By Michael [email protected]
According to some reliable websites that project player’s productions, you’ll find many having certain Giants on their list who are due for a breakout season. Well, I wanted to take it up a notch and not only list my top New York Giant (offense and defense) due to have a breakout season, but also my top Giant who will be a sleeper and also my top Giant who will be the biggest bust in 2021. I had some tough choices in each category to choose from and I have no doubt that many will question my choices. So here are my top choices for each category (Breakout/Sleeper/Bust) on offense and defense.
- Daniel Jones (QB): QB Daniel Jones gets the nod simply because the success at the quarterback position for the Giants is vital to their overall success in 2021. This is Jones third season and many believe it’s a make or break year for him to convince the Giants organization that he is their quarterback of the future. I project Jones will exceed his 2018 production and limit his turnovers that has been an albatross for him in his 1st two seasons. If Jones can take it up a notch or two, the Giants will be serious contenders in the NFC east. Honorable mention: Andrew Thomas.
- Dexter Lawrence (DT): The departure of Dalvin Tomlinson (Free Agency) will enable Lawrence to take on a larger role and I believe he is not only ready to take on this challenge, but will exceed all expectations and have a Pro Bowl caliber season in 2021. Despite his large frame (6’4/342), Lawrence has deceptive quickness; which allowed him to create a lot of pressure on the quarterback and also stuff the run. Honorable mention: Xavier McKinney.
- Kadarius Toney (WR): Toney will be brought along slowly at the start of the season as OC Jason Garrett will have a specialized package of plays designed to fit Toney’s skill set. Toney will also be utilized on special teams for his playmaking skills and we could either see a kickoff or punt return this year. I project Toney will slowly gain the trust of HC Joe Judge and OC Jason Garrett and with that his playing time will increase; which will more than likely take snaps away from both Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton. Honorable mention: TE Klye Rudolph.
- Azeez Ojulari (OLB): Ojulari arguably is the Giants best playmaker at the OLB position and he hasn’t taken one snap in the NFL yet. I can see the Giants employing the same strategy with Ojulari as they will with Toney in bringing him along slowly. I can see Ojulari ready to take on a bigger role by game 5 and from there he will put together a productive rookie campaign that will result in making the all defensive rookie team. Honorable mention: CB Aaron Robinson.
- Evan Engram: Were you expecting anyone else? Despite being named to the Pro Bowl in 2020; which was a complete joke, Engram’s career thus far has been a major disappointment and a bust in my opinion. His 11 drops and only one touchdown in 2020 aren’t going to cut it for a TE with so-called potential and I believe Engram will continue to struggle and solidify this label as the biggest offensive bust for the Giants in 2021. Look for Engram to have a lesser role as the season unfolds with new comer TE Kyle Rudolph role increasing by week 6; especially in the red zone. Unless there’s a miracle for Engram in 2021, this will be his final season in a Giants uniform. Honorable mention: Will Hernandez.
- Adoree Jackson (CB): I had a couple of players to choose from here and it all boiled down to staying on the field and avoiding the injury bug. Injuries are part of the game and the team that can sustain limited damage in this department; usually do well. Jackson missed all but three games in 2020 and yet the Giants still guaranteed him $26.5M on a 3-year deal. There’s no question that Jackson has extreme talent and perhaps I’m hitting the panic button too quickly here. However; if he suffers the same fate as he did in 2020; he will be considered a bust. Honorable mention: Oshane Ximines.
So what do you think? How close am I with these predictions or am I way off? Again, very subjective list and we can easily plug in other names without much of an argument. Like every NFL team, the Giants need their best players to play up to their potential and hopefully have a few lower tier players performing above expectations. Injuries are always a major factory to a team’s success, so if the Giants can avoid major setbacks in the injury department, they could surprise a lot of teams; not only in the NFC east, but around the league.