Last season New York Giants fans didn’t have much to cheer about. Although they were able to witness the end of the Eli Manning era, the face of the franchise for 16 seasons, who brought a pair of Lombardi Trophies to this storied franchise. The season went south after running back Saquon Barkley went down with a high ankle sprain and although he returned a few weeks later, the lasting effects lingered through most of the season. For a four-win team the outlook has nowhere to look but up.
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MVP: Saquon Barkley
Barkley will be looking to return to his rookie form, the form that had defenses backpedaling and getting juked out of their cleats. The form that also earned him Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. As long as he’s fully healthy, and all indications are that he is, the team will rely heavily on him on the ground. He will tally 2,000 total yards from scrimmage and flirt with 20 total touchdowns. Being the guy who in 2020 has the most to prove on this team, Barkley will solidify his name, once again, among the top running backs in the NFL.
Offensive Player: Daniel Jones
The Giants allowed the rookie signal caller to take his lumps last season. While it didn’t translate into many wins, he persevered through the growing pains and threw for over 3,000 yards and 24 touchdowns against 12 interceptions. He did that with a patched-together receiving corp due to injuries. The lumps he took will help him in year two. The camaraderie that he built with fellow rookie Darius Slayton, along with a healthy Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, will show across the board on his stat sheet at season’s end. With the weapons at his disposal and defenses accounting for Barkley, will allow Jones to pass for close to 4,000 yards in year two.
Defensive Player: James Bradberry
One of the weaknesses of this defense last season was the secondary. The team brought in the former Panthers corner, Bradberry to address those needs. The plan was to have him on one side and Deandre Baker on the other. Baker was beginning to be a solid corner at the tail end of his rookie campaign. The four-year veteran, Bradberry, will have a breakout season for the Giants. He will match up well with opposing receivers especially the ones in the division. While opposing quarterbacks will target the cornerback on the other side, they will take their shots against Bradberry as well.
Offensive Rookie: Andrew Thomas
The first-round pick from Georgia, like his college teammate Isaiah Wilson in Tennessee, will likely see the field early. Given the high pick used on Thomas and what he showed at Georgia, he’s got the making of being a stud lineman for this team. The Giants’ offensive line last season had trouble giving Jones time to make his progression, resulting in their rookie signal caller being sacked 38 times, through his 13 games. Thomas will do his part in keeping his quarterback upright.
Defensive Rookie: Darnay Holmes
The fourth-round pick from UCLA will likely get more playing time than originally expected, as the Baker legal situation plays out. The Giants secondary will be tried often by opposing quarterbacks. The rookie will likely be the main target as they feel him out to see what he’s got. Holmes will be matched up against the number two receiver early on and slowly be converted to the number one corner on the number one receiver. With safety Jabrill Peppers behind him, Homles will be able to take chances and make plays.
Biggest Surprise: Dion Lewis
A salary cap dump for the Titans, Lewis had limited success compared to what he was used to when he was with the Patriots. Mostly a screen back, the success of Derrick Henry in Nashville limited Lewis’ touches. When defenses saw him in the backfield they played strictly for the screen pass, further limiting his success. For the Giants and their young quarterback, Lewis will be a veteran security blanket, when spelling Barkley. This season he will prove he is still a commodity in this league and that he was just a victim of circumstance and play calling with the Titans.
Biggest Disappointment: Golden Tate
After missing the first four games last season due to suspension, Tate took time getting acclimated to the offense and it showed in his less than 700 receiving yards. He was primarily brought in to help provide the rookie quarterback with a veteran presence at wide receiver. As Jones will continue to build on his confidence in Slayton, Engram, and Shepard (assuming they stay healthy), Tate’s role in the offense will further diminish.
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