Every year ESPN attempts to project the future of the NFL for the next three years in advance of the coming training camp and regular season.
It’s fair to say that nobody really knows what to expect from anyone when it comes to the 2020 season. However, ESPN has turned to a panel of experts to try and rank each NFL team and how they’re set up for the future (Insider content)
They explain their ranking and grading systems and how they weight each of the criteria they grade like this:
To project which NFL franchises are in the best shape for the next three seasons, we asked our panel of experts — Jeremy Fowler, Louis Riddick, Seth Walder and Field Yates — to rate each team’s quarterback, remaining (non-QB) roster, draft, front office and coaching using this scale:
100: A+ (Elite)
90: A (Great)
80: B (Very good)
70: C (Average)
60: D (Very bad)
50 and below: F (Disastrous)
After averaging the results from the panelists, each of the five categories was weighted to create the overall score — roster (30%), quarterback (20%), draft (15%), front office (15%) and coaching (20%). The result is a comprehensive ranking based on how well each team is positioned for the future.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what ESPN’s experts think of the Giants.
29. New York Giants
Overall score: 69.3
Rroster (minus QB): 65.332
Front Office: 62.029
Why they’re here: The pieces are in place among the skill players for quarterback Daniel Jones to make a quantum leap in his second season as the starter, the first under new coach Joe Judge and coordinator Jason Garrett. The defense is the concern as all three levels are in need of a talent boost. GM Dave Gettleman’s track record in New York has come under fire with moves like trading for Leonard Williams and subsequently franchise-tagging him; there’s a clamoring for major roster improvement with this 2020 squad. — Yates
Biggest worry: Time is running out for Gettleman. He has to have nailed the selection of Judge as the HC, and he has to provide Jones and RB Saquon Barkley with an offensive line that is capable of helping them both reach their potential. If these two things don’t happen in 2020, Gettleman won’t be there in 2021. — Riddick
Looking ahead: A year or two from now, the Giants could still be about three pieces away on defense. Hard to project how maligned corner DeAndre Baker pans out, so corner seems like a constant need. New York is still unspectacular at some defensive line and linebacker spots. Gettleman set out to fix the offensive line once and for all, and I do expect improvement there in 2020. The defense still feels like patchwork, with holes at multiple spots. — Fowler
Top stat to know: Judge is a relative unknown, but here’s a point in his favor: The Patriots finished in the top 10 in regular-season special-teams efficiency in four of the five seasons he was special-teams coordinator in New England, and were top five in three of the five. Special teams is highly variant, so that kind of consistent success is noteworthy. — Walder
We have to remember that this ranking is not about 2020. It’s about projecting how the various NFL franchises are set up for 2020, 2021, and 2022.
Given the way 2020 has unfolded thus far, it’s impossible to say what the season — assuming we have a full regular season — will look like for the Giants. They are certainly behind the 8-ball for the coming year. With preseason not happening, the Giants will be relying on rookies and second-year players at a variety of positions, from quarterback to safety. That’s cause for concern in any year, and doubly so given that they are being forced to transition to new offensive and defensive schemes while having to replace a normal off-season with video chats and solo training. The first time these players will see the field in these schemes is in an NFL regular season game, which is a trial by fire to say the least.
But these power rankings are for the next three years, and if things break right, the Giants should take steps forward over that time. They’ll need a number of their young players to show improvement and greater consistency. They’ll also need Joe Judge to show that he is ready and able to be an NFL head coach. Judge has never managed a game or a team at any level of football and is unproven at this point. That being said, the fact that he could coax consistent performance from an inherently inconsistent facet of the game is encouraging
Most of ESPN’s criticism of the Giants comes down to Dave Gettleman. The Giants’ GM has certainly been criticized for how he as used his resources, and the experts are right to point out the holes across the roster. The Giants might not have a “number one” receiver or starting center on their offense, while their defense might lack a consistent pass rushing threat, impact linebackers, a second corner, or a true free safety. We heard that Gettleman’s job was in real peril after last season, but we can’t say with any certainty whether this is a “make it or break it” year for him. Giants’ ownership is unlikely to have much in the way of patience for another floundering season from the Giants.
However, if the Giants can show improvement — things like Daniel Jones eliminating much of the inconsistency and inefficiency from his game, Andrew Thomas looking like a legitimate starting tackle, Dexter Lawrence do more than simply try to overpower linemen — then the Giants should have a foundation to rise up the rankings in 2021 and 2022.