The Giants were as active as any team in free agency, which might’ve come somewhat as a surprise considering their cap situation heading into the free agency period.
But this is a roster that looks wildly different than it did at the end of the season. The Giants added new obvious starters at wide receiver (Kenny Golladay) and cornerback (Adoree’ Jackson), and others who will at least have sizable rotational roles at defensive tackle (Danny Shelton), guard (Zach Fulton), inside linebacker (Reggie Ragland), outside linebacker (Ryan Anderson), running back (Devontae Booker) and tight end (Kyle Rudolph).
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But the work isn’t finished.
“We’re certainly not a finished product by any stretch of imagination,” co-owner John Mara said on Wednesday.
The Giants have other needs as they shift their attention toward minimum free agent contracts and the NFL Draft.
Here’s a ranking of the most important needs the rest of the way, from least important to most:
Who they have: Daniel Jones, Mike Glennon (FA), Clayton Thorson, Joe Webb
Analysis: The Giants are probably set here, though it wouldn’t be the worst idea to add a developmental rookie quarterback late in the draft or as an undrafted free agent. Thorson and Webb are longshots to make the team.
Who they have: Logan Ryan, Jabrill Peppers, Xavier McKinney, Julian Love, Joshua Kalu (FA), Montre Hartrage
Analysis: The Giants are in great shape at this spot, and Love’s ability to also play cornerback is valuable. The Giants need a Nate Ebner-esque special teams player here, but perhaps that can be Kalu, primarily a special teams player for the Titans in recent years. Ebner is also still an option.
9. Running Back
Who they have: Saquon Barkley, Devontae Booker (FA), Eli Penny (fullback), Cullen Gillaspia (fullback, FA), Taquan Mizzell, Jordan Chunn
Analysis: There’s a lot of names here, but the Giants really only have two running backs right now that will be on the final 53-man roster: Barkley and Booker. Penny and Gillaspia will compete at fullback, and Mizzell and Chunn are practice fodder. They need another reliable running back, and they should be able to get a decent one either for cheap in free agency or late in the draft. Former Patriots running back Rex Burkhead would make sense on a minimum deal, as would Wayne Gallman if he doesn’t sign elsewhere.
Who they have: James Bradberry, Adoree’ Jackson (FA), Darnay Holmes, Isaac Yiadom, Sam Beal, Ryan Lewis, Madre Harper, Quincy Wilson, Jarren Williams, Chris Milton (FA)
Analysis: The Giants are almost certainly set here, but if the value is there in the NFL Draft don’t be surprised if they draft another one. Cornerback is the position that it never hurts add more talent. Bradberry, Jackson and Holmes (nickel) are pretty much locked in as starters. Yiadom should return as a backup. Beal, Lewis, Harper and Wilson will compete for a depth spot/special teams role. At this point, Beal feels like a longshot to make the team.
7. Tight End
Who they have: Evan Engram, Kyle Rudolph (FA), Kaden Smith, Levine Toilolo, Cole Hikutini (FA), Rysen John, Nakia Griffin-Stewart, Nate Wieting
Analysis: That’s a lot of tight ends. The most of any NFL team, in fact. The first four are the ones to focus on. If the Giants keep Engram, this is certainly not a need. If they plan to trade him, it would make sense to add another athletic tight end in the draft to complement Rudolph and to possibly develop as a long-term starter, too.
Also: It would be hard to pass on Florida freak Kyle Pitts if he’s available at No. 11.
6. Wide Receiver
Who they have: Kenny Golladay (FA), Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, John Ross (FA), Dante Pettis, C.J. Board, Austin Mack, Derrick Dillon, Alex Bachman
Analysis: The Giants are all of a sudden fairly loaded at wide receiver, but that can change quickly. Especially when you consider Golladay, Shepard and Ross all have extensive injury histories. This is an NFL Draft loaded at wide receiver and the Giants shouldn’t resist picking one at some point, even if that’s in the first round and someone like Jaylen Waddle or DeVonta Smith are still on the board.
5. Defensive Line
Who they have: Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, Austin Johnson, Danny Shelton (FA), Ifeadi Odenigbo (FA), B.J. Hill, R.J. McIntosh, Breeland Speaks, David Moa
Analysis: The Giants added Odenigbo and Shelton this offseason, but both of them — as well as Hill and Johnson — are in the final years of their contracts. Drafting someone to develop as a future starter wouldn’t be the worst idea, especially after losing Dalvin Tomlinson.
4. Inside Linebacker
Who they have: Blake Martinez, Tae Crowder, Reggie Ragland (FA), Devante Downs, TJ Brunson
Analysis: The Giants feel good about Crowder in his second year and Ragland as a depth piece, but both haven’t proven enough that the Giants should avoid adding another quality linebacker all together in the draft. Especially if his name is Micah Parsons.
3. Offensive Tackle
Who they have: Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart, Nate Solder, Jackson Barton
Analysis: The Giants believe in Peart as a potential starter, but he still has to beat out Solder and prove he deserves that job in general. Even if he is good enough, Solder likely won’t still be with the Giants in 2022 and they should add an offensive tackle to develop as a potential swing tackle backup, if not future starter.
2. Interior Offensive Line
Who they have: Nick Gates (center), Shane Lemieux, Will Hernandez, Zach Fulton (FA), Jonotthan Harrison (FA), Chad Slade, Kenny Wiggins, Kyle Murphy
Analysis: This remains a major question mark even after signing Fulton, a clear downgrade from Kevin Zeitler at right guard. Per Pro Football Focus, Fulton allowed the most sacks of any offensive lineman last year with the Texans. Both Lemieux and Hernandez are question marks and the Giants should seriously consider drafting an interior lineman early this offseason.
1. Edge Rusher
Who they have: Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, Ryan Anderson (FA), Carter Coughlin, Cam Brown, Niko Lalos, Trent Brown
Analysis: This is quite clearly the weakest position on the roster. The Giants will be relying almost entirely on unproven players. They are clearly high on Carter and Ximines’ potential, but both missed most of last season due to injury and hadn’t proven anything before that. Coughlin showed some flashes last year but probably shouldn’t be a full-time starter. Anderson had zero sacks and barely played on defense for Washington last year.
It’s a lock that the Giants draft an edge rusher early, though the draft class at the position is one of the weaker ones this year.
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