2019 NFL Offseason: New York Giants

New York Giants (Last Year: 5-11)

2019 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
WR Golden Tate, OT Mike Remmers, G Kevin Zeitler, DE/DT Olsen Pierre, DE/OLB Markus Golden, S Jabrill Peppers, S Antoine Bethea.
Early Draft Picks:
QB Daniel Jones, NT Dexter Lawrence, CB DeAndre Baker, DE/OLB Oshane Ximines, CB Julian Love, LB Ryan Connelly. Giants Rookie Forecast
Offseason Losses:
WR Odell Beckham Jr., G Jamon Brown, DE/DT Josh Mauro, DE/OLB Olivier Vernon, CB B.W. Webb, S Landon Collins.

2019 New York Giants Offense:
Eli Manning technically won two Super Bowls – it could be argued he was just along for the ride, as he was able to benefit from a great defense – but the end of his tenure in New York has been a frustrating one. Manning has been abysmal in recent seasons, yet ownership and the front office stubbornly have clung on to him, insisting that he still has “two or three great years left.” This has been said in each of the previous four offseasons.

The Giants finally obtained their successor for Manning, but it doesn’t appear as though Daniel Jones will get the nod this year. Manning is likely to have one more season as a starter in New York, as Jones learns and watches from the sideline. Jones may have been the sixth-overall pick, but he was a reach, as the Giants could have obtained him at No. 17 overall. Thus, it’s for the best that Jones is given time to prepare.

It would help if Jones had a dynamic wide receiver at his disposal like Odell Beckham Jr., but the Giants inexplicably traded him this offseason. They signed Golden Tate as a replacement, but given how the 31-year-old Tate disappointed in Philadelphia in the second half of the 2018 campaign, he’s not a lock to be productive. Otherwise, the Giants have the mediocre Sterling Shepard and former first-round bust Corey Coleman in a very underwhelming receiving corps. Tight end Evan Engram figures to be Manning’s top target, aside from the obvious.

The obvious, of course, is Saquon Barkley. The prolific second-year player is arguably the best running back in the NFL already. Resembling Marshall Faulk in his prime, Barkley can do it all; he’s a great receiver out of the backfield, and he can go the distance whenever he touches the ball. Barkley will single-handedly win some games against bad defenses this season.

Barkley will be running behind an improved offensive line. The Giants traded Olivier Vernon to the Browns for Kevin Zeitler, one of the best guards in the NFL. Zeitler won’t be the only new starter in the interior compared to most of last year, as center Jon Halapio broke his ankle in Week 2. Halapio had been playing well until that point, and his replacement was far worse, so he’ll effectively be an upgrade. Zeitler and Halapio will start with second-year Will Hernandez in the interior. Hernandez, chosen in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, had a solid rookie campaign and figures to improve with more experience.

The Giants aren’t as strong on the edge of their offensive line. Left tackle Nate Solder is very physically gifted, but he can’t stay healthy. He has missed just one game in the past three seasons, but he’s often been banged up, and he has struggled as a consequence. He already missed some offseason workouts because of a problematic ankle. Meanwhile, right tackle Chad Wheeler was abysmal in 2018. The Giants signed Mike Remmers, who played relatively well under Pat Shurmur when the two were together in Minnesota, so perhaps Shurmur will get Remmers to be an upgrade over Wheeler.

2019 New York Giants Defense:
The Giants spent their initial first-round pick on quarterback Daniel Jones. However, the team had two other choices in the opening frame, both of which were used on defensive players.

New York selected nose tackle Dexter Lawrence No. 17 overall. Lawrence has exceptional athleticism for a man his size (6-4, 342). He’ll be a fixture in the middle of the Giants’ three-man front as someone who can both clog running lanes and generate some pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Lawrence will be flanked by another stout run-stopper, Dalvin Tomlinson, and B.J. Hill, who can generate a decent pass rush (5.5 sacks in 2018).

The Giants weren’t expected to do anything else in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, but they traded up into the back end of the opening frame for cornerback DeAndre Baker. The Georgia product was a surprise selection in the first round because he has lackluster speed and some off-the-field issues attached to him. Baker may not even start this year, as Janoris Jenkins and last year’s supplemental pick, Sam Beal, have been running as the top cornerbacks in OTAs.

The Giants also have a pair of new safeties, though they had to say goodbye to one of their best defensive players this offseason in Landon Collins. They acquired Jabrill Peppers in the Odell Beckham trade to be a replacement for the Washington-bound Collins. Peppers is a solid player, but he’s not nearly as talented as Collins. He’ll start with Antoine Bethea, who used to be a solid player, but at 35, he’s a shell of his former self.

Collins wasn’t the only prominent Giant defender to depart this offseason. Olivier Vernon was shipped off as well in the Kevin Zeitler deal, so the Giants will have to find some new players to generate some pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The favorites to start on the edge are 2018 third-rounder Lorenzo Carter and the newly acquired Markus Golden. Carter notched just four sacks as a rookie, but was only a part-time player. Golden, meanwhile, played well for defensive coordinator James Bettcher when the two were together in Arizona, so perhaps he’ll rebound off a down year. Veteran Kareem Martin and third-round rookie Oshane Ximines will also be in the mix.

As for the rest of the linebacking corps, the Giants have long had issues at this position. That appears to be the case once again, as B.J. Goodson and Alec Ogletree will form an underwhelming duo. Goodson is a decent run defender, but Ogletree is coming off a highly disappointing first season in New York.

2019 New York Giants Schedule and Intangibles:
During their first Super Bowl run, the Giants won all of their playoff games on the road and boasted about how they were “road warriors.” They were 9-1 as visitors and 3-0 on neutral sites in 2007. History repeated itself, as New York was 8-3 outside of the Meadowlands and just 5-4 as hosts in 2011. Perhaps they should go back to that, because they’ve been 27-29 as hosts and 19-37 as visitors the past seven years and have failed to advance past the first round of the postseason.

Aldrick Rosas was one of the top kickers in the NFL last year, hitting 32-of-33 field goals. He was 4-of-5 from beyond 50, and he missed only one extra point.

New punter Riley Dixon was 22nd in net yardage in 2017 for the Broncos, but he was seventh for the Giants in 2018.

The Giants were great on kick returns last year because of Corey Coleman, but the opposition outgained them on punt returns.

New York has some potential, early wins on its schedule. It plays the Cowboys, Bills, Buccaneers and Redskins in the first four weeks before things get more difficult.

2019 New York Giants Rookies:
Go here for the Giants Rookie Forecast, a page with predictions like which rookie will bust and which rookie will become a solid starter.

2019 New York Giants Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
Offensive Line
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams

2019 New York Giants Analysis: The Giants are in a rebuilding mode this offseason, as they lost some very talented veterans, including Odell Beckham, Landon Collins and Olivier Vernon. They’ll still be competitive against most opponents because of Saquon Barkley and an improved offensive line, but victories will be scarce in what appears to be Eli Manning’s final year as the Giants’ quarterback.

Projection: 5-11 (3rd in NFC East)

2018 Projection: 6-10. 2018 Actual Result: 5-11.
2017 Projection: 7-9. 2017 Actual Result: 3-13. =
2016 Projection: 7-9. 2016 Actual Result: 11-5.

NFL Draft Team Grade: A- Grade

Goals Entering the 2019 NFL Draft: Everyone says the Giants need a new quarterback, and they do, but they should wait until the 2020 NFL Draft to obtain a franchise signal-caller. We know that general manager Dave Gettleman loves Justin Herbert, so why would he take a far-lesser prospect at the position when he can load up on defensive front-seven talent from this class? I suspect the Giants will add two front-seven players in the early stages. After that, they’ll need to rebuild their secondary and receiving corps.

2019 NFL Draft Accomplishments: The concept that the Giants couldn’t afford to wait for their quarterback at No. 17 overall is nonsense. There’s a good chance Daniel Jones would’ve been available then, but even if that didn’t prove to be the case, there are far better quarterback prospects available in 2020 (see the 2020 NFL Mock Draft.) General manager Dave Gettleman is adamant that Eli Manning can play for two or three more years, so there should have been no hurry to obtain his successor. Instead, the Giants passed on an elite front-seven player in favor of a pedestrian quarterback prospect.

Things weren’t much better after that, at least not until the end of the third round. The next pick was used on a two-down lineman rather than a blocker for the new quarterback. The Dexter Lawrence selection wasn’t bad though, especially when compared to what the Giants did next. They traded up needlessly for cornerback DeAndre Baker when there were so many similar corners available. This didn’t make any sense, as the Giants recklessly surrendered a valuable resource to move up.

The Giants salvaged their draft with some nice selections in Rounds 3-6. Most notably, Julian Love was a steal atop the fourth frame. Oshane Ximines, meanwhile, figures to be a potent edge rusher. However, the blunders New York made in the early stages of the 2019 NFL Draft far overshadow the front office’s late-draft heroics.

NFL Draft Individual Grades:

6. Daniel Jones, QB, Duke D- Grade
I had Daniel Jones slotted to the Giants with the sixth pick in my 2019 NFL Mock Draft, but I don’t like this selection. Jones is not good enough to be the sixth-overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, especially when considering that the Giants also have the No. 17 choice. They could have waited and probably have gotten Jones at 17. If not, the 2020 NFL Draft class is loaded with better quarterbacking talent! There’s no need to reach for a signal-caller with studs like Ed Oliver and Josh Allen available. This was almost an “F,” but at least it makes some sort of sense, unlike the Oakland selection.

17. Dexter Lawrence, NT, Clemson C+ Grade
With Andre Dillard available? I’m not so sure about this. I don’t hate this selection, but it seems as though the Giants keep making the same mistake, which is failing to protect their quarterback. Still, Dexter Lawrence should be a dominant force for the Giants in the middle of their three-man front. He has exceptional athleticism for a man his size, but I think this is the high end for him. He easily could’ve gone in the 20s, so the Giants aren’t getting terrific value, and they’re passing on a huge need.

30. DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia D+ Grade
I get the feeling that the Giants could’ve obtained DeAndre Baker had they not traded up. Of course, that’s unknown, but Baker isn’t worth trading up for considering how many second-round cornerback prospects there are. The Giants definitely would’ve obtained someone very comparable to Baker, if not Baker himself atop Round 2. Instead, they needlessly surrendered resources for a player with some question marks.

95. Oshane Ximines, DE/OLB, Old Dominion A- Grade
Dave Gettleman said he wanted an edge rusher early, but I guess better late than never. Oshane Ximines could start as a rookie, as he’s very talented. He needs to improve his strength, but he has the ability to become a consistent edge rusher in the pros. At the very least, he’ll be a situational edge rusher on passing downs in his rookie campaign. This is a solid pick at the end of the third round.

108. Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame A- Grade
This is unbelievable. I’ve never given so many “A” grades in a consecutive sequence. Julian Love is another prospect who could have been chosen a whole round earlier, so I love the value. Love is a nickel cornerback who figures to fill a big need in the Giants’ poor secondary.

143. Ryan Connelly, LB, Wisconsin B+ Grade
Ryan Connelly was a walk-on at Wisconsin, but he worked hard to become a starter in 2018. He has good instincts and will give the Giants 100-percent effort. At the very least, he should emerge as a standout special-teamer, but given his effort and mind, he could end up seeing defensive snaps.

171. Darius Slayton, WR, Auburn B+ Grade
The Giants found their replacement for Odell Beckham Jr.! OK, maybe not. Darius Slayton dropped way too many passes at Auburn and had trouble staying healthy. However, Slayton has tremendous upside because of his great speed and athleticism. He’s definitely worth a choice late in the fifth round.

180. Corey Ballentine, CB, Washburn B+ Grade
Corey Ballentine has tremendous athleticism, so the upside is definitely apparent. I imagine that’s why the Giants drafted Ballentine, as he’s otherwise a raw player who doesn’t have very good instincts. He’ll need some good coaching to develop, but I like this pick for its potential.

232. George Asafo-adjei, OT, Kentucky C Grade
It’s amazing that the Giants didn’t draft an offensive lineman before this pick. George Asafo-adjei was not in my top-500 list, so I can’t get behind this pick. Still, there’s no such thing as a bad reach in the seventh round.

245. Chris Slayton, DE/DT, Syracuse B Grade
Chris Slayton isn’t much of a pass rusher, and he doesn’t have very good athleticism, but he’s a rock-solid run defender, so he could carve out a role as a two-down player in a 3-4 scheme. I had him getting drafted in the seventh round, so the range certainly makes sense.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Season Summary:
The Giants played well following their bye week. Fans can be excited about their young, talented weapons, but an answer at quarterback must be found, as the Giants must finally move on from Eli Manning.

Offseason Moves:
  • Giants sign DE/DT Olsen Pierre
  • Giants sign DE/OLB Markus Golden
  • Giants sign WR Golden Tate
  • Browns acquire WR Odell Beckham from Giants for draft picks, S Jabrill Peppers
  • Giants sign S Antoine Bethea
  • Browns acquire DE Olivier Vernon from Giants for G Kevin Zeitler

    Team Needs:
    1. Quarterback: As mentioned in the season summary, Eli Manning must be replaced. He’s long been overrated, but he’s been truly awful in the past few seasons. Perhaps New York will trade up for a quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft.

    2. Right Tackle: Once the Giants find their new quarterback, they absolutely must make sure they protect him as well as possible. The weakest link on the offensive line is at right tackle, so that’s a position that could be addressed during the second day of the 2019 NFL Draft. Signed Mike Remmers

    3. Guard: Right guard is the other position that must be addressed on the offensive line. Again, this is something the Giants could obtain in Rounds 2-4 of April’s draft. Traded for Kevin Zeitler

    4. Nose Tackle: New York once dominated the ground game on defense. Then, the front office traded Snacks Harrison. A replacement is needed for the monstrous nose tackle.

    5. Edge Rusher: Olivier Vernon was traded to the Browns, opening up a need at edge rusher. Signed Markus Golden

    6. Inside Linebacker: Alec Ogletree proved to be a disappointment in his first season with the Giants. B.J. Goodson played well, but the Giants are desperate for an upgrade at this spot.

    7. Edge Rusher: The Giants could stand to add a third edge rusher to go along with Olivier Vernon and Lorenzo Carter, as they lack depth at this position.

    8. Wide Receiver: Sterling Shepard has been a disappointment as a No. 2 receiver. He’s probably best served as a tertiary option, so the Giants should think about finding a second wideout. Signed Golden Tate

    9. Defensive End: A five-technique is needed to provide more depth for the defensive line. Signed Olsen Pierre

    10. Safety: This position will be a huge issue if Landon Collins is not retained. Collins is a free agent who could be franchised. Signed Jabrill Peppers and Antoine Bethea

      Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    2019 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. Golden Tate, WR, Eagles. Age: 31.
      Signed with Giants (4 years)

      It’s unclear why, but Golden Tate never meshed well with either Carson Wentz or Nick Foles (at least not until the final touchdown of the opening-round playoff game.) He’ll definitely fare better wherever he goes next offseason.

    2. Markus Golden, DE/OLB, Cardinals. Age: 28.
      Signed with Giants (1 year)

      Markus Golden collected 12.5 sacks two years ago, but hasn’t been productive since. Perhaps he needs more time to recover from the knee injury that had him sidelined for 12 games in 2017. The change to the 4-3 could’ve impacted him as well. Golden should be better in a 3-4 once he’s healthier in 2019.

    3. Olsen Pierre, DE/DT, Cardinals. Age: 27.
      Signed with Giants

      Olsen Pierre logged 5.5 sacks in 2017, but has barely played in 2018 because he’s not a good fit for the 4-3. Pierre should be a solid contributor in another 3-4 next year.

    4. Antoine Bethea, S, Cardinals. Age: 35.
      Signed with Giants (2 years)

      Antoine Bethea used to be a solid player, but his play took a dip last year. He still covered well, but missed too many tackles.

    5. Mike Remmers, OT, Vikings. Age: 30. — Signed with Giants

    New York Giants Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.
    1. Landon Collins, S, Giants. Age: 25.
      Signed with Redskins (6 years, $84 million; $45 million guaranteed)

      Landon Collins is a terrific play-making safety. The Giants will desperately want to retain him, as he’s just 25 and can still make improvements to his game. Collins missed December because of a shoulder injury that required surgery, but he should be 100 percent by September.

    2. Jon Halapio, C, Giants. Age: 28.
      Re-signed with Giants (1 year)

      Jon Halapio had a promising start to his 2018 campaign, but suffered a broken ankle in the early going that sidelined him for the year. Halapio looks like he’s going to be a solid starting center in the NFL over the next five years.

    3. Jamon Brown, G, Giants. Age: 26.
      Signed with Falcons (3 years)

      Jamon Brown has been a starter for the Rams and Giants over the past couple of years. Brown’s not horrible, but he shouldn’t be a starter. That said, he’s only 26 in March, so he still has some potential.

    4. John Greco, G, Giants. Age: 34.
    5. B.W. Webb, CB, Giants. Age: 29. — Signed with Bengals (3 years)
    6. Josh Mauro, DE/DT, Giants. Age: 28. — Signed with Raiders (1 year, $1.4 million)
    7. Kerry Wynn, DE, Giants. Age: 28. — Signed with Bengals (1 year)
    8. Cody Latimer, WR, Giants. Age: 26. — Re-signed with Giants
    9. Mario Edwards, DE, Giants. Age: 25. — Signed with Saints (2 years, $5 million)
    10. Curtis Riley, S, Giants. Age: 27. — Signed with Raiders
    11. Scott Simonson, TE, Giants. Age: 27. — Re-signed with Giants (1 year)
    12. Elijhaa Penny (RFA), FB, Giants. Age: 26.
    13. Spencer Pulley, C, Giants. Age: 26. — Re-signed with Giants (3 years, $9.6 million)
    14. Connor Barwin, OLB, Giants. Age: 32.
    15. Brian Mihalik (RFA), OT, Giants. Age: 27.
    16. Antonio Hamilton (RFA), CB, Giants. Age: 26. — Re-signed with Giants (1 year)
    17. Alex Tanney (RFA), QB, Giants. Age: 31. — Re-signed with Giants (2 years)

    NFL Free Agent Tracker:
    QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades | FA Rumors

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