One of the best parts of having a highly interactive Twitter account is talking Giants football every day. It keeps the season alive and breathes life into the Giants360 vision statement – All Giants. All Year Round. To share that with you, we want to launch a weekly mailbag column and share some of these conversations with the group. Your questions may even spawn entire columns and others appear below with the Giants360 reply. Send them with the hashtag #ASK360 to have your question considered for the column.
Rick Stewart [@rickstew] asks: Is Joe Barksdale still an option as offensive tackle?
Giants360: It’s unlikely he’ll be signed at this point. Former Packer and Bengal Marshall Newhouse brought in on March 10th to serve as the swing tackle because of his experience starting on both sides of the line and familiarity with Ben McAdoo’s offense. Barksdale plays only right tackle and has been inconsistent in pass protection during his time with the Rams. Smart money has him returning to St. Louis.
Mr Perfect 170 [@mrperfect170] asks: What are the Giants doing at safety and defensive line?
Giants360: Stevie Brown is the most likely candidate to be re-signed for safety help, and there may already be some hidden depth on the roster. The search for a safety is remarkably similar to last spring’s quest for an upgrade at right end and it turned out the answer was right under our noses the entire time. Defensive line help will either come in the form of inexpensive second level free agents or through the draft. My instinct tells me it will be the latter, but don’t rule out a late signing.
Giants Nation [Giants Nation__] asks: Do you think if Amari Cooper is available then the Giants are on the clock they will pick him?
Giants360: No. Cooper is a luxury the Giants can’t afford. Pick 9 needs to be either an offensive tackle to put the finishing touches on the offensive line or an impact defender to spark the kind of resurgence on defense that Odell Beckham, jr provided to the offense last season. Having Amari Cooper with Beckham and a fully healed Victor Cruz would be a receiving corps for the ages, but it would leave too many holes elsewhere on the team. The Giants are in “Win now” mode and have to draft accordingly.
The Real Rainman [@raygt40] asks: What’s the Giants next move at defensive tackle?
Giants360: It could be to stand pat if the coaching staff believes Jay Bromley is ready to take the next step and start. Of not, there are several second level free agents that would pair up nicely with Jonathan Hankins to plug the middle of the field. In our article, Reinforcing the Lines, several players are identified, with Kenrick Ellis and Sealver Siliga being those we like best. Giants360 has been calling for Markus Kuhn to be let go and his cap dollars reallocated since the season ended, either by a free agent with more promise or a 2015 draft pick. With only 90 roster spots fill, a player with his potential behind him, must be release sooner rather than later.
Mike Venditti [@TheRealMVenditti] asks: Safety? Safety? Safety? What’s their plan because I’m not seeing it.
Giants360: Two safety questions in one mailbag? It’s the predominant question on everyone’s mind, and therefore worth the additional space. Nat Berhe will be one of the starters. If Tom Coughlin and Steve Spagnuolo didn’t think he was ready, a more aggressive move would have been made in free agency. Rahim Moore’s contract with Houston is only a $3 million charge against their 2015 salary cap, certainly affordable for the Giants. There are still viable Limited Snap and Veteran options on the free agent market, one of which can be signed if the youngsters don’t pan out.
Kelli Lawson [@Happy2da9] asks: How can we improve both sides of the ball with only one top 10 draft pick?
Giants360: Fortunately, it’s one top 10 draft pick in each round, and the 2015 draft is deep in edge pass rushers, outside linebackers, and offensive linemen, three of the Giants four biggest areas of need. Their fourth, and possibly most critical, safety, is the weakest area in this draft. Conventional wisdom states that teams must find starters in the first three rounds of the draft in order for it to be considered highly successful. If you find a starter in the later rounds, you’re struck gold. Last season, the Jerry Reese found three starters in Beckham, Weston Richburg, and Devon Kennard. The jury is still out on Andre Williams and Bromley. Duplicating that stellar performance in 2015 will be a challenge for Reese, but if he can find an offensive lineman, linebacker, and defensive lineman that contribute immediately, the improvement you want will be realized.
Kyle Robinson [@Bobby Corduroy] asks: Other than Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham, jr, What wide receivers do we have? Is there a need for anyone else?
Giants360: Jerry Reese has said several times that the team will not count on Cruz returning fully from his torn patellar tendon in 2015. With his game relying on elusiveness, there is concern about his ability to regain his “Shake and bake” skills that allow him to get open and make Cruz difficult to tackle. Rueben Randle will be back on the final year of his rookie contract and appeared to be hitting his groove during the final games of 2014. But the same was said of Jerrel Jernigan in 2013, and he was less than spectacular before a mid foot sprain ended his 2014 season, and has not been re-signed for this season.
Dwayne Harris 5 year, $17.5 million contract is a clear indicator that the Giants view him as more than just a kick returner and gunner on punt coverage teams. He will have a role in Ben McAdoo’s offense. Don’t forget about Marcus Harris, who caught everything thrown his way in training camp and in the preseason games before shoulder and hip injuries cut his season short before it started. He was on his way to earning the third receiver job to open the season with Beckham sidelined with hamstring issues. And last, but surely, not least, is Corey Washington, the 2014 preseason superstar, who caught four touchdown passes in five games. All eyes will be on him in OTAs and training camp to gauge his development and prospects for the 6’4″ Washington earning a larger role in 2014.
The Giants have the makings of a deep and dynamic receiving corps.
Scott Tucker [@stucker53] asks: What are the Giants plans to land a linebacker that the other teams might actually be afraid of?
Giants360: Devon Kennard flashed potential to be this type of player almost every day in training camp, but a hamstring injury slowed him in the regular season. Two linebackers were signed in free agency, J.T. Thomas and Jonathan Casillas, both are young and fast, and Thomas’ 3 year, $10 million contract indicated he figures prominently in Steve Spagnuolo’s plans for rebuilding the Giants defense. One of the Giants coaches or scouts saw something in Thomas that is not evident to the rest of us. But the best chance for landing a fear inducing linebacker that will be the 2015 draft. Denzel Perryman and Shaq Thompson are two names bandied about frequently as potential second round options. Perryman, and inside linebacker, and Thompson, and sideline-to-sideline outside linebacker both bring reputations as hard hitting play makers who would boost the the thumping power of the Giants defense.
Under Reese and Tom Coughlin, linebacker has been an afterthought, with high draft picks rarely invested in the position. That would appear to be about to change in 2015, and we will find out in a month and a half.
Curtis Jordan [@InkedUpMessnger] asks: If Marcus Mariota is there at 9, do you think the Giants would bite? Hypothetically speaking, of course.
Giants360: I am confident in setting those odds at 0%. With strong needs at other positions, and Eli Manning backed up by promising third year player Ryan Nassib, Jerry Reese can’t afford to use his first round pick on a quarterback. The question that does come to mind is, would he trade back for king’s ransom so Chip Kelly could be reunited with his college quarterback? I think the answer to that is also no, unless the Eagles were to offer a package of draft picks so overwhelming that it was it couldn’t be refused. Two division opponents helping one another in that way seems improbable, at best.
Mike D’Italia [@mikedital] asks: What positions do you see them addressing the rest of free agency?
Giants360: Reese’s efforts after day 1 seem to be focused on bringing back some of the Giants own free agents that haven’t connected with other teams. I’ve heard that there has been a consistent dialog between the Giants and Stevie Brown and wouldn’t be surprised if he were back in fold within the next week. The hold up may be the length of the contract. The Giants are also interested in bringing tight end Daniel Fells back. Given Fells sneaky good performance last season, I am surprised he didn’t catch on somewhere. The other name that’s been bandied about is linebacker Spencer Paysinger, although I’ve not sense their interest is as strong, especially because three linebackers were signed last week – Jonathan Casillas, J.T. Thomas, and Mark Herzlich.
As far as non-returning Giants, a veteran safety is on everyone’s wish list, and Dawan Landry seems to be sitting there for the taking, as does Jeromy Miles. The defensive linemen brought up earlier, Ellis and Siliga would both be solid additions. There area already 76 on the roster, and 8 draft picks will be added, along with a some undrafted free agents. With a hard limit of 90, Reese is running out of room to add players and will need to make some subtractions before further free agent additions can be made.
And that will do it for the first Giants360 mailbag. Thanks to all who submitted questions. If a duplicate question was received, the first person to sent it gets the shout out, so it pays to have a quick keyboard when I put up the 360 Bat signal for questions.
Giants360. All Giants. All Year Round.