New York Giants: Kevin Zeitler Speaks To Media Following Trade

New York Giants, Kevin Zeitler

One of the biggest additions of the offseason for the New York Giants is undoubtedly Kevin Zeitler, who they acquired from the Clevaland Browns in the trade which sent pass rusher Olivier Vernon there. Zeitler is one of the better names at his position, and having a player of that caliber around at guard will be a big change from how the Giants roster has looked during recent years.

However, we haven’t heard a lot from the new guard since the deal was made. That’s now changed, with Zeitler speaking on Friday to Sirius XM Radio. Zeitler went into how he found out about the trade, and surprisingly, it wasn’t via phone call.

“I guess in the NFL, you never know what’s going to happen. But I was in the middle of a lift and for some reason I decided to check my phone and I saw on Instagram about a million people say, ‘Good luck in New York.’ So I ran out of the building, and we started calling people and it’s quite a shock for me and the family,” Zeitler said.

But it wasn’t long, Zeitler claimed, before teammates such as Eli Manning and Nate Solder reached out and made contact. And of course, Saquon Barkley is the star of the Giants offense now that Odell Beckham Jr. has been moved to Cleveland. As a guard, Barkley is the main player that Zeitler will block for other than Eli Manning, and that fact was quickly acknowledged.

“The first thought that popped in my head is like, ‘All right, we got Saquon’. I know he’s a heck of a player so that can only make life more fun for me,” said Zeitler, before speaking about his versatility. “There’s so many different types of players out there, different skill sets, different things they see. So I’ve got a great ability to work with them all, so I know the things that I might have to do a little differently or things I might have to say more, so that’s all going to take care of itself.”

Recently, the Giants have been no stranger to big name offensive line additions not panning out, such as the Patrick Omameh signing last year or the multi-year Ereck Flowers experiment that ended with Flowers making the move to Jacksonville. Could Zeitler be the free agent addition that actually sticks around and makes a positive impact for the team? It’s early, but it’s still looking that way.

And if that’s the case, the Giants can say they definitely won the Vernon trade, decisively.

New York Giants Could End Up With An Elite Defender And Quarterback In 2019 Draft

Could the New York Giants find a way to secure Quinnen Williams?

The New York Giants face a dilemma in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Giants have decided to completely rebuild the team. They allowed their starting safety, Landon Collins, to walk in free agency and traded away superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns.

This leaves the Giants with holes all over their roster that they will need to fill in the 2019 NFL Draft. Some fans want to see the Giants draft the next franchise quarterback. Other fans want to see the team take an elite defensive prospect. There is a way the Giants could end up with both.

How The Giants Could Get An Elite Defender

The 2019 NFL Draft class is filled with defensive talent. The top defensive prospects in this class are elite, potentially future all-pro players. Players like Nick Bosa, Josh Allen, and Quinnen Williams are being looked at as elite prospects.

These players should all go in the top 5. However, there is a way the Giants could get one of these players with the 6th pick.

One of these players will have to fall due to a team trading up for a quarterback, or a team in the top 3 reaching on a player at a position of need. The Jets have been consistently brought up in trade rumors. If they trade their pick to a quarterback-needy team, such as the Dolphins, that would mean one of these players will fall.

In addition, if a team like the 49ers decide to skip out on one of these prospects, that would cause a defender to fall. The 49ers traded for Dee Ford recently, so it would not be a surprise if they decide they are fine on defense. The 49ers could take wide receiver D.K. Metcalf. They need a receiver, so it would not be surprising if they reached on one.

Assuming the Cardinals draft Kyler Murray 1st overall, the 49ers draft D.K. Metcalf, and the Jets trade away the 3rd pick, the Giants will be able to draft one of Bosa, Allen, or Williams. The top 3 picks will be crucial for the Giants and there quest to draft a top 3 defensive prospect.

The Raiders, more likely than not, will draft one of the elite defenders with the 4th pick. The Buccanneers will probably draft the best player available, however, it is possible they do not take Bosa, Allen, or Williams. The Buccaneers have been linked to linebacker Devin White.

If these possible outcomes happen, the Giants can end up with either Quinnen Williams, Nick Bosa, or Josh Allen. At the very least, they will be able to draft Devin White. These players would be instant-impact starters on the Giants defense and could change the course of the franchise for the next decade.

If the Giants draft a defender with the 6th pick, how will they be able to draft a quarterback, too?

How The Giants Could Get A Franchise Quarterback

By trading Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants were able to acquire the 17th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Additionally, this trade might also allow the Giants to draft their next franchise quarterback. The 17th overall pick will be a key selection for the Giants’ future.

The Giants have plenty of options with the 17th pick. If they want to use it to draft a quarterback, they could stay put and draft the best one available. Daniel Jones, Drew Lock, or Will Grier will be names to watch at 17.

However, if the Giants do not want to stay at 17, they could potentially trade their way back into the top 10 and draft a quarterback. In this scenario, the Giants could end up with Dwayne Haskins and an elite defender- this would be most Giants fans’ dream draft.

If a team does not trade up with the Jets to draft Dwayne Haskins, and the Giants draft an elite defender, Haskins will most likely fall all the way to the 10th pick before a team considers drafting him. The Giants will be at 17 and could potentially trade up to the 9th pick to keep Haskins away from Denver. The Bills hold the 9th pick and drafted their franchise quarterback last year.

According to the Walter Football NFL Draft Value Chart, the 17th overall pick is worth 950 points. If the Giants are looking to trade back into the top 10, it will cost them their 17th pick (950) and their 2nd round pick (530). The 9th pick is worth 1,350 points, so the Giants’ 17th and a 2nd round pick could get the deal done. However, the Bills will have all the leverage, so the Giants might have to throw in a future pick or maybe even a player.

The Giants have a rare opportunity here. They could acquire the face of the franchise’s defense and offense in the same draft. The 17th pick is only 8 spots behind the 9th, so the Bills would not lose out on too much if they traded back with the Giants. If the Bills intend to draft a receiver, the 17th pick will still get them a top 3 receiver in this draft class, and load up on extra draft picks from the Giants. It is a win-win situation.

Imagine a New York Giants roster that features Dwayne Haskins AND Quinnen Williams/Nick Bosa/Josh Allen

New York Yankees: Brett Gardner Has Some Gas Left In The Tank

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

While Greg Bird and Luke Voit slug it out for the first base spot and Domingo German, Luis Cessa, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Gio Gonzalez vie for two spots in the rotation, Brett Gardner has had a surprisingly successful spring training and here’s why we should celebrate.

New York Yankees: Brett Gardner is stepping on the gas

First of all, the numbers – Gardner is hitting .423/469/.769 with a 1.238 OPS with 3 homers and 6 RBIs on the spring.  Granted, it is spring training, but these numbers are gaudy compared to the numbers Gardner put up in ’18 when he hit .236/.322/.368 with a .690 OPS, 12 homers and 45 RBIs.  Frankly, looking at his .236 average, I was surprised to see it was that high, but then his .690 OPS told the real story of what was a below average season for the veteran.

Gardner keeps it all in perspective for the team as the veteran leader.  On March 4, he was already predicting that the Yankees would break the home run record (267) set by the team in ’18.  He told CBSSports.com:

“We’re going to hit more this year,” Gardner said. “So far in camp, everybody’s healthy, everybody’s hungry and working hard,” Gardner said. “We all know what they’re capable of and how much raw power they have. It’s a lot of fun to watch. Seems like every day or every other day I still get amazed by what they’re able to do.”

And given his offensive production this spring, he’s not just a spectator, he’s a major contributor to the power in this lineup, particularly with Aaron Hicks out since March 1 with back issues.  Gardner has patrolled centerfield and pummeled the baseball.

He brings an elite glove to the centerfield position.  Kento Mizuno of pinstripealley.com lauded his defensive contributions to the Yankees when he pointed out that he is the ninth best Yankee outfielder of all time by cumulative value.  

He has consistently turned in solid seasons from 2013-2018 when his WAR never dropped below 2.5.  Mizuno notes “No other Yankee has demonstrated such consistency over that time period.”

Gardner, the longest-tenured player currently on the Yankees, recently spoke to Mike Francesa on WFAN and told fans:

“It doesn’t matter if we win 95 games or 110, what matters is that we beat Boston.”

Gardner keeps his eye on the prize in ’19 because the road to the World Series this season will surely go through the World Champion Boston Red Sox.  If the Yankees focus on winning the division, they put themselves in a position to win #28.

Gardner is not going to hit .423 for the season, but if his offensive production should take even a modest leap forward for the ’19 season, he would be setting the table for the big hitters behind him in the lineup.

Baseball Reference projects Gardner to hit .242/.327/.381 with a .708 OPS, 12 home runs and 46 RBIs – which is just slightly above the pace for last season.

Gardner has just proved in spring training that the projection is trending in the right direction – up and he appears to be ready to seize the opportunity to play every day and significantly contribute to the outcome of the games.

So, for now, it’s a Gardy Party in spring training, but let the real celebrations begin March 28th.

New York Giants Could Draft Defensive Saquon Barkley At No. 6

When was the last time the New York Giants had a top-tier linebacker? Maybe in 2008 when Antonio Pierce was prowling the field for unfortunate victims. The truth is, the linebacker position has been neglected for years, especially when former general manager Jerry Reese was in charge.

But, times are changing, and GM Dave Gettleman is slowly upgrading the position with value players. If the Giants choose to pass on a quarterback in the upcoming draft, they could look to address the defensive side of the ball with a Saquon Barkley-like impact player.

The New York Giants could shake up the draft with this selection:

Linebacker out of LSU, Devin White, represents not only a leader but a strong, physical playmaker. He had a brief 15-minute meeting with the Giants at the NFL combine, according to NJ.com.

“It was the last formal [meeting] of the night,” White recalled during his Combine interview session. “And we watched straight film. They didn’t tell me nothing, we watched straight film. ‘What were you doing right here? Oh, this was a good play. What was this? Tell me what was going on. Draw this up.’ It was straight football, strictly business and I know they were picking my brain, trying to see was I the linebacker that can go out there and control everything. Did I know what I was doing at LSU? And I think I put on a show for ’em.’’

The bottom line, White is hungry for victory, as he despises losing to a degree that sparks a fire within that wills him to success. His ability to make tackles around the field and find ways to impact the game consistently only attests to the type of player he really is.

White is a born leader, capable of dominating the game on all levels and conducting his teammates on the field with efficiency and authority. The LSU product racked up over 120 tackles in two consecutive seasons with the Tigers, an impressive bout of effectiveness.

If the Giants choose not to take a quarterback with their first pick of the round, they would be smart to consider White as a top option among the rest. Now, of course, a pass rusher could also be a solid alternative, but the skill set he brings to the table might be too difficult to pass up.

New York Giants lose Valuable Rotational Edge Rusher – 2 Replacement Options

The New York Giants are going into the latter part of free agency with a lack of talent on the defensive line – they lost a valuable pass rusher that performed well in a reserve role.

Free agent, Kerry Wynn, who has spent the last five years playing on the Giants’ defensive line, was hosted by the Cincinnati Bengals this past week. He signed a one-year deal in 2018 for $1.25 million, racking up 39 combined tackles and 1.5 sacks. He’s a valuable pass rusher that has made big plays in the past for Big Blue.

The 28-year-old was reportedly signed to a one-year deal. As a solid special teamer, Big Blue will have to replace his efficiency on the unit. The special teams group saw a major upgrade from 2017 after Tom Quinn was let go and Thomas McGaughey took over.

The New York Giants lack veteran pass rushers:

With a defensive line consisting of Dalvin Tomlinson, RJ McIntosh, and BJ Hill as the primary starters, there lacks a true leader to help develop the younger players and rotate in when fatigue sets in. Wynn’s value came in terms of experience, something the three players mentioned before don’t have much of.

The Giants will likely further address the position in the draft.

Two options the Giants could target in the draft at defensive tackle:

1.) Miami – Gerald Willis III

At 6’4″, 285 pounds, Willis is a great pass rusher that acts as a defensive tackle. Last season, he earned 59 tackles with 18 for a loss. He also racked up four sacks and two passes batted. He was an extremely consistent option for the Hurricanes and could be a solid third-round selection for the Giants.

2.) Western Illinois – Khalen Saunders

The Senior Bowl is often an opportunity for small school players to make an impact and improve their draft stock. Saunders was one of those players, showing great agility off the line and a keen ability to get after the quarterback from the interior. The Giants’ 3-4 scheme forces defensive tackles to have a pass-rushing skill set as well, and Saunder has that talent. While he’s only 6’0″, he weighs in at 320 pounds. A big boy that has the potential to be a solid rotational piece.