What Saquon Barkley Means For The New York Giants

With the New York Giants adding Penn State running back Saquon Barkley to their backfield, they’re not only adding a talented player, but a potential franchise changing talent.

Barkley has all of the tools — Running, catching, blocking… You name it. He’s as dynamic as they come, and to be quite frank, he could be one of the best running backs to ever enter the NFL.

What does grabbing Barkley mean for the Giants?

So, the decision to grab Barkley with the No. 2 overall pick was full of speculation and comparisons to Sam Darnold being selected one pick later. But, the pick does confirm one point: The Giants are absolutely playing to win ‘now’.

For a team that was expected to enter a rebuilding process, they seem to be far ahead of their expected landing spot. Barkley brings a dimension to the Giants’ offense that has been a void spot for decades. He is a threat to take it to the house at any give moment, and analyst Bucky Brooks expressed that in his prediction for the Giants in 2018.

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“It’s uncommon for a team to be one player away from title contention and it’s even more of a rare occurrence to find that player in the NFL draft,” Brooks wrote, via NFL.com. However, that is the situation the New York Giants find themselves in on the heels of the 2018 draft. After the selection of Penn State RB Saquon Barkley with the No. 2 overall pick, the Giants are poised to make a run in the NFC.”

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The addition of UTEP offensive lineman Will Hernandez only benefits and adds to the potential success for the Giants on offense. Hernandez is a big, mean, destructive player. His use of sheer force is unparalleled coming out of college, and should be a plug and play type of player.

Barkley influence:

Barkley’s most underrated attribute is his ability to open up opportunities for his fellow teammates — this is where Odell Beckham Jr. comes into play. The Giants’ star receiver will arguably benefit the most from Barkley’s contribution to the team, as defenses will have to honor the running game and allow Beckham Jr. to exploit 1-on-1 coverage.

The bottom line, Barkley instantaneously makes the Giants a playoff contending team, whereas only a few months ago the organization was hanging over a steep cliff. Luckily, new GM Dave Gettleman was able to drag the franchise out of a potential dark-age.

Who Are The New York Giants Signing As Undrafted Free Agents?

The draft might be over, but the New York Giants scouting department isn’t able to rest just yet. NFL teams are looking for sleeper additions that went undrafted after seven rounds, and the Giants are no exception. These deals aren’t official at the moment, but a number of undrafted free agents are expected to sign with the Giants.

Here’s an overview of the team’s early moves:

It looks like the Giants are trying to add some depth on their offensive line, bringing in both a tackle and a guard/center. Nick Gates was a starting left tackle in the tough Big Ten Conference while playing for Nebraska, and declared for the draft as a junior. He might have been selected in the draft if he had one more year of experience under his belt, and one former NFL scout believed that Gates could be the first Cornhusker drafted. It looks like the Giants might have found a steal with this signing.

Evan Brown is the other offensive line signing, and played four years at SMU. His starts came at both guard and center, and his versatility likely helped him with finding an NFL team. Another notable addition is cornerback Grant Haley. Giants fans who also support Penn State will be very familiar with Haley, as he was the player to score the winning touchdown following the field goal block against Ohio State in 2016.

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Haley also started 13 games last season for PSU and can be used in multiple ways.  He’s a very good special teams player and is also very quick, although his size likely kept him from being drafted. The Giants need help at corner, and if Haley stays with the team, he’s a player that could probably find playing time as both a corner and a special teams player. He’ll have to compete with Aaron Davis, from Georgia, however. The taller cornerback has similar career stats and will join college teammate Lorenzo Carter.

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Here’s the full list of players that the Giants have reportedly signed so far:

  • LT Nick Gates, Nebraska
  • OL Evan Brown, SMU
  • WR Davon Grayson, East Carolina
  • CB Grant Haley, Penn State
  • CB Aaron Davis, Georgia
  • LB Tae Davis, Chattanooga
  • WR Jawill Davis, Bethune-Cookman
  • S Sean Chandler, Temple
  • TE Stephen Baggett, East Carolina
  • DE Malachi Hoskins, Albany

Check Out How The Media Graded The Giants’ 2018 Draft Class

The New York Giants absolutely dominated the 2018 NFL draft, putting them in a position to fill several holes on both sides of the ball with unique, dynamic talent.

Big Blue comes away with a franchise running back, something the team has lacked for years, a stellar offensive lineman, a starting linebacker, two quality defensive tackles, and a quarterback to add to the mix.

Overall, the draft was a HUGE success in Dave Gettleman’s first season as general manager for the Giants.

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Let’s take a look at how the media graded the new draft class:

Sporting News: A

“What a monster first draft in New York for Dave Gettleman. He transformed the Giants’ running game with the banging Barkley-Hernandez combination. He also got good value when landing the types of front-seven players who fit their new 3-4 base defense under James Bettcher, led by Carter’s pass-rush upside. The Giants didn’t forget about QB, either, with Lauletta set to compete with Davis Webb for the right to succeed Eli Manning.” – Vinnie Iyer

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NFL.com: A-

USA Today: A+

ESPN: B

Empire Sports Media: A-

So, why did we give the Giants an A- instead of an A+? Well, you have to leave some room open for speculation. The Giants decided to trust their guns in Eli Manning and provide him with several tools to upgrade the offense (Saquon Barkley). This move could backfire if Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, or Josh Allen develop into superior talents. Additionally, the Giants only drafted one offensive lineman, which was a bit disheartening as there were several quality options left on the board. If injuries begin to pile this could cause serious issues.

Overall, the Giants have turned the culture around in just one offseason and added several key pieces to the puzzle. Gettleman has made it a priority to fortify the trenches and add big “hog mollies” to protect Manning and co.

A superb draft all-around for the Giants — something we haven’t been able to say in recent years.

 

 

Pat Shurmur Breaks Down The Decision To Draft Kyle Lauletta

The New York Giants took a flier on Richmond quarterback Kyle Lauletta with the 108th pick in the 2018 NFL draft.

The signal caller out of Richmond was projected as a possible round-two pick, but he slipped to the fourth-round where GM Dave Gettleman and HC Pat Shurmur decided to pluck him off the board.

Lauletta finished his collegiate career with a 3,737 yard 2017 campaign, racking up 28 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. The young QB acquires solid footwork and deadly accuracy in the mid-range passing game. His weakness, however, might not be reversible. Lauletta struggles with a lack of arm strength, which might hinder his ability to make tough throws between windows. Despite his lack of ball velocity, Lauletta has drawn comparisons to Jimmy Garappolo and Carson Wentz, two of the NFL’s best quarterbacks.

Pat shurmur was confident in the decision to grab Lauletta, despite obvious concern at the cornerback and offensive line positions.

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“I think it’s good to have three quarterbacks,” Shurmur said to reporters, via Big Blue Interactive. “I think this league and our game is about good quarterback play and I think it’s about the development of the quarterbacks. So the longer they’re around you, the longer they can develop in your system. We wanted to go to camp with three and we’ll probably add another one – four quarterbacks — and go through camp that way and then just see where it goes. For a very long time, I was on teams where we would just keep three quarterbacks active. Another model is to have two and one on the practice squad, so we’ll see where it goes. Picking Kyle has less to do about Eli and Davis and more to do about Kyle.

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“We liked the player and we wanted to add him to our team and then just let them compete. The one good thing about quarterbacks is I’ve watched it with my son, they’re always drafting, or in the case of college, they’re always recruiting the guy to replace you, so they’re used to competition. I don’t think you’re going to be a very good quarterback if you don’t look forward to it, so there is competition in the room – Kyle is going to be smart enough to learn everything he can from Eli and Davis and they’ll all try to be as good as they can be and then whoever becomes the starter, the other two guys can help him during the week, so that they can perform at a high level. So that’s a long answer to your question.”

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Giving Webb something to be concerned about at night isn’t ideal in terms of replacing Eli Manning as his potential heir, but it in the grand scheme of things, it will help him develop as a quarterback. Giving him a sense of urgency and the ‘want’ to prove himself will ultimately make him a better player, and hopefully give him the motivation to take his game to the next level.

When asked about Lauletta’s arm strength, Shurmur stated:

“I think there are people that say he (Lauletta) doesn’t have enough arm strength,” Shurmur said. “I disagree. I think he’s got all the traits, all the things you’re looking for in a quarterback – he’s tall enough, he’s got good mobility and really arm strength is about fourth on the list. You have to be a good decision-maker, you have to have a sense of timing and you have to throw an accurate ball, which he does. He does all those three things well and he uses his feet to get the ball where he needs to get it and that’s really what I was impressed by – he’s got a good set of legs, he’s tall enough, he’s a winner, he’s got moxie, he’s very competitive and so we’re glad to add him to the group and he’s one of those guys that’s going to come in and compete and be as good as he can be. If at some point he is not the starter, then he is going to do what he can to help the starter be good and that’s what I’m talking about when I say we want a great quarterback room. I’m really thrilled that we could bring him in and try to develop him and see how good he can be.”

New York Mets Injury Report

For the first time in years, the New York Mets are going to get through April without being riddled with injuries.

Anthony Swarzak (shoulder and oblique) suffered a setback during his rehab and is still several weeks away from returning to the team. He suffered the oblique injury during the second game of the season against the St. Louis Cardinals. The bullpen has missed Swarzak over the last couple weeks and hopefully he returns to the team by the middle of May.

Catchers Catch the Injury Bug

Kevin Plawecki (broken hand) will be out for at least two more weeks. He suffered the injury after getting hit in the hand with a fastball in Miami against the Marlins. Plawecki may not be Mike Piazza but the team is desperately missing his bat. He hopes to return in mid May as well and he will undoubtedly be the everyday catcher for the Mets.

Travis d’Arnaud (elbow) underwent Tommy John Surgery to reconstruct his right elbow. He is done for 2018 and hopes to return for the beginning of 2019. This explains why his throwing was horrible but his absence at the plate has caught up to the team quickly. The replacements of Tomas Nido and Jose Lobaton has combined to hit 6-for-47 this season and the Mets are not looking anywhere else for help.

David Wright (shoulder and back) was moved to the 60-day DL to make room on their 40-man roster. The captain is still a long shot to return this season and even playing in the big leagues again may never happen again.

T.J. Rivera (elbow) still has not resumed throwing and there is no timetable for his return. He has become a forgotten man as he continues to recover from Tommy John Surgery.

Rafael Montero (elbow) also underwent Tommy John Surgery and will remain out for the entire 2018 season. He will be inactive for a while and will not throw a baseball for a long time.

Who Is New York Giants Quarterback Kyle Lauletta?

In the fourth round of the NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected Kyle Lauletta. Who is this FCS quarterback, and what did the Giants see in him to make him worthy of their fourth round pick?

Here’s a quick recap of his career and his skills:

Lauletta played his college football in the state of Virginia, but it wasn’t with the Cavaliers or the Hokies. He played for the lesser known Richmond Spiders, an FCS school that is a part of the Colonial Athletic Association. Playing outside of the FBS makes Lauletta a harder sell as a prospect, but the redshirt senior still had quite the season in 2017 and gained the attention of NFL scouts.

Last year, he was the CAA Offensive Player of the Year, made the First Team All-CAA, and finished with 31 touchdowns. He was also a Third Team All-American according to STATS FCS, and his 3,737 passing yards put him in the top five nationally in FCS. All of these accomplishments, however, mean nothing if Lauletta doesn’t look good to NFL scouts in his game film.

If you look at some of Lauletta’s highlights, you might be reminded of number one overall pick Baker Mayfield. Lauletta is taller, but didn’t always have help from his offensive line at Richmond. He’s good at sensing pressure and moving out of the way, and his short to mid range accuracy doesn’t take a hit when he’s on the move. There’s complaints about his arm strength and by extension his deep accuracy,  but his medium accuracy looks strong enough to compensate, at least for now.

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Let’s be clear. Kyle Lauletta is not Eli Manning, and while he’ll learn under Manning, they aren’t the same kind of player at all. But Lauletta’s own style offers plenty of excitement and if he ever gets playing time, it shouldn’t take him long to excite Giants fans by keeping plays alive and throwing on the run, or simply avoiding a loss of yards. His offensive line looked horrendously bad at times during the William and Mary game last year, and if the Giants can offer him more protection, Lauletta should have an easier time living up to his potential.

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With a better offensive line in the Senior Bowl, Lauletta showed more accuracy and did it against players from FBS schools. Still, he hasn’t played in a pro style offense and Pat Shurmur might have his work cut out for him with helping Lauletta adapt his game to the NFL. He’s never played in a pro style offense and the reads required for the NFL will be different from the ones that he made at Richmond.

The throws will be different too, although the film indicates that concerns about his arm strength may be overstated. He won’t throw deep all the time, but if a receiver is open down field he has enough arm strength to make a play and deliver a catchable ball.

In short, Lauletta is a project quarterback that has good movement inside and outside of the pocket, along with NFL accuracy from short to mid range. However, he comes from a very different offense and his current play style makes him too much of a runner for the NFL. He’ll have to adapt, and Giants head coach Pat Shurmur might be the right person to help him with that.

Here’s What The Giants Are Getting In Linebacker Lorenzo Carter

The New York Giants selected Georgia linebacker Lorenzo Carter with the 66th overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft.

Carter was a dynamic and versatile linebacker while at Georgia. He impressed at the NFL combine with a superb 40-yard dash.

The Giants have neglected the linebacker position for years under former GM Jerry Reese. The middle of the defense was seldom filled with quality, and was often a liability in run support and pass coverage.

The team boasted the likes of Jonathan Casillas and the ever injured Keenan Robinson and B.J. Goodson last year. The Giants’ run defense ranked 26th in the league in 2017, despite having Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, and Dalvin Tomlinson on the defensive line.

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Adding a physical player like Carter to the mix only benefits the defensive front, in addition to the trade that brought Alec Ogletree to New York.

What tangible skills does Carter bring to the Giants?

The Georgia product is very comfrotable rushing the passer, dropping back in coverage, and/or stopping the run. His multi-dimensional skill-set is exactly what the Giants were looking for in the draft. He combines length with fluid athleticism on the field.

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His timing off the line of scrimmage is superb, and his flexibility around the edge gives him the advantage of being a pass-rusher as well. Being able to drop back in coverage benefits a defense that has a plethora of run-stopping linebackers. Having the ability to cover a tight end if need be will help provide support across the middle of the field.

Carter was a five-star highschool prospect going into college, but he never made the transition to the college level and failed to deliver the impact expected of him. Hopefully, he can reach his potential with the help of NFL mentors and coaching.

New York Giants Draft: Possible Round 3 Targets

The New York Giants currently hold the No. 66 and No. 69 overall picks in this years draft. The first round was nothing short of exciting, and now the anticipation is building for Day 2 of the NFL Draft.

With these third round picks, the Giants should look for impact players that can help improve the team immediately.

Here is a look who the Giants should target with the Round 3 picks.

Shaquem Griffin, ILB, UCF

Dave Gettleman has said over and over that he wants players that love to play football. If Shaquem Griffin does not love the game of football, then I am not sure who does. By now, most people are aware that Griffin lost his left hand due to a rare prenatal condition.

Some may see his condition as a huge disadvantage, but Griffin has proved all of those doubters wrong. The 2018 Peach Bowl Defensive MVP, shocked everybody in the combine with his speed, athleticism, and the ability to catch the ball. He could help improve the linebacker group immediately, while still learning from some of the current veterans.

Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State

This is where the Giants could attempt to replace Jason Pierre-Paul. Josh Sweat has the physical tools to fit in as a 3-4 linebacker and the raw talent to develop into a quality edge rusher.

Sweat has had some injuries in college, but when fully healthy he has flashed great athletic ability. He is a very coachable player that could fit in perfectly with James Bettcher’s group.

Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn

Drafting Davis would fill a huge need in the secondary for the Giants. He is a big-bodied cornerback with long arms and the raw talent to disrupt passing offsenses. With the proper coaching, he could become a starting corner for an NFL team very quickly.

Carlton Davis would be an immediate upgrade to the Giants secondary, by adding depth and more young talent. He has the luxury of not needing to start right away, though it would not surprise me to see him on the field Week 1.

M.J. Stewart, CB, North Carolina

Another defensive back that would be a solid third round option for the Giants, would provide physicality and versatility that the New York Giants could really benefit from. He is a well-built corner that plays physically in pass defense and run support.

He has the ability to play in multiple positions. He was a full-time starter and cornerback for North Carolina but could transition to a Nickel corner in the NFL and possibly safety as well. He also has the luxury of not needing to start right away, but I am more than confident that James Bettcher would find a key role for Stewart in Big Blue’s defense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Gettleman Sends Ereck Flowers To The Grave On WFAN

New York Giants, Ereck Flowers

We all knew general manager Dave Gettleman was a no-nonsense, hard nosed man coming into the job, but what he just did to Ereck Flowers really shows his expectations for this team.

The New York Giants’ former left tackle was replaced by Nate Solder over the offseason, while Flowers was moved to the right tackle spot. This requires him to learn a completely new technique and system from the right side of the line.

Fast-forward to voluntary workouts and Flowers was the only player absent, aside from several excused absences.

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Gettleman puts Flowers to bed:

Gettleman featured on WFAN this morning where he made sure Flowers heard his displeasure in regard to ignoring the team’s training sessions and expectations.

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Right off the bat, Gettleman attacks his man-hood, and then proceeds to inform the mass media that Flowers has made his decision. This statement clearly promotes the shopping of Flowers for potential draft picks, and at this point a water boy might suffice.

 

Giants Can Rejuvenate Offense With Second Round Pick

The New York Giants hold the No. 34 overall pick heading into day two of the 2018 NFL draft. On Thursday, Big Blue spent their highly coveted pick on Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.

The stud runner will headline an offense that consists of Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, and a rebuilt offensive line. Well, the offensive line is in the ‘process’ of being rebuilt, which is where the No. 34 pick comes into play.

With lineman like Billy Price, Kolton Miller and Isaiah Wynn off the board, the Giants will have to look elsewhere for support. Several names that jump off the board are UTEP standout Will Hernandez, who was mocked to be a first-round selection, and Texas tackle Connor Williams.

Hernandez comes from a smaller school that failed to secure even a single win in 2017; NFL teams may have had a lower grade on the big gaurd than anticipated. Nonetheless, Hernandez is a mean, strong, “hog mollie,” which is exactly what GM Dave Gettleman looks for in his lineman.

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If Hernandez escapes the first pick of the second-round which is held by the Cleveland Browns, New York will be in a prime position to grab him.

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Another stellar option is Boston College’s Harold Landry, who has the capabilities to develop into an elite pass-rusher. His availability could be too enticing for the Giants to pass up, especially after trading Jason Pierre-Paul to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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The question will be: Do the Giants secure a prime pass rusher instead of taking a risk on a small school offensive lineman?

Personally, I believe that the offensive line is a priority given the fact that Barkley was the Giants’ first-round selection. If they’re going all in on the running game and offense, they should likely spend the pick on a lineman to bolster Eli Manning’s protection and open up running lanes for Barkley.