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Conference championship games: What can New York Giants learn from teams still playing?

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Let's look at how the rosters of the four teams still playing were built.

Cam Newton
Cam Newton
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

What can the New York Giants, out of the playoffs four straight seasons and admittedly in need of a roster upgrade, learn from the four teams who will meet Sunday in Conference Championship games hoping to earn a spot in Super Bowl 50?

Albert Breer of NFL.com has done a detailed study of how the rosters of each of the four teams playing Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship Game and the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, were constructed. The graphic below details his findings:

How do the Giants compare to those numbers? Using the final 52-man roster as currently listed on Giants.com, here is the breakdown:

  • Homegrown: 15 draft choices/8 undrafted free agents
  • Outside free agents: 28
  • Trades: 2
  • Last five first-round picks: Ereck Flowers, OT (2015, 9); Odell Beckham, WR (2014, 12); Justin Pugh, OL (2013, 19); David Wilson, RB (2012, 32); Prince Amukamara, CB (2011, 19)

A couple of notes about the way I calculated this. Hakeem Nicks and BarryCofield were counted as outside free agents because, while both were originally Giants' draft choices, they were acquired in 2015 as street free agents. Also, players picked up on waivers were counted in the free agents category.

Players on IR are not counted in this breakdown. The Giants had 24 players finish the season on IR, a number admittedly skewed by several players who probably didn't belong on IR being placed there over the final couple of weeks of the season simply so the Giants could field a complete team. Here are the IR totals for the four semifinalists:

Arizona, 14; Carolina, 11; Denver, 7, New England, 21.

Make what you will of these numbers. The obvious takeaway is that each of these teams put more players it drafted and developed on the field than the Giants did. The team most heavily reliant on trades and free agent signings is the Panthers, with 29 of its 53 players having played originally for other NFL teams. Former Giants pro personnel director Dave Gettleman is the GM in Carolina. My takeaway from that? Gettleman has a keen eye for useful players from other teams, and the Giants likely miss him.

What are your thoughts when you look at these numbers, Giants fans?