One of the most significant free-agent signings for the Giants last off-season was when Damon “Snacks” Harrison left the intra-city rival New York Jets and signed with Big Blue. Harrison paid dividends as Harrison was named an All-Pro and help anchor the new and improve Giants defense. In 2017 free-agency Jerry Reese once again signed a free agent from Gang Green and this time it was wide receiver Brandon Marshall.
Marshall provides Big Blue with a much-needed red zone target that could form a lethal combination with Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. Eli Manning now has a wide receiver in the mold of Plaxico Burress who has a long frame that provides a different type of matchup issues than Beckham and Shepard. Marshall has a completely different body type than Beckham, Shepard and even the departing Victor Cruz as Marshall is five inches taller than the top two Giants wide receivers. While teams have previously worried about Beckham’s speed the opposition now must come up with a way to negate Marshall’s length.
Yet, with the addition of Marshall, the urgency to draft a tight end with a first or second round pick has greatly diminished. Upgrading the offense is a focus this offseason for the G-Men and the need for a red zone target has already been addressed so it seems highly unlikely a tight end will be chosen in the first three rounds. Those valuable draft picks can now be utilized to address other areas of the roster that need upgrades.
The offensive line of the New York Giants has been in rebuilding mode for several seasons now. While there are some solid pieces on the offensive line the unit needs to be upgraded. Left tackle is the biggest question mark as Ereck Flowers had a difficult 2016 and many are calling for Flowers to be moved to right tackle. Where Flowers is playing needs to be decided to allow the Giants to determine what specific position on the offensive line needs to be addressed.
And with the Giants not selecting a tight-end do not be surprised if Jerry Reese drafts a pass-rushing defensive end. Many were shocked when Eli apple was taken with the Giants 1st round pick last year and do not be surprised if the defensive end is addressed. While Jason-Pierre Paul and Olivier Vernon are projected to be starting at defensive end in previous years the Giants would stockpile defensive ends. When Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora were terrorizing quarterbacks the Giants added Justin Tuck and JPP. And this strategy worked because the notorious defensive front defeated Tom Brady and the New England Patriots twice in the Super Bowl.
The drafting of a defensive end also makes sense because JPP has been given the franchise tag and could leave via free-agency in 2018. By drafting a dynamic pass rusher in 2017 if Pierre-Paul does not return in 2018 the replacement could be ready and willing to fill JPPs role on the defensive line.
While free agency has not ended yet in the NFL the Brandon Marshall signing should impact the Giants drafting plans. If the G-men make another splash in free agency the draft strategy could alter again and the hope for the Big Blue faithful are the right moves are made to ensure another championship in the near future.