Politicians running to succeed an incumbent US President often ask this question on the campaign trail. It so happens that Giants' GM Dave Gettleman is in his 4th year. Ostensibly, in 4 years, with good drafting, trades, and free agent signings, it should have been possible to make the Giants' roster much better than it was when he arrived. But today's 1-5 team, embarrassed and outclassed by its last two opponents, calls this assumption into question. So this is a good time to ask: Is the Giants' roster better than it was 4 years ago when Gettleman took over?
NFL rosters are constantly changing, so it is not a simple matter to define what a team's 53-man roster is in any given year, and what a team's roster is on Opening Day is often not the same as what the team envisions its roster being because they use NFL rule magic to designate injured players as on IR, PUP, etc., with the intention of adding them to the 53 once they have served the number of weeks specified by NFL rules and have gotten to the point they can play.
So I made a table, shown at the end of this post, of the Giants' 53-man roster as of 9/1/21, but substituting Aaron Robinson and Elerson Smith for players who were actually temporarily on the roster then. Likewise, for the start of the Gettleman era, I took the Ourlads.com Giants roster for 3/1/18, i.e., at the start of the NFL year and before the 2018 draft, to fill out a 53-man roster with what they designated as first- and second-team players plus a select few from the third string who (as memory serves me) played for the Giants the previous year. The difference between the two is what the Gettleman era hath wrought.
You can make your own comparisons, but here is my take:
QB: The Rams game notwithstanding, Daniel Jones is now as good or better a QB than "checkdown Eli" was by 2018. Mike Glennon is a better backup than Geno Smith or Davis Webb.
RB: Even with the injuries, Saquon is a much better RB than anyone we had in 2018. But the group of Darkwa, Vereen, Gallman, and Perkins impresses me more than Booker, Penny, Brightwell , Gillaspia at the moment. I don't know why they don't give Brightwell some snaps to see what he can do.
TE: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Little change in my book. Rudolphs should have been an upgrade, but whether due to age or lisfranc, he's not. Smith would be an improvement except they don't use him.
WR: OBJ is better than any receiver the Giants have now, but by 2018 he was not the 2014 version we all remember. Shep was there in 2018 and 2021. The other 6 Giants' WRs are by far better than what we had then, and arguably one of the best in the NFL if youever get them all healthy. This is the greatest achievement of the Gettleman era.
OL: Andrew Thomas is better than any OT we had in 2018. Pugh and Richburg when healthy were better than any IOL we have now. I'll slightly take the rest of the 2021 group over the rest of the 2018 group based on potential alone.
DL: I like LW, Dexy, and Austin, but JPP, Snacks, and Dalvin were better, though JPP was not great for the Giants by 2018. Slight nod for Wynn/Thomas/Bromley over Shelton/R. Johnson because Shelton has been awful and RJ hasn't gotten much of a chance yet.
EDGE: In 2018 the "EDGE" classification wasn't as common as it is now, so I made my own assignments to split these off from LB and DE, which you may or may not agree with. But our 2018 group was head-and-shoulders better than the current group, though I think Ojulari is generally playing well and I cross my fingers on Smith.
LB: An undistinguished group then and now except for Martinez. Clearly the weakest position on the team.
S: By 2018 Landon Collins had been exposed as a S who cannot cover. In 2021 Jabrill Peppers has been exposed as a S who cannot cover. Otherwise the current group should be far better than the 2018 group, though you wouldn't know it by their play this year.
CB: In their prime, Jackrabbit and DRC were excellent corners. By 2018 the arrow was pointing down. The current group of corners is much deeper than the 2018 group and should be much better. But they are not playing that way.
ST: Gano > Rosas by a lot. Dixon > Wing by a little. Kreiter > later DeOssie.
So my scorecard for the Gettleman era: Boxes checked as improved (including replacement of aging players from 2018) for QB, WR, S, CB, ST and slightly for LB. Not much change at RB, TE, OL. Worse off now than then for DL and EDGE.
Cast your ballot...
|QB (3)||QB (2)|
|Eli Manning||Daniel Jones|
|Geno Smith||Mike Glennon|
|RB (4)||RB (5)|
|Orleans Darkwa||Saquon Barkley|
|Shane Vereen||Devontae Booker|
|Wayne Gallman||Eli Penny|
|Paul Perkins||Gary Brightwell|
|TE (3)||TE (3)|
|Evan Engram||Evan Engram|
|Rhett Ellison||Kyle Rudolph|
|Jerell Adams||Kaden Smith|
|WR (7)||WR (7)|
|Sterling Shepard||Sterling Shepard|
|Odell Beckham Jr.||Kenny Golladay|
|Brandon Marshall||Darius Slayton|
|Roger Lewis||Kadarius Toney|
|Dwayne Harris||John Ross|
|Tavarres King||C.J. Board|
|Travis Rudolph||Dante Pettis|
|OL (8)||OL (8)|
|Ereck Flowers||Andrew Thomas|
|DJ Fluker||Nate Solder|
|Justin Pugh||Will Hernandez|
|Weston Richburg||Nick Gates|
|John Jerry||Shane Lemieux|
|Adam Bisnowaty||Billy Price|
|John Greco||Matt Peart|
|John Halapio||Ben Bredeson|
|DL (6)||DL (5)|
|Jason Pierre-Paul||Leonard Williams|
|Damon Harrison||Dexter Lawrence|
|Dalvin Tomlinson||Austin Johnson|
|Kerry Wynn||Danny Shelton|
|Robert Thomas||Raymond Johnson|
|EDGE (4)||EDGE (4)|
|Olivier Vernon||Lorenzo Carter|
|Devon Kennard||Azeez Ojulari|
|Romeo Okwara||Oshane Ximines|
|Avery Moss||Elerson Smith|
|LB (5)||LB (5)|
|BJ Goodson||Blake Martinez|
|Jonathan Casillas||Tae Crowder|
|Keenan Robinson||Reggie Ragland|
|Mark Herzlich||Carter Coughlin|
|Ray Ray Armstrong||Cam Brown|
|S (4)||S (4)|
|Landon Collins||Jabrill Peppers|
|Darian Thompson||Logan Ryan|
|Andrew Adams||Xavier McKinney|
|Nat Berhe||Julian Love|
|CB (6)||CB (7)|
|Janoris Jenkins||James Bradberry|
|Eli Apple||Adoree' Jackson|
|Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie||Darnay Holmes|
|Ross Cockrell||Rodarius Williams|
|Brandon Dixon||Aaron Robinson|
|Donte Deayon||Sam Beal|
|ST (3)||ST (3)|
|Aldrick Rosas||Graham Gano|
|Brad Wing||Riley Dixon|
|Zak DeOssie||Casey Kreiter|