In fact, this team is closer to the playoffs than being mired in a rebuild as they head into an upcoming rookie minicamp.
It is a team that is far better than last year’s 3-13 record would indicate. It is a team that has the look and feel of the Wild Card team of two years ago.
Free agency, and last week’s strong performance in the first two days of the draft, sealed the upward trajectory for this team.
The Giants hit a home run during the draft, especially with their first three selections. Saquon Barkley, Will Hernandez and Lorenzo Carter all look like players who can step in and be difference-makers. The Giants addressed areas of needs with their selections and got a whole lot better by upgrading their overall talent with these additions.
The Giants trimmed the fat this offseason by cutting ties with several overpaid veterans and the team’s core is mostly intact from their playoff berth in 2016. That core, including quarterback Eli Manning, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., defensive tackle Damon Harrison, defensive end Olivier Vernon and safety Landon Collins are all coming back.
Their roles were influential on the playoff team from two seasons ago. There is no reason to believe that, with a competent head coach in Pat Shurmur, this influential group will be able to rebound.
If healthy, this core is strong enough to ensure that the Giants will be back in contention. The Giants addressed needs in free agency this offseason, needs that see them improved over last year’s roster. They may not get back to the postseason this season, but there is no reason to think that they are set to return the playoff drought they emerged from two years ago.
The playoffs are right around the corner.
Look at the needs of the Giants coming into the draft. This was a team that was bottom of the league in rushing the past two years, who added not just the draft’s best running back but arguably the best overall athlete in Barkley. The offensive line, often regarded among the worst in the league in recent times, got a much-needed jolt in Hernandez, who is simply nasty and aggressive in the interior. Then there is Carter, who has great measurables and adds depth after the Giants traded away Jason Pierre-Paul.
It is an ideal scenario set up by general manager Dave Gettleman, who couldn’t have drawn this up any better. This trio is going to step into roles on the Giants where they can play and contribute immediately.
Giants general manager Dave Gettleman goes into why the franchise decided to choose Saquon Barkley with the second pick overall in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The work isn’t done.
This team needs depth in the secondary and could do with a starting cornerback in that unit. Depth is needed at inside linebacker and the defensive line is very much a work in progress. The same could be said for an offensive line that, though vastly improved, still has issues to address.
But the holes aren’t gaping, the deficiencies aren’t vast. This team is a whole lot better than they were five months ago. It is a team that, truthfully, could be set to surprise people.
A team that is closer to the playoffs than anyone might have guessed when the offseason started. The shortest rebuild in the history of the NFL is over.
The Giants are now competitive once again.