For a team coming off a 6-10 season, change is definitely a good thing, especially when that change incorporates some new faces who better fit for what the coaching staff wants to do.
But for the players who remain, those same new faces could end up being a threat to their roles on the team, let alone their roster spots.
With that said, let's take a quick look at some of the New York Giants (coaches included) who either benefitted from or have something to worry about following the addition of the Giants' six-man draft class.
Winner | Quarterback Daniel Jones
First, it was receiver Kenny Golladay. Then came receiver John Ross and tight end Kyle Rudolph. Then came the news that running back Saquon Barkley is on schedule to return from an ACL injury.
And if that wasn’t enough good news for third-year quarterback Daniel Jones, the front office gave him another playmaker in the form of first-round pick Kadarius Toney, a versatile receiver who can also rush with the ball and do thing the Giants probably haven’t seen on offense since they had Odell Beckham Jr.
If all those weapons—and let’s not forget returnees Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and Evan Engram—stay healthy, then you might want to invest in headache relief medication because this Giants offense is not only going to be sick, it’s going to make a lot of opposing defensive coordinators sick with worry in trying to figure out ways to stop them.
Loser | Cornerback Sam Beal
The Giants had high hopes for Beal, whom they drafted in the third round of the 2018 supplemental draft. But between injuries and his decision to opt-out of last year, Beal has played just 289 defensive snaps without making any impact whatsoever.
Things have gone so far south for Beal that at this point, one has to wonder if he’ll even make it to training camp to compete, especially after the Giants added a pair of cornerbacks (Aaron Robinson and Rodarius Williams) in the draft. Even if Beal does make it to training camp, the odds don’t exactly favor him making the 53-man roster, and they might not favor him landing on the practice squad either, given all the football he’s missed.
Winner | The Offensive Line
Dave Gettleman told reporters that he has a higher opinion of what he has on the offensive line than the media. Earlier in the draft process, it did come out the Giants were looking to add to the offensive line, but that they missed out on an opportunity to do so when a couple of guys they were eyeballing came off the board before they went on the clock.
With that said, the win for the current offensive line group might be short-lived if my interpretation of head coach Joe Judge’s response to a question about the unit is on point (emphasis added)
“I'm encouraged by the guys we have on our roster right now. They are working hard. We don't have them in the building just yet, not all of them. As we get closer to the mandatory minicamp and training camp, we'll get a feel for them on the grass,” he said.
“I would say we are always looking to make every position more competitive, but right now we are committed to working with the guys on our roster and improving each one of those guys individually and that should help the unit collectively.”
Loser | Slot Cornerback Darnay Holmes
Last year’s fourth-round pick, Holmes, settled into the slot cornerback role, a spot where he played in 390 of his 442 defensive snaps last season.
Down the stretch, a combination of a knee injury and the return of safety Xavier McKinney from a broken foot saw Holmes miss Weeks 14-16 and then only play in 26 defensive snaps total in the regular-season finale against Dallas. Holmes ended his season with a 91.2 coverage grade, having allowed no touchdowns and breaking up three passes while also failing to record an interception.
McKinney saw 82 naps in the slot and recorded one interception (he nearly had two, but one was wiped off the board due to a penalty). That all said, the Giants added the 6’1”, 193-pound Aaron Robinson in the third round. Robinson played 1,152 snaps in the slot during his college career at UCF. If Robinson has a strong showing this summer, Holmes' reduction in slot snaps could continue.
Winner | Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham
No, Graham isn't about to take on a player-coach role.
But after getting some additional pieces for his defense that include two pass rushers (Elerson Smith and Azeez Ojulari) and two cornerbacks (Aaron Robinson and Rodarius Williams), if you thought Graham was creative last year with his personnel deployment, something tells me we haven't seen anything yet.
Loser | Edge Oshane Ximines
It's not Ximines' fault that he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury early last year, but up until that point, Ximines had shown flashes of being a solid pass rusher while his run defense was lagging along.
Meanwhile, the Giants haven't rested on their laurels when it comes to their pass rush. They added Azeez Ojulari in the second round to go along with free agents Ryan Anderson and Ifeadi Odenigbo.
They also have Lorenzo Carter, who, like Ximines, is returning from a season-ending injury (Achilles). Carter looked like he was starting to put it all together last year before his injury, and with this being his contract year, he's no doubt looking for a big season. And let's not forget situational pass rushers like Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin.
But getting back to Ximines, while NFL general managers will likely agree that a team can never have too many edge rushers, it's also fair to wonder how many snaps Ojulari might end up getting at Ximines' expense.