Can the Giants Go From Worst to First in 2018? Pro Football Weekly Discusses Their Chances

There’s been plenty of buzz around the Giants since the NFL Draft nearly two weeks ago, as many think that the turnaround for the team will be swift, and not the long drawn out process that it’s taken for the team to start winning.

Today Pro Football Weekly’s Eric Edholm put out an article ranking all eight last place teams from the 2017 season, and if there’s a chance they can make it all the way to first place in 2018.

According to the article, the Giants have the Second Best shot to unseat the Super Bowl Champion Eagles for the Division title in 2018 – a feat that won’t come easy.

2. New York Giants (3-13)

Oh, the Philadelphia Eagles surely are laughing at the sight of this. And rightfully so in that the Eagles were a machine most of last season, and even the Carson Wentz injury couldn’t derail their run to the franchise’s first-ever Super Bowl title. We understand the absurdity of suggesting that the bottom-barrel Giants are somehow on the Eagles’ level yet.

That said, there really wasn’t much separating these two teams when they went head to head last season — two narrow victories, each of which the Giants led in the final five minutes of play. A coaching change in New York certainly could change that dynamic just a bit, but it’s hard to imagine the Giants will be as sad offensively as they were a year ago.

As controversial as the Saquon Barkley pick might have been from a positional value standpoint, it’s not as if he can’t add a very vital element to this unit — as a runner, receiver and returner. Couple that with the return to health of Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard, and you have the makings of a much better group. Eli Manning still must answer his critics, but he has a chance to have a twilight awakening if the offensive line holds up.

Defense is anyone’s guess. Coordinator James Bettcher might be the miracle worker he’s been hailed by some as, and maybe this underachieving secondary turns things around. The talent is there, and the front seven isn’t as bad as some people want to make it. If they can make modest improvements on special teams, too, you’re at least looking at a very solid football team — one that, don’t forget, went 11-5 in 2016.

Topping the Eagles and Cowboys will be tough, no denying that, and the Giants’ brutal early schedule is no joke. But we have a feeling they are going to be a lot more competitive by season’s end than their putrid record in 2017 suggests.

New York Giants tickets

Giants Co-Owner John Mara Confident Odell Beckham Deal Will Get Done

Giants co-owner John Mara reiterated his stance on star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on Tuesday night — he wants Beckham to be a Giant for a long time, Brian Costello of the New York Daily News reports.

“I hope so,” Mara told reporters at the Gridiron Gala held by the United Way of New York City.

The last time Mara faced microphones and tape recorders, in March at the owners’ meetings, he was being peppered with questions about whether the Giants wanted to trade Beckham. Six weeks later, Beckham is still a Giant, and Mara wants to keep it that way.

Beckham is looking for a new contract. The 25-year-old is scheduled to make $8.5 million this season on the final year of his rookie deal. Though the Giants want to get a new deal done to keep Beckham, they are not going to rush things.

“I wouldn’t say a sense of urgency,” Mara said. “The contract will get done when it’s supposed to get done. I think that’s the Dave Gettleman line. I’m gonna adopt that I think, all spring, all summer, as long as it takes.”

Beckham has shown up for voluntary offseason workouts, something that has everyone hopeful around the Giants.

“I was happy to see him,” Mara said.

Beckham is still recovering from a broken ankle suffered in an October loss to the Chargers. Mara indicated he is not all that worried about the contract negotiation becoming a distraction for his team.

“It’s not the first contract negotiation we’ve ever had,” Mara said. “It’ll get done when it’s supposed to get done.”

New Giants DT A.J. Francis Says Logo of His Old Team, The Redskins, is ‘Racist’

Defensive tackle A.J. Francis found a new job just days after being released by the Redskins and celebrated the moment by ripping his old team on Instagram, including calling out their “racist” logo, ESPN reports.

Francis signed with the New York Giants on Wednesday. He was one of three defensive tackles released by the Redskins on Monday after they selected two defensive tackles in the draft.

After signing with the Giants, Francis posted an Instagram picture of himself laughing. He wrote, “When the team you were on didn’t appreciate you but the team you played against actually pays attention to the film,” and added in the hashtags he was looking forward to playing the Redskins twice next season.

He then added, “#AndYourLogoIsRacist.”

Redskins owner Dan Snyder has remained firm in his desire to keep the team’s nickname and logo. Despite increasing pressure from Native American groups, led by the Change The Mascot campaign, Snyder hasn’t budged, once telling USA Today that he’ll never change the nickname and “you can use caps.”

How Popular is Saquon Barkley’s Jersey Sales Since Being the Giants First Pick?

The Giants jumped at the chance Thursday of taking Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and a lot of folks are jumping on the bandwagon and quickly ordering his jersey from anywhere fans can get it.

According to Darren Rovell of ESPN, the sales of Barkley’s jersey thus far five days after the draft are number one of any player drafted.

Here’s the tweet with the top draft picks jersey sales thus far.

Giants Tried to Move OT Ereck Flowers During the NFL Draft; Found No Takers

Reports says that the Giants shopped offensive tackle Ereck Flowers during the draft but found no takers at their asking price of a middle-round pick according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com.

Apparently the only people in the NFL surprised at this news is the front office of the Giants. Originally the No.9 pick in the 2015 draft out of the University of Miami, Flowers’ play on the field has been poor and numerous reports indicate his attitude in the locker room is just as toxic.

One team told Raanan that the middle-round asking price was “significantly too steep.” It doesn’t help that Flowers’ $2.4 million salary for 2018 is fully guaranteed. Flowers did not report to the Giants’ pre-draft offseason workouts and the team is not expected to pick up his fifth-year option for 2019.

Giants Earn an ‘B’ for Their Draft According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

The draft grades from ‘Draft Guru’ Mel Kiper Jr. are out, and one team that got a very good grade is that of the Giantss, who according to Kiper got an ‘B’ for their collection of players over the two days.

Here’s what he had to say:

You can love the player but question the pick. That’s the issue with Saquon Barkley at No. 2. I always say to look for running backs after Round 1. That’s where the value is. Look at last year. Dalvin Cook and Joe Mixon went in Round 2, and Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara went in Round 3. Those are fantastic three-down backs with much smaller contracts than Barkley. Barkley will probably be great — and the Giants haven’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since 2012 — but he’s taking hand-offs from a 37-year-old quarterback in Eli Manning, who has been objectively pretty bad in recent years for long stretches. So that’s why I would have gone with Sam Darnold here. Get the quarterback who’s going to take Eli’s place because the Giants don’t pick this early ever.

Again, though, I like the pick of Will Hernandez at the top of the second round (pick 34). He’s going to help pave the way for Barkley, and he fills a need after losses in free agency. Lorenzo Carter (66) is a good outside linebacker who is a fit in New York’s new 3-4 defense. I thought he could sneak into the top 40 picks after he ran a 4.50 40 at the combine. He’s not a true pass-rusher, but he could play inside. B.J. Hill (69) is a powerful nose tackle who started 44 games at NC State.

Grabbing Kyle Lauletta at No. 108 is good value, but he doesn’t have an NFL arm at this point. He’s a touch passer, and he has to get stronger. He’s going to compete with last year’s third-round pick Davis Webb to back up Manning, and maybe the Giants will find their quarterback of the future there after a couple of years of development. RJ McIntosh (139) was one of my favorite underrated players, and he could be a steal. He’s quick and athletic, and he has a motor. He’ll likely play end.

Again, I’m not going to crush GM Dave Gettleman’s first draft in charge of the Giants. I like the players he got, and we clearly have a different philosophy.

Round/Pick Name Pos College
1/2 Saquon Barkley RB PENN STATE
2/34 Will Hernandez G UTEP
3/66 Lorenzo Carter OLB GEORGIA
3/69 B.J. Hill DT NC STATE
4/108 Kyle Lauletta QB RICHMOND
5/139 RJ McIntosh DT MIAMI

Giants Draft Penn State RB Saquon Barkley with the #2 Pick in the 2018 NFL Draft

The pick for the Giants is in, and they are grabbed Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick in Thursday’s 2018 NFL Draft.

Here’s a quick look at Barkley

Measurables

Ht. 6-1

Wt. 233 lbs

40-yard dash: 4.40

Bench press: 29 reps

Vertical jump: 41″

Broad jump: N/A

3-cone drill: N/A

20-yard shuttle: 4.24
A Look at Barkley from NFL.com

Every-down running back with the ability to alter the course of an offense and become a face of the franchise-type player. Barkley has the rare ability to create additional yardage through elusiveness, speed, vision and feel for space in the open field. While he has been tasked with carrying a heavy load at Penn State, their decision to limit his carries somewhat this season could help Barkley headed into his rookie season. Barkley is a buffet runner who thrives with the more plates you give him and he has a chance to become an early All-Pro no matter which team takes him.

Giants RB Paul Perkins Had Surgery This Offseason to Repair Pectoral Injury

Giants running back Paul Perkins suffered a pectoral injury this offseason that required surgery according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic.

Word of the injury first surfaced when Perkins was spotted with his left arm in a sling during minicamp this week. The 23-year-old apparently suffered the injury while working out on his own this spring but it is not known exactly when he underwent surgery. The fact that he underwent surgery indicates he likely suffered a tear and the typicla recovery time is six to eight months.

Originally a fifth-round pick out of UCLA in 2016, Perkins showed some promise in his rookie season but was a major disappointment in 2017with only 41 carries for 90 yards and no touchdowns in 11 games. Especially with the Giants expected to draft a running back early, perhaps even with the No. 2 overall pick if Penn State’s Saquon Barkley is available, it seems unlikely Perkins will have any meaningful role with the team in 2018.

Pat Shurmur Expects Odell Beckham Jr. to Be with the Giants in 2018

Odell Beckham showed up for the first day of optional offseason workouts on April 9. Beckham and was here for Tuesday’s start of the Giants’ extra voluntary three-day minicamp granted to first-year head coaches, even going through a morning walk-through with teammates — “He’s here, and he’s been here,” coach Pat Shurmur said.

And Shurmur said Tuesday before the Giants’ first of three non-contact practices that he “absolutely” expects Beckham to be a Giant this coming fall, Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News reports.

“Absolutely. He’s an excellent player, he’s part of our team and he’s a very valued member of our team,” Shurmur said. “Everybody that’s out here, I’m planning on them being here.”

The new Giants head coach also stressed that he’s communicated to Beckham frequently and directly through what not long ago was a tumultuous offseason, with GM Dave Gettleman discussing possible trade offers for Beckham with other NFL teams just weeks ago as an alternative to re-signing Beckham expensively long-term.

Shurmur said he and Beckham even had a one-on-one Monday conversation to make sure he and his best player were on the same page.

“We constantly communicate,” Shurmur said. “We had a great talk yesterday. He came in and we sat down as we were getting ready for this mini-camp so we could talk about what we were trying to get accomplished. We’ve spoken on the phone. We text. It’s like any relationship. We’re very honest and open with one another, and we communicate frequently.”

Memorabilia Fraud Case of Giants QB Eli Manning Heading to Court Soon

Eli Manning’s memorabilia fraud case is headed to court in a few weeks, Ryan Dunleavy of NJ Advance Media reports.

A New Jersey Superior Court judge ordered a trial set for May 14 when issuing a summary judgment decision on multiple claims brought by three memorabilia collectors against Manning, Steiner Sports, Giants memorabilia, equipment manager Joe Skiba, Giants co-owner John Mara and others, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

The gist of the civil lawsuit, which was filed in January 2014, is collectors allege items such as helmets and jerseys passed off as game-used were fakes.

The judge dropped most of the charges against Skiba, per ESPN, after agreeing with his lawyer’s arguments that he never profited from the in-question items. Skiba’s lawyers also argued he did not directly represent the items as game-used to consumers.

Manning has denied any knowledge of wrongdoing in the case, but his motion to waive the claim of consumer fraud was denied, according to the report. It also states that Manning is the only defendant who the judge found could have possibly violated common law fraud, which carries the extra legal burden of having to intent to deceive.