The New York Giants entered 2019 looking to avoid the struggles they’ve had in recent years. Spoiler alert — they didn’t do that whatsoever. The Giants started the season 2-2, but even after head coach Pat Shurmur benched Eli Manning for first-round pick Daniel Jones in Week 3, the team lost nine straight games. New York went on to win back-to-back against the lowly Dolphins and Washington, and eventually finished 4-12.
Jones looked pretty inconsistent as a rookie, but it certainly didn’t help that his offensive line allowed him to get sacked 38 times in 12 starts. His running back, Saquon Barkley, was banged up throughout the season and didn’t quite look like himself behind that same line.
Unsurprisingly, Shurmur was fired at the end of the season. In his place, the Giants hired longtime New England Patriots assistant Joe Judge. There are a lot of holes New York could fill during free agency and the draft, so Judge can’t waste any time shaking things up.
New York Giants (4-12), missed playoffs
The Giants have plenty of cap space and 10 draft picks this offseason. Most of all, they need to prioritize protecting Jones in his second year as a starter, though the defensive line could also use reinforcements.
Before free agency:
- Offensive tackle: With right tackle Mike Remmers set to become a free agent this offseason, the Giants need a talented lineman to replace him. There’s a good chance they’ll address this position in the first round of the draft, where the Giants should have their pick of tackles at No. 4 overall. Alabama’s Jedrick Wills Jr. is one obvious candidate.
- Center: Starting center Jon Halapio is a restricted free agent, and even if the Giants tender him, Halapio might not be ready at the start of the season due to his recovery from a torn Achilles. New York could find a new center in free agency, though.
- Edge: The Giants finished just 22nd in the league in sacks last season. To change that, they should look to both free agency and the draft. They have the money to sign a big name in March. If they take an offensive tackle in the first round, their second-round pick could be used on another pass rusher.
What Big Blue View wants most this offseason: Defensively, the Giants need to improve their pass rush. And, we’re not talking incrementally. They really need a legitimate No. 1 pass rusher opposing offenses have to double team. Offensively, they must address the tackle and center positions. — Ed Valentine
After free agency:
The Giants added a few new starters, including cornerback James Bradberry and linebacker Blake Martinez, in free agency. However, their needs remain the same heading into the draft.
1. Offensive tackle: New York signed former Cowboys tackle Cameron Fleming to a one-year deal. Although he hasn’t been used as a full-time starter along the line, he can potentially replace Remmers at right tackle. But the Giants still need to get more protection for Jones.
2. Center: The Giants didn’t pick up a center in free agency, so they’ll likely take one in the upcoming draft.
3. Edge: The Giants placed the franchise tag on Leonard Williams, and signed two linebackers during free agency. That’s not enough, though. The Giants might have to get a pass rusher in the upcoming draft and could find a better (and cheaper) prospect in doing so.
After the draft:
True to form, GM Dave Gettleman found himself a hog molly with the Giants’ first pick. Georgia’s Andrew Thomas, taken fourth overall, was the most ready of all this year’s offensive linemen to start immediately at left tackle. The Giants didn’t stop there, either. They also selected UConn tackle Matt Peart in the third round and Oregon guard Shane Lemieux in Round 5. The Giants could potentially play Lemieux at center.
Landing Alabama safety Xavier McKinney in the second round was a coup. However, the Giants waited until Day 3 to add to their front seven ... with four linebackers. Seventh-round pick Carter Coughlin, who had 40 sacks in four seasons at Minnesota, is the closest to filling the edge position.