The New York Giants have made a number of moves over the past week. With that said, how will their new acquisitions fit into the roster?
Most New York Giants fans are holding their breath at the moment, nervously (but patiently) waiting for the team to re-sign Markus Golden. It doesn’t seem like they’ll make a move for any big-name edge rusher, so bringing him back is arguably the most beneficial decision.
But in spite of the fact that they’ve yet to come to an agreement with their leading pass rusher from 2019, Big Blue has still been active in free agency. They’ve acquired a number of different players encompassing all three facets of the game.
And regardless of the moves they make in the near future, each of the Giants’ new acquisitions thus far will uniquely fit into the roster and benefit the organization.
CB James Bradberry
Heading into this offseason, the Giants most certainly needed to bolster the cornerback position. This comes especially after parting ways with Janoris Jenkins in December. It was always in their best interest to look towards free agency instead of the draft since a veteran was required to provide mentorship to this young group.
Luckily, James Bradberry will now take his talents to MetLife Stadium on a three-year deal worth $45 million.
He’ll already be the top cornerback on the roster as well as the oldest. At 26 years of age, he’ll be able to lead a group that includes Deandre Baker (22), Corey Ballentine (23), Sam Beal (23), and Grant Haley (24).
Bradberry isn’t the best tackler in the game (12.2% missed tackle percentage in 2019). Nonetheless, he’s already arguably the best cover corner on the roster. He allowed quarterbacks to complete 59.8% of their throws when targeting him last year. In comparison, Baker, Ballentine, Beal, and Haley respectively allowed 61.4%, 64.3%, 76.2%, and 82.1%.
Bradberry can additionally create turnovers (eight interceptions in his career).
Look for the Giants to utilize Bradberry more than any other corner. They’ve already made a significant investment in him, so it’s essentially a must.
ILB Blake Martinez
The Giants simply aren’t in the position to acquire a star inside linebacker right now. They’re rebuilding from the ground up and are unable to push all of their chips towards one side of the table. It’s sad, but that’s reality when you’ve won 12 games in three years.
The best they could do is upgrade from Alec Ogletree, which is exactly what they did by agreeing to terms with Blake Martinez.
Having played his first four seasons in Green Bay, Martinez is a productive run-stopper who recorded 144, 144, and 155 combined tackles respectively from 2017-19.
Martinez missed 10.4% of tackles last year, but that’s not overly horrendous in comparison to Ogletree. The veteran linebacker, who played for the Giants from 2018-19, missed 15.8% of tackles last year.
Martinez struggles heavily in pass coverage though, having allowed quarterbacks to complete 73.8% and 83.8% of their throws when targeting him in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
The new acquisition will likely compete with David Mayo for the starting inside linebacker spot alongside Ryan Connelly if the Giants primarily run a 3-4 scheme. But if they run a 4-3, him, Mayo and Connelly could become a productive trio in the starting lineup.
Regardless of his role, the Giants will certainly rely on Martinez a significant amount.
TE Levine Toilolo
The Giants came to terms on a two-year deal with Levine Toilolo and likely won’t ask much from him in the passing game. He was targeted just twice last year in 13 games with the San Francisco 49ers.
Evan Engram — who will hopefully remain healthy — and Kaden Smith are already on the roster. Newly hired offensive coordinator Jason Garrett likes to utilize sets with two tight ends, so expect the pair of aforementioned individuals to be on the field when he runs those types of formations on passing downs.
But with Toilolo, the Giants will primarily use him to help open up the holes for running back Saquon Barkley, and not much more than that.
OLB Kyler Fackrell
Kyler Fackrell, who’s also coming over from the Packers just like Martinez, will have to compete for playing time at the outside linebacker position. This is especially the case if Golden stays put with the Giants.
With that said, he’ll likely be more of a reserve player, at least initially. Don’t be surprised if his playing time increases if Lorenzo Carter’s consistency-related issues remain existent though.
Fackrell racked up just one sack and 23 combined tackles last year (two tackles for loss). To put this into perspective, Carter recorded 4.5 sacks with 45 combined tackles (six tackles for loss). Nonetheless, Fackrell’s missed tackle percentage was 11.5% while Carter’s was 15.1%.
Despite the fact that the Giants only made a small investment in him (one year, $4.6 million), I could see Fackrell impressing this coaching staff more and more as the season progresses. He’s strong and quick, possessing the ability to play sideline-to-sideline. This could become extremely beneficial for a defense that’s struggled for much of the last three seasons.
OT Cameron Fleming
Mike Remmers is no longer a Giant, having signed a deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. That means there will be an opening at right tackle barring the selection of one in the first round of this year’s draft. If the Giants go defense in the opening round, Cameron Fleming will likely compete for the position. Fleming previously played for Dallas and signed a one-year deal with New York this week.
With Nate Solder retaining his starting job at left tackle (for now), Fleming and Nick Gates will work against one another for the spot on the opposite side of the line. Gates already possesses familiarity with the organization and his line counterparts. Thus, he’s a step ahead of Fleming when considering that aspect. Gates appeared in all 16 games last year with a trio of starts.
But Fleming has more familiarity with the coaching staff. He played under Garrett and offensive line coach Marc Colombo the last two seasons in Dallas. He was additionally with Judge in New England from 2014-17. Thus, he certainly has a leg up in those regards. Last year, Fleming appeared in 14 games for the Cowboys (three starts) and allowed two sacks for 12 yards.
If Fleming loses out on the starting job, expect him to serve as a swing tackle unless someone above him on the depth chart suffers an injury or simply struggles.
ST Nate Ebner
Coach Judge will now reconnect with a player who he’d been with in New England from 2012-19. And even better, it’s a guy who excels within his bread-and-butter area of the game: special teams.
After agreeing to terms on a one-year deal, the Giants will greatly utilize Nate Ebner in that facet. This past year, Ebner recorded a total of eight tackles (seven solo). His efforts on special teams earned him second-team AP All-Pro honors in 2016.
Ebner’s technically a safety, but he probably won’t spend much time on the field in those regards. Nevertheless, he’s still there for depth, and you can never have too much of that in the defensive backfield.
Ebner will able to team up with another exceptional special teams player in Cody Core, who the Giants recently signed to a two-year extension.
QB Colt McCoy
The Giants added 2009 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year Colt McCoy simply for depth purposes. He obviously won’t challenge Daniel Jones for the starting quarterback job. But McCoy can certainly go up against Alex Tanney for the second-string spot.
It’s unclear if the Giants will keep three quarterbacks on the active roster or just two. But if it’s the latter, there’s a chance the Giants could end up cutting Tanney if McCoy impresses in the preseason.
The former Texas Longhorn additionally has great experience in the league (drafted in 2010). Thus, expect him to assist in the overall development of Jones in his sophomore campaign.