Despite a 6-10 record, the 2020 rookie class for the New York Giants offers the team hope for the future.
Nick Shook of NFL.com graded the Giants a C+ for their 2020 rookie class, placing them third in the division behind the B+ grades given to the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Football Team, but ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles who received a C grade.
Arguably the most important part of the draft class, fourth overall pick Andrew Thomas had a rough start but undeniably got better as the season progressed. Named by Pro Football Focus as one of six 2020 rookies most likely to break out in 2021, Thomas’ PFF pass-blocking grade saw a jump from 45.3 through Week 7 all the way to 63.5 past Week 8. Finishing with similar rookie year stats as fellow NFC East tackle (and 2013 fourth overall pick) Lane Johnson, the Giants would love to see a Year 2 improvement to finally help shore up Daniel Jones’ blind side.
Alongside Thomas on the O-Line were third-round pick Matt Peart, who showed flashes in his appearances and one start in place of a suspended Thomas, and fifth-round pick Shane Lemieux, who took over for Will Hernandez when he was placed on the COVID-19 list. Considering the midseason switch from Marc Colombo to Dave DeGugliemo, having stability at the position under new coach Rob Sale will be key to their line’s development in 2021.
On the other side of the ball, second-round pick Xavier McKinney was limited to only 6 games due to a foot injury, but flashed his potential. McKinney played up to a 70 PFF grade and finished the season on a high note with his first career interception in Week 17 against Dallas. With McKinney in the secondary was fourth-round pick Darnay Holmes, who also picked up his first career interception and sack amid 442 total snaps. Holmes, however, did allow 41 catches on 52 targets. But Shook mentions that Holmes’ athleticism and instinct make him “a potential candidate for Year 2 improvement.”
Meanwhile, late-round pickup Tae Crowder and undrafted free agent Niko Lalos both put in solid efforts on a vastly improving Giants defense. The 2020 Mr. Irrelevant, Crowder finished the season with 57 tackles with three for a loss as well as a sack, a pass defended and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. Lalos, in his first career NFL game against Cincinnati, notched a big time interception.
Finally, late-round picks Cam Brown, Carter Coughlin, T.J. Brunson and UDFA Austin Mack all contributed.
While the final grade may seem low, the Giants have gotten more than enough flashes from their rookie class to feel optimistic heading into next season with the goal of improving in head coach Joe Judge’s second season.