The flashy part of free agency came and went a long time ago. The 2018 NFL Draft is now in the books. The New York Giants, though, remain an incomplete product. There is still work to be done, and we still don’t know exactly what the team will look like this fall.
At his post-draft press conference on Saturday evening, general manager Dave Gettleman acknowledged as much:
“Listen, the roster process isn’t over. It’s not over and you build your roster. Roster building is a 12-month period. So am I happy with where we are right now? Yes. Do we have some needs? Yes. Do I want us to be better? Yes,” he said. “It takes time. Folks, you have to understand, Rome wasn’t built in a day. This is a brick-by-brick deal and at the end of the day we’re going to keep making moves, shake up the back end of the roster until we get it right.”
So, what bricks are still not in place? Let’s look at some of the places where the Giants appear to still need help before the 2018 season begins.
What’s the deal at right tackle?
Is Ereck Flowers going to be part of the Giants in 2018, or isn’t he? Flowers has skipped voluntary workouts and voluntary mini-camp thus far, apparently (though we don’t know for sure) not pleased about being bumped to right tackle and not guaranteed a starting spot.
The Giants tried to trade him during the draft, and weren’t able to. His attitude at the end of last season and the beginning of this one isn’t helping.
Maybe Chad Wheeler can handle right tackle. Maybe he can’t. If Flowers isn’t going to be part of the competition — and maybe even if he is — it’s hard to imagine the Giants not scouring the market during the summer and the preseason for a veteran tackle.
Some wide receiver depth?
The Giants have Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard at wide receiver. That’s a pretty good start. Are Cody Latimer and Roger Lewis Jr., who appear to be next in line, good enough to be the team’s third and fourth receivers? Is there anyone else on the current roster of wide receivers who really belongs in the NFL?
This seems like another area where the Giants might be looking for veteran help. And no, I’m not talking about Dez Bryant veteran help. Once again, I’m talking about watching throughout the summer and into preseason to see if any useful players become available.
Currently, Eric Decker and Jeremy Maclin are available. Giants wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert coached Decker when both were with the Denver Broncos.
Is this it at cornerback?
Right now, the Giants have Janoris Jenkins. They have Eli Apple. Then ... well, then they have questions.
In fact, what, exactly, do they have at cornerback that you are SURE they can depend on?
Jenkins? Had a phenomenal year for the Giants in 2016, undoubtedly. Injuries and whatever problems he had with the coaching staff that led to a suspension-marred 2017 make him a question mark.
Jenkins has promised that whatever happened last year “won’t happen this year.”
Eli Apple? Without rehashing all of the issues between Apple and the Giants last season let’s say this — the kid has talent, but absolutely no one can be sure he will get out of his own way long enough to utilize it.
William Gay has been a good player for a long time, but he is 33 and declining. How much can he really do? Do you feel good about any of Brandon Dixon, Donte Deayon, Curtis Riley, B.W. Webb, Teddy Williams or Tim Scott?
Rosas vs. Koehn at placekicker? Really?
After releasing Brad Wing, the Giants traded a conditional 2019 seventh-round pick to get punter Riley Dixon from the Denver Broncos. So, it looks like we know who will be punting for the Giants next season.
What about placekicker? Are they really going to let Aldrick Rosas, off a poor rookie season, and Marshall Koehn, whose career consists of one NFL extra point, compete for the job?
Maybe. For now. What is likely here is the same kind of thing that happened last season, where the Giants brought in veteran kicker Mike Nugent at the beginning of training camp. They could do something similar this year, bringing in a veteran in training camp or after roster cuts are made at the end of the preseason.
Rosas went 18-of-25 in field goals last season, struggling between 30-49 yards (7-of-14). His 72 percent accuracy placed him 37th among 41 qualifying kickers.
New special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey isn’t ready to give up on the former NAIA kicker.
“I see a kid that was a rookie last year and like most rookies in this league, they’re inconsistent. It’s rare where you see a rookie that just comes in and just rips it up just walking through the door,” McGaughey said. “He’s young and like Dave Gettleman always says, we’re not going to give up on talent. He’s a talented guy and there’s some things that he can do that a lot of people can’t do and I think there’s some talent there and we’re going to work with that talent.”
Still, it’s hard to imagine Koehn will be the only competition for Rosas that comes through the Giants’ door.