3 Issues the Giants Must Address to Get Back to the Postseason in Their First Year Under Joe Judge in 2020
While the New York Giants didn't have the 2019 they had hoped for, there were still some encouraging signs coming out of this season. That includes the success of Daniel Jones, who put up really solid numbers for a rookie that came in with tons of doubt around him (3,027 yards, 24 TDs and 12 INT in 12 starts).
That being said, a 4-12 team is a 4-12 team. The Giants have a number of issues that need to be addressed this offseason. Luckily, New York holds the No. 4 pick in the NFL Draft and will enter this offseason with close to $65 million in cap space (projected as of the Divisional Round weekend). This leaves them with ample opportunity to upgrade their roster and possibly make a full turnaround to once again become a playoff team in their first season under rookie head coach Joe Judge.
With that in mind, let's examine three things the Giants need to do to make it back to the playoffs next season.
1. Upgrade the Pass Defense
The Giants gave up the fifth-most passing yards per game and the sixth-most yards per completion in 2019. Needless to say, their secondary needs some help. This can be addressed either through the draft or in free agency. At the No. 4 slot, Ohio State's star cornerback Jeffrey Okudah will likely be available for the taking. If not, they could look into free agent corners such as Chris Harris, Bradley Roby or Byron Jones. The Giants have spent a ton of draft capital of cornerbacks recently, selecting three in the 2019 draft alone, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see them address this in free agency. New York has gone with the "best player available" approach in the draft in the past, though, so it might depend on how it all breaks out in April.
2. Address the Offensive Line
One of Daniel Jones' biggest knocks as a rookie was his propensity for fumbles. This was only made worse by the Giants lackluster offensive line, which ranked No. 25 in adjusted sack rate and No. 18 overall for pass protection by Football Outsiders. When you look at their rating in the run game, it gets even worse, ranking No. 25 there as well. The draft will provide plenty of options for them to upgrade. At No. 4, they could go with Georgia's Andrew Thomas, the monster left tackle, to replace Nate solder, who had another down year. They could also opt to go with Alabama's right tackle, Jedrick Wills, if they believe Solder can turn it around and want to address the right side of the line. Guys like guard Brandon Scherff, Andrus Peat and right tackle Jack Conklin could also be options in free agency, especially given that the Giants' o-line has multiple positions that need to be addressed.
3. Rebuild Linebacking Group
The Giants got some solid linebacking play from guys like Markus Golden and rookie Ryan Conley (before he suffered a season-ending injury), but Golden is a free agent, along with MLB Alec Ogletree. It wouldn't be a surprise to see them resign Golden, but that still leaves a hole at middle linebacker. And if they remain as a 3-4 defense under Joe Judge, they'll still need to address outside linebacker as well, even if Golden returns. In the draft, Clemson's Isaiah Simmons could be their first-round pick, as he's a true do-it-all player who lined up at what seemed like every defensive position possible this year for the Tigers. He projects to be a true captain of the defense at the next level and could fill the void left by a likely-departing Ogletree. On the free agent side, guys like Dante Fowler Jr., Shaquil Barrett and Bud Dupree could all be options here, along with a slew of other players that make up a solid class of free-agent linebackers.
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David Kaestle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username davekaestle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.