Cleat Geeks

On The Clock: New York Giants 2016 Offseason Preview

In his “On the Clock” series, NFL analyst Brett Casella (@NFL_iQ on Twitter) will take an in-depth look at all 20 teams that failed to make the playoffs as they head into the 2016 offseason. He will conduct a thorough examination of each roster and make recommendations on whom to cut and re-sign, as well as which players to target through free agency and the draft.

This article will focus on the New York Giants.

Team: New York Giants
2015 Record: 6-10
Draft Pick: #10


Season Summary

The New York Giants could have finished the season 10-6 if a few more plays went their way. Instead, they blew five leads in the fourth quarter – many of them in the last minute – and finished 6-10.EliManning2

Eli Manning had another efficient year under offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo and Odell Beckham once again dominated in his sophomore campaign, but there wasn’t much else to be desired. Head coach Tom Coughlin was fired after the season (McAdoo was promoted to replace him), but the Giants problems run much deeper than coaching. When you look at the roster from top to bottom, there is an obvious lack of talent. If GM Jerry Reese doesn’t fix that this off-season, he could be shown the door as well.

Re-Signings & Cuts

The Giants defense was putrid last year (30th in points allowed), and it is only going to get worse if they allow Jason Pierre-Paul, Robert Ayers, and Prince Amukamara to hit free agency. With Pierre-Paul missing half of the season due to his fireworks accident, Robert Ayers stepped up and became the Giants best pass rusher, recording 9.5 sacks on the year. Jason Pierre-Paul may have a club for a hand, but he still still has the potential to be a top-tier pass rusher if he figures out how to use it. Amukamara played well last season and if he isn’t locked up before free agency starts, I’ll bet another team is willing to throw money at him.

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

William Beatty, Geoff Schwartz, and Jon Beason have already been cut, and Victor Cruz joining the club is a real possibility. Cruz hasn’t seen the field since suffering a knee injury in the 2014 season, and is a $9 million cap hit next year. Cutting him frees up over $6 million in cap space, so he might get the boot if he is unwilling to restructure his deal.

Free Agency Needs

There are many needs on the Giants roster, including offensive tackle, linebacker, safety, and the defensive line. Luckily for them, they have almost $60 million to spend in free agency and there are some respectable players available at all of these positions.

Offensive tackles they could target include Russell Okung, Kelechi Osemele, and Geoff Schwartz’s brother Mitchell Schwartz. Any of these players will be a day one starter for the Giants and provide some stability on an offensive line that desperately needs it.

On the other side of the ball, defensive end Mario Williams would be an interesting add. Recently cut by the Bills after his worst season as a pro, many think Williams’ lack of productivity stemmed from Rex Ryan and his defensive scheme. New York could buy him low on a one- or two-year “prove it” deal, and he could bounce back to Pro Bowl form.

Other players they could look to add to the defensive line include Malik Jackson, Nick Fairley, Haloti Ngata, and Damon Harrison. All of these players bring a strong run-stuffing game, with Jackson also bringing a rare ability to rush the passer from the inside.

As far as the back seven goes, safeties that could draw New York’s interest include Eric Weddle, Tashaun Gipson, and Reggie Nelson. Any one of these players would be a significant upgrade from Brandon Meriweather. Two linebackers they could also look to target are Jerrell Freeman and Bruce Irvin. Irvin in particular could help fill two needs, as he often rushes the quarterback on passing downs.

Potential Draft Picks

At #10, the New York Giants will have a lot of options available to them. Following an unsatisfactory combine, Joey Bosa could potentially drop to this spot, just months after being in discussion for the #1 selection. More realistic targets include offensive tackles Ronnie Stanley and Jack Conklin. Stanley looks like he could be a cornerstone left tackle, and Conklin would be a mauler on the right side.

noah_spenceMaybe, the Giants will opt to go with an edge rusher instead. Big-time names like Noah Spence, Shaq Lawson, and Kevin Dodd might still be on the board. Or, maybe they beef up their interior line with A’Shawn Robinson or Sheldon Rankins. Athletic linebacker Darron Lee made a name for himself at the combine, and could have risen to the status of a top-ten pick. Another player to keep in mind is Ezekiel Elliott, who is the most complete running back to come out of college in quite some time and would instantly be the best player in the Giants backfield.

Potential second-round targets include edge rusher Shilique Calhoun, safety Darien Thompson, and linebacker Su’a Cravens. Wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Tyler Boyd would give this offense (which has little outside of Odell Beckham) an immediate boost.

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