Good morning, New York Giants fans!
Highest ranking: 1 | Lowest ranking: 12
Age: 24 | Last year’s ranking: 1
Barkley broke a tie with McCaffrey and Ezekiel Elliott for last year’s top spot because he had the most No. 1 votes by a wide margin.
He still found his way atop a few ballots this year, but his recovery from a torn ACL is a concern. Having a big 2021 is hardly a slam dunk, at least early on, as running backs often need time to regain explosion. And Barkley wasn’t impressive in limited action in 2020, with 34 yards on 19 carries and an average of 0.84 yards per rush after first contact, worst among the top 10 on this list.
He is still an eye-test guy for many: Watch him play, how defenses assign four or five defenders to his every move, and you’ll understand.
“Still has the rare combination of speed and explosion and size and elusiveness,” an AFC scout said. “He’s kind of been a victim of a bad supporting cast. He does things as well or better than anybody on the list.”
The Giants added a few offensive playmakers this offseason, which should help take some of the focus off Barkley.
In an ideal world, Andrew Thomas’ rookie season would have resembled Tristan Wirfs’ year, making him an easy inclusion here. There were promising things to take away from how Thomas closed the year, but his 62.4 grade was underwhelming. Bradberry’s and Williams’ performances in their first full season on the defense were not. They both ranked fourth at their respective positions in PFF’s Wins Above Replacement metric during the 2020 season.
The Giants will be hoping Golladay entices quarterback Daniel Jones to take more downfield shots. Golladay recently ranked as the league’s third-best deep threat, regularly winning in contested-catch situations downfield. Golladay’s 53 contested catches overall over the past three seasons are second to only Allen Robinson II at the position, even despite all his missed time in 2020.
EDGE Azeez Ojulari
Impressive stat to know: Generated a pressure on 21.8% of his pass-rush snaps at Georgia in 2020
Ojulari has Von Miller-type abilities. I’ve been writing that since I watched him early in the pre-draft process. He’s not quite Von. But the vibes are there. Trust me. And New York plays a defensive system that highlights traditional stand-up outside linebackers whose sole responsibility is to be a quarterback hunter. That’s precisely what Ojulari was at Georgia.
And it’s a tremendous sign for his NFL career that he produced to the level he did, in the SEC, at only 20 years old. With the amount of hog mollies Dave Gettleman has drafted and signed to occupy interior blockers, Ojulari should see plenty of luxurious one-on-ones as a rookie.
Writer Pat Trania goes over the ways the Giants’ 2021 season could go.
In case you missed it
- 2021 Giants roster rankings: Nos. 80-71
- Giants 2021 roster profile: WR David Sills
- Better or worse? Giants go all-in to improve wide receiver group
- Giants 2021 roster profile: Will WR Sterling Shepard return to the slot?
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