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Giants Kickoff: Three things to watch for in the 2024 offseason

We're about two weeks removed from the last Giants game of the year and it kind of feels like eons ago. Although the season has ended, you can't quite get rid of me yet folks. It's time to take a look at a few key storylines to watch as we move into the 2024 offseason.

After a surprise finish in 2022 resulting in a playoff berth and a playoff win, the Giants had themselves a roller coaster of a 2023 season. The second year of Brian Daboll's tenure as coach was full of injuries, some controversy, and a third place finish in the NFC East. He will be looking to turn the Giants' fortunes around in year three and it all starts with the draft.

The 2024 NFL draft

The 2024 NFL draft will be one of the most important drafts for the Giants in a very long time as this draft will be the cornerstone of Joe Schoen's legacy as GM. Schoen is heading into his third draft, and if another season like the one that coalesced in 2023 happens again in 2024, Twitter GMs will be up in arms and the hot seat questions will begin to surface from the media. Now, I don't believe Schoen's job will be in jeopardy if the Giants underperform again in 2024, but if things don't go well again then it might get a little louder in New York.

The Giants have plenty of draft capital to work with and need to make big moves and choose difference makers in the early rounds that can compete for starting spots on day 1. They have four picks in the top-70 which gives them a lot of options, use the picks to bolster the roster or move around a bit on the draft board and pick up extra draft compensation. There are a lot of moves that can be made and I hope for the sake of Giants fans everywhere that Schoen ends up playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers.

The big areas of need for the Giants heading into the draft will be: QB, OL, WR, DT, CB. The burning question coming from fans is if the Giants will elect to draft a QB or address the offensive line with their first pick. Daniel Jones while recently talking with the media said "The goal is to be back by training camp." That would put him at roughly nine months post-injury if he were to return by training camp in late July. That prospect is certainly not out of the question, and I'm sure the Giants will have a litany of additional info on Jones' recovery process come draft time at the end of April.

Ultimately, there are still a ton of holes in this Giants team that need addressing, but looking to bolster the offense first will be the main priority of the management team heading into the draft. There are plenty of early QB options - Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels being the top 3 - and offensive line options - Joe Alt and Olu Fashanu being the top two tackles and Troy Fautanu and Cooper Beebe being the top two interior linemen. None of the aforementioned players will fall to the second round, so making sure the right guy is chosen will be of the utmost importance.

Right now, the Giants hold the sixth pick in the first round of the draft. Even better than that? They also hold two early second rounders and an early third rounder which they can use on the offensive line, wide receiver, or even defensive line to give All-Pro Dexter Lawrence some help. Those four picks alone can flip the organization around come 2024. All in all, a really solid draft could help ease up the pressure on the management team and ultimately give them a sense of where they can focus in free agency.

Who will be playing quarterback come September?

That question may be answered by the time the NFL draft wraps up in the spring. The Giants hold the number 6 pick and could be looking for quarterback help, most likely coming in the form of Heisman winner Jayden Daniels from LSU. Caleb Williams and Drake Maye will more than likely be off the board by the time the Giants pick comes around, but that may not matter to the Giants if Daniels is the guy they have wanted all along.

As it stands, two quarterback needy teams will be picking ahead of the Giants in the form of the Washington Commanders and New England Patriots. The Commanders are more than likely out on Sam Howell and the Patriots can't run it back with Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe under center next year. This puts the Giants in a tricky spot because the Bears also own the first overall pick and could look to use that on Caleb Williams if they end up parting ways with Justin Fields. The Bears could also use the number 1 pick as leverage and the Giants have the draft capital to move up into that spot to pick Caleb Williams. In the next three drafts alone, the Giants own three first round picks, four second round picks, and three third round picks. Just keep that on the radar, it could be possible that come April the Giants are picking number 1 and grabbing their quarterback of the future.

Daniel Jones tore his ACL in November, and although he expects to be back by training camp, there is no guarantee he will be back to full health by then or by week 1. Tyrod Taylor’s time with the Giants is almost certainly at a close and he will be finding work elsewhere as a very serviceable back up. That leaves Tommy DeVito. I can guarantee that Brian Daboll probably doesn’t want to start the season with a guy he benched for the last two and a half games of the 2023 season. DeVito was serviceable though during the few games he started in 2023, but it may be time for the Giants to focus on bringing in another young quarterback and building around him.

I like the idea of Jayden Daniels in Giant blue if he falls to them at six, he is a dual-threat quarterback that just posted the best stats of his college career in a 2023 season where he led the LSU Tigers to a 9-3 record and a bowl appearance. He racked up 3,812 passing yards, a 72.2% completion percentage, 40:4 TD:INT ratio, and ran for 1,134 yards and 10 touchdowns. He accounted for 50 touchdowns throughout the course of the season. Looking strictly at the numbers alone, he accounted for more yardage and touchdowns than both Caleb Williams and Drake Maye, the two quarterbacks sitting ahead of him on draft boards. At 6 '4' and 210 lbs, Daniels has a solid frame for an NFL quarterback, and once he adds an additional 15-20 pounds, he will really be in a prime spot to take on the nastiest defensive linemen in the world on Sundays. 

I truly think Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll will elect to draft a quarterback and build from scratch around him. They inherited Daniel Jones from a previous regime, and faith in Jones has probably wilted a bit with the way in which he played prior to his injury in 2023. I’d also like to see Brian Daboll get another opportunity to develop a quarterback just like he did with Josh Allen in Buffalo. Take a look at where Josh Allen is at now, a lot of that can be credited to Dabes.

As I noted in the draft section, there are a few key areas the Giants will need to address in the draft and in free agency. The quarterback situation, along with the offensive line, need to be figured out in tandem. A new quarterback can instantly turn the organization around and with all of the pain and misery Giants fans have experienced since the last Super Bowl run, the time has come to stop playing conservative and take risks to get back to prominence.

What to make of the offensive and defensive coordinators

After a 6-11 finish to the season, the Giants made some moves on the darkest day of the NFL calendar coined 'Black Monday'. This date, across the league, is when teams part ways with head coaches, coordinators, assistants, you name it. It is one of the most chaotic days of the year in the NFL and this year was an interesting one, to say the least, for the Giants. Defensive coordinator, Don 'Wink' Martindale, announced his resignation only hours after Brian Daboll made public statements expecting both of his coordinators to be back next year. This wasn't a firing, it was a resignation, so Jay Glazer's report in November that Daboll and Wink's relationship was on rocky terrain seemed to be accurate.

The Giants have begun interviewing his successor and there are a few names to keep an eye on for the job.

  • Leslie Frazier, former Bills defensive coordinator and a guy that has ties to Daboll from his Buffalo days

  • Brandon Staley, former Los Angeles Chargers coach who was fired during the 2023 season, he comes from a defensive background and led defensive coordinator duties with the Rams in 2020 where they ranked in the top-5 in defense in the league

It was a rough season on both sides of the ball and although they faced a ton of injuries throughout the year, the numbers just weren’t good enough on offense or defense.  

The stats don’t lie and the Giants ended the season with the following rankings on offense:

  • 29th in total yards per game

  • 16th in rushing yards per game

  • 31st in passing yards per game

  • 30th in points scored per game

  • Really bad, especially from a passing game standpoint

If you thought the offense was bad, the defense wasn’t much better. Especially against the run…..

  • 27th in total yards allowed

  • 29th in total rushing yards allowed

  • 14th in passing yards allowed

  • 29th in sacks generated

  • 26th in opponent points per game

  • A nice little tidbit courtesy of Big Blue View: Micah McFadden had 25 missed tackles (21.9% of attempts) on the season, with Adoree Jackson missing 16.1% and Jason Pinnock missing 13.7% of their attempts. That many missed tackles isn’t so much on the coaches but on the players and the effort they are putting in play after play

The Giants have tough decisions to make at the coordinator roles come 2024 and I do believe that the organization will do everything in their power to try and get back to their winning ways.

Final Thoughts

There is much to unpack heading into the offseason and the Giants are already working on filling their open coaching vacancies. A lot will be happening over the next few months leading up to the combine and draft in the spring. The Giants will be all over the place, phones off the hook, trying to sign free agents, execute trades, and build a solid draft class. It will be very busy for Joe Schoen and Brandon Brown in the front office.

We know by now what the Giants need to focus on heading into 2024, and trust is still there in Schoen and his management team to make the right moves to put the Giants in the right place to compete for their first NFC East title since 2011. Brian Daboll in year three will have a fresh defensive coordinator at his side and a flurry of new assistants in the building. Hopefully, he can make the most of a 'fresh start' and bring a winning culture back to East Rutherford.


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