The 2018 season was another disappointment for the New York Giants, but a few players stood out and deserve team awards.
The New York Giants season came to a painful end on Sunday after they suffered a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys 36-35. The game was a microcosm of the season. The Giants showed flashes that they have the potential to beat anybody, but when it mattered most, they come up short.
The loss to the Cowboys was the eighth loss of the season by a touchdown or less.
For the second straight season, the Giants finished at the bottom of the NFC East, and for the fourth time in the last five seasons, they endured double-digit losses.
Still, despite the lack of team success the Giants had in 2018, several players stood out and enjoyed individual success. They deserve to be recognized for their efforts.
Offensive player of the year: Saquon Barkley
When the Giants took Barkley with the second pick in the draft, general manager Dave Gettleman said Barkley was touched by the hand of God, and believed that he was a gold jacket caliber player.
Barkley more than lived up to Gettleman’s lofty expectations as he broke several rookie records and earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl. His 2,028 all-purpose yards lead the NFL, and he became the third rookie running back to have 2,000 all-purpose yards (Eric Dickerson 1983, Edgerrin James 1999).
His 91 receptions set a rookie running back record breaking the mark set by Reggie Bush in 2006, and his 11 rushing touchdowns set a Giants rookie record. After Barkley’s remarkable season, some feel he’s the best running back in the NFL.
Defensive player of the year: Landon Collins
2018 was a down year by Collins’ standards as he struggled in coverage, and his season came to an abrupt end when he tore his labrum in a 30-27 overtime victory over the Chicago Bears in Week 13.
Despite playing in just 12 games, Collins led the team in tackles with 96, forced a fumbled, and was voted to his third consecutive Pro Bowl team.
Collins will turn 25 next week and one of the questions lingering this offseason is whether or not the Giants will bring him back.
Special teams player of the year: Aldrick Rosas
Rosas rebounded after a shaky 2017 season and he was money in 2018. He converted on 32 out of his 33 field goal attempts, including a franchise record 57-yard field goal in Week 13 against the Bears. Rosas was effectiveness was recognized across the league as he was named to his first Pro Bowl team.
Offensive rookie of the year: Saquon Barkley
Barkley is the offensive player of the year so he’s obviously the offensive rookie of the year as well.
Defensive rookie of the year: B.J. Hill
Hill’s teammates raved about him as far back as OTAs and the third round pick lived up to their expectations. He finished the season with 48 tackles and his 5.5 sacks set a rookie franchise record. Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor had 9.5 sacks as a rookie in 1981, but sacks didn’t become an official stat until 1982 which is why Hill has the record.
Best free agent addition: Michael Thomas
Thomas was a valuable player on special teams and became a starter at safety when Collins was lost for the season. Thomas finished the season with 59 tackles, one sack, and two interceptions.
More importantly, he provided a great locker room presence and was voted one of the team captains in his first year with Big Blue, and is a Walter Payton Man of the Year award nominee.
Team MVP: Saquon Barkley
In his first season Barkley established himself as the team’s best player and as a leader. Despite the personal success he had, Barkley is already looking forward to next season, and knows it’s going to suck watching these playoffs at home.
“Honestly, I wish we can get started right away. It’s going to suck staying home watching the playoffs and knowing that you’re not in there and wanting to be in there. That’s also going to motivate you to work harder, work extra and push yourself to be a better player for your team next year, so that next year you’re not home watching the playoffs.”
Play of the year: OBJ touchdown throw to Barkley
— New York Giants (@Giants) October 7, 2018
The Giants used some trickery in their Week 5 matchup against the Carolina Panthers. Eli Manning threw a backwards pass to Odell Beckham Jr, who then threw the ball to a wide open Saquon Barkley and the rookie running back who raced to the end zone for a 57-yard touchdown. The Giants would eventually lose the game 33-31 on a Graham Gano 63-yard field goal, but OBJ to Barkley was an amazing play call and execution.