December 10, 2019: the Giants face off against their old rival, the Eagles in a game that has no meaning for Big Blue, other than to help spoil the Eagles season. That’s right, if the Eagles win out they will take the NFC East. The NFC East this year is far and away the worst division in football. The division leader, the Dallas Cowboys, sit atop the standings at a wretched 6-7! For context, having a 6-7 division leader is like having a student with a D- as the valedictorian. To be at the bottom of the standings in such a horrible league, the year has to have been absolutely atrocious for your team.
Enter: the New York GIants. A historic sports team (as most NY teams are), but unlike other NY sports teams such as the Yankees and the Rangers, the Giants have had little success since their last Superbowl win in 2012 over Tom Brady’s Patriots. The Giants this year are a horrid 2-11. After losing their first two they it looked like the season may be salvageable when rookie QB Daniel Jones defied expectations and led his team to two miraculous wins.
And then they lost eight straight. This was not helped by the injury to generational talent and second year running back Saquan Barkley, who suffered a high ankle sprain in week three against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Barkley has since come back, but his play has definitely suffered after the injury. He started off the season with back to back hundred yard games, but since then he has acquired the worst average in the league. This is really not his fault, however, as the Giants offensive line has done nothing to help Barkley’s case. He’s still shifty as ever, but even if he makes the first three men miss, two more will take their places.
Another major problem for the G-Men has been their defense. It’s hard to piece together quite what they need, as there are definetally bright aspects on all levels of the defense. There’s just a couple things missing. Okay, maybe more than a couple things. On the D-Line, there are some definite bright spots, such as the rookie product of Clemson Dexter Lawrence, or the ever disruptive Leanard Williams, who was brought over from the Jets in a historic trade. The pass rush has not been a huge problem, and the run stop has been phenomenal. If you move on to the linebackers, Alec Ogletree and Marcus Golden have been outstanding; Golden even leading the team with stacks. The linebackers are probably the most solid position for the Giants. Then you go to the secondary, and you wonder what the problem is. Although he was recently injured, Jabril Peppers has been a definite brightspot all season long. Julian Love has done a good job filling in for him. Antoine Bethea and Micheal Thomas has also been good. But it’s really at the corners where the struggles lie. Veteran corner Janoris Jenkins has been up and down, but mostly down. He was later cut by the Giants. Move over to Deandre Baker, the rookie from Georgia, and he has been atrocious. He has close to a 70% completion percentage against him!
There are definitely some glaring weaknesses in that defense, but the most evident problem is that they don’t have a star. They need someone who can really pull the defense together and act as a sort of defensive quarterback. With that, lets move into the wants and needs for the Giants on both sides of the ball this upcoming draft.
Let’s start with the offense. The offense for the Giants has not been able to put up the amount of points that it would like to. This is not due to the receivers and not even really Daniel Jones. He has definitely had a turnover problem (The worst of which came against the Jets when Jamaal Adams literally took the ball from Jones and ran it back for a touchdown, all without the ball ever touching the ground) but he has also made a lot of great plays and his connection with Darius Slayton has the potential to be one of the great QB-WR combos in the future. The problem comes from the inability to run the ball. Last year the offense was built almost entirely off of the ground game, with Saquon Barkley having an outstanding rookie year. He has not really been the problem in the ground game, surprisingly. Usually the running back would be the reason for an inability to run the ball, but it has actually been the offensive line. Veteran Nate Solder was supposed to bring the line together this year, but he has not lived up to the expectations of Giants fans at all. The rest of the offensive line has been just as bad if not worse. So, every Giants fan knows it, all the players know it, the whole league knows it! The only question is, does Dave Gettleman know that the Giants need to draft a strong rookie offensive line this year. The most promising coming out of college this year are as follows: Andrew Thomas (Georgia), Tristan Wirfs (Iowa), Jedrick Wills Jr. (Alabama), Tyler Bladasz( Wisconsin), Prince Tega Wanogho (Auburn). The goal of Dave Gettleman this draft should definitely be to get at least a few of these offensive linemen.
The final thing the Giants really need is actually the first thing they need to pick. Chase Young is one of the best defensive ends to come out of college in a long time. The Giants defense, if one thinks about it, is not terrible in the aspect that there are definitely some good players and rising rookies, but Chase Young could provide a fear aspect to the other team. That kind of presence improves the entire defense. The pass rush and run stuff become much better, causing the linebackers to have a huge weight off their shoulders and play better. When the D-Backs have confidence that the linebackers are manning the middle of the field as they should be, they can be more focused on staying in their zone which makes it much easier to defend the pass. So, the Giants have been a wretched team this year, but during the upcoming draft they have a huge chance to turn it around.