Pre-Season Preview: New York Giants

With the start of the 2018 NFL regular season approaching next month, it’s time to begin previewing what to expect from every team in the league.

The Giants are coming off a extremley disappointing (3-13) record which resulted in the firing of their head coach Ben McAdoo and General Manager Jerry Reese. The previous season, they lost in the first round of the playoffs finishing with a record of (11-5). The main priority for the Giants now is begin to rebuild through the draft, but still compete for a playoff spot with their already established core.

The rebuilding process has begun under new General Manager Dave Gettleman, a former GM for the Carolina Panthers. The new head coach replacing Ben McAdoo, is former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. Shurmur was hired based off his recent offensive success in Minnesota, in where he reformed a struggling offense, and transformed Case Keenum from a backup, to ultimately starting in the NFC Championship.

This past draft, Gettleman decided to pass on a potential future franchise QB with the second overall pick, in which they chose to select former Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. With the selection of Barkley, it resulted in Eli Manning returning as the starter back as the starter for his 15th season. The big positive entering this season is the return of their superstar wide-out Odell Beckham, recovering from his season-ending foot injury last season.

Projected Starting Offense:

Quarterbacks:

Starter: Eli Manning

Reserves: Davis Webb, Kyle Lauletta

Analysis:

Eli Manning is entering his 15th season on the team, who is looking to improve upon his last season performance of 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Although Manning did not have too much help due to poor O-Line play and injured play-makers, it resulted in former coach Ben McAdoo benching him for Geno Smith. It will be intriguing to see how the fan base will respond toward Eli Manning’s performance this year. If the fans are not satisfied with Manning’s performance, it would not be surprising if they start to consider giving one of their younger guys a shot.

The two candidates two replace Manning in the future are backups Davis Webb and Kyle Lauletta. Second string Davis Webb is entering his second season, and will look to have a strong preseason hoping he can prove he is the future starter. Kyle Lauletta from Richmond University was drafted in the fourth round, who will also look to compete with Davis Webb to prove he possesses the traits to develop into their future starter.

Running Backs: 

StarterSaquon Barkley

Reserves: Jonathan Stewart, Wayne Gallman, Robert Martin

Analysis: If you were to create a perfect running back in a lab to suit towards today’s NFL game, the results would end up most likely being very similar to Saquon Barkley. Barkley right now easily possesses the talent to be considered on of the top backs in the league by the end of his rookie season if he can remain healthy.

The leading rusher last season was Orleans Darkwa with 751 rushing yards, so needless to say the potential impact of Saquon Barkley in just his rookie year alone should be huge.Barkley’s contribution in the passing game should be extremely beneficial toward Eli Manning. If Manning is feeling pressure and cannot avoid the rush, he will now have Barkley as a safety option check-down.

Veteran Jonathan Stewart should be an excellent mentor for Barkley since he has a ton of familiarity with new offensive coordinator offensive system. Stewart played under the new offensive coordinator Mike Shula the past five seasons in Carolina. Wayne Gallman is also expected to split carries with Stewart, and undrafted rookie Robert Martin has a chance to make the final roster or at least the practice squad.

Wide Receivers:

Starters: Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard Cody Latimer

Reserves: Hunter Sharp, Roger Lewis, Amba Etta-Tawo, Kalif Raymond, Travis Rudolph

Analysis:

There was a point of time last season where Roger Lewis was the number one receiving option due to injuries from starters Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard. Beckham returning will obviously be a huge upgrade for their offense, and it will be interesting to see how he performs in Pat Shurmur’s offense.

Sterling Shepard will be the number two option, but after Shepard it will be interesting to see who else may contribute consistently throughout the season. The most likely candidate is former Denver Broncos receiver Cody Latimer, who potentially could be a very solid addition if he winds up starting or contributing. Some other notable candidates to compete for a roster spot are Roger Lewis, Kalif Raymond, Hunter Sharp, Amba Etta-Tawo, and Travis Rudolph.

Tight Ends:

Starters: Evan Engram, Rhett Ellison

Reserves: Jerell Adams, Shane Smith

Analysis:

Last season’s first round pick Evan Engram had a tremendous rookie season posting 64 receptions with 6 touchdowns. Veteran Rhett Ellison is entering his seventh season in the league, and will be the number two option utilized more as a blocker. 2016 sixth round pick Jerell Adams will compete for snaps, and could be a nice receiving option behind Engram.

Offensive Line:

Starters: Nate Solder, Will Hernandez, Jon Halapio, Patrick Omameh, Ereck Flowers

Reserves:  John Jerry (G), John Greco (G), Chad Wheeler (OT), Brett Jones (C)Evan Brown (C)

Analysis:

The offense line last season was a complete disaster allowing 33 sacks and tied for 28th in the league in rushing touchdown with just six all season. The offensive line is looking for a massive improvement this season, which starts with the addition of former Patriots offensive tackle Nate Solder. Solder signed a four-year deal worth $62 million ($35 million guaranteed), and will headline the new revamped line starting on the left side.

Another addition to the left side is the very talented rookie second round guard Will Hernandez. Hernandez has been considered as the top run blocker in draft, and should make a huge impact in that area alongside Solder, paving the way for Saquon Barkley.

Former 2015 first round pick Ereck Flowers will start at right tackle, after struggling a ton in the past on the left side. Former Jacksonville Jaguars guard Patrick Omameh was added in the off-season, and should be expected to compete for the starting right guard spot.

Projected Starting Defense (3-4):

Defensive Line:

Starters: B.J. Hill, Damon Harrison, Dalvin Tomlinson

Reserves: Josh Mauro (DT), Robert Thomas (DT), Kerry Wynn (DE), R.J. McIntosh (DE)

Analysis:

The defensive line is headlined by All-Pro defensive tackle Damon Harrison. Last year’s second round pick Dalvin Tomlinson is projected to start at the other defensive line spot, looking to improve upon his rookie season. They will have to look for a replacement for the departure of former defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.

The top candidate for Pierre-Paul’s replacement is expected to be rookie B.J. Hill from NC State, who right now is projected to start at defensive end. Another replacement candidate is free agent signing Josh Mauro, who should compete for a starting role after he serves his four-game suspension.

Linebackers:

Starters: Oliver Vernon, Alec Ogletree, B.J. Goodson, Lorenzo Carter

Reserves: Kareem Martin (OLB), Connor Barwin (OLB), Ray-Ray Armstrong (ILB), Mark Herzlich (ILB), Avery Moss (OLB)

Analysis:

Last season’s group of linebackers were arguably one of the least talented of any linebacker group in the league. This year the group looks much improved, starting with the addition of veteran inside linebacker Alec Ogletree, whom was traded in the off-season from the Los Angeles Rams.

The group will also be highlighted by Oliver Vernon off the edge, as well as rookie Lorenzo Carter from Georgia. Lorenzo Carter is one of the top rookie edge rushers, and has the potential to be a pro-bowl caliber player, and even possibly a candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Veteran outside linebacker Connor Barwin was added during training camp, who should provide experience towards a young group.

Secondary:

Starters (CB): Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple, Donte Deayon

Starters (S): Curtis Riley, Landon Collins

Reserves: Darian Thompson (S), B.W. Webb (CB), Andrew Adams (S), Michael Thomas (S), Grant Haley (CB)

Analysis:

The secondary is led by corner Janoris Jenkins and strong safety Landon Collins. Although they are each extremely talented players, the group still struggled a ton last season. The key for this group will be whether former first round corner Eli Apple can prove that he could be a reliable starter.

Curtis Riley, the former Tennessee Titans cornerback, will make the transition to free safety, and is projected to be the starter at free safety. Safeties Andrew Adams, Michael Thomas, and Darian Thompson will also look to compete for a starting job against Curtis Riley.

Top 3 Key Rookies:

Saquon Barkley (RB): Second overall pick. Barkley is the best running back prospect in the draft, and has the potential to be a top five RB by the end of his rookie season.

Will Hernandez (G): Second round pick. Considered the best interior run blocker in the draft, and is expected to start at left guard.

Lorenzo Carter (OLB): Second round pick. One of the best edge rushers in the draft, and has the potential to become a pro bowl caliber player.

Other Notable Rookies:

B.J. Hill (DE): Third round pick. The former NC State defensive end will start at defensive end, and should be expected to make a significant impact.

Kyle Lauletta (QB): Fourth round pick. Won the Most Valuable Player at the Senior Bowl, and will be the third string behind Manning & Webb. Has the potential to be their future franchise QB if he can develop.

Grant Haley (CB): Undrafted out of Penn State. Has the potential to see plenty of snaps in his rookie season utilized as a nickel-slot CB.

Evan Brown (C): Undrafted out of SMU. Will look to compete for a roster spot, and eventually possibly a starting role against Brett Jones and Jon Halapio.

Jawill Davis (WR): Undrafted out of Bethune Cookman. Has the best chance to make a roster spot or practice squad out of any of their undrafted receivers. If he makes a roster spot he could see some snaps due to their inconsistent reserves.

Top 10 Fantasy Pickups:

  1. Odell Beckham (WR #1)
  2. Saquon Barkley (RB #1)
  3. Evan Engram (TE #1)
  4. Sterling Shepard (WR #3/4)
  5. Wayne Gallman (Flex/Bench RB)
  6. Cody Latimer (WR #4/Flex)
  7. Jonathan Stewart (Bench RB)
  8. Rhett Ellison (TE #3)
  9. Jerell Adams (Bench TE)
  10. Hunter Sharp (Bench WR)

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