I can’t answer every question that comes into the Big Blue View Mailbag. Some are repetitive. Some are just rants rather than questions. Some, though, require longer answers than I can give within the confines of a normal mailbag.
One such question about your New York Giants came in recently from Glenn Mausolf. Glenn asked:
Which current players on the roster that are on their rookie contract would you suspect will receive a second contract/extension? Essentially, I’m asking which young players do you consider the core of the roster? I think there are some interesting decisions to be made with Dalvin Tomlinson, Lorenzo Carter, Will Hernandez, Evan Engram, etc.
So, let’s talk about that. The players on rookie contracts with the Giants are those drafted from 2017 forward. Thus, we’re talking about players taking in Jerry Reese’s final draft, and the two drafts conducted by Dave Gettleman.
Let’s go year-by-year.
Evan Engram (TE, Round 1) — The Giants, I think, would love for Engram to be part of the long-term core. He has speed and skills that not a lot of tight ends can match, and that are valuable to modern offenses as they seek matchup advantages.
It’s all about health. I do expect the Giants this spring to exercise Engram’s fifth-year option. If he can stay healthy the next couple of seasons that could convince the Giants to give him a long-term deal and make him part of their future. If he can’t, they won’t. So, the jury is out.
Dalvin Tomlinson (DT, Round 2) — Tomlinson is a good player fighting an uphill battle against the way the Giants have historically handled the defensive tackle position. Their history, which current GM Dave Gettleman has been a part of, is to draft defensive tackles, use them on their rookie deals, then draft a replacement and move on when it was time to pay them. William Joseph, Barry Cofield, Linval Joseph, Johnathan Hankins are all players who were discarded instead of given second contracts. Tomlinson might be next. Maybe the Giants will surprise me, but given that history, I will say Tomlinson is not part of the long-term core.
Wayne Gallman (RB, Round 4) — Second contract? Nope. Gallman might not even be part of the Giants’ 2020 plans. He got buried by the Pat Shurmur coaching staff and seems to have been supplanted as the Giants. No. 2 back by Dion Lewis.
Saquon Barkley (RB, Round 1) — Umm, yes. Part of the core. One of the two centerpieces. Do we even have to talk about this any further?
Will Hernandez (G, Round 2) — Hernandez did not take the step forward in 2019 that the Giants hoped he would. He is, however, still a big part of their future and a player they believe could be the Chris Snee of the current generation of Giants. Definitely part of the core.
Lorenzo Carter (LB, Round 3) — Lots of athleticism here, but not enough production yet to warrant a long-term deal after the 2021 season. The jury is still out as Carter has a lot yet to prove.
B.J. Hill (DT, Round 3) — I worried after his surprising 5.5-sack rookie season that his pass rush production was a mirage. It seemed that way last season when he had just 1 sack and 2 quarterback pressures. Hill needs to prove he is more than a replaceable part on the defensive line. I think the jury is out on whether he should be called a core player.
R.J. McIntosh (DT, Round 5) — Has given the Giants virtually nothing in two seasons. He’s a replaceable part of the defensive line rotation. Not part of the core.
Daniel Jones (QB, Round 1) — Like Barkley, do we even have to talk about this? He better be part of the core. The Giants will be in trouble if they get to his fourth season and don’t want to exercise his fifth-year option or give him a new long-term deal.
Dexter Lawrence (DT, Round 1) — Sexy Dexy had an excellent rookie season. The Giants hope to see more development from Lawrence as an interior pass rusher. As we talked about with Tomlinson, the Giants have a history of not giving big second contracts to interior defensive linemen. Lawrence could be the guy who breaks that mold. He is part of the core.
DeAndre Baker (CB, Round 1) — The Giants gave up a lot of draft capital to get Baker, and his rookie season was a mixed bag. The Giants have to hope Baker shows improvement in 2020 and that a new coaching staff gets more out of him. Is he part of the core? The jury is still out.
Oshane Ximines (EDGE, Round 3) — Flashed potential in 2019, but the Giants need more from him going forward. It’s too early to say whether or not he will be worth a second contract.
Julian Love (DB, Round 4) — It was a mystery why Love did not get to play during the first half of 2019. He did well once he got on the field. Whether it’s in the slot or at free safety I would expect Love to play a significant role in 2020. Part of the core? Again, too early to tell.
Ryan Connelly (LB, Round 5) — We only saw three games before he got hurt a season ago. There just isn’t enough to go on to call him part of the core.
Darius Slayton (WR, Round 5) — Might already be the Giants’ best wide receiver. If he can stay healthy, there is no reason to think he won’t be part of the core.
Corey Ballentine (DB, Round 6) — Ballentine is a sixth-round pick who struggled in the slot. It’s too early to know about his long-term future.
Chris Slayton (DT, Round 7) — Spent the season on the practice squad. A rotational part of the defensive line, at best. Not part of the long-term core.