New York Giants
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Will this be the year the New York Giants get back in the race? A lot has to happen, but it is doable. The New York Giants roster is far from perfect. However, there is plenty of talent. The draft brought in two big names that are set to make in impact. If you don’t know this roster, you will now. Let’s break it down.

A Lot Riding On The Offense

There are a lot of “if’s” involved here. If Daniel Jones can play well, if Saquon can stay healthy, if Evan Engram can catch the ball. Jones has had his ups and downs as the Giants QB. He will need to take a big step in 2021 to get the fans off his back. Saquon Barkley cannot get injured again. If he does, chances are he’s on his way out of New York with a bust and overrated label. We don’t use the term franchise running back much anymore, but the Giants need him without question. The addition of Kenny Golladay doesn’t make sense with the speed they have from Darius Slayton, first round pick Kadarius Toney, and even John Ross. Toney was drafted from Florida.

Golladay struggles with separation which can make life difficult for a young QB. We don’t know what we’re going to get out of Sterling Shepard, who was hurt. Engram is athletic, but it hasn’t always translated to success and catching the ball. Don’t expect sixth round pick Gary Brightwell from Arizona to do much if Barkley stays healthy. He is not a tight end, he is a subpar wide receiver.

Questionable Protection

Look, Nate Solder is a good man, and all the best to him and his family after all the cancer issues. But, it is time for him to retire. Andrew Thomas needs to be the full time left tackle. The Giants are high on left guard Shane Lemieux and he is probably pushing Will Hernandez out of the mix. Nick Gates is the center and I’m going to be honest, I don’t think many people know who that is. Same with right guard Zach Fulton. Finally on the line, a name to watch is Matt Peart. Peart is a former third round pick from UConn and could be sleeper as a star on the o-line.

The Giants did not draft any offensive linemen, so what you see if what you get New York. Will this mash up of players be enough to hold down a tough Washington defensive front, or the swarming linebackers on Dallas? The Giants are betting on them. We’ll see if their confidence pays off.

Big Blue’s Defense

The Giants added to the defense via free agency and the draft. The biggest name added to the defense is second round pick Azeez Ojulari. Ojulari was taken from Georgia and was regarded a top pass rusher in the draft. Lorenzo Carter is on the other side, a teammate from Georgia. Last, the inside linebackers of Reggie Ragland and Blake Martinez will look to clog up the middle. Martinez has had some injuries. But, if he can stay productive, that is a huge boost. New York drafted Elerson Smith from Northern Iowa. Smith probably won’t make an impact on defense this year. The defense needs a bounce back performance after being up and down in 2020.

Adoree Jackson was a cap causality from the Titans. Now, he finds himself teaming up with James Bradberry. Logan Ryan has come home and switched to free safety, now for the second season. Meanwhile, Jabrill Peppers remains the strong safety. As two local kids playing the secondary, maybe that will push them even more. Aaron Robinson and Rodarius Williams barring injuries are heading to special teams duty. They were taken in the third and seventh round respectively from Central Florida and Oklahoma State respectively. With the veteran players in the secondary, the hope is that the likes of Devonte Smith and Amari Cooper don’t burn them over the top.

Defensive Line and Final Thoughts

Finally, it may make or break time for Dexter Lawrence. Lawrence followed up a 2.5 sack rookie year with 4 in 2020. As an athlete in New York, you have high expectations from the fans. Lawrence will need to keep building off his performances and find some consistency if he wants to stick around. Danny Shelton comes over to act as the big body in the 3-4 front. Being familiar with Joe Judge from they’re time together in New England likely played a role with the signing. Lastly, Leonard Williams had a career year with 11.5 sacks. If he can do that again, watch out folks.

The Giants spent some money in free agency. However, the draft class was very underwhelming. The NFC East will be a tough division. It remains to be seen if it will all be enough to get back to relevancy.

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