New York Giants begin quest to add fifth Lombardi to the team’s trophy case.
Last spring, members of the New York Giants returning for the start of the team’s offseason program spoke about the new energy that flooded the building.
One year later and coming off an 11-5 record that included the team’s first postseason berth since 2011. Having had a taste of the glory, the energy and hunger expected to flood the Quest Diagnostics Training Center when the players report for the start of the voluntary offseason program Tuesday should be off the charts.
There are still a lot of questions and things to get done before even before the Giants take the field on September 10, some of which will be answered right away and some of which might not be answered for months.
Here is a look at some of the major questions the Giants will hope to find answers before the curtain rises on the 2017 season.
Who Will Replace Johnathan Hankins?
The Giants, who reportedly had a multiyear contract offer worth an average of $7 million per season on the table to defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins. Unfortunately, their quest to keep the last of their key defensive starters from last year’s 10th ranked overall defense was thwarted by the Indianapolis Colts.
It’s time for the next man up to step in at Hankins spot. The problem is that of Jay Bromley and Robert Thomas, the only other two defensive tackles on the roster besides Damon Harrison, the Giants aren’t yet sure who that next man is, and probably won’t know until the summer, when the pads go on and the pit players can engage in contact.
Regardless of who does step into the vacancy, the position is still paper-thin. It would be a major upset if the Giants don’t dip into the defensive line class for a prospect.
The Giants are also probably going to try to add a veteran at the position such as former Jaguars defensive lineman Jared Odrick, though such a move likely isn’t coming until after the draft, when free-agent signings no longer count against the formula for a team’s 2018 compensatory draft picks.
What Will be the Running Game Look Like?
Rashad Jennings is off doing his thing with Dancing with the Stars after being a salary cap cut in February, and Bobby Rainey is still sitting unsigned on the unrestricted free-agent market.
Meanwhile, the Giants brought in journeyman Shaun Draughn and re-signed Orleans Darkwa to compete for snaps with Paul Perkins and Shane Vereen, the latter of whom is recovering from a torn triceps muscle.
Perkins quietly passed Jennings on the depth chart last year as the starter, averaging 4.25 yards per carry in starts coming in Weeks 16 and 17.
For as promising as he looked, the Giants might look to dip into a very deep running back draft class to add a power back as a complement to the current group that aspires to get the Giants running game back into the top half of the league for the first time since 2012.
How is the Offensive Line Going to Look?
The only positions that seem set in stone on a Giants offensive line that ranked 24th in run blocking and 2nd in pass protection last year are those belonging to Weston Richburg (center), Justin Pugh (left guard) and yes, Ereck Flowers (left tackle).
The right side of the offensive line is another story. The Giants re-signed John Jerry, the starting right guard the last two seasons, but Marshall Newhouse, the starting right tackle, signed with Oakland.
With the offensive tackle class widely regarded as one of the weakest of this year’s draft class, the competition for right guard and right tackle figures to be wide open with Bobby Hart, Jerry, D.J. Fluker, Adam Gettis and Brett Jones all expected to toss their respective hats into the ring.