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Grading the Giants: Rating the offensive personnel

How does the roster stack up?

San Francisco 49ers v New York Giants Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

It’s been a rough 0-4 start for the New York Football Giants in Year 3 of Dave Gettleman’s tenure as GM. The apparent dearth of talent on the roster, along with all of the struggles have evoked, rightfully so, a ton of emotion from the Giants’ fanbase about Gettleman’s future with the team.

Last week on Big Blue View Radio, Ed Valentine was joined by The Scouting Academy Director Dan Hatman. It’s a very informative listen. Hatman, who formerly worked in the scouting departments of the Giants, Jets, and Eagles, discussed a color based grading system to evaluate the current players on your roster.

We took to the interwebs and came across a pro personnel grading system from Landryfootball.com. I’ll put the grading system below and write two articles on the current state of the Giants’ roster as it pertains to finding building blocks for the franchise. I will be writing this with the injured players included. Today, the offense:

The grading scale

(via Landry Football)

This grading scale is designed to separate classes of players as well as skill sets and athletic traits. The grade only reflects what a player is currently, not what he was or can be.

“7.4 – 7.0 (BLUE) = BLUE players are the top line players in the league. BLUE Players make the plays that are the difference in close games. They have Superior talent and consistently make big plays.

7.4 = One of the top handful of players in the league if not the best.

7.0 = One of top players at his position in the league.

6.9 – 6.5 (RED) = RED players win for you. They have starter type production in the league. The Top line REDS are usually BLUE in either the running or passing game but fall short in the other. RED players are impact players and start on contending teams.

6.9 = One of the best players at his position in the league. You must game plan for their presence.

6.5 = High level player at his position in the league. They cause some match up problems.

6.4 – 6.0 (PURPLE) = PURPLE players are players that you can win with even if they are not players that can win for you. They are usually RED in some areas and can match up with some REDS but overall fall short of REDS. PURPLES are very good players. They are solid starters who will usually get the job done in at least some areas. The Pro Personnel scouting axiom is to not play anyone below a PURPLE.

6.4= Upper tier in the solid starter category and are close to being a RED and may even be in some areas.

6.0 = Solid starter but not on the verge of being in the REDS and may even be close to trending to ORANGE. Could be a declining veteran or someone lacking in special physical or intangible traits.

5.9 – 5.5 (GREEN) = GREENS are young players with upside potential. While you may not be able to currently play them much, it is due to inexperience and not physical or intangible traits. You cannot to play too many GREENS unless you are in a rebuilding year or out of playoff contention.

5.9 = Players with lots of physical ability with inexperience the only thing holding them back to being in the RED area or above.

5.5 = Good young players with the physical ability with inexperience the only thing holding them back to being in the PURPLE area or above.

The above 3 rating areas are the minimum of what a club must have to win. Any Player below purple must be upgraded or the club does not match up at that position creating a mismatch advantage for their opponents.

5.4 – 5.0 (ORANGE) = An ORANGE player is one with backup ability and/or production only. They do not match up versus the REDS and are dominated by the BLUES. An ORANGE should make your squad only if they are a RED or BLUE special teamer. Otherwise, you must replace your ORANGES.

5.4 = A player with ORANGE production but may have PURPLE or above physical or intangible traits.

5.0= A player who will never be more than a back up roster player and one that you must replace unless he is a RED or BLUE special teamer.

4.9 – 4.5 (YELLOW) = A YELLOW player is one who lacks the ability and skills to contribute even as a backup OR someone who has serious medical or character issues. In any of these cases, these players are not worth developing.

4.9 = A player who is not good enough at this point but may have some qualities to develop into a backup at some point. Usually someone with decent physical traits but trying to overcome medical or character flaws.

4.5 = A player that you think is not good enough and likely has serious playing, medical or character flaws and therefore not worth developing.

That’s the scale, let’s get started:

Blue

7.4 = One of the top handful of players in the league if not the best.

Sadly, there is no one on the Giants that fits into this category. A healthy Saquon Barkley was the only Giants’ player that I seriously entertained, but even he couldn’t overcome the circumstance of the offensive line.

7.0 = One of top players at his position in the league.

RB Saquon Barkley: Barkley’s injuries are starting to become a major concern for the franchise, especially because the Giants’ spent the second overall pick on the running back; that’s a hefty opportunity cost when Baker Mayfeild was the first selection, leaving Sam Darnold available for a possible trade down situation, but his talent is evident when healthy. He’s struggled to reach his potential behind a bad offensive line, but he’s still one of the top players at the position in the league, and ... sadly, the only blue chip offensive player on this team.

Red

6.9 = One of the best players at his position ... You must game plan for their presence.

Again, there is no one on the offense, in my opinion, that falls into this category.

6.5 = High level player at his position. They cause some matchup problems.

OG Kevin Zeitler: After a lackluster start to the season in Week 1 against Pittsburgh, Zeitler has stabilized and returned to being a very good guard in this league. This leaves us with two players in the first two tiers, and we’re already onto purple.

Purple

6.4= Upper tier in the solid starter category and are close to being a RED and may even be in some areas.

WR Sterling Shepard: He’s currently dealing with his major problem, staying healthy. Shepard is the best route runner on the team, and still offers at least some explosiveness, along with a solid ability to catch the football (which seems difficult with today’s Giants). I feel he’s a solid starter, but not a true No. 1 type of receiver.

6.0 = Solid starter but not on the verge of being in the REDS and may even be close to trending to ORANGE. Could be a declining veteran or someone lacking in special physical or intangible traits.

QB Daniel Jones: The young quarterback is in his second system in as many years, and has little around him. There are a lot of things I like about Jones, but he must develop a better sense in the pocket, be more effective against zone coverage, and cut down on the costly mistakes.

WR Darius Slayton: Had an excellent rookie season, and started the year off hot against Pittsburgh. Now, teams have caught onto his skill-set and can focus a bit more on Slayton, especially with no Barkley or Shepard on the field. He’s a solid foundational piece to the offense, but he hasn’t seized the true No. 1 wide receiver type of role.

May even be close to trending to ORANGE.

OG Will Hernandez: I’m starting to get mpatient waiting, and making excuses, for Hernandez to be the dominant guard we expected him to be coming out of UTEP. Is he strong, yes, but he seems to have mental lapses, and balance issues, that lead to really bad reps on the interior. It’s difficult to play next to an inexperienced center and tackle, but he has to be the professional and stabilize a unit that has been problematic for the Giants’ since way before his arrival in 2018.

WR Golden Tate: Tate only makes this category because of the success he had with Jones last year. So far in 2020, it doesn’t seem to be quite there; he certainly looks to be in decline, but the sample size is small. I admire Tate’s toughness, football IQ, and his elusiveness in space, albeit we haven’t seen much of that in 2020.

TE Evan Engram: Similar to Hernandez - when is this “breakout” consistent player going to emerge? Engram’s injuries have held him back and now he could be a focal point of this offense, but he continually makes mistakes to hold the offense back. I want Garrett to use him in a more vertical fashion, but he’s not executing the assignments that he’s asked to do well. His route running isn’t great, his hands have been a problem, and his blocking is a liability. The Giants need to find ways to get the ball into Engram’s hands in space, and they’ve definitely tried, but nothing has come of it. His time is now, and he needs to seize this moment.

OT Cameron Fleming: The footwork and foot speed by Fleming in pass protection cannot match up against blue chip type of players. Fleming is an adequate football player who does possess good play strength, and is a solid run blocker, but he does struggle in pass protection. Fleming would be the last of this group, and a fringe ORANGE prospect.

Green

5.9 = Players with lots of physical ability with inexperience the only thing holding them back to being in the RED area or above.

OT Andrew Thomas: There’s still a lot to prove with Thomas; he’s starting at LT on a shaky line and hasn’t been great. He’s second in the league with pressures allowed (19), only behind Bobby Hart of the Bengals. His technique hasn’t been great, and he’s struggled with balance and lunging. I still feel he has the potential to be a 6.5 (Red) in the future, so I have him here at 5.9 because he’s not quite there yet.

5.5 = Good young players with the physical ability with inexperience the only thing holding them back to being in the PURPLE area or above.

OC Nick Gates: There were some Week 1 hiccups that may have been cleaned up by Gates. He hasn’t been a total liability at center, however he’s still very raw and struggles with strength at the point of attack. His versatility is great, and I do feel he could be a better tackle than a center, but he definitely has upside.

OT Matt Peart: We saw 12 Matt Peart snaps on Sunday and it seemed fine. There was one rep where he looked incredibly smooth guiding a pass rusher up the arc and away from the pocket. His footwork, quickness, length, and mirroring ability were always very good for a UCONN prospect; now we just need to see him consistently in action, while also seeing if he can hold up well with his punch and his strength.

TE Kaden Smith: According to Pro Football Focus, Smith has 74 inline snaps, 21 slot snaps, and 5 backfield snaps. He is playing significant snaps for this offense and he provides quality versatility. He’s a better blocker than Engram, has better hands, and is a better route runner, he just doesn’t have the athletic upside. Smith is a quality player, and could develop into a 6.0.

RB Wayne Gallman: I’m putting Gallman in this category because he is a young player (just turned 26) and he doesn’t have many reps. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2017 draft, and Barkley was picked 2nd overall the next year. Gallman has more snaps in his rookie season than he has in the last three years. He has been solid when given a shot on the field, so I’m willing to put Gallman at 5.5 due to the lack of playing time since Barkley’s arrival.

OG Shane Lemieux: We’ve hardly seen anything from Lemieux, but he has upside due to his competitive toughness, play strength, and the solid processing he displayed at Oregon.

Orange

5.4 = A player with ORANGE production but may have PURPLE or above physical or intangible traits.

RB Devonta Freeman: He’s only been with the Giants for two games, and he’s being eased into the offensive system. He shows very good vision, and runs well in between the tackles, displaying contact balance and strength. It does seem like he’s lost some burst, but he’s serviceable.

5.0 = A player who will never be more than a backup roster player and one that you must replace unless he is a RED or BLUE special teamer

TE Levine Toilolo: He will never be a starting tight end, but he has his role on the offense in pass protection, and as a run blocking tight end in 12/13 personnel.

RB Dion Lewis: Similar to Toilolo, Lewis has his role as a third down back. He’s shifty in space, good in tight quarters, but lacks burst and speed. Lewis is solid in pass protection, despite his smaller frame. He’s still a replaceable third down back.

QB Colt McCoy: A good backup quarterback for Daniel Jones, and someone who can come in and run the offense in a pinch. He won’t be able to push the ball vertical or from the far hash consistently, but his processing and short accuracy is adequate.

Yellow

4.9 = A player who is not good enough at this point but may have some qualities to develop into a backup at some point. Usually someone with decent physical traits but trying to overcome medical or character flaws (doesn’t need to be though).

WR C.J. Board: He’s playing too many snaps as of right now, but he’s a younger player who possesses good athletic ability and contested catch ability (at least in camp).

WR Damion Ratley: Freddie Kitchens loved Ratley in Cleveland, and the Giants brought him over because of his speed, but his vertical ability has not been on display. I believe both Ratley and Board are solid depth pieces being forced to play too many snaps.

FB Elijhaa Penny: He hardly sees the field on offense, and the Giants have been using Smith or even Lemeiux in his role, but he does play on special. teams. He’s a replaceable player on this roster.

4.5 = A player that you think is not good enough and likely has serious playing, medical or character flaws and therefore not worth developing.

N/A

The totals

Blue — 1
Red — 1
Purple — 7
Green — 6
Orange — 4
Yellow — 3

Final thoughts

There’s little doubt that the Giants’ offense is filled with young, mostly unproven, players. There’s not a lot of go to options for Daniel Jones, and players are either under-performing or seem a bit long in the tooth. Having only two players as blue or red chip performers is not a great situation on this side of the football. I’m trying to be patient with Jason Garrett and this 2020 Giants’ offense due to the lack of reps and continuity, but the progression of players like Hernandez and Engram are particularly frustrating. The offense has a ways to go before they’re competitive, and that’s underlined by the unfortunate fact that they failed to score a touchdown in the last two games.