The Comprehensive Guide to the New York Giants rebuild.
Step 1 (Completed)
Hire a new Offensive Coordinator. Completed! Ben McAdoo signed to be the new OC.
Implications: McAdoo comes from Green Bay, who employed a pass-first offense using the run game to close out games. With this hire the offense will certainly see a scheme change where first and second downs will be more focused on the short to intermediate passing game. The Giants are going to need a bit of a personnel overhaul in order for McAdoo to be able to work at his best.
Evaluate Personnel and make necessary additions to the offense.
Setting aside the offensive line for now, the Giants have a huge need at the pass-catching TE position right now. Bear Pascoe and Larry Donnell can block well, but Brandon Myers was a huge disappointment in the passing game and was voided. The Giants need to find someone out there that can come in and be a reliable guy in the middle for Eli Manning. Whether that be Eric Ebron, Brandon Pettigrew, Andrew Quarless or in-house project Adrien Robinson is yet to be seen.
Looking at Wide Receivers, it looks like next year the Giants will be looking at a stable which includes: Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, and Jerrell Jernigan. With Hakeem Nicks looking like he’ll move elsewhere, quite simply the Giants are going to need to find another guy somewhere to come in and compete. Cruz, and Jerniganare both smaller, faster guys, so if they could find a big bodied possession receiver (maybe reminiscent of Anquan Boldin) it could balance their core. James Jones or Mike Evans are guys that might make sense depending on which way the Giants want to go.
Running back is less of an issue for the Giants. They already have John Conner on the roster for another season who can be a punishing lead blocker for the run game. There has also been talk that McAdoo might be looking more for a big man who can get involved in the passing game. In that case, keeping Henry Hynoski might be a good move. David Wilson isn’t a sure thing at all so the Giants will need to find a veteran bellcow in free agency. They could go for a big name like Maurice Jones-Drew, or Knowshon Moreno, but I think it would be smarter to pay a small contract to a guy like Toby Gerhart or Rashad Jennings and save cap room for bigger positions of need.
Finally the Offensive Line. McAdoo will almost certainly be employing a zone-blocking scheme which requires athletic offensive lineman. Now we all know that Chris Snee, and David Baas do not fit this bill. They are older, oft-injured, power guys and it’s time they go. By cutting both of them the Giants can open up nearly 10 million dollars in cap space to sign new players. With that much room the Giants can get two guys in free agency that will be able to make a difference for a long time in New York. The first guy they should go after is Center Alex Mack from the Cleveland Browns. Mack hasn’t signed the transition tag yet which may be a hint that he wants to leave. He was PFF’s 4th rated center of 2013 and should command a pretty big contract of around 6 million a year, but he will be well worth it. After that a guy like Jon Asomoah, PFF’s 20th rated Guard in the NFL, would be a great second addition to the new-look Giants offense. He should command around 3-4 million a year which works out great for the Giants after cutting Snee and Baas. (If the Giants stay loyal to Chris Snee and keep him, a left guard pickup will be necessary so a guy like Zane Beadles would be a target.) After the signings, the Giants would be looking at a line that runs Beatty – Brewer – Mack – Asomoah – Pugh (left to right). I slotted James Brewer at left guard, but expect a competition between him, Mosley and hopefully a high round draft prospect. Certainly an upgrade from last season. I want to note that I don’t believe the Giants should draft an offensive tackle high. Beatty and Pugh are both natural tackles and moving them inside would be a mistake.
EDIT: I got some flack for still considering Mack an option. In the case that mack is NOT an option at center, The best move is to re-sign Kevin Boothe to play center next season. (Still moving Baas and Snee out of the equation) and breaking the bank more for a guy like Asomoah/Beadles/Schwartz. This would also open up more cap room for other positions of need.
Find an X-Factor for the defense, evaluate impending Free Agents and become younger across the board.
Defensive Line is the Giants most important unit on the entire roster. You can expect Jason Pierre-Paul, Cullen Jenkins, Jonathan Hankins and Damontre Moore to all be big contributors to the unit next season. The question becomes, which impending Free Agents should return in order to help the unit. Bringing back Justin Tuck is imperative. This guy is the leader of the New York Giants and losing him would be a huge hit for this defense. Last season Tuck really stepped up down the run in order to keep the Giants in games. He ranked out as a top 10 defensive end in the NFL according to PFF. The Giants should tie the knot with him for the rest of his career. Besides, it might be too soon for Damontre Moore to be a full time starter and he could split snaps with Tuck in order to keep Tuck fresh. All I have to say about Kiwinuka is to let him go. He was one of the worst defensive ends in the NFL last season and he’s going to want a contract that he isn’t worth. The Giants are better off without him. As for Linval Joeseph, I think it’s best if the Giants lets him walk. He’s going to command big money and Jonathan Hankins proved that he was ready for a full time starting role on this unit in 2013. Bringing back a couple cheap veterans like Mike Patterson and Markus Kuhn would help provide the depth necessary.
As for the Linebackers, I think this is a place the Giants can improve in the Draft. Before anything though, they NEED to resign Jon Beason. Beason is a strong veteran presence that this unit lacked, he shows command in the run game and was leading the defense when they were playing as good as any defense in the league. With that said, Beason can’t do it all and the unit needs an infusion of youth and talent. That could come from several places in the draft. Khalil Mack is eerily similar to Von Miller when you look at their college tapes and he would be a lock for the top 3 picks if he hadn’t played at Buffalo. Even so it would be a miracle for him to fall to the Giants at #12, but if he did they should have to pull the trigger. Mack could be the X-Factor they need. In the scenario that Mack doesn’t fall, the Giants should consider going after Jordan Tripp or Telvin Smith in the third round. These are both players who could come in and excel at either outside linebacker position. It should be noted that Resigning Paysinger was also a must for depth purposes, while Keith Rivers should be let go unless he’s willing to take the veteran minimum.
Moving behind the front seven brings me to the safeties. According to Pro Football Focus, Will Hill was the second best safety in the NFL (and that was after missing games due to suspension) and Antrelle Rolle was the 10th best safety in the NFL. Without exaggeration this is the Giants best unit on the team. Stevie Brown is a free agent coming off a torn ACL, so he shouldn’t be extremely expensive. Resigning him would allow the Giants to run their three safety defense that Perry Fewell loves so much. Rolle and Hill could play down closer to the box, giving Brown the opportunity to show off his ball hawking skills in the back. Ryan Mundy is also a free agent and for the right price he could be resigned for depth and special team purposes, otherwise Cooper Taylor will have a lot of responsibility in his second season.
Lastly, the Cornerbacks. Prince Amukamara is already going to be starting next year, but after that it’s hard to say there is much stability in the unit. It’s time the Giants part ways with Corey Webster. He’s been integral in two Super Bowl seasons, but he’s lost a step and is oft-injured. Aaron Ross is an eternal bust, but he is serviceable for special teams and depth. That leaves Trumaine McBride and Terrell Thomas. Both players played well last season, but Thomas has a huge presence as the leader of this cornerback unit. He isn’t going to be too expensive and he’s proven he can still play, the Giants would be wise to sign him to a small contract for a couple more years. McBride on the other hand is an interesting prospect. The guy has none of the measurable and all of the heart. He can hang with the best, but if he tries to ask for too much money then the Giants will have to let him go elsewhere. Bottom line, McBride is replaceable. If the Giants were only to resign Thomas (letting Webster, Ross, McBride all go), which might be an ideal situation, they have a lot of options in free agency and the draft. If you look to free agency, the guy who strikes me as a possible Giant is Alterraun Verner. Although he lacks size when compared to Terrel Thomas and Prince Amukamara, Verner makes up for it with fluid hips and excellent athleticism. Verner was one of PFF’s top 10 corners in 2013, but the Titans have several young and talented DB’s and may not want to pay Verner. The Giants (if they follow my plan and let Joeseph and Nicks walk) have a lot of cap room that they may want to consider spending to bring in a top corner to pair up with Prince. Looking at the 2014 draft, I don’t believe there is all that much value for the Giants in the first two rounds. However round three presents an intriguing prospect in Stanley Jean-Baptiste from Nebraska. At 6-2, Baptiste is similar to the Seahawks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman. He is slightly stiff in the hips when compared to smaller corners, but this guy has the potential to be a stud in the new age of the NFL’s passing game.
In this section I will list all the changes to the roster I recommended the Giants make. I’m operating under the idea that we don’t overpay positions where there is ample depth and instead go out and find big name free agents that fill positions of need.
Re-sign: Justin Tuck, Jon Beason, Stevie Brown, Terrell Thomas, Bear Pascoe, Mike Patterson, Ryan Mundy, Mark Herzlich, Spencer Paysinger, Henry Hynoski, Peyton Hillis, Shaun Rogers, Trumaine McBride, Jim Cordle
Pick-up: Alex Mack, Alterraun Verner, Jon Asomoah/Zane Beadles, James Jones, Toby Gerhart, J. McClain.
The Giants should do what they already do in the first round and go with the best player available. Whether that be Auburn’s Greg Robinson, UNC’s Eric Ebron, Buffalo’s Khalil Mack, or A&M’s Mike Evans, The Giants should NOT draft by need here and instead fill their needs using Free Agency. If they still see a need for interior offensive lineman, tight end, running back or linebacker they should go for this in the second, third and fourth rounds. With that said here is my Giants 5 round mock draft: (note that best case scenario would be the target who is unlikely to reach the Giants. The pick is more realistic.)
Best case scenario: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
The pick: Eric Ebron, TE, UNC
Best case scenario: David Yankey, G, Stanford
The pick: Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
Best case scenario: Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
The pick: Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi State
Best case scenario: Telvin Smith, OLB, Florida State
The pick: Jordan Tripp, OLB, Montana
Best case scenario: C.J. Fiedeorowicz, TE, Iowa
The pick: Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State
This is simply my opinion on the whole matter. Hopefully a lot of this can come true, but if you guys have any better ideas discuss it in the comments sections! I'm always down to get new perspectives on how the G-Men can get back into dominating form.