, he should be able to re-claim the starting job. Kiwanuka had just three sacks last year, so that shouldn't be a problem.
Sensing Umenyiora would be a problem going forward, general manager Jerry Reese selected Jason Pierre-Paul with the No. 15 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Pierre-Paul has huge bust potential, but also has enormous upside. Ideally, he'll succeed Umenyiora and Kiwanuka as the starter across from left end Justin Tuck. Tuck is a stout defensive lineman (12 sacks in 2008), but struggled last year because of a shoulder injury he sustained in Week 2.
On the defensive interior, Barry Cofield didn't play well in 2009 because of knee surgery and was nearly traded. However, Cofield appears to be healthy now and should be able to rebound with a strong 2010 campaign. Chris Canty, the projected starter next to Cofield, should also be healthy after a barrage of leg injuries. If either player should falter, the Giants have a now-healthy Jay Alford and second-round rookie Linval Joseph ready to step in.
The pass rush should be better if everyone can stay off the IR for a change, which brings up the fourth reason why the Giants watched the playoffs from home. The secondary was simply a disgrace in 2009. It seemed like New York was getting torched with long passes each week. The safety play was simply horrific.
To remedy this weakness, the Giants brought in Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant via free agency. Rolle is a big name because of his interception totals, but if you ask any Cardinals fan, they'll tell you that he blows tons of coverages. Grant, meanwhile, is insurance just in case Kenny Phillips can't come back from his devastating knee injury, which apparently seems unlikely right now. Grant, 31, shouldn't be a starter in this league, but he's still a massive upgrade over Michael Johnson and WalterFootball.com forum member C.C. Brown.
New York also lacked depth at corner last season because Aaron Ross spent so much time sidelined with multiple injuries. With Ross out, Terrell Thomas stepped into the starting lineup, leaving no one at nickel. Things were even worse when the other starting corner, Corey Webster, missed the final three games of the year. With everyone back, it'll be interesting to see who wins the two starting jobs; both Thomas and Webster played really well in 2009.
The inside linebacker position was a major weakness for the Giants as well last year. Antonio Pierce struggled early on, and was eventually replaced by Jonathan Goff, who was even worse. Goff is currently penciled into the starting job, but fourth-round rookie Phillip Dillard could easily beat him out with a solid training camp.
Starting next to Goff/Dillard will be Clint Sintim and Michael Boley on the strong and weak sides, respectively. Sintim has very little experience in the NFL, let alone the 4-3; he was a rush linebacker in the 3-4 at Virginia. Boley, meanwhile, was yet another Giant who struggled in 2009 because of a knee injury.
2010 New York Giants Schedule and Intangibles:
During their Super Bowl run, the Giants won all of their playoff games on the road and boasted about how they were "road warriors." That's pretty factual (they were 9-1 as visitors and 3-0 on neutral sites in 2007). They were 5-2 in away games in 2008, excluding a loss to the Vikings in which all the starters sat on the bench. New York was 4-4 on the road last year, but considering the team was also 4-4 at home, that was a pretty good record.
Lawrence "New York" Tynes hit a Super Bowl appearance-clinching 47-yard field goal in overtime of the NFC Championship at frigid Lambeau in January 2008. After a year off because of injuries, Tynes went 27-of-32, including 6-of-7 from 40-plus.
Jeff "Philadelphia" Feagles finally announced his retirement, so seventh-round rookie Matt Dodge will handle the punting duties in 2010.
The Giants scored once and allowed a touchdown of their own on special teams. However, return man Domenik Hixon is already out for the year, so the job will be given to Sinorice Moss, D.J. Ware, Mario Manningham or Aaron Ross.
Four of New York's first five opponents (Carolina, Indianapolis, Tennessee, Houston) all finished 8-8 or better last year. The Giants have a few easy games against the Bears, Lions, Seahawks and Jaguars, but overall their schedule is pretty difficult considering the tough division they're in.
2010 New York Giants Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
2010 New York Giants Analysis: Every team has injuries, but what the Giants went through in 2009 was ridiculous. For that reason, they're underrated right now. This team isn't as good as the Cowboys because of its glaring defensive issues, but if most of the players can stay healthy for a change, New York can easily contend for a playoff spot.
Giants general manager Jerry Reese usually has smart, safe drafts where he takes the best player off the board. So having said that, it was very strange to see Reese draft players like Jason Pierre-Paul and Linval Joseph - two very athletic high-risk, high-upside players.
Inside linebacker was a huge need that Reese didn't address until the fourth round with Phillip Dillard. Dillard was decent value there, but it's unclear if he'll be an upgrade over Antonio Pierce. Why not draft Sean Weatherspoon at No. 15? Weatherspoon would have been a better fit for Perry Fewell's defense than Rolando McClain.
Overall, it's possible that we'll look back in a few years and give the Giants an A+ grade if Pierre-Paul and Joseph pan out. It's more likely, however, that New York will deserve an F because those two players have a high bust rate. So, let's meet in the middle and give the Giants a C.
Overall 2010 NFL Draft Grade given on 4/26/10: C
2010 NFL Draft Individual Grades:
15. Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
Jason Pierre-Paul is the prototype Pro Bowl pass-rusher; he has the speed, athleticism and long arms. And he can do back flips too. So, his upside is enormous. That said, he had no production in college, and JUCO transfers have a really dubious history in the NFL. I hate questioning Jerry Reese, but I don't like this pick very much, though I do recognize the upside. (Pick Grade: C)
46. Linval Joseph, NT, East Carolina
Linval Joseph was projected by some to go in the bottom of Round 1. He's a physically gifted nose tackle who fills a huge need on New York's defensive line. (Pick Grade: A)
76. Chad Jones, S, LSU
I guess Kenny Phillips' recovery isn't going so well. If so, this definitely fills a need. The Giants were torched by the deep ball often. They'll hope that Chad Jones and Antrel Rolle remedy that. (Pick Grade: B)
115. Phillip Dillard, LB, Nebraska
A solid fit for Perry Fewell's defense, Phillip Dillard is decent value in the middle of the fourth round. (Pick Grade: B)
147. Mitch Petrus, G, Arkansas
No surprise that Jerry Reese makes a great value pick in the middle of Round 5. Mitch Petrus is a Round 3-4 prospect and fills a need - the Giants were looking at Mike Iupati. (Pick Grade: A)
184. Adrian Tracy, DE, William & Mary
Another pass-rusher and an OK value. The Giants say they're not trading Osi Umenyiora, but I think it's going to happen. (Pick Grade: C)
221. Matt Dodge, P, East Carolina
My No. 1 punter is the third punter taken, and also goes before the first kicker - amazingly. Jeff "Philadelphia" Feagles won't be around forever. (Pick Grade: C)
What a disappointment. I'm not talking about this team's fall from grace after an impressive 5-0 start; I'm referring to the fact that they didn't put forth a single ounce of effort in the final two weeks of the season. They lost to the Panthers and Vikings by a combined score of 85-16. These athletes are paid millions of dollars. The least they can do is try hard.
Giants announce retirement of WR Ike Hilliard
Giants claim DE/OLB Alex Hall
Giants sign LB Keith Bulluck
Giants announce retirement of ILB Antonio Pierce
Giants re-sign DT Barry Cofield
Giants re-sign WR Derek Hagan
Texans sign OLB Danny Clark
Lions sign SS C.C. Brown
Giants re-sign OLB Gerris Wilkinson
Giants announce retirement of P Jeff "Philadelphia" Feagles
Giants re-sign WR Domenik Hixon
Giants re-sign WR Sinorice Moss
Giants re-sign OT Guy Whimper
Giants sign SS Deon Grant
Giants withdraw tender to SS C.C. Brown
Giants re-sign P Jeff "Philadelphia" Feagles
Giants re-sign G Kevin Boothe
Giants re-sign DE Dave Tollefson
Rams sign CB Kevin Dockery
Rams sign TE Darcy Johnson
Giants re-sign RB D.J. Ware
Giants sign QB Jim Sorgi
Rams sign DT Fred Robbins
49ers sign QB David Carr
Giants cut S Aaron Rouse
Giants sign FS Antrel Rolle
Giants tender WR Derek Hagan
Giants tender S C.C. Brown
Giants tender DE Dave Tollefson
Giants cut ILB Antonio Pierce
Defensive Tackle: Fred Robbins is a free agent; Rocky Bernard was a bust signing; and Chris Canty barely played in 2009. Defensive tackle is a major position of need for the Giants. Drafted Linval Joseph
Free Safety: The Giants can't get beat over the top dozens of times again next year. There should be plenty of safeties in Round 2 of the 2010 NFL Draft. Signed Antrel Rolle
Middle Linebacker: Antonio Pierce isn't an effective player anymore, while Jonathan Goff struggled as a substitute toward the end of the year. This position will probably be addressed in Rounds 2-3 of the 2010 NFL Draft. Signed Keith Bulluck; drafted Phillip Dillard
Right Tackle: The right tackle position could be addressed in Rounds 3 or 4 of the 2010 NFL Draft; Kareem McKenzie, 31 in May, appears to be wearing down.
Defensive End: Osi Umenyiora missed all of 2008 and had just six sacks in 2009. Now, he's talking about quitting football if he's not in the starting lineup. The Giants may just cut him loose if they feel that he's not worth the trouble. Drafted Jason Pierre-Paul
Weakside Linebacker: Michael Boley was hurt this year, but he wasn't exactly playing on a Pro Bowl level when he was in the lineup.
Strong Safety: Who knows if Kenny Phillips will ever be the same player again after his nasty knee injury? New York should consider its options if Phillips can't make it back next season. Drafted Chad Jones; signed Deon Grant
Cornerback Depth: New York is pretty thin at corner.
2010 NFL Free Agent Signings:
Antrel Rolle, FS, Cardinals. Age: 27. Signed with Giants (5 years, $37 million; $15 million guaranteed)
Antrel Rolle gets interceptions, but he can be a liability in coverage sometimes. He'll be overpaid in this thin free-agent market.
Keith Bulluck, OLB, Titans. Age: 33. Signed with Giants (1 year)
Keith Bulluck was having a very solid year until he tore his ACL in December. At 33, Bulluck may never be the same player again.
Deon Grant, S, Seahawks. Age: 31. Signed with Giants (1 year)
Really struggled last year. At 31, should only be signed as a backup.
Jim Sorgi, QB, Colts. Age: 29. -- Signed with Giants
New York Giants Free Agents:
Salary Cap (As of Feb. 8): No cap.
Barry Cofield (RFA), DT, Giants. Age: 26. Re-signed with Giants (1 year, $1.7 million)
Barry Cofield is now two years removed from knee surgery, meaning he should have a big 2010 campaign.
Jeff "Philadelphia" Feagles, P, Giants. Age: 44. Announced retirement
Jeff Feagles is the master of directional punting, hitting 23-of-64 attempts inside the 20. Feagles could probably play until he's 50.
Antonio Pierce, ILB, Giants. Age: 31. Announced retirement
Old and injury-prone, Antonio Pierce can be a strong veteran presence on a team much like Keith Brooking. However, his skills have diminished.
Danny Clark, OLB, Giants. Age: 33. Signed with Texans
Danny Clark can be a solid backup going forward, but his starting days should be over.
Fred Robbins, DT, Giants. Age: 33. Signed with Rams (3 years, $12 million)
Fred Robbins lost his starting job in the middle of the season. He's a solid rotational guy at best right now.
David Carr, QB, Giants. Age: 31. Signed with 49ers (2 years, $6.25 million)
Poor David Carr has been sacked so many times in his career that he sees pass-rushers coming at him in his sleep. Carr is a reliable backup, but he's damaged goods and cannot be a starter.
D.J. Ware (ERFA), RB, Giants. Age: 25. -- Re-signed with Giants (1 year)
Divisional Rival History: New York Giants: The Giants, for whatever reason, dominate this rivalry; they've taken four of the last five meetings. Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles have taken the past four matchups, including a 23-11 playoff victory in January 2009. Washington Redskins: New York dominates this NFC East rivalry, having won the past four, and seven of the last eight.
Features to be Posted This Offseason:
2010 NFL Draft Grades (Pick-by-Pick NFL Draft Grades as well - Live on Draft Day!)