The New York Giants have taken a major step forward in wake of the 2018 NFL draft where they grabbed a generation running back and a big, mean, killing machine on the offensive line.
General manager Dave Gettleman spent various picks on the defensive line and addressed the quarterback position as well. But, various holes still remain in the secondary and a lack of depth on the offensive line could create problems.
For our first major concern:
1.) What are the Giants going to do at cornerback?
Big Blue didn’t spend any draft picks at the cornerback position, which was to be expected as Gettleman often builds through the trenches and leaves the secondary in space. He did bring in several undrafted free agents to compete, but we can’t rely on players that weren’t talented enough to make it into the draft.
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The hopes are that by bringing in 3-4 players to compete for the spot, one will emerge as a potential starter. That has always been Gettleman’s method of solving the issues in the secondary. It’s possible the Giants choose to entertain bringing Dominique Rodgers Cromartie back on a pay-cut, but it’s unlikely.
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If injuries begin to pile up, the secondary will become what they call, “Swiss Cheese.”
2.) How can the Giants get the most out of Saquon Barkley?
The Giants have a shiny new toy in running back Saquon Barkley, but how can they utilize him to his highest potential? And can he successfully be Odell Beckham Jr.’s complement, or vice versa?
Barkley brings more tangible talent than Beckham Jr. to the field, but it’s to be determined if he will develop into a more influential player. My worry is that they will begin competing for more action, and one of them (likely OBJ) will get frustrated at a lack of targets. What if Barkley begins to overshadow Beckham Jr.? Interesting question to ask. This is where we will see Beckham’s true colors, and we should expect to see enjoy the additional wins, even if his targets take a slight dip.
The primary way to get the most out of Barkely will ultimately be to use him in all facets of the game. Run on the first two downs, spread him out into the slot, utilize screen passes, designed running back post routes, etc. He’s a dynamic player with a multi-purpose function, enabling his use in various scenarios. He will contribute to the fine-tuning and refinement of the offense’s capabilities.
One of the the major issues in 2017 was the predictability of the offense. Team’s knew when Beckham was getting the ball, and they knew when the Giants were set up for a running play. That fact contributed to their 31st ranked offense led by Ben McAdoo. New head coach Pat Shurmur will bring a sense of misdirection and invisibility to their play-calling, which will open up the field for players like Beckham, Barkley, and Evan Engram.
3.) Where is the offensive line depth?
The Giants may have replaced the entire offensive line, but they still lack serious depth in the trenches.
The current roster has only Ethan Cooper, Jon Halapio, John Jerry, John Greco, Damian Mama, Kristjan Sokoli, Adam Bisnowaty, and Nick Becton as depth players. A majority of these guys are ‘not’ ready to take on NFL level talent, with the exceptions being Jerry (not really) and Greco. Occasionally Halapio can fill in valiantly.
This is a serious problem, as the line is void of any quality depth, and injuries are always a problem for the Giants at MetLife. Maybe, with a more viable offensive playbook and scheme, they can help keep their players healthy throughout the course of the season.