The dust has settled from the 2018 NFL Draft and one thing is clear regarding the New York Football Giants: they (General Manager Dave Gettleman and co.) believe the team can win now. They believe Eli Manning has something left in the tank and are of the mindset that he, and the new group of Giants, are capable of winning a fifth Lombardi trophy. Initially, I wasn’t on-board with this thinking and wanted Big Blue to draft Eli’s heir apparent, but I’m starting to come around on the “win now” mode mentality.
— New York Giants (@Giants) April 28, 2018
For one, I think this will be Eli’s best supporting cast on offense, ever. You could make the argument the Giants now have the most loaded group of players at the skill positions in the league. Adding Saquon Barkley to the already dynamic core of Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram is tantalizing. In order for those guys to be effective, however, Eli needs to be given time and be protected; Gettleman made good on his promise and delivered a triumvirate of “hog mollies” to make sure Eli stays upright for the 2018 NFL season. Nate Solder, Patrick Omameh and Will Hernandez are welcomed additions to a unit desperate for serious upgrades.The hope is that combined with all of those additions and Head Coach Pat Shurmur’s offensive system, the Giants are poised to vault from the league’s second worst scoring offense to, potentially, a top half one.
A huge concern of mine is the defense. Yes, in 2016 they balled out. I attributed that more to the lack of injuries suffered during that season (only JPP was the major piece affected by anything and the rest was pretty healthy and whole the entire year). That, rarely, if ever happens and in 2017 the defense came back to earth in an awful way. I’m excited for James Bettcher’s, who has engineered three top six defenses the past three years in Arizona, implementation of a 3-4 system and aggressive thinking but am worried about the overall personnel and depth on the defensive side of the ball. However, the offense will be the key to how the Giants defense performs this year.
The Giants offense had the fourth worst time of possession ranking last year with a TOP of 28:42 per game. That stat can cause any defense to get exposed, tire, get injured and be ineffective. The offense has to be better this year in that department and in points (second to last). Its simple, really: score some more points, hold onto the ball a bit longer and the defense can be more fresh and aggressive.
No doubt the NFC is the best its been in years and the Giants schedule is brutal, but should the offense take that leap and become, say, top half, the Giants should be able to compete for a playoff spot and play meaningful football in December and January again soon.