The New York Giants raised expectations with a successful draft last week. The Giants had a picture-perfect first round. They took edge rushed Kayvon Thibodeaux with the fifth overall pick, and offensive tackle Evan Neal with the seventh pick.
Many Giants fans are excited after the Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll era has gotten off to a great start. However, we are yet to see what the on-field product will look like this coming season.
In this article, I will look at the current state of the Giants, and how fans should mold their expectations for the coming season.
The Giants are entering the fourth year of the Daniel Jones era. After the team declined his fifth-year option, it appears that DJ is officially in a prove-it year. In 2021, Jones passed for 2,428 yards in 11 games, with ten touchdowns. However, he matched that with seven interceptions and seven fumbles. With only two rushing touchdowns, Jones had 12 total touchdowns and 14 turnovers last season.
The Giants have higher expectations for the former 6th overall pick. Jones had a productive rookie season with 24 touchdowns and over 3,000 passing yards in 13 games. Jones needs to be an efficient quarterback for the Giants to be successful.
While it is easy to blame everything on the quarterback, the rest of the Giants’ offense has not helped enough. Last season, Giants wide receivers had only five touchdown receptions. First-round pick Kadarius Toney had zero, as did Kenny Golladay. Toney only appeared in 10 games last season, but Golladay played last season fresh off a 4-year $72 million contract. After shelling out so much money for the wideout, the Giants need more production out of him.
The addition of Evan Neal should have an immediate positive impact on this offense. The Giants were right in the middle of the league in sacks allowed last season with 38. However, as Andrew Thomas is hitting his stride at left tackle the Giants bring in Neal to anchor the right side. Neal will improve the offensive line, which has been a weak spot for years for the Giants.
This offseason, the Giants lost two key defensive players in free agency. New Jersey native safety Jabrill Peppers left for the New England Patriots this offseason. Additionally, edge rusher and linebacker Lorenzo Carter signed with the Atlanta Falcons this offseason.
The loss of Lorenzo Carter shouldn’t hurt with Thibodeaux on the team, but the Giants haven’t done much to address the safety position. In the fourth round, they drafted Dane Belton out of Iowa. Belton was an All-Big Ten safety who had five picks last season. He’s a versatile player who should fit well in Don Martindale’s system.
Arguably the Giants’ best defensive player, James Bradberry, may be moved soon. It is no secret that Bradberry is on the trade block. However, due to his large contract and Giants’ financial struggles, no teams have made strong offers. At this point, the Giants may be forced to release one of their best players just so they have enough money to sign their draftees.
Last year, the Giants finished 23rd in total defense after many believed that would be the strength of the team.
I don’t think fans should have lofty expectations for the Giants. I am a big fan of how the offseason has gone so far, but this team is not in the right place to contend for a Super Bowl. Even with the new coaching staff, I don’t see this team being able to go from a bottom-five team to the playoffs in one season.
This team is heading in the right direction. With a young GM who got to witness the Buffalo Bills rebuild to stardom, the Giants should be able to turn themselves around. However, NFL rebuilds take longer than one offseason.
I think the Giants should be a better team, but they won’t make the playoffs next year. A lot of the team’s success will be contingent on Daniel Jones. This will impact Schoen’s decisions heading into the next offseason, as QB1 may become our top priority.