New York Giants have placed the seldom-used UFA tender on OLB Markus Golden

New York Jets, Markus Golden

Today, the New York Giants placed FA Markus Golden on the seldom-used UFA tender, per Field Yates.

What this means for the Giants and Markus Golden

With the recent breaking news, this means that Markus and the Giants have been in contact about a new contract. The twist on it is that both can’t come to an agreement on the right price. This could mean that Golden is asking for a high price deal, and the Giants aren’t willing to agree to it just yet. With Golden back in Big Blue, he would only benefit the defense and add a boost in the pass-rushing game. Something the Giants did not focus on in this year’s NFL Draft.

What will happen if no team signs Markus Golden

If Golden remains unsigned past July 22nd, he will only be allowed to play for the New York Giants this season. The Tender would be worth 110 percent of his 2019 salary, which was $5.225 million. This would make a lot of Giants fans happy to have their best pass rusher back. Golden made an extra $1 million in the 2019 season for his double-digit sacks (10). This was a key factor that kept the Giants in a lot of games this season.

Can Markus still negotiate deals with other teams?

Markus Golden can still talk and negotiate a deal with another team until July. Golden is among the best free agents left available. The esteemed pass rusher could be looking for a big-time deal coming off one of his best seasons since his ACL tear three years ago. Golden and Clowney are still FA’s and looking to make a big-time deal with a team. Hopefully, Markus ends up back in the big apple.

Golden’s 2019 season was his best since his ACL tear in 2017

In 2017, Golden tore his ACL while playing for the Cardinals. Golden, a third-year pro who’s 12½ sacks led the Cardinals that year. He was injured while rushing the passer in overtime in an 18-15 win over the San Francisco 49ers. In the 2019 season, Golden had 42 solo tackles (4th), and 12 sacks (T-10th). Golden was a huge factor in the Giants pass rush, without Golden rushing the passer, it would’ve been a very long and frustrating season for the Giants.

All the Giants can do is sit back and wait, Golden could sign a big-time contract with another team which would hurt the Giants. Without Golden, the Giants would still have a big question mark next to the EDGE rusher slot.

Meet The New York Giants’ New & Improved 2020 Secondary

New York Giants, Darnay Holmes, Julian Love, Jabrill Peppers, DeAndre Baker, Xavier McKinney, Corey Ballentine

The New York Giants‘ secondary dealt with peaks and valleys in 2019. There were some big-plays mixed in with plenty of rookie mistakes and persistent struggles against top offenses. New York invested a lot of draft capital into its secondary in 2019 and doubled down this offseason.

The Giants made a big splash-signing at cornerback in free agency. They then followed that up by drafting a potential day-one starter at slot cornerback this past weekend. The New York Giants’ secondary is now loaded with young, versatile talents. The potential is there for the Giants to have one of the best young secondaries in the NFL in 2020.

The Versatile Safeties

Jabrill Peppers, Julian Love, and Xavier McKinney combine to create arguably the most versatile safety group in the NFL. Each of the players in this trio can line up in at least three different positions. Julian Love has played slot cornerback, deep free safety, and in-the-box strong safety. Jabrill Peppers is primarily an in-the-box strong safety but has also played linebacker and deep safety. In college, Xavier McKinney played over 200 snaps at three different positions; 323 snaps in the box, 227 in the slot, and 271 deep (PFF).

Thie trio of versatile safeties will allow Patrick Graham to be very creative with his defense. Having three different safeties that can each play three different positions efficiently will keep opposing offenses guessing. Typically there are only two safeties on the field at a time, but with this trio, Giants fans can expect to see plenty of three-safety looks.

Young, Talented Outside Cornerbacks

The Giants have invested heavily in their secondary over the past two years. They spent a first-round pick on DeAndre Baker last year. Baker struggled for much of his rookie season but seemed to show significant signs of improvement towards the end of the year. In 2020, DeAndre will start on the outside again and hopefully build on a promising finish to the 2019 season.

Starting opposite of Baker as the Giants’ primary cornerback will be newly signed free agent James Bradberry. Bradberry, coming from Carolina, is no stranger to following top-tier receiving talent. Bradberry shadowed the likes of Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and Michael Thomas twice a year as a member of the Panthers. He will instantly join the Giants’ secondary as the best coverage man and take on the most challenging tasks for the defense week to week.

DeAndre Baker and James Bradberry will man the outside cornerback positions. But who will play the slot/nickel cornerback position? There will be a competition to see who gets that starting role but expect to see a rotation in this position.

Nickel Cornerback Competition

Last year, the slot cornerback position was manned by Grant Haley and Corey Ballentine. Haley struggled immensely in coverage but demonstrated impressive open-field tackling. Ballentine, a sixth-round draft pick from 2019, was not ready to perform and struggled considerably. But he showed a lot of promise last preseason, so hopefully, Ballentine can take a step forward and improve in 2020.

The latest addition to the slot cornerback position is 2020 fourth-round pick, Darnay Holmes, out of UCLA. Holmes played on the outside in college, but his limited size will move him into the slot at the professional level. Holmes did try out nickel cornerback at the Senior Bowl this year, and he said he loved it. Analysts pointed out that he excelled in that new role in Mobile.

The Giants have plenty of depth at the slot cornerback position. But who will be the starter at the nickel? As I stated earlier, expect to see rotation. Since day one, Joe Judge has made it clear: players will play to their strengths. They will not be asked to do things at which they are not proficient. These three slot cornerbacks all have different skillsets that can be applied in various ways.

Maximizing Potential Through Rotations

For example, Grant Haley struggles in coverage but is a solid open-field tackler. This is why the Giants can use Haley in goal-line or short-yardage packages. Third-and-goal, fourth-and-two, Grant Haley can go in there and make a clutch tackle to keep the defense short of the line to gain.

On the flip side, in long-yardage situations and obvious passing-downs, Darnay Holmes’s speed and athleticism will come into play. He has the speed to keep up with quicker receivers going deep and the coverage ability to stick with slot receivers on deep-breaking routes.

The Giants’ two-year investment into the secondary is paying off. They have the versatility and flexibility to move their players around and put them in the best situations possible to make an impact. Giants fans should be ecstatic about the foundation that has been laid out for the future of the defense.

New York Mets’ officials are encouraged by Michael Conforto’s progress

Just a couple of days before the action was halted last month by MLB, New York Mets‘ outfielder Michael Conforto suffered an untimely injury that, if the season had started on time on March 26, would have kept him out of the lineup at least for the first few days of 2020, with the potential for a more extended absence.

However, time was, and is, currently favoring those who are currently injured and looking to miss the least possible games. Conforto is in that group and by all accounts, he is showing marked improvement that can lead us to believe that he can be ready whenever the season starts.

The slugger suffered what the New York Mets named as a Grade 1 right oblique strain, which is the mildest of them all. However, since those types of ailments are very tricky and they have a rather high aggravation rate, the team decided to make sure its star outfielder was well-rested and recovered, so they shut him down.

Days later, MLB announced that the Mets or any other MLB team for that matter would be playing games because of the coronavirus pandemic. While that ended up being terrible news for us, fans, players, and workers in general, injured players such as Conforto were handed a greater amount of time to overcome their issues.

The Mets’ star is ready to go

The Mets’ right fielder is actually taking regular batting practice, and people inside the team remain very encouraged about the sluggers’ outcome for the 2020 season, if there is one after all this mess.

We are now at the six-week mark of Conforto’s oblique injury, which means that it is highly likely that he would have returned to Mets’ lineup already, or he would be extremely close to a return.

That’s why, if there are no setbacks in the road, the chances are that Conforto’s name will be there whenever manager Luis Rojas delivers his first lineup as the manager of the New York Mets.

Other injured players such as Yoenis Cespedes and Jed Lowrie need to show they can handle “the grind of full baseball workouts in their comeback attempts,” as stated by the New York Post.

New York Mets will pay employees through the end of the original season, but pay cuts will take effect from June 1

New York Mets

While talks indicate that MLB should entertain a plan to restart the season relatively soon, the fact remains that the action is currently stopped and that there is no set date for it to happen. The good thing is that there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel, and local fans may be able to see the New York Mets play official games this year.

As a result of the current stoppage, not only the players are affected (especially minor leaguers) but team employees are also feeling the effects of the prolonged absence of baseball.

However, the New York Mets are bringing the good news to their employees. According to Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic, the team will pay their employees through the end of the originally scheduled 2020 season.

While that is awfully good news for Mets’ employees and their families, The Athletic’s report specifies that pay cuts will take effect starting June 1.

A tricky situation for Mets’ staffers

The situation gets tricky for Mets’ employees, however. In case games are played this year, the aforementioned pay cuts will still remain in place, which is rather disappointing.

The scheme is actually very similar to what the San Diego Padres are applying in their organization with coaches, scouts, front office workers, and other executives. The report states that the pay cuts are basically aimed at staffers that earn the most money.

The Mets are taking this road following Commissioner Rob Manfred’s announcement that he will suspend Uniform Employee Contracts beginning May 1, which will let teams take these cost-cutting measures while sports are on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, most of the Mets’ players are currently working out at their respective homes as they look to stay sharp and hold to the gains they made during spring training. Some of them are working in pairs, but the majority is staying with family with limited access to training facilities.

ESM’s Experts Grade the New York Jets’ Draft

New York Jets

ESM’s New York Jets experts look back on an eventful three days for Gang Green and pass their opening judgment.

Three days, nine picks, and seemingly infinite transactions later, the New York Jets’ 2020 draft proceedings are complete. 

How did they make out? ESM’s experts weigh in…

Geoff Magliocchetti: B

The concept of immediately grading drafts was tired and unfair before live sports were put on hiatus, but we’ve got nothing better to do, so here it goes…

It’s safe to say that, after Joe Douglas’ first draft at the helm, the Jets improved on all three sides of the ball. The draftings of Mekhi Becton and Denzel Mims are moves that are going to define the most hopeful era the Jets’ perpetual rebuild has seen in a long, long time. No long must their backfield saviors Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell conjure miracles to single-handedly win ball games. Defensively, the team strengthened their depth in both the pass rush (Jabari Zuniga) and the secondary (Bryce Hall). Even special teams enjoyed a must-needed boost. Third-round pick Ashtyn Davis can bolster a return game that sorely missed Andre Roberts (and later hypothetically fill in at safety if Jamal Adams or Marcus Maye depart) while Braden Mann is a great brand of insurance for an offense that struggles to reach the end zone consistently. Further strengthening their secondary depth with veteran Quincy Wilson was also a fine finishing touch.

The three-pick cluster on day three prevents this from being a perfect grade. Expected reliance on James Morgan to be Sam Darnold’s backup is iffy at best after last season’s understudy misadventures. Veteran backups/mentors for Darnold were there for the taking, so picking the young Morgan creates controversy where there is none. Additionally, while a spell option for Bell was necessary, it seemed a bit early to take Perine, especially with choices at need positions like guard Logan Stenberg or cornerback Reggie Robinson still on the board. They managed to salvage the session with another blocker, Charlotte’s Cameron Clark.

Dylan Price: B+

Build the Joe Douglas statue! Okay, not yet, but Joe Douglas had an excellent draft on paper. Douglas started the draft off with the high upside selection of the mountain of a man, Mekhi Becton. He followed that up with a savvy trade down to net an extra third-rounder and still grabbed Denzel Mims. Mims has high upside potential and could be a difference-maker immediately. Douglas grabbed Ashtyn Davis, the freak athlete from Cal. Davis could be the successor to Maye but will be a Swiss Army knife immediately.

La’Mical Perine, Cameron Clark, and Jabari Zuniga were two picks who can slot in as rotational players, but both have high upside. James Morgan was a questionable pick, but the Jets struggled to mount any offensive presence without Darnold. Morgan can at least be a developmental prospect at backup QB. Bryce Hall is a talented corner who may be their best steal because of a sketchy medical history. Braden Mann can be the punter for the long term future because he has a cannon for a leg. Joe Douglas had a B+ draft with significant upside.

Alex Wilson: A

The New York Jets did exactly what they needed to do in the 2020 NFL Draft: protect and support Sam Darnold. Having been sacked over 60 times over the past two seasons, Darnold needed to be prioritized and GM Joe Douglas did exactly that. Drafting Mekhi Becton instantly improves the line and opens up holes for Le’Veon Bell in the run game. If Darnold wasn’t satisfied with Becton in the first round, Douglas added a talented wideout in Denzel Mims in the second. A big, fast pass-catcher who can replicate Robby Anderson’s production and then some. If I were Darnold, I would be one happy camper.

Brendan Carpenter: B

Joe Douglas had a successful draft this past weekend. Taking Mekhi Becton at pick 11 gives them a mammoth of a lineman on the left side. He has some room to grow but could become a great tackle. The best move on Douglas’ part was trading down, though. Originally supposed to be at pick 48, he traded down to pick 59 and still got his receiver in Denzel Mims, someone Sam Darnold needed. Also, rather than picking a “possibility player” to end his night, he traded the pick for up-and-down veteran CB Quincy Wilson.

 

MLB: Season plans should be finalized in a month

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the MLB should have a restart plan by the end of May if the coronavirus situation keeps improving at the rate that it currently is. He said that if a plan is in place by then, a regular-season start could be possible around the fourth of July.

Commissioner Rob Manfred has been pretty confident throughout the entire COVID-19 situation that baseball will return at some point in 2020. He just isn’t sure to what extent.

From what Passan has heard from league and team executives, a 100 or so game schedule is the most likely from July-October with the postseason taking place in November in warm weather locations. It still may be possible to play regular-season games in home stadiums, but they will have time to figure that out.

Whether it’s with fans or without fans, playing at home stadiums is the best-case scenario for everyone. Easier on the TV crews and media, and players would likely be able to live at home with family and not in hotels, isolated.

The postseason would likely be expanded to give more bubble teams a shot. The DS, CS, and World Series would likely remain the same, but a few more best of three or winner takes all games like the Wild Card game may be added earlier on in the postseason.

To make up for a lot of lost money, expect to see a lot more games on national television. Games would likely be scheduled into different TV slots so different carriers can pick up more games. That would be another win-win for teams, fans, and networks.

The MLB has a lot to figure out over the next month, but they have plenty of ideas that will work for all parties.

New York Giants: Breaking Down the First Wave of UDFA’s

New York Giants, Javon Leake

The NFL is usually made up of about 30% undrafted free agents (UDFA). After the 7th round of the NFL draft the phone frenzy begins — teams calling and convincing the prospects left on the top of their draft board to join their team. Between you and me, I think some general managers (GM) trade their 7th round picks to get a jump on the UDFAs; this seemed to be a common practice for the previous New York Giants GM Jerry Reese.

Many view UDFAs as an extension of the draft class – and rightfully so. They sign multi-year contracts just like draftees do; and get their foot in the building just the same as draftees. Every rookie is at the rookie minicamp – it doesn’t matter if it’s the 1st round pick or an UDFA nobody has heard of.

Although they rarely become franchise players, UDFAs have value. It’s important for NFL teams to utilize the UDFA pool to cheaply fill out the back end of their roster with talented players that can contribute to winning football. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to find that diamond in the rough either. One such diamond in recent memory for Giants fans is WR Victor Cruz, who was a big part of the Super Bowl Championship in the 2011 season.

With the new CBA, there have been some changes to the practice squad rules that affect the roster and UDFAs. The practice squad has been increased from 10 players to 12 players, and it increases to 14 in 2022. The accrued year requirement has been lifted, which may hurt rookie players. Teams are allowed to automatically promote two practice squad players to the 53-man roster each week, increasing the Sunday active roster from 46 to 48, and at least one of those active players needs to be an offensive lineman.

Here are the UDFAs the Giants have agreed to terms with so far. It should be noted that until they’re actually signed, they’re not technically on the roster. It should also be noted that with the limited offseason program and potentially shortened training camp, there should be even more measured expectations for rookies this year than in other years – especially with the raw, developing prospects.

Case Cookus – Northern Arizona – QB – 6’3”/221 – (UDFA)
Accurate but not elite arm strength. Very productive and takes care of the ball. In 2019 he had a 60%+ completion, 4000+ yards, and 31 TDs to 7 INTs. In his career, he had 105 TDs to 21 INTs for an impressive 5:1 TD:INT ratio.

How he fits:
He’s a camp arm. A camp arm is a way to spread some reps around so the “important QBs” don’t overwork their arms. I see the Giants keeping two QBs. Colt McCoy and Alex Tanney will compete for Daniel’s backup. If Case impresses in camp and the preseason, he can stay around with a spot on the practice squad. His longshot ceiling would be to impress enough to eventually compete in a year or two as Jones’ backup, with McCoy being 33 years old and having an injury history. But usually these bottom roster QBs are a long shot, just hoping to make the practice squad and hang around long enough to endear themselves to a QB coach, and work to eventually get a shot at a back-up QB spot.

Javon Leake – Maryland – RB – 6’0”/215 – (UDFA)
Many draft analysts anticipated Leake to be drafted. He didn’t get on the field much during his career. A big reason for that was unproven pass catching ability and ball security issues. If you want to be a talented runner but not see the field much, being inconsistent in the pass game and putting the ball on the ground is the way to do it. He’s also not very laterally quick and is considered a HR hitter cut ‘n’ go RB. It’s tough to hang your hat on being a HR hitter when you run a 4.65 at the combine. These are the reasons why Leake didn’t get drafted, but it doesn’t mean he’s without value.

How he fits:
I don’t anticipate much from Leake as a RB, but he did prove to have good vision as a kick returner with 3 TDs. His running style is much more suited to kick returning in where he picks a lane and goes. If he makes the team, I view him as having special teams value and as purely a kick returner. But if he starts to put the ball on the ground, he’ll be launched quick.

Kyle Markway – South Carolina – TE – 6’4”/250 – (UDFA)
Versatile all-purpose TE that can line up flexed, in-line, or in a halfback role. Not athletically elite but moves decent enough. Decent route runner. Not a seam-buster but good enough to exploit it when it’s there. Consistent, strong pass catcher. Good, physical blocker. He’s an academic honor-roll student, and that seems to translate to his football IQ and versatility. He’s not a “blue goose” in any single category, but a good all-purpose TE prospect that can block, catch, and do so from different formations.

How he fits:
I anticipate him to compete for the 4th TE spot on the roster or land on the practice squad to continue to develop. He has upside to become a versatile, dependable, all-purpose back-up TE that can come in and give you quality snaps.

Austin Mack – Ohio State – WR – 6’1”/208 – (UDFA)
I’m a fan of Austin Mack. He’s not going to wow you with elite speed, but he’s smart, works hard, has good hands, is a good route runner, understands space, and has decent body control – especially along the sideline. He has everything I like in a WR. He has long arms and a big catch radius; and he has decent size which should help him when dealing with press/man. He’s a willing blocker. He’s not going to take the top off the defense, but he’s a reliable chain mover. He’s also versatile and could play all three WR positions. A trustworthy WR and a QBs best friend. He’s the kind of WR that Eli needed, but never got the second half of his career.

How he fits:
I believe he’ll compete for a back end WR spot. The Giants typically keep six. If not, he’ll definitely land on the practice squad and most likely see the field at some point during the year. He doesn’t have elite traits to be a WR1 or WR2, but I see his upside as a reliable WR3 or WR4.

Binjimin Victor – Ohio State – WR – 6’4”/198 – (UDFA)
What stands out with Victor is he’s 6’4” with 34” arms. He has an excellent catch radius and can high-point the ball. He doesn’t have top end speed, but he has consistent hands.

How he fits:
He has size and length, but he’s very lean which will be an issue in the NFL. Lean WRs coming out of college can get on the field early if they have speed – which he doesn’t. He’s a boundary, X WR jump-ball specialist with limited strength. But give him some time in the Giants strength program and he has upside. I see him as practice squad at best to fill out his body and better fulfill his role.

Derrick Dillon – LSU – WR – 5’11”/186 – (UDFA)
He’s fast. He reportedly ran a 4.28. He was the slot WR for the National Champions. It’s understandable that production may be hard to come by with that much talent and that many mouths to feed.

How he fits:
Speed and acting as a vertical threat to stretch the field always has value. We see however that many burners tend to be more football athletes than football players and have issues with consistent hands. Dillon seemed to catch the ball fine. He has value as a field stretcher and slot WR depth. Darius Slayton has dibs on the field stretcher role at the moment; but Dillon may see his value increase if Slayton gets injured or if starting slot WR Sterling Shepard has any concussion issues. I see practice squad but with his speed that can change in a hurry.

John Rysen – Simon Frasier U, BC (Canada) – WR – 6’7”/237 – (UDFA)
Ginormous receiving threat. At 6’7” and an 82” wingspan he has a very large catch radius. He has 10.5” hands and seems to catch the ball strong and true. At 237lbs, he’s not your typical string bean tall receiver – he should be able to work in traffic and win contested balls.

How he fits:
He’s not going to play in-line and block. He’s not going to win on route running. He can be a red zone target for back shoulder throws, high-point fades, and back endzone crossers. It’s very specific, but scoring points is a big part of the game, and a guy that’s always open can help your red zone efficiency. As long as he proves he can consistently catch the ball — especially in traffic — and win contested balls, I anticipate him to be stashed on the practice squad to learn NFL technique.

Kyle Murphy – Rhode Island – OG/C – 6’3”/316 – (UDFA)
I really like this signing. Murphy was a team captain and primarily played at LT, but also played OG and C. He’s athletic with good pass protection; good feet and anchor. His run blocking isn’t as good as his pass protection but that can be improved. He has long arms for a guard at a shade under 34”.

How he fits:
He’s a smart, versatile OG/C that could be quality competition and depth early. He may even be able to play OT in a pinch a couple years down the road, although he’ll start on the interior. A numbers game might prevent him from making the team, but he’ll at least make the practice squad, and might be on the roster at some point this year if injuries start to hit.

Tyler Haycraft – Louisville – OL – 6’3”/293 – (UDFA)
Hard working. He played RT on the Louisville team opposite of Mekhi Becton. He played well against tough competition in Clemson.

How he fits:
Haycraft is the type of hard worker and perennial underdog that you want to bring in and give him a chance. I don’t see him playing OT with his lack of length, I see him more as a OG/C. He’ll also have to add some weight. He’s a developmental prospect that will have to impress the coaches with his intangibles to hang on and make the practice squad.

Niko Lalos – Dartmouth – DE – 6’5”/270 – (UDFA)
Ivy leaguer that has the smarts to take to coaching, learn and develop. He has some length and athletic for his size. He played on the edge with his hand in the dirt. He showed some pass rush potential with 5.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 10 games.

How he fits:
I don’t see him as ROLB, which would force him to occasionally drop in coverage. I see him as a developmental 3-4 five technique DE. Put him in the Giants’ strength program, have him add about 10 lbs., give him some NFL coaching to improve his technique, and see what you have in a couple years. If he makes the practice squad this year he’s on the right track.

Dana Levine – Temple – OLB – 6’4”/235 – (UDFA)
Levine was a rotational pass rushing DE for Temple. He plays hard with a high motor and in limited action got 5.5 sacks and one forced fumble to show pass rush potential. Bragging rights fun fact: He sacked starting Giants QB Daniel Jones in 2018.

How he fits:
With the Giants 3-4 base defense he’ll have to play rush outside linebacker and will need to add at least about 10 lbs. to fully function at that position in the NFL. If he adds some weight and strength, and improves his technique with NFL coaching, he has a shot. He’s a developmental 3-4 ROLB and it’ll take a couple years. If he makes the practice squad he’s doing very well for himself.

Christian Angulo – Hampton – CB – 6’2”/192 – (UDFA)
A Cincinnati transfer that became All-Conference in the Big South with 14 PBUs and 3 INTs. A long, boundary CB with high-point ball skills. He’s also a willing physical tackler.

How he fits:
A tall, long, physical boundary CB that has good tools to work with. Dave Gettleman took two CBs in the draft but both are nickels. Angulo seems to be the only new boundary CB acquired so far. That bodes well for him if he can take to NFL coaching and improve his technique. He’s developmental, and it would be tough for him to make the team without injuries, but I anticipate him making the practice squad and being in the hopes and plans of the New York Giants moving forward. Boundary cornerbacks with his size and ball skills are valuable in today’s NFL.

Did the New York Giants land a gem in linebacker Cam Brown out of Penn State?

New York Giants, Cam Brown

Taking a look at New York Giants draft pick Cam Brown and what he brings to the team:

The New York Giants took a very specific approach toward their late-round draft picks. In the sixth round, they managed to secure Penn State linebacker Cam Brown, who is known to be the team leader.

Head coach Joe Judge made it a priority to focus on bringing in high character players with high athletic upside. In 2019, brown started 12 games for the Nittany Lions, logging 72 total tackles, 2.0 sacks, four passes offended, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries.

His time as a captain for Penn State gave him essential experience and knowledge in leading a team and a group of men. Ultimately, these high character players will benefit the culture in the Giants’ organization and help in the locker room significantly.

What does Brown bring to the Giants?

Aside from his mental attributes, he is an extremely aggressive and athletic off-ball linebacker. He will likely transition to the inside from an outside perspective in college. He’s not big enough to stand up against offensive tackles at the NFL level, but his tenacity and strength as an off-ball player can be utilized.

Of course, there are weaknesses and deficiencies with a player coming out of the sixth-round. He frequently overshoots tackles and is slow to diagnose plays, but his athleticism makes him in a high upside player with the potential to develop.

If he can refine his athletic abilities around his mental mistakes, the Giants may have gotten a steal and the sixth-round. At 6-foot-5 and 233 pounds, there’s no question he could add a bit more muscle mass to his height, making him a solid depth linebacker for the time being. I fully expect him to make the team and compete with Ryan Connelly to a degree (eventually).

2020 NFL Draft: New York Giants Address Many of Their Needs

New York Giants, Darnay Holmes

The 2020 NFL Draft was a decently deep one and almost every team came out markedly better than they went in. The New York Giants are one of those teams.

Going into the draft, they needed to address several key positions and were surprisingly successful in filling those needs. General manager Dave Gettleman wanted to fix the offensive line and selected three lineman with three of his first five picks.

The Giants needed a left tackle and had their pick of the lot at No. 4 overall. The choice of Georgia’s Andrew Thomas was the safest bet on the board, having been equally effective blocking for the run as he was protecting the passer.

“He’s played against some real quality defensive ends during his college career,”said Gettleman. “He has played big time ball in front of a lot of people. We spent a lot of time with him off the field as well, numerous conversations. We spoke to him in Indianapolis and we just feel he is ready to make this jump.”

Thomas should, at the very least, be the team’s stater at right tackle as a rookie. But you don’t draft a tackle at No. 4 to play on the right side. The thinking here is they will move Nate Solder over to the right side to make room for Thomas.

In Round Two, the Giants were looking to trade out until they realized that all of the top safety prospects were on the board at No. 36 including their top target, Alabama’s Xavier McKinney. 

“We had a first-round value on him, and we’re absolutely thrilled to get him,” said Gettleman. “He’s a great kid, he’s smart, he plays smart, he lines up the backend for us, he’s versatile, you can put him down low, he can cover tight ends, he’s got ball skills, and he’s a good tackler.”

The Giants’ depth chart at safety had Jabrill Peppers and Julian Love and there’s no way they were comfortable with that. Peppers missed the last month of the season with a fracture in his back and Love has just five NFL starts under his belt.

In Round Three, the Giants did not have their own pick (No. 68) having traded it to the Jets last October in the Leonard Wiliams deal. They did, however have a compensatory selection (No. 99) they were awarded for losing Landon Collins in free agency last March. They selected another tackle, UConn’s Matt Peart, a 6’7″ kid who is seen as a developmental prospect.

“It’s rare to describe someone as 315 pounds and skinny, but that’s what he is,” said head coach Joe Judge. “He’s an athletic guy, he has a lot of length to him. We feel good about his character and his work ethic. He’s excited to come on in here and work hard and we can’t wait to get him on the field.”

I like the pick but it’s hard to justify a rebuilding team using a third round pick on a project. The good part about this pick is that the Giants have Marc Columbo as their offensive line coach and Peart may get fast-tracked and contribute much sooner.

Round Four was a bit a a surprise but UCLA cornerback Darnay Holmes was considered the best nickel corner in the draft. He’s just 5’10” but the Giants don’t care. They like what he brings to the team.

“Darnay is definitely a guy that jumps out at you,” said Judge. “He’s got good speed, he’s got real good short area quickness. He’s contributed on the defensive side of the ball, he’s had impact in the kicking game. He plays with a good edge, shows some nasty. You can see he definitely plays bigger than his size.”

We’ve heard that last part before (see: Jayron Hosley) but this time it may be true. Holmes can play the slot corner, although it will be new to him, and contribute on teams. The new regime apparently did not like what they saw from Grant Haley and others in that role.

Round Five was a surprise as well. Oregon guard Shane Lemieux was the pick and the explanation cleared up why they selected him.

“Every really good club that I have been with, the offensive line has set the tone,” Gettleman said. “This is a tough kid who plays mad. He’s big, he’s powerful, he’s a pretty good athlete. We’re excited to add him to the mix.”

Gettleman then revealed that Lemieux had been working out at center, a position the Giants are attempting to upgrade at. Either way, if Lemieux can’t cut it at center, he’ll insurance when Kevin Zeitler’s contract runs out next year.

In Round Six, the Giants selected Penn State linebacker Cam Brown (6’5″, 230), a versatile player and leader they had an inside track on.

“Sean Spencer (defensive line coach) on the staff has spoken very highly of Cam since he got here,” said Judge. “He’s also a guy that when you talk to other guys on Penn State and you hit them with who the leader on the defense is, without hesitation they all said Cam Brown. That stuck out to us. He’s been an alpha dog in the locker room and that brings the attitude we really look for on the field.”

Brown is a solid young man with a lot of on-field experience. Not sure what his role will be with the Giants other than a situational and special teams player. Not the worst pick in the world. In this environment where teams can’t meet personally with the players, it’s better to have that inside track.

The seventh round brought more defense: three LBs – Minnesota’s Carter Coughlin, T.J. Brunson of South Carolina and Georgia’s Tae Crowder – and a cornerback, Chris Williamson of Minnesota.

“I think it says a lot more about how our defensive scheme fits together,” Judge said of the linebacker picks. “That we are going to play with a lot of linebackers throughout the game. You build your defense to build two thirds of your team, that’s really your defense and your kicking game for covering kicks. These guys have a lot of impact across the board right there.”

Overall, I give this draft a B+. The only thing I thought they could have done was get themselves a big target for the passing game. This draft had a ton of big wideouts and Gettleman passed on them all. Other than that, they’ve shored up many of their weakest units.

 

Why New York Yankees’ Miguel Andujar is the perfect trade bait

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

Taking a look at Miguel Andujar and why can he can be great trade bait in 2020 for the New York Yankees:

One of the youngest the most talented New York Yankees players is former third baseman Miguel Andujar. Notice I say “former,” since Gio Urshela overtook him last season after Andujar suffered a torn labrum.

Losing out on the starting spot significantly hurt Andujar’s value to the team, and missing an entire season of offensive production only lowered his value in a potential trade. However, teams still inquired about his availability, notably the Texas Rangers.

The main reason the Yankees moved Andujar away from the hot corner was due to his elevated errors. His 15 errors in 136 games proved that he had deficiencies at the position and could not be trusted over the long term. It’s not for a lack of trying; his reaction timing and glove work were simply not up to par for a team that has World Series aspirations.

The major positive for the young Dominican Republic native is his bat. Two years ago, Andujar landed second in the AL Rookie of the Year rankings to Angels’ Shohei Ohtani. He had .297 with 27 Homer’s, 92 RBIs, and .850 OPS.

The primary issue was getting Andujar’s arm to remain consistent and alleviate a double-clutch that set him back a few seconds. This off-season, manager Aaron Boone moved Andujar around the defense to test him at different spots.

He played in left field and at first base, one of which he will likely remain at. His time at first base wasn’t as smooth as we hoped, but in the field, he proved to be capable despite a minimal sample size.

Nonetheless, his value comes through his offensive production, and that is where the Yankees could use Him as trade bait.

Given the injuries in the starting pitching rotation, the Yankees could be in the market for a supplemental arm to help in the postseason later on in the campaign, if there even is one. The bullpen might need another pitcher as well. If Andujar doesn’t contribute defensively, the best move might be to maximize the value he currently has. If he has a strong offensive season, teams will likely be calling for his services.