Giants vs. Eagles: The three major keys for the Giants to come up with the win

New York Giants, Evan Engram

This is the biggest game for both teams up to this point. The Philadelphia Eagles are in first place with a 3-4-1 record, and the New York Giants are in third place with a 2-7 record. The Giants can split the series against the Eagles if they can do a few things correctly. The three major keys for the Giants this weekend will include Daniel Jones, Evan Engram, and Isaac Yiadom.

Daniel Jones needs to protect the ball

The New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones has to be on target this weekend. Jones can not afford to force a turnover against the Eagles. DJ was not perfect last week, but he did not force a turnover. DJ fumbled twice in the game. The first fumble ended up going out of bounds, and the second fumble DJ jumped on to retain possession.

If Daniel Jones can protect the ball and throw the ball away when he has to, then the Giants can control the game on offense and with field position.

Last week’s game against Washington was the first time this season that DJ did not turn the ball over, the Giants came out on top. DJ and the entire offense needs to do the same thing as they did last week to have the best chance to win this game.

Evan Engram needs to catch the ball

The New York Giants tight end Evan Engram has been consistently dropping passes week in and week out. The last time the Giants and the Eagles played each other this season, Engram dropped a ball on third down that would have sealed the game for the Giants. The Giants were forced to punt and gave the ball back to Carson Wentz and the Eagles. The Eagles ended up winning this game against the Giants. What is in the past is in the past. All Giants fans hope for is that Engram can hold on to the ball, especially on third down.

Engram is a miss-match for most linebackers in the NFL, and DJ knows that. DJ just needs to find ways to get the ball into Engram’s hands in open space.

Isaac Yiadom needs to step up

In last week’s game against Washington, Isaac Yiadom allowed a perfect passer rating to Alex Smith when passes were thrown to Yiadom’s side of the field. If the New York Giants want to beat the Eagles this weekend, this simply can not happen this weekend. Wentz will attack Yiadom every time he gets.

The way that James Bradberry has been playing this season, Yiadom is going to see a lot of attention week in and week out, which isn’t going to change this weekend.

Outcome if all goes well

This is a lot to ask for, but if the Giants are able to pull this off against the Eagles, they could find themselves in a rhythm. On offense, DJ has to play a clean game, and Engram needs to catch the catchable balls. On defense, Yiadom will see the ball thrown his way a bunch this weekend. He needs to play just good for the Giants to come out with a big win and compete in the NFC East once again!

The New York Giants need to be sellers at the trade deadline and nothing else

New York Giants, Dave Gettleman

The Nov. 3 NFL trade deadline is quickly approaching, and the New York Giants find themselves in an interesting dilemma.

They aren’t a playoff-caliber team, not by a long shot, and yet they are still firmly in the race for the NFC East division title despite sitting at 1-5 on the season. Coming off a close win against the Washington Football Team last week, if the Giants win their second divisional game in a row Thursday night against the Eagles, they would be tied for first place in the division.

Getting a win on Thursday, however, could be potentially dangerous for the Giants. Not to say winning is bad, but the Giants being right in the thick of the NFC East race might prompt general manager Dave Gettleman to try and make a move to acquire a player at the trade deadline in an effort to win the division. That is the opposite of what the Giants should be doing, as they are a rebuilding team who needs to acquire more draft capital by giving away players, not the other way around.

Gettleman is widely expected to be let go after the season, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, and this could force him to go into desperation mode at the deadline. But, the reality is this team is nowhere near in position to be giving up more draft picks and future assets because they aren’t a win-now team, no matter where they are in the divisional standings.

The Giants only have five picks in the 2021 NFL Draft as is, after giving up a 5th in the Leonard Williams trade last year and a 7th for cornerback Isaac Yiadom right before the season started. The last thing they can afford is having even less draft picks to work with for this draft and potentially beyond, especially if there’s going to be a new general manager calling the shots.

There have been some players around the league rumored to be potential trade targets who could help the Giants, such as Cincinnati Bengals speedy wide receiver John Ross. The former first-round pick could provide a much-needed boost for the Giants lackluster passing game and give Jason Garrett an intriguing down-field threat to work with.

But, no matter who may be available via trade, the Giants need to resist the temptation and look at the big picture. Making a move at the deadline that would possibly help the team in the short-term would handicap them in the long-term, and that’s what this team should be focusing on. Is it really worth it for the Giants bring in a player who gets them to maybe 6-7 wins at best and buys them a first-round exit in the playoffs? Not only that but by winning the division, the Giants would have a late first-round pick and miss out on a lot of the top draft prospects, which would be a nightmare scenario.

The Giants need to be looking at players on their roster who they can potentially move for any semblance of value. Some possible options include wide receivers Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard, and outside linebacker Markus Golden. If they can draft picks for any one of those players, they need to pull the trigger and stock up for the future.

With Gettleman seemingly on his way out, Joe Judge and the Giants need to stop Gettleman from giving in and making another Leonard Williams-type trade in a last-ditch effort to try and save his job. This team needs to be focusing on building for the future, getting any value they can for expendable players who aren’t part of the long-term plan, and developing the young players they have on the roster currently.

Therefore, the Giants need to be sellers this trade deadline rather than buyers because the only thing they would be buying themselves is another ticket on the same carousel they’ve been riding since 2011.

Should the New York Giants try Evan Engram at WR?

New York Giants, Evan Engram

After his porous Week 1, New York Giants fans are already banging the drum for the team to cut ties with Evan Engram. While the criticism of the 26-year-old is expected and understandable given his play, the Giants would be silly to get rid of him after one very underwhelming performance in his first game back since Week 9 of last season.

However, if Engram’s play Monday night becomes a regular occurrence and more than just a matter of him needing to shake off some rust, it might make sense for the Giants to explore different ways they could utilize his services before they consider moving on from him.

What do I mean by that exactly? Moving him to wide receiver.

Now, before I make a case for the switch, I should make it known that I’m confident Engram will improve and find his footing as the season progresses. He’s too talented, and Jason Garrett’s offense is going to maximize his potential as a tight end. There are ways to scheme around his horrid blocking, and the mismatch he represents at his current position is extremely valuable.

According to reports, Engram generated a lot of hype during training camp and looked very explosive. He quickly caught the eye of head coach Joe Judge, and Judge has not been shy about praising what he’s seen from Engram. Here’s Judge practically gushing about Engram back in August:

“He’s very in-tune, he’s very intelligent, he’s very deliberate about how he works and what he’s focusing on within each period,” Judge said. “I turn his tape on and see him flying around. He’s a fun guy to watch play because he has a lot of ability, but he loves the game, too.”

It’s clear that Judge and the Giants are excited about Engram and the value he brings. They are looking to get him involved a lot, and I doubt one bad game is going to change that. But on the flip side, moving Engram to wide receiver could make sense for multiple reasons. For one, as I mentioned earlier, Engram has never been a good blocker, and that proved to be the case still Monday night.

He’s been trying, so you have to give him credit for that, and he has shown that he is not afraid to get his hands dirty, but throughout training camp, that has been a department where he’s struggled and has just continuously gotten beat my his man. It was no different against Pittsburgh, as there were multiple occurrences where Engram just whiffed completely. The defender lined up against him was able to get past him with ease, causing trouble for Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. He was so bad that out of the 64 tight ends that Pro Football Focus graded from Week One, Engram was dead last, being last in run-blocking and second-to-last in pass-blocking.

While there’s always a chance he could improve as a blocker, the likelihood at this point is that he’ll probably always be below average in that area. The Giants can’t keep having him as a blocker, it’s only going to hurt them. Having Engram play most of his snaps on the outside will require him to block a lot less, and when he does, he’ll be facing corners or safeties who he should fare better against than the linebackers and edge rushers he mainly ends up having to block now.

The Giants also have another young tight end, Kaden Smith, who is a very good blocker, so having him replace Engram as the top tight end on the roster would allow Smith do most of the blocking, and that, in turn, would be a better situation for the offense. Levine Toilolo and Eric Tomlinson, the other tight ends on the roster, are also much more capable as blockers than Engram and would be better options as well.

In this scenario, Engram would be able to focus on catching passes, where he’s thrived over his career, and Smith would be able to not only bring a more consistent blocking presence at the line of scrimmage but become more of a focal point in the offense. With his increase in snaps, Smith can build upon the potential he showed as a pass-catcher himself last season.

Additionally, another reason for Engram to make the switch is his height. Standing at 6’3”, Engram has excellent size for the wide receiver position, and the Giants have been needing a big-bodied receiver. Engram has always been a glorified wide receiver, and although he might not get as many mismatches against linebackers as he does currently, he is a good enough route runner with great speed to be able to succeed and make plays on the outside.

Again, I want to reiterate that I only see this as a possible opportunity if Engram continues to struggle in the coming weeks. I still believe he’ll get his act together and improve, and the Giants will definitely still be looking to get him the ball as much as they can. However, this could pose an interesting compromise to trading him or letting him go.

What do you think, Giants fans?

New York Giants: Markus Golden’s deadline has passed, what does this mean?

New York Jets, Markus Golden

The deadline for OLB Markus Golden to be able to sign a free-agent contract with teams other than the New York Giants has officially passed as of 4 PM on Wednesday:

The calculated risk they took when they placed the rarely used unrestricted free agent tender on Golden back in April has come much closer to paying off. The fact that Golden has remained unsigned past the deadline means that if he wants to play at all this season it can only be with the Giants.

If he signs the “May 5” tender, which he has yet to do and it is unclear when he will, then he will play on a 1-year deal worth $4.125 million, which is 110 percent of his salary from last season. He doesn’t have to sign the tender right away, as he has until Week 10 of the season to do so, or else he must sit out the rest of the season.

There was some uncertainty as to when the deadline for the tender would actually be, as the original date was the first day of NFL training camp which got pushed back from Wednesday at 4 PM to July 28th, so there was speculation that the deadline would be moved as well. That, however, ended up not being the case.

Golden was looking to cash out in free agency this offseason after proving he returned to full health from a torn ACL he suffered back in 2017 as a member of the Arizona Cardinals. On a 1-year, “prove it” deal, Golden racked up a team-leading 10 sacks for the Giants and played all 16 games, but unfortunately fell victim to a weak market for the free agent edge rushers and wasn’t able to cash in.

Joe Judge expressed interest in bringing back Golden earlier in the offseason but the two parties didn’t come to an agreement on a contract, which prompted the Giants to place the UFA tender on him. Here’s what Judge said in May about Golden and potentially bringing him back:

“I have a lot of respect for Markus as a player and as a person. I think he’s a tremendous guy. I think he’s a hard worker, a tough guy, he’s a productive guy on the field. So we’ve expressed it internally and we’ve talked with him as well about possibly having a fit.”

If Golden does sign the tender and returns to the team, he would reclaim his starting spot along the defensive line and provide a huge, much-needed boost to the Giants’ pass rush.

New York Giants: Top training camp battles to watch for

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

Taking a look at the top training camp battles for the New York Giants:

With the NFL training camp start dates officially being announced on Saturday for all teams aside from the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs, who are reporting earlier, football fans finally have something to look forward to:

Now, with that being said, just because the dates are now set doesn’t mean everything is back to normal or will be anytime soon. There obviously won’t be any fans in the stands, and there will be a limit as to how many players will be allowed in the facility at the same time, at least for now. That will probably also be the case for how many can be on the field at the same time as well.

Then there’s the predicament of what would happen if one or more players test positive for COVID-19, in which case those infected would most likely be quarantined for an extended period of time, and training camp as a whole might get shut down depending on the number of cases. This is just speculation, however, as the NFL and NFLPA have not even reached any kind of agreement on how they would handle this kind of situation, and therefore it’s a real possibility that players could choose to stay home and not come to camp if they don’t feel comfortable. The league has had months of preparation time, and yet the players still don’t know what health and safety protocols the NFL will be taking regarding the pandemic, which is ridiculous and very problematic. It’s a messy situation that will most likely be faced with obstacles and challenges throughout.

However, assuming all goes smoothly and proper guidelines are taken by the league that everyone abides by. This news means that football is officially underway, and we are getting closer to the 2020 NFL season. With that, let’s take a look at some of the most intriguing and exciting training camp position battles for the Giants this summer.

Backup running back

Saquon Barkley has the lead running back role locked down and will be the centerpiece of Jason Garrett’s offense, but what about the runner behind him who will also play a role in the offense and help manage Saquon’s workload?

Veteran free-agent signing Dion Lewis is the favorite as of right now, with his speed and shiftiness being a nice complement to Saquon’s skill set. His pass-catching ability and seven years of experience come in handy as well, but there is also third-year back Wayne Gallman who was the back up last season and played pretty well when Saquon missed time with an ankle sprain. However, Gallman seems to be in an uphill battle to make the roster and probably needs to have a big training camp to stick around, as he’s one of the only Jerry Reese draft picks remaining on the team.

There’s also undrafted free agent running back Javon Leake, who demonstrated explosiveness and potential in limited snaps at the University of Maryland. He’s expected to be more of the third-string running back who’s heavily involved in special teams to start out, but if he balls out at camp, he could possibly carve out more of a role for himself in the offense. It will be fun to see these three backs, amongst others, battle it out for snaps behind Saquon this season.

Center and right tackle

The Giants should have an improved offensive line this season, with three of the five positions seemingly set and better quality depth all around. Will Hernandez and Kevin Zeitler will stay as the left and right guards, and first-round draft pick Andrew Thomas should take over the left tackle spot from right the get-go. At center and right tackle, however, those positions are open for the taking.

At center you have former undrafted lineman Nick Gates and this year’s fifth-round pick Shane Lemieux, who is a guard naturally but has been training at center as well over the offseason, as the top contenders for the position. The Giants also still have veteran Spencer Pulley and have been keeping tabs on Jon Halapio, their underwhelming starting center from last year. If he’s fully recovered from his torn Achilles and ready to go, they could bring him back and throw him into the fight. It also remains to be seen whether they would add a more proven veteran, such as former Seattle Seahawks center Justin Britt, who is also recovering from an ACL injury he suffered midway through last season. Assuming he’s healthy, he would offer an upgrade who could be had on a cheap “prove-it” deal.

At right tackle, the top options for that spot currently are Nate Solder, who was the starting left tackle the past two years, and veteran free agent signing Cameron Fleming. The Giants also have their third-round pick Matt Peart, who is supposed to be their right tackle of the future but needs some more development first. However, if he performs well during camp and surprises people, he could take over earlier than anticipated. Gates also has experience playing tackle, so he could be a candidate there, depending on what happens at center. Both of these positions have fierce competition brewing, which should be very entertaining to follow.

Edge rusher

On the defensive side of the ball, the Giants have a big question mark in the pass-rushing department. They’re set on the inside but lack a true, proven threat on the outside and seem to be aiming for more of a committee approach. They do have a number of candidates with potential and upside, and they will all be fighting for snaps. The leaders of the pack right now are third-year veteran Lorenzo Carter, who is entering a make-or-break year, and second-year man Oshane Ximines, who registered 4.5 sacks on limited snaps last year.

The Giants could be getting back their leading sack artist from last season, however, as they placed the seldom-used unrestricted free agent tender on Markus Golden. Golden produced 10 sacks on a one-year deal last year and showed he was fully recovered from the torn ACL he suffered in 2017. It’s looking more and more probable that they will bring him back for at least one more year, and if they do, he will most likely reclaim a starting spot.

There’s also free-agent signing Kyler Fackrell, who could be a diamond in the rough for the Giants this year like Golden was last year. He had a great season in 2018 where he totaled 10.5 sacks, but fell off last year and only managed 1 sack on far fewer snaps. The Giants give Fackrell a perfect opportunity to try and regain his 2018 form, so we’ll see if they cash in with another low-risk, high-reward type signing. Seventh-round pick Carter Coughlin and a few undrafted edge rushers have promise as well, so it remains to be seen if they will impress enough in camp to make the roster and crack some rotational snaps in year one.

Outside and slot cornerback

The Giants have a slew of young defensive backs with lots of talent and versatility, which is great. They are set right now at both safety positions, with second-round draft pick Xavier McKinney at free safety and fourth-year safety Jabrill Peppers at strong safety, and also at their number one cornerback spot with free-agent signing James Bradberry. They still have question marks at the number two cornerback spot and in the slot cornerback spot as well, and there are a number of guys who will be competing for both of them.

It was presumed that second-year corner Deandre Baker would have the other outside corner spot locked down, but then he was arrested under some ugly armed robbery charges. There are constant back and forth reports about the incident, and nobody knows what to believe or when a resolution will be reached. It still is unclear if Baker even has a future with the team going forward. There remains a good chance he either gets cut or at least suspended, and he’s now in a position where he would likely need to prove himself in order to regain his starting spot if he remains with the team.

The next two players in line behind Baker are second-year defensive back Julian Love, who was a standout outside corner in college but mostly played safety his rookie year with the Giants. He is versatile and could play both on the outside or in the slot. This year’s fourth-round pick Darnay Holmes is another one of those versatile players. He was projected to take over in the slot, but now, with the whole Baker conundrum, he could possibly see playing time on the outside, which is where he played in college as well.

2018 supplemental draft pick Sam Beal is a talented player with lots of potential but has just been unable to stay healthy so far in his young career. He was inconsistent but showed some flashes last season on the outside and has a tremendous opportunity now to prove his worth. Corey Ballentine, last year’s sixth-round pick, struggled as a rookie in the slot, but that was understandable given he was faced with tragedy that he was dealing with throughout the season while having to adjust to a new position in the process. He showed flashes last preseason and could surprise people with a year under his belt and more time to get his mind right. Grant Haley also has some professional experience in both roles for the Giants and could fight for snaps, although he struggled last season, and his roster spot could be in jeopardy.

The Giants also signed former XFL standout Dravon Askew-Henry, who is another Swiss Army knife in the secondary and could play on the inside, outside, or at safety. It’s clear that there is a surplus of candidates to compete for these spots in the secondary, and it will be exciting to see them go at it and compete during camp.

New York Giants: ESPN top 10 running back rankings have Saquon first

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley ranks atop the list of RBs:

As a preview of the 2020 NFL season, ESPN is releasing the top 10 players at every position, according to a group of over 50 league personnel members. This includes NFL executives, coaches, scouts, and players. On Thursday they tackled the running back position, and the list turned out differently than you might anticipate:

That’s right, Giants fans! Saquon lands at the number one slot, which is a little surprising considering the slightly underwhelming season he had. The fact that he’s recognized as the best in the league, even with a lackluster offensive line over his first two seasons, is a testament to how special of a talent Saquon is.

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While almost everyone can agree that Saquon is at the very least a top-three running back, it was still a little odd seeing him ranked ahead of guys like Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, and Derrick Henry going into the season considering the fantastic seasons they each are coming off of. McCaffrey had an MVP-level year and was arguably the best offensive player in the game, totaling 2392 yards from scrimmage, nearly 1400 rushing on 287 carries, and just over 1000 receiving on 116 receptions. He added 15 rushing touchdowns and four receiving touchdowns, earning Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro honors for his dominance in both the running and passing game.

Elliott maintained his steady and consistent production last season as a leader in one of the league’s best offenses as he ran for 1357 yards and 12 touchdowns on 301 carries, adding over 400 yards receiving and two touchdowns on 54 receptions en route to his third Pro Bowl in four seasons.

Henry had an extremely dominant year, as he was arguably the best running back in the league during the second half of the season and in the playoffs as well. He ended the year first in rushing attempts with 303, first in yards with 1540, and tied for first in touchdowns with 16. He didn’t do much in the receiving game, managing only 206 yards and two touchdowns on 18 receptions, but his video-game production on the ground was phenomenal. He made it to his first Pro Bowl and carried the Tennessee Titans to the AFC Championship game.

Saquon had much less in terms of stats compared to those three due to him battling a high ankle sprain for much of the season, which cost him three games, and the poor offensive line he had blocking for him. He still managed to rack up over 1000 yards and six touchdowns on 217 rushing attempts to go along with 438 yards and two touchdowns on 52 receptions.

This season projects to be a huge one for Saquon, however, as he is fully healthy and the Giants offensive line should be much improved. The team also has a new offensive coordinator in longtime Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, and the offensive system he’s bringing is supposed to revolve around Saquon, which bodes well for his production.

It remains to be seen how well Saquon and the Giants will do if and when the season gets underway, but these rankings seem to indicate that people around the NFL seem to share the sentiment that year number three will indeed be a big one for Saquon.

Projecting the New York Giants’ 53-man roster

New York Giants, Daniel Jones, Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram

With free agency and the draft having come and gone, we know what the majority of the NFL rosters are going to look like for this upcoming season. There still are roster additions to be made with the remaining free agents and players who get cut over the next couple of months, but there most likely won’t be any major moves coming for the New York Giants.

For those of you thinking that the rosters have been expanded to 55 players, you’re both right and wrong. Teams still have to trim their final roster down to 53 players, but the difference is they get to call up an extra two players from the practice squad each week, which has been expanded to 12 players this season. So the final roster remains at 53 players but can increase to 55 players on Sundays.

With all that being said, I’m going to take a crack at how I think the Giants 53-man roster will end up looking:

Quarterback (3): Daniel Jones, Colt McCoy, Cooper Rush

I am of the party who would prefer the Giants keep only two quarterbacks, but I think they’ll end up going with 3. Daniel Jones is the obvious starter and should be in for a big sophomore year with the improved offensive line. Colt McCoy provides a reliable veteran backup with a lot of experience, especially of the NFC East, and Cooper Rush beats out Alex Tanney simply because of his familiarity with Jason Garrett’s offense, not to mention he’s much younger. Undrafted free agent Case Cookus seems like a prime practice squad candidate.

Didn’t make the cut: Alex Tanney, Case Cookus

Running Back (4): Saquon Barkley, Dion Lewis, Javon Leake, Eli Penny

This group was a relatively easy one to figure out. Saquon Barkley is one of the best backs in the game and could be in line for an MVP-caliber year in Garrett’s offense. Dion Lewis is a good veteran back who compliments Barkley’s game nicely, and Javon Leake is a very intriguing undrafted free agent who averaged 7.2 yards per carry for Maryland last year.

I chose Leake over Gallman because of the value Leake brings on special teams, particularly in the return game. Gallman played well in Barkley’s absence last year, but it seems like the writing is on the wall for one of the last Jerry Reese products left on the roster. Eli Penny will return as the fullback. Austrian running back Sandro Platzgummer, who the Giants were awarded through the NFL’s International Pathway Program, is also a guy to watch out for who could stick around on the practice squad.

Didn’t make the cut: Wayne Gallman, Sandro Platzgummer, Jonathan Hilliman, George Aston

Wide Receiver (6): Golden Tate III, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Corey Coleman, Cody Core, Binjimen Victor

This group, even though it lacks a true number one option, is an above-average group with the trio of Golden Tate III, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton, who is looking to build off of his great rookie season, at the top. The Giants had high hopes for Corey Coleman last season before he tore his ACL, so we’ll see if he can pick up where he left off and become a factor.

Core is fantastic on special teams, and Binjimen Victor is an intriguing undrafted free agent who has the size that this group is lacking. Other undrafted guys like Derrick Dillon, who has 4.29 speed, and Victor’s college teammate Austin Mack are prime practice squad candidates. Also, don’t be surprised if the Giants dip into the waiver wire here, depending on which receivers get cut around the league.

Didn’t make the cut: Derrick Dillon, Austin Mack, Da’Mari Scott, David Sills V, Alex Bachman

Tight Ends (3): Evan Engram, Kaden Smith, Levine Toilolo

This is a talented group headlined by the young duo of Evan Engram and Kaden Smith. Engram is one of the most electric tight ends in the game and should be in for a massive season with the way he’ll be used in this offense as long as he can stay healthy. Second-year man Smith was a pleasant surprise down the stretch last season as both a receiver and blocker after Engram went down and is looking to take the next step in 2020. Levine Toilolo replaces the retired Rhett Ellison and provides great depth, as he’s a great blocker and huge red zone target for Jones at 6’8”.

A person to keep an eye on here is Rysen John, an undrafted free agent from Canada, who played receiver in college but is likely to transition to tight end with the Giants. He’s 6’7” and can be used in that WR/TE hybrid role, but he is very raw, so look for the Giants to try and stash him on the practice squad for now while they develop him.

Didn’t make the cut: Rysen John, Garrett Dickerson, Eric Tomlinson, Kyle Markway

Offensive Line (9): Andrew Thomas (T), Will Hernandez (G), Kevin Zeitler (G), Nate Solder (T), Spencer Pulley (C/G), Nick Gates (C/G/T), Cameron Fleming (T), Matt Peart (T), Shane Lemieux (G/C)

The offensive line was the main focus of the offseason for the Giants, and the result is a much-improved group. Andrew Thomas is the left tackle of the present and future, and Will Hernandez and Kevin Zeitler will remain the starting left and right guards.

Nate Solder and Cameron Fleming will probably battle it out for the right tackle spot, with Matt Peart being the long-term option who needs some fine-tuning before taking over. Nick Gates, Spencer Pulley, and Shane Lemieux will fight for that center spot with the two who don’t win the job serving as valuable depth. Undrafted free agent Kyle Murphy from Rhode Island is a versatile and talented lineman. He can go to the practice squad and become one of the two additional players added to the game-day roster each week since one of the players has to be an offensive lineman.

Didn’t make the cut: Kyle Murphy, Chad Slade, Eric Smith, Tyler Haycraft, Nate Wozniak

Defensive Line (6): Dalvin Tomlinson, Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams, B.J. Hill, Austin Johnson, R.J. McIntosh

This is a very talented and somewhat underrated group that has the chance to have a big year. Dalvin Tomlinson is a good nose tackle, and Dexter Lawrence had a very encouraging rookie campaign. Leonard Williams, as much as the ugliness of his trade and $16 million dollar cap hit continue to linger, led all interior defensive lineman in quarterback hits last season.

If he can start to turn some of those hits into sacks, then he has the chance to silence the critics and have a productive season. B.J. Hill is a guy who had a promising rookie season but regressed hard last season, so we’ll see if he can bounce back. Austin Johnson reunites with his Penn State defensive line coach Sean Spencer, so him and third-year man R.J. McIntosh provide sound depth with the potential for more. Last year’s seventh-round pick Chris Slayton was the odd man out, and undrafted edge rushers Niko Lalos, Dana Levine, and Oluwole Betiku Jr., who had 9 sacks last season, could make a push for a roster spot or the practice squad at the very least.

Didn’t make the cut: Chris Slayton, Niko Lalos, Dana Levine, Oluwole Betiku Jr.

Linebackers (9): Markus Golden (OLB), Oshane Ximines (OLB), Lorenzo Carter (OLB), Blake Martinez (ILB), Ryan Connelly (ILB), Kyler Fackrell (OLB), David Mayo (ILB), Cam Brown (OLB), Carter Coughlin (OLB)

This group is kind of a wild card, assuming what happens with Markus Golden. The Giants placed the rarely-used UFA tender on him, and Joe Judge recently expressed his interest in bringing him back, but Golden can still sign with another team. I am going to guess that the Giants and Golden figure something out; either he comes back and plays on the tender, or maybe they work out a contract.

If Golden does return, then this group instantly becomes a lot better as they regain the Giants’ only double-digit sack artist from last season. Oshane Ximines will look to take the next step after a promising rookie season where he logged 4.5 sacks in limited snaps, and Lorenzo Carter will be in for a make-or-break third season. Kyler Fackrell can be a low-risk, high-reward signing like Golden was last year, as he will look to replicate his 10.5-sack 2018 season.

On the inside, Blake Martinez, who had his best season with Patrick Graham as his position coach, and Ryan Connelly, should get the starting spots. Connelly looked so promising last season before he tore his ACL, so the Giants are hoping he can get back to being the same player he was. David Mayo played pretty well last season and is good depth, while late-round picks Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin will see a lot of special teams action, but also have the kind of untapped potential that could get them some rotational defensive snaps. Look for seventh-round picks T.J. Brunson and Tae Crowder to start off on the practice squad and try and work their way onto the roster from there.

Didn’t make the cut: T.J. Brunson, Tae Crowder, Josiah Tauaefa, Chris Peace, Dominique Ross, Mark McLaurin, Devante Downs

Defensive Backs (10): James Bradberry (CB), Deandre Baker (CB), Jabrill Peppers (S), Xavier McKinney (S), Julian Love (S/CB), Sam Beal (CB), Corey Ballentine (CB), Darnay Holmes (CB), Nate Ebner (S), Montre Hartage (S)

The defensive backs took a big hit last month when DeAndre Baker was accused of armed robbery charges, but fortunately, it’s looking like his charges will be dropped, and he’ll be ruled innocent. Because of this, I decided to keep Baker in my projection, even though a suspension is still possible.

Overall this is the most intriguing but also the most uncertain position group. The Giants have so much promising youth here, and this group can end up being one of the biggest strengths on the roster for years to come, but a bunch of these guys are still developing, so there will more than likely be bumps in the road. Nonetheless, James Bradberry takes over for Janoris Jenkins as the number one corner, with Baker on the other side. Baker had a rough start to his rookie season but greatly improved as the season progressed so he’ll look to build off that.

At safety, the duo of Jabrill Peppers and second-round pick Xavier McKinney is very exciting and has the chance to be very good very quickly. Julian Love is a vital piece to this group, as he will work as the third safety but also get snaps at slot corner and probably on the outside as well. Sam Beal and Corey Ballentine will be backups and look to continue in their development, and Darnay Holmes has a chance to be the starting nickel corner week one. Nate Ebner is a special teams ace, and Montre Hartage has familiarity with Graham from their time together in Miami last year, so he’ll probably stick around. Look for seventh-round pick Chris Williamson to also start off on the practice squad and work his way to the roster. Grant Haley and Sean Chandler were the odd men out here.

Didn’t make the cut: Grant Haley, Chris Williamson, Sean Chandler, Dravon Askew-Henry, Christian Angulo, Jaquarius Landrews, Rashaan Gaulden, Malcolm Elmore

Special Teams (3): Aldrick Rosas (K), Riley Dixon (P), Casey Kreiter (LS)

This was supposed to be the easiest group to project, but then news came out that Aldrick Rosas was involved in a hit and run in California a few weeks ago. The situation looked ugly, and Rosas’ future with the team is certainly in doubt. Still, until the Giants get more information and make an official decision with Rosas, I’m going to leave him as the kicker.

Other than that, there’s not much to say here. If he stays, Rosas will look to get back to his 2018 form after a shaky 2019. Riley Dixon was arguably our most consistent player last season and punted the ball very well. Casey Kreiter, who made the Pro Bowl in 2018 with the Broncos, will take over long-snapping duties for Zak DeOssie.

Eli Manning wins the Pro Football Writers of America’s Good Guy Award

Eli Manning, New York Giants

It has been a wonderful week for newly retired New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. After receiving news that he would be having his college jersey retired at Ole Miss, his alma mater, it was announced on Tuesday that Manning would be recognized as the 16th recipient of the Pro Football Writers of America’s Good Guy Award for his second-to-none professionalism and cooperation with the media throughout his sixteen-year career.

The Good Guy Award is an annual award that’s given to an NFL player who displays an admirable and top-notch relationship with the media, which can be a challenging thing to do. Manning has been repeatedly praised for his respectful behavior and kind attitude towards the New York/New Jersey media, which is widely considered to be arguably the toughest media market in sports. The fact that Manning was able to maintain his composure and class through the good moments and the bad for so long is truly remarkable.

There have been countless times when Manning has been portrayed negatively by the media, but not once did Manning ever fold or succumb to the headlines. He always managed to remain a class act and answer every last question reporters asked him, no matter how difficult the question may have been. Manning joins Tiki Barber, who won the award in 2006, as the second Giant to earn this achievement.

PFWA President and Newsday NFL columnist Bob Glauber, who covered Manning over the course of his entire career, had this to say about the Giants legend: “Eli Manning exemplified professionalism with the media since his rookie season in 2004, and he did so in the league’s largest market. Eli often spoke of the example set by his father, and being around Archie Manning was certainly a great way to learn about being around the media. Even so, playing in New York has unique pressures that Eli dealt with consistently and fairly. Media sessions at his locker would often start with as many as 50 reporters, photographers and camera operators, but he answered every last question – even when only one reporter was left. A pro’s pro.”

If there was one athlete, no matter the sport, who you should model your relationship with the media after, regardless of where you play, it’s without question, Eli Manning. He was the definition of a pro’s pro and a class act in the world’s toughest market for nearly two decades, and Manning will forever be remembered for it just as much as he’ll be remembered for his many achievements on the field.

New York Giants: Projected starting offensive line in 2020

New York Giants, Nate Solder, Jon Halapio, Mike Remmers

The New York Giants‘ offensive line is the team’s kryptonite; it has been for the last five years. Finally, the Giants made improvements to the offensive line through the draft and free agency. As a fan, this makes me very happy, protecting Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley is the primary concern. All fans want to see these guys play for eight-plus years. There are a lot of questions that need to be addressed this offseason. Who will start at left tackle? Nate Solder, or Andrew Thomas? Who will win the starting center job, Spencer Pulley, Nick Gates, or Shane Lemieux?

I think the end of the preseason will answer all these questions. Joe Judge and the coaching staff want the best man to win the starting job. All these players are going to get a fair shot, and it will come down to who wants it more and who excels at their position.

The best players will play. I don’t care where you got drafted, I don’t care if you’re an undrafted free agent, I don’t care if you’re old, young, traded, whatever you got there for. Everybody will have an opportunity every day to compete for a job on our roster. Every day. If you want to be on the field, be the best player. Outwork the guy in front of you. Prove your value to us, show you can handle the job, and we’re going to put you on the field and give you an opportunity.”

Andrew Thomas starting left tackle

Andrew Thomas is going to be the starting left tackle week one. He is the best option and has all the skills to play at the pro level. The Giants drafted him to fix their blind side problem and protect second-year quarterback, Daniel Jones. As we all saw, Nate Solder was not at his best last season. I still think Solder will be apart of the offensive line, just at another spot. In 2019, Andrew Thomas was a Walter Camp All-American first team, and winner of the SEC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy, this was Georgia’s first recipient in 21 years!

There’s no question Thomas has the athleticism and skill set to become an All-Pro lineman; having a great offensive line coach is also huge for his development. There is no reason to move Thomas to right tackle, he played both in college but excelled at Left. Coming into the draft, Andrew Thomas was the purest left tackle; the Giants made the right decision with their fourth overall pick.

Will Hernandez starting left guard

Will Hernandez has been a reliable option since he was drafted back in 2018. Since drafted, Hernandez has started in every game (32), talk about a reliable offensive lineman! In 2019, Hernandez’s number of penalties went up (4), more than his rookie year (2). This is something that can be worked on and is not that big of a deal. He played 1067 snaps in 2019, and 1027 snaps his rookie season. The Giants’ offensive line needs a gritty guy like Hernandez, who will do all the dirty work in the trenches.

Spencer Pulley starting center

The New York Giants will have a competition battle at center. For starters, I believe Jon Halapio will be cut from the team; he has sustained too many season-ending injuries. I think the Giants have better options at center, Pulley, Gates, and Lemieux will all battle it out. I feel Spencer Pulley is going to win the starting job. He already has experience playing center, it is his primary position, unlike Gates and Lemieux. In 2019, Pulley only played in four games, he only recorded one penalty and was on the field for 95 snaps. If Pulley happens to get injured and can’t play for the remainder of the season, I want the Giants to give Shane Lemieux a shot at center. Several clips have surfaced of Shane Lemieux practicing snaps during his workouts. I feel like Nick Gates is more of a guard and would rather stay there.

Kevin Zeitler starting right guard

There is no mystery behind this one, Kevin Zeitler will be the starting right guard in 2020. He battled shoulder issues in 2019. If he is healthy, we will see a very productive right guard. I see Zeitler being the leader on the offensive line, a veteran who has a lot of experience in the NFL (eight seasons). He will be a great mentor for the young guys who were just drafted. In 2019, Zeitler started 15 games, he only missed one due to a shoulder injury. In those 15 games, Zeitler averaged 93% of offensive snaps, and only had one penalty all year! All in all, the Giants need Zeitler to be the leader of the offensive line in 2020, I think he has a few more years left to play before Shane Lemieux takes his position.

Nick Gates starting right tackle

In 2020, there will be a battle to see who plays right tackle. Most people think Nate Solder is a starter next season. I think he will come off the bench and be a fill-in type player. I think Nick Gates is the better option right now until Nate Solder can prove he can still protect and be effective in the run game. I think Solder will be a great mentor for the other offensive lineman; the Giants can’t rely on him. The Giants can’t let him play left tackle and be responsible for protecting the blindside. Nick Gates only started three games in 2019, I think 2020 could be a different story, and he could be a starter week one. He did well last season, the Giants’ offensive line was awful, and Gates was the only bright spot some games.

BREAKING: Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas arrested for hit and run

New York Giants, Aldrick Rosas

New York Giants Pro Bowl kicker Aldrick Rosas has been arrested for allegedly crashing his car into another vehicle and then fleeing the scene, according to TMZ Sports.

Witnesses reportedly saw Rosas driving a black Chevrolet SUV very recklessly around Chico, California before he struck the side of a pickup truck. After T-boning the truck, Rosas drove away until his SUV broke down from the crash shortly thereafter. TMZ also reports that witnesses then saw Rosas get out of his car and run away.

Rosas was found by police near the site of the crash, where he was questioned. He was bleeding from various parts of his body and officials believe Rosas may have been under the influence of alcohol.

Rosas was booked at Butte County Jail on hit-and-run and driving under a suspended license charge. Investigations are ongoing, and neither the Giants nor Rosas have commented on the situation yet.

This developing story is obviously a huge blow for the Giants, as they very well could now be in the market for a new kicker. Giants’ head coach Joe Judge just can’t seem to catch a break this offseason, with the COVID-19 pandemic greatly affecting offseason preparation and the armed robbery charges of cornerback DeAndre Baker last month.

Rosas, 25, has been very productive for the Giants since he was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2017. Over the past three seasons, Rosas has converted 62 of the 75 field goals he’s attempted, kicking 82.7 percent. He’s also made 86 of his 94 extra-point attempts.

Rosas’ best year came in 2018 when he made 32 out of 33 field goals, kicking 97.0 percent, and 31 out of 32 extra points. He made the Pro Bowl that season and was one of the best kickers in football. In 2019 Rosas had a bit of an inconsistent year where he struggled at times, but some think that poor long snapping played a factor.

The Giants had big expectations for Rosas this season and were hoping he could get back to his 2018 form. Now it remains to be seen if he will even be on the team going forward, and all the Giants can do is hope for the best once more information comes out.