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NFL Draft

5 Reasons For Giants Fans To Be Optimistic This Season

  • The Draft Network
  • August 25, 2021
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Similarly built to their inter-division foes in the nation’s capital, the New York Giants’ success this fall will stem from the success of their defense and not on the right shoulder of Daniel Jones. Highlighted by one of the top corners in football and a dynamic, versatile front three, the New York defense will also present a talented group of linebackers that now includes Azeez Ojulari, a quick-twitched edge rusher who is line to surprise many after his slip into the middle of the second round. As much attention will be drawn to the defensive side of the ball, Saquon Barkley’s return—which we’ll get to in a little bit—along with the free-agent adds of Kenny Golladay and Devontae Booker should dramatically boost one of the more turnover-prone offenses in football. 

But, that topic is for another time.

Without a division title since 2011—when they won Super Bowl 46—the Giants have now found themselves in an opportune spot with talent in abundance to make a run toward the postseason. With head coach Joe Judge entering his second season, here are five reasons why the Giants should remain optimistic heading into their 2021 campaign.

Saquon Barkley

I’m not sure you’ll find many people out there more excited than myself to see Barkley back at full strength. The league is a better place with him in the backfield, and the Giants will FEED him until the cows come home. At full speed, he’s a wet fish in space. In between the tackles, he’ll embarrass defenders by running through you, and with 4.4 speed, good luck catching him if he breaks through the second level. 

A truly elite talent, Barkley’s re-insertion into the Giants backfield will prove to be the key to New York’s offensive success as Judge attempts to maneuver pressure away from Jones at all costs. 

Defensive Front

Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, and Danny Shelton make up the odd-front of Patrick Graham’s defense that will look to provide the punch necessary to fill gaps and rush the passer while allowing the speed at the second level to fill and eat. Williams presents the cream of the crop of defensive linemen in football, as his combination of power, speed, and maneuverability within the trenches presents an awfully tough skill set to stop. While 1-tech Shelton will take on double teams and press the A-gap as a hole-plugging nose tackle, the continued development of Lawrence opposite Williams will be massive if the Giants hope to live up to high defensive expectations.

Wideouts

Following the departure of Odell Beckham Jr. a couple seasons back, the Giants inherently found themselves with a lack of pop at the receiver position. While Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton have done a nice job over the last couple seasons as a tandem, the addition of Kenny Golladay from Detroit could be the Giants’ most impactful free-agent signing of recent memory if he’s able to stay healthy and available. With three and four-wideout sets, the Giants present an array of unique pass-catching talent for Jones to distribute to. Add in the in-line talent in Evan Engram and recent first-rounder Kadarius Toney, and the Giants offense will earn respect from its army of doubters sooner than later.

Secondary

Headlined by 2020 Pro-Bowler James Bradberry, the Giants secondary rivals any in the conference, with nasty, physical corners and rangy, athletic, ball-hawking safeties. In his first season as a Giant, Bradberry developed into one of the league’s top man-to-man cover corners. At 6-foot-1, Bradberry’s usage of his hands, and ability to mirror routes has offered Graham the ability to place him on an island, if needed, week in and week out, opening up the rest of the field for safety Jabrill Peppers and newly signed Adoree’ Jackson (assuming the team receives positive news regarding a potential severe ankle sprain that could hamper his Week 1 availability). 

Veteran Prowess

With the 10th-oldest roster in all of football, the Giants enter the 2021 campaign with a 53-man group littered with experienced pop and youthful, hungry talent ready to compete under Judge. With veteran offseason additions in Kyle Rudolph, Golladay, Jackson, and 2020 COVID opt-out Nate Solder back in the fold at tackle, the balance of established professionals and wide-eyed first and second-year talents could prove to be the ideal mix for Judge en route to his first division crown as head coach.

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