There may not be high expectations for the New York Giants in 2020. Football Outsiders, though, hints at a bright future by listing the Giants No. 2 in a ranking of NFL teams by under-25 talent [ESPN+ subscribers only].
Here is some of what Football Outsiders said about the Giants’ under-25 players:
Blue-chip players: Will Hernandez, LG; Saquon Barkley, RB; Daniel Jones, QB; Dexter Lawrence, DT; Andrew Thomas, OT
GM Dave Gettleman inherited a three-win Giants team with the No. 2 pick in 2018, made a slew of trades and acquisitions in opposition to analytics, and earned two more top-six picks on the heels of five- and four-win seasons. And yet, Gettleman could have the last laugh. He might not have maximized his return on investment in Saquon Barkley and Dexter Lawrence at their draft positions in the first round. But Barkley again broke a tackle on more than one-fifth of his touches in 2019 and looks like a generational running back at still just 23 years old. And with 18 hurries in his rookie season, Lawrence showed surprising versatility for a player who looks the part of an old-school run-stopper.
Still, the success or failure of this promising Giants roster will rest on the shoulders of quarterback Daniel Jones. After a modestly productive college career, Jones was the biggest surprise of Gettleman’s many surprising draft picks at sixth overall in 2019, nine spots ahead of Dwayne Haskins who many scouts preferred. But at least compared to the historically inefficient Haskins, Jones enjoyed a successful rookie season ...
And while the Odell Beckham trade subtracted a young, talented receiver who could have helped Jones reach his potential, Gettleman has since added much more talent around his franchise quarterback. That starts on the offensive line ... And at receiver, fifth-round sophomore Darius Slayton might not replace Beckham, but his 9.6% DVOA rookie season showcased badly needed efficiency and field-stretching ...
The Giants’ budding defensive talent could take a hit pending the fallout of cornerback DeAndre Baker’s criminal charges. Still, the team has several young assets on that side of the ball, especially at safety where Julian Love’s outstanding substitute play in late 2019 leaves the team with an extra option at the position with Jabrill Peppers poised to return healthy and second-round steal Xavier McKinney poised to start immediately in his rookie season.
I wrote the other day that the Giants finally have both feet planted in a new era that has the franchise pointed toward what will hopefully be a brighter future. That’s where a franchise that has gone a miserable 12-36 over the past three season has to be.
The idea that Gettleman has perhaps not maximized his return on investment in every instance is one I have agreed with. Apparently, I am on the only who believes that despite those arguable missed opportunities and an apparent misstep with Baker the Giants have put in in place an impressive young nucleus. Look at the roster — a hefty percentage of their key players are on their first NFL contracts.
It’s reason to be optimistic. If Jones is the right quarterback, Joe Judge the right coach, and the Giants keep adding solid young talent things will get better in East Rutherford.
No. 1 on the list, incidentally, is the Baltimore Ravens.