Disclaimer – Two of these players are potential cuts and are currently on rosters. The other two are free agents
While the NFL Draft presents a premium opportunity for teams in the NFL to acquire new talent, there can be some hidden gems in training camp that are pushed off the roster due to other needs for any given team. The New York Giants will be looking to add several key pieces to their squad in hopes of providing aid and depth for the defensive core and offensive line.
The Giants will look to bolster these units: Middle linebacker, safety, cornerback, and offensive line. Here is one player for each unit that may be a casualty of training camp or free agent that Big Blue should consider signing.
1.) Offensive line
The Giants signed left tackle Nate Solder to take the reigns after the failed experiment that was Ereck Flowers. While he was moved to the right side of the line, his ability to succeed there is unknown. A smart move would be to sign a veteran right tackle to compete with him and test his abilities against an experienced player. The only other factor at right tackle is Chad Wheeler, who hasn’t shown flashes of upsides this offseason. While I wouldn’t rule out his potential to grab the starting job just yet, it seems as if Flowers has the advantage thus far.
One option the Giants should consider is Broncos tackle Menelik Watson. The four-year veteran has had an up and down career in terms of injuries, but his talent is obvious. The Broncos signed him to be their starting right tackle last season, but he ended up missing nine games which stifled that idea rather quickly. Luckily, the Giants would be bringing him on as a reserve lineman with the potential to compete for the starting job. He would likely be a cheap signing and would offer depth and potential at a position of concern on the offensive line.
Trading for Alec Ogletree was a smart move for the Giants, as their transition to the 3-4 defense required a true leader in the middle of the field. His strength and raw athleticism will benefit the defense as a whole, and it will improve the run-game ten-fold from the abysmal rankings the Giants earned in 2017. Currently, the only other middle linebackers on the roster are B.J. Goodson, who is a starter, Calvin Munson, Thurston Armbrister, and Tae Davis.
One potential option would be Charger linebacker Kyle Emanuel. Drafted in the fifth-round in 2015, Emanuel has been a primary starter since his inception in the NFL. He hasn’t blown people away, but he’s a serviceable player that offers value behind the starting unit. His experience would be a plus and is a strong special teams contributor. His price tag wouldn’t exceed more than $1.5 million per-season. His ST work alone should be an enticing factor if the Giants are looking for depth in the middle of the field.
Hello there old friend… Mr. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie; yes, we’re going there. The Giants’ former corner could be willing to make a return to MetLife. DRC comments only a few weeks ago that we might see him back in blue very soon, but this time, it would have to be as a safety.
The Giants currently hold Andrew Adams, Darian Thompson, and Curtis Riley as potential starting safeties. Adams has flashed potential but shouldn’t simply be given the starting job, and while Thompson made several key plays in 2017, he has a serious consistency issues and can get lost in coverage. Being that it was Thompson’s de-facto rookie season due to being placed on injured reserve in 2016, we should cut him some slack.
Riley is a versatile player than can fill in at corner and safety, but will not bring the type of quality that will lock down a thin Giants secondary. Bringing back a leader in DRC and one of the league’s best slot corners, might be exactly what they need to bolster the defense. Helping him make the transition to safety as age catches up with him will only prolong his playing career and solve a problem that is currently troublesome for the Giants.
With the Giants signing William Gay and a slew of low-risk, high reward players, there is several spots at cornerback up from grabs. Eli Apple is still showing signs of weakness and the only player that can be trusted is Janoris Jenkins. Adding a solid corner to provide depth and upside is something GM Dave Gettleman should be thinking about.
One option would be former Saint, Delvin Breaux. Going into his third-year, Breaux has plenty of talent and life left in his career. Unfortunately, injuries derailed him in 2016 and failed to play a single game last season. But in 2015, he was fantastic, and showed signs of Pro Bowl talent. He finished the year with 37 tackles and 19 passes defended. To put that into perspective, Janoris Jenkins had 44 tackles and 18 passes defended in 2016, his best season.
Breaux would have to sign a team-friendly one-year “prove it” deal, but it would be well worth the investment to see if he can contribute in a reserve role and potentially earn more playing time as the season progresses.