After a second straight losing season, the New York Giants of course re-tooled their roster. Out went several veterans. In came a new crop of free agents and a draft class. Where does that leave the Giants? Well, if you believe the NFL roster rankings from Pro Football Focus, posted as 'Insider' content at ESPN, pretty much nowhere.
The Giants' roster is ranked No. 21 in the league by PFF. Here is what Sam Monson wrote about the Giants:
Top five players: Odell Beckham Jr., Geoff Schwartz, Jason Pierre-Paul, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Johnathan Hankins
Starters who should be upgraded: George Selvie, Jameel McClain, Jon Beason, J.T. Thomas, Weston Richburg, John Jerry
Analysis: Odell Beckham Jr.'s emergence as a rookie gives the Giants one of the best wide receiver trios in the league (Victor Cruz, Reuben Randle). Eli Manning bounced back in new offensive coordinator Bob McAdoo's system a year ago, so they could have an explosive passing attack, especially with Shane Vereen now coming out of the backfield. The offensive line is one of the biggest question marks on the roster.
The defense has a few nice pieces on the defensive line and at cornerback, but the Giants will trot out perhaps the worst linebacker unit in the league. Second-round rookie safety Landon Collins will be counted on heavily to make tackles in the back end.
Now for my quibbles with Monson's projections.
Schwartz as one of the Giants' top five players? Umm, since when? I like Schwartz, he's a good player and is expected to be an important piece of the offense in 2015. He isn't, however, one of the top five players on the roster. Eli Manning? Victor Cruz? Larry Donnell? Prince Amukamara? Shane Vereen? Maybe Justin Pugh? There are probably some other guys who should be in that conversation, as well. That's not a shot at Schwartz. There is just no way right now you can legitimaely make a case that he is one of the best five players on the roster.
Now for starters who should be upgraded. Three of the five guys on that list are linebackers. OK, so most of the world thinks the Giants will stink at linebacker. The quibble is that it appears that McClain is Beason's backup, so both won't start. Selvie as a starter who needs to be upgraded? He probably isn't starting, anyway. Jerry only starts if Schwartz gets hurt or there is another injury, so that's moot. Richburg? Not fair to trash a guy who played out of position as a rookie and battled his way through 15 starts. The belief here is that he will be a quality center.
If he's right, the Giants might as well pack it up, go home and start planning for another early draft pick in 2016.