I've seen a lot of commentary, in BBV fan comments and posts, and on Twitter, that is critical of how Dave Gettleman has constructed the Giants' roster in his 4 years here. Most of it centers on the offense (e.g., see Deliguy's post), specifically the continuing struggles of the OL and the uncertainty at QB. The issues revolve around both how we have drafted and the money we have spent on free agents, which has left us struggling to get under the salary cap with a tight situation looming for 2022 as well.
So I've created a little game: Basically, construct the Giants' roster yourself. There are 4 basic rules that constrain what you can and cannot do:
1. You start with the Giants 2017 roster that Gettleman inherited. You can find it at
You can keep or get rid of any of these players, keeping in mind player ages, i.e., however much you like Eli, let's agree that Tom Brady notwithstanding, Eli should not be the QB today at age 40.
2. You can only make roster changes that are fully under your control. In practice this means
- You can keep or release any free agent that Gettleman signed, but you cannot sign any free agent that we did not sign since players make their own decisions about who they want to play for, so no "we should have signed Brady when he was a free agent.".
- You can retain any trade that Gettleman made, or not make any trade that he did make, but you cannot concoct your own trades the way you can in mock simulators since it takes two GMs to tango, i.e., no "I decided to trade up for..."
3. You can use a reasonable amount of 20-20 hindsight in drafting, but nothing that would not have been plausible at the time. Two specific illustrations of this idea:
In 2018, you could not use our #2 draft pick on Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson, because no one viewed him as one of the first that should go among the big 5 QBs that year. BBV's 2018 big board is pretty representative of where people viewed Allen and Jackson before the draft (https://www.bigblueview.com/2018/4/25/17270066/big-blue-view-big-board-ranking-the-top-2018-nfl-draft-prospects-ny-giants). I don't think it was realistic to expect the Giants to have drafted Quenton Nelson at #2, so I won't do it, but he was considered the best OL in the draft, so if you want to, go ahead.
You cannot draft someone much earlier than he was actually taken, let's set a limit of one round earlier than the round in which he was actually taken. So no Michael Onwenu in round 3 when he was actually drafted in round 6, but taking DK Metcalf in round 1 since was viewed as a round 1 value even though he went in round 2 is OK. Likewise, you can only draft someone who was drafted later than the Giant's draft position.
4. Once you finish a given year's draft, you cannot go back and change things later, i.e., if you notice you didn't draft enough players at a certain position you are stuck with what you have. If you want to be more strict, apply this same rule within a draft, i.e., once you make your round 1 pick you are stuck with it even if you don't like what's available later.
To see who was drafted when, here is the 2018 NFL draft order:
And at the top of that page, you can jump to each succeeding season.
OK, with those rules, here is my stab at being GM:
2017 roster: Keep Sterling Shepard, WR, Evan Engram, TE, Wayne Gallman, RB, up to present; keep Dalvin Tomlinson through 2020
Later roster moves: keep Austin Johnson and sign Danny Shelton; make trade for Riley Dixon
2018 draft: #2, Saquon Barkley, RB; #34, Darius Leonard, OLB; #66, Orlando Brown Jr., OT; #69, Fred Warner, ILB; #108, Bilal Nichols, DT; #139, Wyatt Teller, G; sign Nick Gates as UDFA
2018 free agency: Do not sign Nate Solder or anyone else
2019 draft (I make the OBJ trade that brings Peppers, #17 pick, #95 pick; I do not make the trade up from #37 to get pick #30, so we still have #37, #132, #142): #6, Josh Allen, EDGE; #17, Montez Sweat, EDGE; #37, AJ Brown, WR; #95, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, CB; #108, Julian Love, CB/S; #132, David Edwards, OT; #142, Darius Slayton, WR; #143, Justin Skule, OT; #171,Gardner Minshew, QB; #180, Scotty Miller, WR; #232, Myles Gaskin, RB; #245, assume one like it was lost in the Riley Dixon trade
2020 free agency: Sign James Bradberry, Leonard Williams, Graham Gano, do not sign Blake Martinez
2020 draft: #4, Justin Herbert, QB; #36, Xavier McKinney, S; #99, Adam Trautman, TE; #110, Solomon Kindley, G; #150, Michael Onwenu, G; #183, Jordan Fuller, S; #218, Carter Coughlin, LB; #238, TJ Brunson, LB; #247, Derrek Tuszka, LB; #255, Tae Crowder, LB
2021 free agency: Sign Adoree' Jackson, Kyle Rudolph; do not sign Kenny Golladay, John Ross
2021 draft: Make both trade-downs but not the 3rd round trade-up; #20, Greg Newsome II, CB; #50, Creed Humphrey, C; #76, Josh Palmer, WR; #116, Chris Rumph II, EDGE; #164, Keith Taylor, CB; #196, Trey Smith, G; #201, Rodarius Williams, CB
OK, how did I do? Position by position:
QB: Justin Herbert, Gardner Minshew
WR: Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, AJ Brown, Scotty Miller, Josh Palmer
OT: Orlando Brown Jr., David Edwards, Justin Skule
G: Wyatt Teller, Solomon Kindley, Michael Onwenu, Trey Smith
C: Creed Humphrey, Nick Gates
RB: Saquon Barkley, Wayne Gallman, Myles Gaskin
TE: Evan Engram, Kyle Rudolph, Adam Trautman
EDGE: Josh Allen, Montez Sweat, Chris Rumph II
IDL: Leonard Williams, Bilal Nichols, Austin Johnson, Danny Shelton
LB: Darius Leonard, Fred Warner, Carter Coughlin, TJ Brunson, Derrek Tuszka, Tae Crowder
CB:James Bradberry, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Adoree' Jackson, Greg Newsome II, Keith Taylor, Rodarius Williams
S: Xavier McKinney, Jabrill Peppers, Julian Love, Jordan Fuller
K: Graham Gano
P: Riley Dixon
That's less than 53, leaves room for a few add-ons, e.g., Casey Krieter at LS plus a couple of other FAs.
My personal evaluation: very strong at QB, pretty satisfied at WR, didn't do enough at OT, very happy with G and C, happy with RB, satisfied with TE; OK with EDGE but could have done better and need to add a couple of players, satisfied with IDL, very happy at LB, satisfied at CB, happy at S, K, P. I probably could have done better if I kept closer track of how the roster was evolving from year to year, but I didn't want to spend my whole day doing this.
But the main thing is that I avoided the large free agent contracts of Solder, Martinez, Gollaway, so lots more cap room this year. And I maintained the huge draft capital we have going into 2022. Some of you may have preferred not to make the Bears trade and take Rashawn Slater to beef up my OT group while sacrificing Newsome at CB, I can understand that. Anyway, it is a fun exercise because, unlike just lamenting us not drafting someone you like, you have to deal with the ramifications of what you don't get at some other position by taking the guy you do get at another position.