By Ben Babcock
Offseason Grade: B+
The Giants actually made some pretty good moves this offseason. They improved on both sides of the ball, and while they still have some holes, they look a lot better on paper.
They made big improvements on the offensive line, signing Nate Solder and Patrick Omameh. These are great considering how bad they were offensively last year. It should give Eli Manning more time in the pocket and maybe improve their running game but they really still don’t have a strong running back, even after adding Jonathan Stewart. Along with the addition of Stewart, they signed wide receiver Cody Latimer. The Giants already have a very strong group of receivers, as long as they stay healthy. Jonathan Stewart is a veteran running and will be decently solid, but they should really invest in a new running back in this year’s draft.
The biggest changes on defense were two trades. They traded away star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to the Bucs and traded for Alec Ogletree from the Rams. Pierre-Paul had some off the field shenanigans and had a huge contract, so they got rid of him. Ogletree is a strong linebacker that should help the weak linebacker core that the Giants had. They now have solid players at every position. They just need more depth.
The Giants have the no.2 pick in the draft, and to me, they have an easy decision. I would be extremely surprised if the Browns took Saquon Barkley at no.1, so when they don’t, the Giants need to take him. Barkley is the best player in this year’s draft, and is said to be one of the top running back prospects of the past several years. The Giants run game is trash, even with Stewart. Barkley will complete their offense and could be a franchise running back for several years. I don’t care that they don’t have a replacement for Manning yet. There are quarterbacks every year and having a running back like Barkley will make it easier on any new quarterback they try to bring in. The Giants would be stupid not to take Barkley here. After that though, I’d expect them to add to the defense.
The Giants also released Brandon Marshall early Thursday morning in what seems to be an attempt to free some cap space. Could Dez be coming to team up with OBJ?
They made some good moves this offseason. But if they don’t take Barkley in the draft, they will at best be middle of the pack next year because their defense still isn’t the best. The offense will carry them this year, but the NFC has a lot of strong teams so I don’t see the Giants making the playoffs. Unless they get lucky with a new quarterback in the next two years, they will stay in the middle of the pack.