New York Giants 2021 Team Preview

New York Giants 2021 Team Preview

by August 23, 2021 0 comments

After a 2020 season that ended with New York Giant fans somehow hating the Philadelphia Eagles, and Doug Pederson, just a little bit more, the team is now looking to take revenge on the division and win it this year. Obviously, New York will have to be better than their 6-10 record last year if they want to accomplish anything of note, and they’ve got an interesting team, to say the least. There have been conflicting reports this offseason about how head coach Joe Judge is handling his team, so we’ll see if the negative ones are really true. Otherwise, we are looking at a club that should compete in most games, but has some work to do to make the playoffs.

Make sure to check out all of our other 2021 NFL Team Previews.

Offseason Recap

The offseason for the Giants was a very successful one. They made moves that were musts, as well as some really nice splashes. It started off by resigning Leonard Williams, who was essential on a very good defense last year. They then went after good role guys like Reggie Ragland and Kyle Rudolph. The big news, however, came a little later in free agency when New York picked up star receiver Kenny Golladay and cornerback Adoree Jackson. These were the two big names of free agency for the Giants and they have massive expectations to look up to. While Dave Gettleman might have overpaid a little bit for these guys, they were much-needed moves to improve this football team. 

Looking at the draft, this one was a bit controversial, but they still got a good amount of talent. After trading down in the first round, the Giants picked up Kadarius Toney with the 20th pick. The receiver out of Florida is having a pretty strong training camp so far, but he’s not the only rookie to look forward to. The selections of both Azeez Ojulari and Aaron Robinson were very good ones as these guys were projected much higher than where they were actually picked. Overall, it was a very good draft class, as well as a strong offseason in general.

Offense

The offense was certainly the weak point of this team in 2020. Fans are really beginning to question if Daniel Jones is the guy, and it’s definitely something worth considering. New York ranked in the bottom five in virtually every offensive category last season, and things just need to turn around. Signing Golladay was great to put some weapons out on the field, and getting Saquon Barkley back from injury is exceptional.

Now, before we start going deeper, we should address the offensive line. This has been a unit that people have criticized and blamed the Giants’ downfalls on for years now. However, it wasn’t even terrible last year, especially later in the season, so the big question mark of this year’s campaign is quarterback play. Can Jones finally breakout and help this team win games? We’ll have to see, but from what he’s showed so far, we can only believe that not much is to come. If Jones can play up to his expected standards when drafted, we are looking at a really good offense that can win the division for New York.

Defense

While it wasn’t the highest-ranking group in the league, the Giants’ defense was really impressive throughout the year. The breakout star was obviously James Bradberry. Bradberry not only proved his worth on that big contract he signed last season but asserted himself as one of the best cornerbacks in the league. Looking forward, the defense’s biggest weakness is clearly pass-rush, but otherwise, everything is pretty strong. The big thing here is putting it all together. They’ve got the talent with Jackson, Bradberry, Williams, Jabrill Peppers, Dexter Lawrence, even guys like Lorenzo Carter and Blake Martinez are optimal players in the NFL. 

Predicting the 53 Man Roster

QB (2)- Daniel Jones, Mike Glennon

This position is pretty much set. There’s really no chance that they go with three quarterbacks here, especially when that third would be Brian Lewerke. Lewerke will hit the practice squad and get a small chance to develop into the backup sometime down the road. 

RB (3)- Saquon Barkley, Devontae Booker, Corey Clement

Barkley is the star of this team and one of the best running backs in the league. On the other hand, he is coming off of an ACL tear and every team needs good backups no matter what. Booker and Clement are very solid options. Booker is more of a pure runner while Clement offers great value in the passing game, which can be seen often from his Eagles days. While three might not seem like a huge number, more guys can get involved with carries at different positions. 

FB (2)- Elijhaa Penny, Cullen Gillaspia

Yes, two fullbacks could very well see themselves making the roster. Penny is a lock as he gets a healthy amount of carries and is nice in the blocking game as well. As for Gillaspia, on a Joe Judge team, he could be just the guy. If you don’t know anything about Judge, he’s a former special teams coach for the New England Patriots, otherwise considered the long-time best special teams coached team in the league. Gillaspia, and Penny for that matter, is a fantastic special teamer who could see his name making the roster just because of that. On more than half the teams in the league, this would certainly not be the case, but here, it could end up happening. 

WR (6)- Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard, John Ross, C.J. Board

This is a really really difficult wide receiver group to predict. Some of the top contenders for the last slots are David Sills and Dante Pettis. Pettis’ issue is that he’s just not as talented as the other guys on here, while Sills’ is a little more complex. Sills is a pure wide receiver, but if he were to make the roster, he’d have four guys already ahead of him. Ross and Board, while maybe not better wide receivers than Sills, offer very good special teams value, and can make a few plays on the offensive side of the ball as well. 

TE (4)- Evan Engram, Kyle Rudolph, Cole Hikutini, Kaden Smith

The tight ends offer some real versatility for the Giants later on in the season. Engram, as good or bad as you think he may be, is still going to be the starter in Week 1. Rudolph could be contending for that spot but he’s been out of action for a while now, hence the four tight ends. According to reports, Hikutini has really impressed at camp, and may even beat Smith out for the TE3 spot. Once Rudolph is healthy, we could see New York cut either Hikutini or Smith and bring up a practice squad player at a weaker position. 

OL (8)- Andrew Thomas, Shane Lemieux, Will Hernandez, Matt Peart, Jonotthan Harrison, Nate Solder, Nick Gates, Ted Larsen

The Giants’ offensive line depth is morbid, to say the least. The starting five are Thomas, Lemieux, Peart, Gates, and Hernandez. Beyond that, just Solder has had real NFL play. Harrison provides center help should Gates go down but they really need to add here soon.

DL (6)- Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, B.J. Hill, Danny Shelton, Austin Johnson, Raymond Johnson III

Obviously, we have the starts like Williams and Lawrence, but it’s the youth on the depth side of this rotation that is really nice. Johnson has been a very exciting UDFA and there could be another making the final cut in Niko Lalos. As for the rest, Shelton and Johnson, they will really contribute greatly and work their way in quite a lot.  

EDGE (6)- Lorenzo Carter, Azeez Ojulari, Oshane Ximines, Elerson Smith, Cam Brown, Ifeadi Odenigbo

A much-improved group here, mostly with the pickup of Ojulari. As of now, we’ll take Ximines over Lalos but Ximines is facing a true prove it year with Lalos and Trent Harris most likely waiting on the practice squad. The Giants need to get to the passer and the mix of their tackles and edge rushers should allow them to do just that. 

LB (4)- Blake Martinez, Tae Crowder, Reggie Ragland, Carter Coughlin

T.J. Brunson‘s season was over before it began due to a torn ACL. This is a pretty solid linebacking core, but one that could use a little bit of depth perhaps. The temptation to put Devante Downs here was pretty high but in the long run, four is fine for now. 

CB (5)- James Bradberry, Darnay Holmes, Adoree Jackson, Rodarius Williams, Keon Johnson

Robinson will start off the year on the PUP after undergoing core muscle surgery. We are seeing some pretty large bids from Sam Beal and technically Josh Jackson to break into the roster, but with how new Jackson is, and Beal’s off-field issues, they most likely won’t make the roster. Beal, however, will be slotted onto the practice squad as the team does seem to have an appeal to him right now. 

SAF (4)- Logan Ryan, Jabrill Peppers, Xavier McKinney, Julian Love

This group is one of the strongest on the team. With McKinney and Love still developing, it’s very exciting times at the safety position in New York. It is really really hard, however, to cut Nate Ebner. Judge is a huge fan of Ebner for his special team abilities, and he would likely make the roster if not for his injury. We’ll see if they bring him back later in the year, which they probably will do. 

ST (3)- Graham Gano, Riley Dixon, Casey Kreiter

The current kicker battle between Gano and Ryan Santoso is a pretty good one, but in the end, we’ll take the experience in Gano. Dixon secures his spot as the punter with no competition in camp while Kreiter beats out Carson Tinker for his second straight season on the team as the long snapper.

One Player to Add

We discussed how this team needs some serious offensive line depth, and there’s a lot of that in the free-agent market. David DeCastro could be an option to look at depending on health. Former Green Bay Packer tackle Ricky Wagner is another guy we could see the team pick up. Perhaps even former Miami Dolphins guard D.J. Fluker will be approached by the team but all in all, as long as they improve that line depth, that is the player they should add. 

2021 Outlook and Odds

Despite clearly improving, and adding an extra game, Vegas has set the Giants win total at seven games. The schedule isn’t wildly difficult per se, so they do have a great shot at getting over this mark. Again, it’s all about the play of Jones this season. If he’s good, the team will win the division, if he’s not, they will be stuck in the same rut. Predicting that he will be mediocre, the team will have to deal with another divisional fight this year, going up against better teams in Washington and Dallas. It’ll be very difficult to go over .500 this year, and 10 wins seems a little drastic. Overall, we are looking at a much better Giants team, but one that still needs lots of work. 

Season Prediction: 8-9 and Miss the Playoffs


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