By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
The New York Giants 2020 season is officially over as they finished with a 6-10 record; which was two games better than in 2019. The Giants will now be selecting 11th overall in the upcoming 2021 NFL draft. They are currently projected to have 6 picks in hand but could look to make some moves (trade/trades) before or during the draft to increase their pick total and their cap space; which is approx $10.8M (before cuts/releases).
Now that the Giants ownership has given GM Dave Gettleman a vote of confidence and is expected to return in 2021; he will have the daunting task of turning this franchise around as quickly as possible with limited funds at his disposal as it’s still unclear what the ceiling on the cap will be.
Gettleman tried to rebuild and stay competitive in his 1st season with the Giants; which was the ownership request and although it seemed plausible, it failed terribly with some ill-advised free agent signings. So it remains to be seen which direction he will take this offseason. There are many question marks for this team as I will address the top 5 questions from the fans in a recent poll on Twitter that is on most of their minds for 2021.
Top 5 questions:
- Identify FA Targets? The Giants will not have the luxury of having a ton of cap space (approx $10.8M before cuts/releases), that total could increase considerably if Gettleman releases and/or trades some players. The Giants clearly had a lack of talent on the offensive side of the ball and need to catch up with the defense as quickly as possible; which is why I believe the best way to do that is through free agency. Therefore; adding the best available WR who fits into their budget should be their #1 priority and should give them a much-needed boost.
- Defined Clear Direction in the Draft? Let’s be clear here “all drafts are important” as they are the building blocks for any organization. However; this draft has a different feeling to it as it seems that this one could set the tone for the Giants future. With that being said, the Giants brain trust must at the very least have three of their current six picks be major contributors in 2021 and make an impact. As for the other three selections, it would be beneficial if they all make the roster and contributor as well. We all know what their top 3 needs are (Edge, WR & CB), so if the wide receiver is addressed in FA, then selecting one in the 1st round isn’t a priority as much as selecting a pass rusher; which this team desperately needs. Depending on how the draft falls, Gettleman should walk away with all three positions in hand out of the current six picks.
- Is Daniel Jones the Answer? Jones had a solid rookie season in 2019, but has had an up and down season in 2020, but finished with a solid performance against the Cowboys that should ease a lot of the doubters who believe the Giants should move on from him. To ensure that Jones is their quarterback, the Giants must provide Jones with ample talent so he can succeed, and if he doesn’t lift his game with the added talent around him; then we’ll know he’s not the answer. This needs to happen this offseason.
- Will We See a New Offensive and/or Defensive Coordinators in 2021? There’s been much talk about the play calling of Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett and to be fair both sides of the coin hold some truth with their opinions. One side feels that Garrett’s system does work, but in order for it to work, you need the talent to execute. Others claim that Garrett should have utilized his playbook to better fit the Giants talent on the roster and not try to fit a square peg into a round hole. Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham on the other hand did an excellent job by given the Giants back their identity on defense as they ranked in the top 10 in many categories in 2020. Both Garrett and Graham have been rumored to have a handful of teams interested in them as their new Head Coach and if there’s any truth behind this, then Joe Judge needs to find their replacements as soon as possible.
- Will Saquan Barkley Return to Form? For those of you who might not follow the Giants as closely as many die-hards do, the Giants still have running back Saquan Barkley. Barkley was lost for the season with a torn ACL early in the season and we all need to wonder “will Saquan Barkley return to form”? That is the million dollar question and one the Giants must realize well before free agency and the certainly before the draft. Aside from Barkley’s uncertainty, the Giants must make a decision on pending free agent running back Wayne Gallman who could be looking for a big increase after a solid season. Currently; all reports has Barkley expected back without a hitch, but we still need to see him in live action. Don’t expect the Giants to be open up the piggy bank for Gallman, so they will need to find a more affordable alternative via free agency or in the draft.
Final Thoughts: The New York Giants organization is at a very critical crossroad as a once proud organization has only seen one winning record since 2013 (11-5). However; the 2020 season offered a glimmer of hope as the Giants nearly won their division and showcased some promising performances especially on the defensive side of the ball. With a solid free agency and draft, the Giants could be looking at the 2021 season as the beginning of what could be the start of being a playoff team for years to come.
Keep an eye out for upcoming articles featuring the Top 10 prospects at each position, free agent targets and mock drafts.