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Monday’s surprising news that 2022 starting center Jon Feliciano is bolting the Giants for the San Francisco 49ers means that the Giants have now lost both potential starting centers—Feliciano and Nick Gates—in free agency.
Internal candidates include Ben Bredeson, who played 30 snaps there in 2022 and would likely be the center if the Giants had to play this week. Shane Lemieux has dabbled at center since the Giants drafted him in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. There were plans to take a full look at him there during the 2022 preseason, but those were scrubbed when he was injured.
But none of those options really provides a long term answer for a team that has had a new starting center on opening day since 2017.
The Giants have been connected with a number of centers in mock drafts this year before Feliciano left for San Francisco. While the consensus is their is not a player with a first round grade, centers having second- and third-round talent includes TCU's Steve Avila and four Big Ten players—Minnesota's John Michael Schmitz, Wisconsin's Joe Tippmann, Ohio State's Luke Wypler and Michigan's Olusegun Oluwatimi.
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Other Giant observations
6. Several Giant Steps for New York
The New York Giants made a fantastic turnaround in Brian Daboll’s first season as their coach, and he was rewarded with Coach of the Year honors. Then they re-signed quarterback Daniel Jones and franchise-tagged star running back Saquon Barkley before making one key move on each side of the ball.
Tight end Darren Waller, acquired from Las Vegas for a third-round draft pick, is already New York’s best receiver, though he needs to stay healthier than he’s managed recently. Bobby Okereke is a playmaking linebacker who got a four-year, $40 million contract to replicate his 151 tackles of 2022.
With the loss of Cs Nick Gates and Jon Feliciano, the return of a health Joshua Ezeudu is key for the Giants next year
Inside the Julian Love negotiations: Why Giants let safety walk and how they’ll replace him | The Athletic
Love visited the Seahawks last week after the initial wave of free agency and received the two-year, $12 million offer Friday. That’s slightly less per year than the Giant’s in-season offer, according to a league source. Love presented Seattle’s offer to the Giants and the team didn’t match it, according to a league source. By that point, the Giants had already re-signed Slayton to a two-year, $12 million deal.
Emmanuel Acho, former NFL linebacker and current host of FS1's 'Speak' with former NFL running back LeSean McCoy and Joy Taylor, recently ranked the top five offseason winners across the NFL, in which the Giants came in at No. 2.
"The second best offseason, it's got to be the Giants," Acho said. "You might be thinking, 'Where are the big outside names?' Don't get it twisted. Retaining Saquon Barkley, retaining Daniel Jones, you kept your quarterback, you kept your running back. Then you added Darren Waller to the mix, a tight end that's one of the best receiving tight ends in all of football... Brian Daboll, who got the Giants to the playoffs with limited weapons, he's going to take them even further this year."
Since 2019, Darren Waller has averaged 2.2 yards per route run, which is the fourth most among tight ends according to NFL’s Next Gen Stats.The only players with a higher number are George Kittle, Mark Andrews and Travis Kelce.
His 50 receptions on crossing routes are the third-highest mark among tight ends in that time, making him a great match for Jones. Jones targets crossers often, as his 16.9 percent was the third-highest rate in the NFL last season.
FOX Sports Ralph Vacchiano takes a look at where the Giants are after the first week of free agency
Now, things look better. Not great, but better. Campbell and Slayton are quality No. 2-type receivers, and the Giants still have high hopes for Wan'Dale Robinson, the 5-8 second-round pick who tore his ACL as a rookie last year. That group, plus the returning Isaiah Hodgins and a hopefully healthy Sterling Shepard, gives Giants coach Brian Daboll a bunch of guys who can get open, which is all he says he needs.
That's probably enough to keep them in the playoff hunt again. The Giants' overachieved last year to go 9-7-1, so don't expect them to suddenly be a Super Bowl contender. But they're still a better team than they were a year ago. They have more talent and are starting to keep their best players. In other words, they're on their way.
Pete Prisco has the Giants taking DB Deonte Banks of Maryland:
They had all kinds of issues at corner last year, so landing a young one who can step in and contribute right away is a must. Deonte Banks has the look of being that guy. They could also opt for more help on their offensive line.
NYDN’s Pat Leonard reports:
A Giants contingent took projected first-round South Carolina corner Cam Smith out to dinner last week the night before the Gamecocks’ pro day, several sources told the Daily News. Meanwhile, some league sources say not to ignore Smith’s college teammate, 6-2, 198-pound corner Darius Rush, when Joe Schoen is on the clock in the middle rounds in late April.
Around the league
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