You can’t get everything you want
I have said for years that an NFL team can’t get everything it wants in a single offseason, much less everything it wants out of one draft class. The salary cap and the fact that teams only have a finite number of draft picks make it that way.
The idea is any offseason is to look at your roster, assess its strengths and weaknesses, figure out the resources you have available in terms of free agency money and draft capital, and do the best you can to address as many of the weaknesses as you can.
The Giants have a pretty good job adding pieces (Brandon Marshall, Rhett Ellison, D.J. Fluker, Evan Engram, Wayne Gallman) to an offense that was clearly a problem last season. They brought Jason Pierre-Paul back and plugged the vacancy left by Johnathan Hankins with second-round pick Dalvin Tomlinson. My guess is you won’t even notice that Big Hank is gone.
The Giants didn’t get everything they, or the fans, hoped for — an obvious offensive line upgrade, a stud linebacker, cornerback depth, maybe a placekicker. It’s true that I pushed my grade for the Giants’ draft down a bit because of what they didn’t do.
Still, all in all, it seems like it’s been a pretty good offseason for the Giants thus far.
LeGarrette Blount is still a fit
Even though the Giants drafted running back Wayne Gallman, I would still support the move if they were to sign veteran LeGarrette Blount. Provided, of course that it is to a short-term deal that isn’t for a ridiculous amount of money.
Paul Perkins should be a good NFL back, but he’s not a power back who pushes the pile for tough yards inside. Neither is Shane Vereen. Gallman might be a good player, and he might be capable of handling short-yardage and goal line duties eventually, but nobody knows.
We know what Blount, 6’1, 245 pounds is. He’s a battering ram. We know he still has gas in the tank, coming off the most productive year of his career, with career-highs in carries (299), yards (1,161) and touchdowns (18). We know, thanks to Pro Football Focus, that Blount excels at the type of inside runs that the Giants like to use.
So, yes, Blount to the Giants makes a lot of sense.
Jerry Reese is boring, and that’s fine
It sure was fun watching teams like the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Seattle Seahwaks and a few other teams hopscotch all around the board during the 2017 NFL Draft. That draft, in fact, easily set a record for the highest number of traded picks.
Meanwhile, GM Jerry Reese and the Giants sat tight, contributing only a sixth-round trade to move up and select offensive tackle Adam Bisnowaty to the wheeling and dealing.
This is what Jerry Reese is. I have said it before, but this is how he was trained. Let the draft come to you. Don’t chase players. Trust your scouts. Trust your draft board. Make your picks. The Giants have won four Super Bowls and gotten there five times doing it this way. Deal with it. Just because all that moving around is fun to watch and gets fan bases fired up doesn’t mean it is actually always productive when it comes to fielding a winning football team. Sometimes it works, sometimes it blows up in your face.
Reese did indicate there were a couple of players the Giants would have moved up for in Round 1, and, while he didn’t name them he said they were “pipe dreams.”
Let’s suppose for a minute that the speculation offensive tackle Garett Bolles was their preferred choice at 23 is true, which I believe it to be. By whatever trade value chart you use, the likely cost of moving up in front of the Denver Broncos (to No. 18 or 19) was a third-round pick. Put it another way — was getting Bolles worth giving up Evan Engram and Davis Webb?
Decide that for yourselves. My answer is no.
We have to talk about the offensive line
While fans and draft analysts have been pounding the table for two years and screaming that the Giants need upgrades on the offensive line, all Reese has done in the draft is use a sixth-round pick (and trade a seventh) to get Bisnowaty.
Why? Well, I think there are two reasons. I think he and the Giants like what they already have more than you do. I also think Reese is telling the truth when he talks about sticking to the board, drafting for value and not reaching for need. Reese talks about windows and not taking players who aren’t in their window when they pick. Which means, if a player doesn’t have a grade that makes him deserving of being selected in that spot, the Giants don’t want to pick one simply to fill a need.
Speaking with WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Monday, coach Ben McAdoo was optimistic that Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart would improve in their third NFL seasons, and second with offensive line coach Mike Solari. The Giants added D.J. Fluker, a player they were reportedly very high on back in the 2013 NFL Draft.
In this draft, Bolles was gone and they felt Engram was a better value than Cam Robinson or Ryan Ramcyzk. Right or wrong? I don’t know, we’ll all find out. In Round 2, I know the Giants really liked Dion Dawkins and Taylor Moton. They just liked defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson more. In Round 3, McAdoo was reportedly banging the table for Webb. The Giants, to my knowledge, had a lot of interest in Bucknell’s Julien Davenport. He went 24th and, had the Giants not been dropped 10 spots bythe walkie-talkie penalty, might have been a Giant.
Does Reese not care about the offensive line? I don’t think so. If Fluker earns a starting spot the Giants could have three first-round picks (Fluker, Flowers, Justin Pugh) and a second-round pick (Weston Richburg) on the line. If Hart beats out Fluker, four Reese draftees could be starters.
There are moves yet to come
The major roster building is done, but the offseason isn’t over. Teams around the league have been cutting players after the draft. There will continue to be players made available right up until the season begins. I would be surprised at this point if the Giants did not try to add a veteran swing tackle like King Dunlap or Ryan Clady, as well as a veteran corner. Reese has already said he will be looking for a veteran placekicker. To be honest, he might not even find the kicker he really wants until Week 1, so relax and let that play out.
The Giants, as constructed right now, look better than they were at the end of last season. I think that’s the biggest point to remember.