The New York Giants' offseason can be viewed in a number of different ways.
For one, it hasn't been sexy. There have been no marquee free-agent signings. No blockbuster trades. And what their biggest move(s) might be -- re-signing restricted free-agent wide receiver Victor Cruz and possibly giving his counterpart Hakeem Nicks a new deal -- remain to be seen.
In an ESPN Insider piece, the New York Giants earned a B- grade. Via the article:
It all starts up front with the Giants. Using a first-round pick on an offensive lineman isn't a tactic New York often employs, but Justin Pugh fits their system very well and offers excellent position versatility. He should be a Week 1 starter at either right tackle or guard.
But just as the Giants addressed their defensive line as usual, they ignored their linebackers -- as usual. Connor is a solid two-down middle linebacker, but there might not be a group of linebackers in the NFL that has as little star power or big-play ability as New York's. In the secondary, the Giants could feel Phillips' loss and didn't do a lot to improve.
Drafting Ryan Nassib is a commendable move to groom him as a backup or eventually trade him for higher draft picks down the road. Swapping Bennett for Myers is a step backward, especially in terms of blocking ability.
This was yet another typical Giants offseason. They have a plan, and for the most part, it tends to work out very well -- often better than most project.
What the New York Giants did do -- successfully, I might add -- is build from within. The team re-signed its left tackle, Will Beatty, for the foreseeable future. And keeping with that theme, they added Pugh in the first round of the NFL Draft.
The Giants made a handful of other acquisitions -- none that scream "wow" or got the fans all riled up -- but ones that may pay bigger dividends on Sundays in the fall.
Some of the solid ones include Cullen Jenkins, Brandon Myers, Dan Connor, Ryan Mundy and Louis Murphy. If he can regain his form, Jenkins could bolster the defensive line which is now without Osi Umenyiora and will have to contend with Jason Pierre-Paul recovering from back surgery.
With Martellus Bennett in Chicago, tight end was a huge void for the New York Giants offense. Under the radar in the black hole out in Oakland, Myers led the team in receiving and could prove to be an even greater asset with Eli Manning behind center for him.
Mundy, the former Pittsburgh Steelers safety who knows how to be a contributor on a winning team, could be that dynamic third safety in Perry Fewell's defense, as well as provide the luxury of depth behind Antrel Rolle and Stevie Brown.
Murphy is a veteran who, at worst, adds depth to a young receiving corps.
The team did lose a handful of productive players, with Umenyiora, Bennett, Chris Canty, Ahmad Bradshaw, Kenny Phillips and Michael Boley leading the way.
Umenyiora and Bennett simply commanded too much money.
Canty hurts, but the loss could easily be forgotten should Jenkins perform well. Bradshaw could potentially return, but even if he does he would likely be a backup behind the new lead dog, David Wilson, who appears poised for a breakout sophomore campaign.
Phillips was a fan favorite, but injuries continue to plague the talented safety. And while linebacker remains a huge concern, Boley's legal troubles were not something the club was willing to contend with.
Like the free agency approach, the Giants' draft strategy wasn't very sexy either.
After adding Pugh in Round 1, they bulked up the defensive line in Rounds 2 and 3 with Johnathan Hankins and Damontre Moore, found Manning's next backup in Ryan Nassib, added safety Cooper Taylor, a guard in Eric Herman and some backfield depth with Michael Cox in the seventh round.
The team still has question marks -- in the linebacking units and at cornerback especially stand out -- but it appears that depth will be on their side. A B- seems fair, as the team did accomplish a lot of the goals it appeared to have set out for.
Do you agree?
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