What will happen with the New York Giants in 2015? Nobody knows the answer to that. We can, however, try to predict things. So, let's do that before the Giants hit the field on Friday for their first practice of training camp. Here are some bold predictions for the upcoming season from your Big Blue View staff writers.
Third-round pick Owa Odighizuwa starts 16 games at defensive end. Look, if this was likely to happen then it wouldn't be a bold prediction, but I do foresee a reasonable path unfolding towards an outcome that gives us a full season of Odighizuwa. I thought this was a possibility before Jason Pierre-Paul had his fireworks incident and it's even more likely now. In this scenario, rookie out of UCLA earns extended playing time through the early on-field absence of Pierre-Paul and strong fundamental run defense, a quality which eventually sets him apart from Damontre Moore. Coach Coughlin has made mistakes with underplaying developmental draft picks before, and Steve Spagnuolo is new to this roster so he won't be playing favorites. I genuinely do think it's a possibility that Odighizuwa performs like a young Justin Tuck and the Giants never look back.
Damontre Moore will finish top 10 in the league in sacks. A lot of people have expected Moore to step up for awhile now but I firmly believe that this his best chance to do it. We're moving to a more aggressive defensive scheme form a coordinator who is known to be creative in creating pressure. Perry Fewell might actually be the exact antithesis of Steve Spagnuolo. This change will be absolutely beneficial for Moore who is probably our best pure pass rusher on the team. After rewatching game tape from 2007, Spagnuolo has used Osi Umenyiora in multiple way to create pressure. In some instances, Umenyiora was used like a stand up linebacker which is a role Moore excelled at in college. Moore has a lot of comparable traits with Umenyiora and especially with JPP probably needing time to recover, I wouldn't be surprised if Moore became one of the league's premier pass rushers. PFF already likes to pass rushing productivity in a short sample after all.
I have a lot of bold predictions for the 2015 season. JPP will -- eventually -- have a career year, DaMontre Moore will lead the team in sacks, the St. Louis Rams will win the NFC West... But I'm going with "Andre Williams will have a breakout year at running back."
So here's my reasoning 1) Have you seen this guy? (https://instagram.com/p/5cq-vBHadc/ ) Even Steve Weatherford is looking at him and saying to himself "Man, I gotta start going to the gym more often." That is a young man who has done work since the season ended. He was 230 pounds at 5.2 percent body fat when the offseason program started. 2) The head on those massive shoulders. Williams is a poet and author, he was a team captain and teaching assistant. I believe he is the type of player who can look at his game, recognize the flaws, and work tirelessly to improve them. Le'Veon Bell came into the league with a very similar scouting report as Williams, but turned himself into a star by working on his hands, improving his footwork, and improving his overall explosiveness. By all reports that is what Williams has been doing. I think Ben McAdoo wants to keep the playbook wide open on every play and be able to call any play at any time, and not slow down to change running backs based on the situation. I think Williams is going to get the same opportunities as the Jennings and Vereen, and he has put himself in position to take full advantage of them. I'm predicting that he will, and make people who are overlooking him eat crow in the process.
My bold prediction is that the Giants will be starting their top four rookie draft picks at some point this season. Their first two picks, Ereck Flowers and Landon Collins, are Day 1 starters and Collins, frankly, is a candidate to win Defensive Rookie of the Year. But Owa Odighizuwa and Mykkele Thompson could also be in position to get some starts, due to either the unproven effectiveness within their position groups. Odighizuwa had first round potential before the Draft and could be a steal for Big Blue. He's an athletic specimen with the size and strength to become a star at defensive end. As for Thompson, nobody had really heard of him before the Draft, but because of the Giants' uncertainty at safety, he will get his chance to start. I like Jeromy Miles and he may get the starts early on due to his chemistry with defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo in Baltimore. But, Thompson seems to have some untapped potential and if he shows his worth on special teams and if an injury pops up, he could get his chance to be a starter in the NFL.
Bold prediction for the Giants this year is winning the NFC East. I believe the second year in McAdoo's system will prove to be a resurgence year for Eli, back into the elite tier of signal callers. I also believe (HOPE) the big off-season injuries to Beatty and JPP will galvanize the team's resolve heading into the season. We've all seen what this team can do with an underdog mentality in the face of adversity.
A year ago I predicted that Damontre Moore would lead the Giants in sacks. I missed on that one, but Moore did flash some pass-rushing promise with 5.5 sacks in limited duty. I am going back to that well again, only this time with a twist. I am again going to predict that Moore leads the Giants in sacks and that he hits double digits in that department. I am also, however, going to predict that it will be Moore and Kerry Wynn who end up as the Giants' best defensive ends. Regardless of when or if Jason Pierre-Paul shows up.
Simply, it's time for Moore to step up. He is in his third year in the league, but still younger some of the Giants' rookies. Wynn showed some ability vs. both the run and the pass late last season, and continued his impressive work during the spring. I think it continues into the regular season.