The New York Giants are headed into the 2019 season with plenty of question marks remaining, especially with the influx of youth from what seems to be a solid NFL Draft.
Building out the secondary with DeAndre Baker, Julian Love, and Corey Ballentine will prove to be extremely beneficial after only having B.W. Webb behind Janoris Jenkins last season. Baker is the assumed starter opposite Jenkins, but expect to see the coaching staff push Sam Beal to create more competition between the rookies (Beal is essentially considered a rookie).
Aside from the secondary, multiple units are in need of assistance while others have been allocated resources.
Here are the 3 keys to a successful season for the New York Giants:
1.) The offensive line
First and foremost is the offensive front, a group that general manager Dave Gettleman bolstered the past two offseasons. In 2018, the left side of the line built chemistry to excel in the season ahead. Nate Solder and Will Hernandez were both featured on a new team with different schemes, and the year they spent together will prove to be influential.
Gettleman recently traded for star right guard Kevin Zeitler, the league’s No. 1 pass protector in 2018. He will be a force on the line where Patrick Omameh and Jamon Brown once stood.
Considering how much better Brown made the team, Zeitler is going to be an excellent addition. Mike Remmers at right tackle should also provide a boost over Chad Wheeler. It ultimately comes down to Eli Manning and his efficiency in the pocket. Giving him ample time to operate will likely see his production increase.
2.) The secondary
With a plethora of youth in the defensive backfield, it’s unproven whether or not they will perform at a high level in their rookie seasons. Baker has looked fantastic this offseason so far, but playing on an NFL field is far different. Training camp should give us a good idea as to where the youngsters are with their development and if they succeed in the secondary.
It will be interesting to see how Julian Love competes with second-year man Grant Haley at the slot corner position — Love is a talented corner with solid speed and coverage skills. While Haley has a year of experience under his belt, he was undrafted and lacks in certain areas. Love could steal the job right out from under him.
Jenkins will play a role as a mentor this season, hopefully playing at a high enough level to give the offense some support.
3.) The defensive line
One thing the Giants have been lacking in recent years is an effective pass rush. Trading Olivier Vernon certainly didn’t help that situation, but his constant injuries were a deterrent at this point in the rebuild.
The Giants also managed to secure Zeitler in the trade that sent Vernon to Cleveland. Bringing in free agent Markus Golden, a player who hasn’t had a successful season in three years, and a rookie in Oshane Ximines can’t be the cure to a defense lacking a true pass-rush, but Gettleman simply didn’t have enough resources to allocate.
I anticipate the position will see more growth next free agency period and draft. However, the Giants are relying on Ximines and Golden to make an impact this season as they are lacking proven talent at the position. Drafting Dexter Lawrence, though, should provide a boost given his pass-rushing skills live up to the expectations provided for him.
A lack of a pass-rush not only affects the efficiency of the defense as a whole, but it also puts the offense at a disadvantage — lower turnover numbers, less time of possession on offense, less pressure on opposing quarterbacks…the list goes on.