Giants general manager Joe Schoen impressed everyone this past offseason with various moves to bolster the roster. The trade for tight end Darren Waller. The signing of receiver Parris Campbell and linebacker Bobby Okereke. The drafting of starting corner Deonte Banks, starting center John Michael Schmitz, and receiver Jalin Hyatt.
To go along with all that, Schoen gave quarterback Daniel Jones, defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, and left tackle Andrew Thomas massive extensions. Plus he made sure to get running back Saquon Barkley in for training camp with an adjusted franchise tag.
And with all starters mainly healthy heading into Week 1 (Waller is now questionable with a hamstring injury), Sunday night’s season opener vs. the Cowboys should be a significant indicator of Schoen’s offseason success.
Of the Giants’ 22 projected starters for Sunday’s game, 12 of them Schoen either acquired, re-signed, or extended over the offseason. Including eight on offense.
The performances of Jones and Barkley will coincide. A poor showing from the quarterback could cause the decision to sign Jones before Barkley to rear its ugly head, and prevent the Giants from maximizing the new weapons. Thomas struggling against star Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons could make Schoen look foolish for giving him $67 million guaranteed, the most ever for a non-quarterback contract extension after year three. Schmitz struggling on the interior could birth a similar reaction for drafting him.
Widespread struggles across Brian Daboll’s offense will be a poor look on a regime that’s made strides to improve the unit.
On the defensive end, Schoen has two draft-day investments at corner, with rookies Deonte Banks (first round) and Tre Hawkins (sixth round) manning the boundaries.
While Banks was an expected starter, no one believed Hawkins would earn this role for the opener. Schoen probably didn’t even believe it. Regardless, two of the team’s seven drafted rookies are starting at two of the most important positions on the field.
Will Banks and Hawkins shut down CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks, and Co.? Or will immense growing pains — common for rookie defensive backs — loom large and make this young duo look outmatched and overhyped?
Schoen made big moves to improve the roster and close the gap between them and other NFC playoff contenders. But question marks still linger, many of which could start to be answered Sunday night.
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