Thompson’s In-Depth Power Rankings: #25 New York Giants

Thompson’s In-Depth Power Rankings: #25 New York Giants

by June 29, 2021 1 comment

The New York Jets were revealed as the 26th-ranked team in these power rankings. For the 25th team, we stay in New York, this time to detail the New York Giants as the 25th-ranked team coming off a 6-10 season in 2020.

Be sure to check out all of my in-depth power rankings.

Offseason Recap

The Giants made a lot of free agency moves. The moves were centered around building around Daniel Jones in a make-or-break year for the third-year quarterback. Unfortunately, part of that was releasing Kevin Zeitler, their best offensive lineman. To replace Zeitler, the Giants signed Zach Fulton.

New York also added multiple weapons for Jones. Kenny Golladay signed a massive four-year contract worth $72 million. The Giants also added former first-round pick John Ross to the fold on a one-year deal. Oh, and the Giants traded down and gained an extra first-round pick next year and drafted Kadarius Toney. Pairing Kyle Rudolph with Evan Engram was a solid move, considering they have varying skill sets. The Giants are also trying to take some of the load off of Saquon Barkley following his season-ending injury last year by adding Corey Clement, Devontae Booker, and Gary Brightwell to the running back room.

The defense was also a subject of many new players in the offseason, specifically upgrading the pass rush. Ifeadi Odenigbo and Ryan Anderson were added in free agency, and the Giants got a steal in the second round with the drafting of Azeez Ojulari. Danny Shelton was added with the departure of Dalvin Tomlinson, and the Giants had the luxury of adding Adoree’ Jackson following his release by Tennessee.

  • Overall – 77.81 (25th) 
  • Offense – 73.80 (29th) 
  • Defense – 82.86 (13th) 
  • Coach and Culture – 76 (T-22nd) 
Quarterbacks – 65.5, 32nd (26 percent Overall, 39 percent Offense)

When the Giants selected Jones with the sixth pick a few years ago, it was met with a lot of laughter. So far, a lot of that laughter has been warranted. While Jones has shown some improvements, the turnovers keep piling on for the former Duke quarterback. In 26 games, he has thrown 22 interceptions and lost 17 fumbles while also fumbling 12 more times for a total of 29. I’ll save the math for you. That’s 1.5 turnovers per game.

Dave Gettleman and Joe Judge made it a focus of surrounding Jones with as much talent as possible from a pass-catcher standpoint. This year, it is put-up or shut up for the third-year pro. Unfortunately, he still has Jason Garrett as his offensive coordinator as well. Yes, the offensive line and the receivers dropping passes is a cause for his struggles, but Jones also has no feel for the pocket. The Giants will go as far as Jones takes them.

The video below by Alex Rollins goes in-depth about the struggles Jones has.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZE495zb0RI

Behind Jones, the Giants signed Mike Glennon to be the backup behind him. Glennon started five games for the Jaguars last year and had seven touchdowns compared to five interceptions. He is a perfect tutor to Jones and Clayton Thorson, who also signed during the offseason. The Giants rank last in the league in terms of quarterback due to the consistent turnovers that Jones has. Protecting the football is perhaps the most important aspect of the game.

Running Backs – 94.5, 3rd (4 percent Overall, 5 percent Offense)

Barkley is the best player on the team, and he is the driving force behind the offense. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL last year, and the Giants need to be careful of how much they force-feed him touches. If Barkley is back healthy and at 100 percent, watch out defenses because Barkley is debatably one of the best running backs in the league. While Barkley is a home run hitting running back, Booker is a perfect fit for times when the offense needs to get a yard or two to get a first down.

Clement and Ryquell Armstead are perfect third and fourth running backs in the room. Clement played a big role in the Super Bowl run Philadelphia had but hasn’t had the same production since. Brightwell will have a difficult time making the roster and could be placed on the practice squad for his rookie campaign.

Pass Catchers – 86, 12th (10 percent Overall, 16 percent Offense) 
Receivers

One of the most improved units in the whole league is the New York receiving core. Golladay comes over in free agency from Detroit but is coming off of a season where he was all sorts of banged up. He is a great number one option and is a fantastic perimeter option that the Giants were missing the last few years. Darius Slayton has consistently produced as the number two outside receiver since being selected in the 2019 draft.

Sterling Shepard will likely line up in the slot, and things seemed to get a bit more complicated with the addition of Toney. The duo of Shepard and Toney will likely rotate in the slot and manufacture Toney touches, which was the role Shepard played last year. The best part about these four is that none of the four have the same skillsets and bounce off one another and make the offense balanced.

The addition of Ross gives the Giants a deep threat with blazing speed and a new return man. Ross didn’t work out in Cincinnati, but now in a smaller role with almost no expectations, hopefully, he can get some production for New York. Like Ross, Dante Pettis was a bust as a second-round pick of the 49ers. He played in a few games for the Giants following his release from San Francisco and ended up catching four passes, including one for a touchdown. Austin Mack and David Sills round out the depth chart, and the two will likely battle for roster spots.

Tight Ends

The NFL is a game of matchups. Engram is a perfect player to win some of those matches. Unfortunately, he has dealt with drop and injury issues the last few years. He has elite athleticism, which is the complete opposite of Rudolph, who is a perfect redzone threat and short-yardage receiver. Kaden Smith had a few moments last year and is now the third tight end in the room. Smith has caught 49 passes for 380 yards and three touchdowns for the Giants the last two seasons.

Along with the NFL being about matchups, it is also a copycat league. When teams saw Darren Waller transfer from a receiver to a tight end, some have tried replicating it. The Giants are trying this experiment out with Kelvin Benjamin. After an exciting rookie season, Benjamin’s flame wore out over the next several seasons, leading to his release from the Panthers and eventually the Bills. He also hasn’t played in the NFL since 2018 and will likely be beat out by Levine Toilolo for the fourth tight-end spot.

Running Backs

With Barkley out of the backfield, Jones has a very reliable safety net. He is one of the best route runners out of the backfield in the entire league. Like Engram, Barkley is a mismatch but from out of the backfield instead. Clement is the much better pass-catcher out of the rest of the running backs.

Offensive Line – 76, 22nd (13 percent Overall, 19 percent Offense) 

This ranking might be too high for the offensive line. This is the best-case scenario for the Giants. Cutting Zeitler was an awful decision by Gettleman as he was the best offensive lineman they had. Nate Solder returns after opting out of the 2020 season. He is a veteran and low-level starter at right tackle that could be pushed by Matt Peart for the starting role as the season wears on. Andrew Thomas struggled early on during his rookie season after being the fourth overall pick in the 2020 draft. After being the first tackle taken in a class that saw the other first-round tackles have much better seasons than him, Giant fans are hoping Thomas can take another step forward and perform as he did in the final few weeks of the season.

The interior offensive line is very worrisome. Fulton comes in and will likely start at left guard following his signing. Gates could ultimately lose his job to Shane Lemieux if he does not play well. At the center spot, Nick Gates is aligned as the starter for now. Will Hernandez is the best player along the offensive line, and he will be moving to right guard.

Beyond those seven, there isn’t much to talk about. The offensive line wasn’t addressed as much as it should’ve been. Jones will once again be running around in the pocket, even if the line blocks well. Jones was seen running outside of the pocket when he didn’t need to at times last year, and it resulted in him throwing dangerous passes.

Run Defense – 84.5, 11th (2 percent Overall, 5 percent Defense) 
Defensive Line

The Giants had one of the better defensive units in the league last year thanks to Patrick Graham. Of course, Gettleman loves his big interior defensive linemen. The 11th-ranked run defense could look a lot better by the season’s end, potentially into the top-five. Under Graham, the Giants primarily run a 3-3-5 defense. Upfront, New York’s three starters in this package will be Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, and B.J. Hill. Williams hasn’t gotten the love he once did when he was with the Jets, but he is a dominant run defender along with Lawrence. Hill will likely move over to the middle of the defensive line and play nose tackle, with Tomlinson heading to Minnesota. Behind those two, the depth is still great with the signing of Shelton and Austin Johnson. The front line is great.

Edge Defenders

From an edge-rush standpoint, Lorenzo Carter will factor in on base downs at first but could lose snaps to Ojulari as an edge/outside linebacker player. Carter Coughlin is also in this similar role, and the trio of him, Carter, and Ojulari will share snaps in this package. Odenigbo and Oshane Ximines will be the backups to Williams in this package.

Off-Ball Linebackers

Blake Martinez was awful in Green Bay, let’s get that out of the way. He was perhaps the most overrated player when he was in Green Bay due to his tackle numbers, but he was seemingly a liability in the middle of the defense in coverage and run defense because he doesn’t have the athletic ability to make up for what the Packers wanted him to do. When Martinez arrived in New York, Martinez immediately looked much better than he did in Green Bay. He was more physical and looked to have more athleticism for the Giants.

New York could have used an upgrade next to Martinez, and the starting role will likely belong to Tae Crowder or Devante Downs. Reggie Ragland was added to the fold, as well, and could battle for a starting role next to Martinez. The third and final linebacker in this package is Jabrill Peppers, who is built like a WILL linebacker more than safety.

Pass Rush – 82, T-15th (12 percent Overall, 25 percent Defense)

Williams is a low-end number one pass-rusher from the interior. He had perhaps his best season as a pro last year totaling 11.5 sacks which was a career-high. Tomlinson leaving opens up more snaps for Lawrence on the interior from a pass-rush standpoint. Like Williams, Lawrence had his best season as a pro in his sophomore season from totaling four sacks.

Carter is the number one edge rusher for now until Ojulari gets up to speed. He was a fan favorite before the 2018 draft and has produced steadily. Carter had 9.5 combined sacks during the 2018 and 2019 seasons, and unfortunately, his 2020 season was cut short due to injury, and Carter only played in five games. The coaching staff seems to love him, and New York fans love him and hope for him to come back healthy and produce more than he already has in his short career. Ojulari is a raw prospect that will get thrown to the wolves early on but could return a lot of upside. Odenigbo will likely battle with Ojulari for reps early on while Ojulari gets accustomed to the NFL. Odenigbo had a seven-sack season in 2019, but his sack total came back down during the 2020 season.

A Lot of Young Talent

Ximines was drafted in the third round of the 2019 season and had four sacks during his rookie season. Unfortunately, his 2020 season was cut short due to injuries, and he only played in four games. Coughlin showed some flashes last year as a seventh-round pick and will battle for reps with Elerson Smith, whom the team took in the fourth round of the draft this year. Anderson was once a highly-touted prospect out of Alabama, but he flamed out in Washington and is hoping to make the roster here in New York.

The Giants are relying on a lot of young players to produce and develop off the edge during the 2021 season. It was a surprise to many when New York selected Toney instead of Kwity Paye after they traded down. Expect New York to try and get looks at the many different youngsters off the edge to try and see if they have a diamond in the rough.

Linebackers – 79, 18th (5 percent Overall, 13 percent Defense)

Behind Martinez, the Giants linebackers drop off significantly. Crowder and Downs are not starting-caliber players, and this ranking is only reflecting Martinez in reality. After how bad he was in Green Bay, he seemed like a completely different player in New York last year. 

Secondary – 89.5, 5th (13 percent Overall, 27 percent Defense)
Cornerbacks

James Bradberry was one, if not the best free-agent signing last year. Jackson teamed up with Bradberry is a perfect duo on the outside for the Giants after having one of the worst cornerback rooms in the league before 2020. Aaron Robinson was selected in the third round and will battle with Darnay Holmes for the nickel role this year. Each of the three is a perfect fit for the Giants, who run a lot of cover two. It is still insane how good Bradberry was and now teaming him up with Jackson and spending multiple picks in the secondary and solidifying the unit as one of the best in the league was a great move by Gettleman and company. Judge may have learned this trend from New England, who loved to build from the secondary forward in recent years. 

The depth doesn’t stop there either. Isaac Yiadom was acquired via trade from the Broncos, and the Giants used him in many starting snaps last season, and he played decently. Now, he is the fifth option in the cornerback room and will back up Bradberry and Jackson. Rodarius Williams is the brother of Greedy Williams and was a complete steal on day three of the draft. Williams started four years at Oklahoma State and is a perfect sixth option in the cornerback room and would be a potential starter on many squads. Quincy Wilson and Sam Beal have flamed out in recent years. Wilson was once a high-round pick who didn’t play well in Indianapolis, and Beal was a third-round compensatory draft selection.  

Safeties 

Peppers is a versatile player that mainly plays strong safety in the box. He has developed in his coverage aspect and is a good strong safety in this scheme. Logan Ryan was primarily a slot cornerback during most of his career and has moved to free safety for the Giants, which has seemingly made for a career resurgence of sorts for the veteran. Xavier McKinney was a second-round pick last year and is a single-high free safety at times for the Giants. All three of these players will make their way onto the field at the same time thanks to how versatile the three of them are. Julian Love is another versatile piece that can play both cornerback and safety for the Giants, and they have used him in many ways. Joshua Kalu is the only other name worth mentioning in this segment. 

Coach and Culture – 76, T-22nd (15 percent Overall, 21 percent Offense, 30 percent Defense)
Offense

The best thing an offensive coordinator can do is adapt to the player’s strengths on his offense. Garrett did that a bit last year with a lot shorter passes for Jones compared to earlier in the season. Losing Zeitler is a big blow to the offensive line that is now relying on a low-level interior offensive line and two second-year tackles along with the aging Solder. Gettleman and company have built around Jones, and now it is time for the quarterback to finally produce this year, or his time will be up in New York. The Giants rank 27th in offensive coach and culture. 

Defense

Graham and Judge completely transformed the defense last season. With Brandon Staley getting a job with the Los Angeles Chargers after an innovative defensive season with the Rams, many are wondering when Graham will get the nod and make the jump to be a head coach. Graham completely reshaped the New York defense in his first year as the defensive coordinator. The additions to the secondary were excellent and made it one of the best units in the league. Unfortunately, the linebackers outside of Martinez and the lack of a pass-rush outside of Williams will be the downfalls of the defense, and it will be interesting to see if Graham can make up for the lack of talent in those spots. New York ranks 18th in defensive coach and culture. 

Season Outlook

The Giants will go as far as the offensive line, and Jones will take them. If this season is a failure, it will mainly be because of those two things. 

The offensive line will be tested immediately to open the season with three straight games against the Broncos, Football Team, and Steelers. On the other side of things, the New York run defense will be going toe-to-toe with teams that love to run the football. To round out the first half of the schedule, the Giants go against the Falcons, Saints, Cowboys, Rams, Panthers, and Chiefs. Those final five games are quite the stretch and could be the stretch of the season where the Giants see their worst play of the season. 

The second half of the schedule is a bit easier with two games against the Eagles, along with games against the Raiders, Dolphins, and Bears. A game against the Buccaneers and Chargers will be the biggest tests in the second half of the schedule. 

According to Odds Shark, the Giants have an over/under of seven wins. Although the season prediction has a lower total, the over/under is placed at a good number for the Giants. If Jones does well, they could surpass that total easily. 

Season Prediction: 5-12

*NOTE* Some teams higher in the rankings will have worse records than others. The rankings aren’t based upon the record but the overall talent of the roster. 


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