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New York Giants Top 5 Position Needs


Photo Courtesy of Big Blue View

Written by: Ali Jawad

Twitter: ajawad_024


The New York Giants are coming off a disappointing 4-12 campaign in 2019. This marks their 3rd consecutive losing season. Looking at the roster, the Giants have several needs that they will look to address in the 2020 offseason. With 70 million in cap and the draft just three months away, let’s take a look at the top 5 needs for big blue.


Offensive Tackle


Offensive tackle has been a need for several years. The Giants entered last season with Nate Solder and Mike Remmers as their starting tackles. Fair to say, the investment did not work out with both sides having surrendered a combined league-high 97 pressures and over 16 sacks combined from the tackles. The bright side for the Giants is free agency, and the draft will present them with options. Colts left tackle Anthony Castanzo is set to hit the open market and is coming off one of his better seasons in the league. According to PFF, Castanzo would finish with a run-blocking grade of 73.2 ranking 8th best in the NFL and a pass-blocking grade of 84.6, which ranked 3rd among tackles. With the Giants having about 70 million in cap, it certainly would not hurt to open up the bank and give Daniel Jones this year’s free agency version of Andrew Whitworth, an established veteran left tackle who will help strengthen the development of Daniel Jones. The 2020 NFL draft is well known for the tackle positions as well, and with the Giants picking 4th, they will have a slate of options. Andrew Thomas, Tristan Wirfs, and Jedrick Willis are the names to watch and definitely will all be in sight at pick 4. Imagine a free agent signing of Castanzo, trading back in the draft to acquire more draft capital, and still being able to select from some of the best tackles in the class. This would help upgrade the Giants offensive line as a whole.


Edge Rusher


Whenever I hear edge rusher being a need, that’s when I know the Giants aren’t in a great position right now. A franchise that has produced some of the greatest pass rushers of all time is hoping to produce a few more over the next few seasons. The Giants were able to increase their sack total in 2019, finishing with 36 on the season compared to 30 in 2018. Still, let’s not let the stats fool us. The Giants are in dire need of another Lawrence Taylor, Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck, or Osi Umenyiora. Safe to say Chase Young won’t be falling to 4 unless trades are made the Giants will have to look to free agency likely for a top edge rusher. The Giants did something the Giants did last year when they gave Markus Golden a one year make or break contract, and he certainly lived up to the deal posting ten sacks and becoming the first to post double-digit sacks for the team since Jason Pierre Paul in 2014. There have been rumors of the Giants being interested in Jacksonville’s soon to be free agent edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue who registered 37.5 sacks, as well as 13 forced fumbles all in 4 years. Of course, we can’t overlook the draft, and while the 2020 draft class doesn’t possess the edge rushers that the 2019 level did, it wouldn’t hurt the Giants to invest at least a 2nd rounder in one. Of course, the idea of trading back once again comes in handy and will allow the Giants to address the position easier.


Linebacker


Another position the Giants have lacked for years is inside linebacker. A position I believe, is massively underrated. The Dallas Cowboys have indeed dominated in that position over the years with players such as Sean Lee, Leighton Vander Esch, and Jaylon Smith. The Giants need to follow the blueprint and address this position that has been responsible for several big plays over the middle of the field last season. Alec Ogletree will likely be cut from the team and will save the Giants $8.25 million in cap space. The Giants on the bright side appeared to have hit on a late rounder in former Wisconsin linebacker Ryan Connelly. Even though he played just four games before his ACL injury, Connelly showed great promise by racking up two interceptions, 20 tackles, one sack, and two pass deflections over four weeks. A player I hope the Giants heavily target in free agency is soon to be free agent Corey Littleton from the Rams. Littleton, a 2018 pro bowler, is coming off a solid 2019 campaign as well. He would go on to register 94 tackles, 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, nine pass deflections, and two interceptions. Littleton, according to PFF, finished the season 1st among all defenders in tackling grades, 6th among all backers in overall defense, 8th among all backers in pass coverage, and tied for 9th among all backers in pass rushing. Aside from Littleton, imagine the Giants taking Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons, who is one of the most versatile players we have ever seen. Simmons, who can run side to side, cover RBs and TEs as well as play just about every position on defense but is best known as a hybrid safety/LB. Simmons is the type of playmaker and LB the defense needs. As I mentioned earlier, the Dallas Cowboys have their trio at LB, and now it’s time for the Giants to do the same with Connelly, Simmons, and Littleton.


Cornerback


Pass defense was another area of concern for the Giants, and cornerback was a big question mark last season and will be a big question mark in 2020. With Janoris Jenkins no longer in the big apple, the Giants will now look to replace him, as well find a corner to pair with former 1st rounder Deandre Baker. Free agency will present quality options such as Byron Jones, Kendall Fuller, Jalen Ramsey, and Chris Harris Jr. We can expect Ramsey to stay put in LA; however, the Giants should look to adding a free agent corner who can take command and lead the young guys in the secondary. Cowboys Byron Jones has been one of the best cover corners over the last few seasons and would reunite with Jason Garrett as well as his DBs coach from his rookie season Jerome Henderson. I would expect the Giants to pursue corners in the draft heavily. Of course, Ohio States Jeffery Okudah is the top of the class and is very well in range with the Giants picking 4th overall but also could still be in play should the Giants trade back a few spots and gather up more picks and still taking the Ohio State product. Once again, trading back would allow the Giants to throw multiple darts at the position.


Wide Receiver


In my opinion, it is the least of the five needs. The Giants last season had Golden Tate, Sterling Shepherd, and the emergence of 5th round steal Darius Slayton, and we can pretty much count Evan Engram, who, although a tight end, took plenty of snaps as a slot WR. The biggest issue and why this is still a need is because of the injury bug. The Giants never saw any of their offensive skill all on the field at once. Tate served a four-game suspension, Shepherd suffered through multiple concussions, and Evan Engram sprained MCL, and hamstring injury caused him to miss five games. Still, however, all these players have much to offer when healthy, and the Giants nailed a 5th round gem in former Auburn WR Darius Slayton, who would post 48 receptions, 740 receiving, and eight touchdowns. While we can’t predict injuries, teams need to take precautions and ensure they have depth. The Giants should look to adding a WR in the draft. While Jerry Jeudy and CD Lamb are top threats, the Giants have more glaring needs in the first round, but with the upcoming draft being deep on WRs, the Giants should take advantage by adding another player maker on the outside for Daniel Jones.

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