New York Giants' Most Under and Overrated Offseason Additions
None of the New York Giants' offseason additions included a splashy free-agent signing or top-10 draft selection. Despite the absence of attention-grabbing moves, Big Blue still had its fair share of additions that received too much attention and credit.
Conversely, there were some shrewd acquisitions which were mistakenly overlooked. Draft picks Ryan Nassib and Johnathan Hankins fall into these categories, but you’ll have to check out the following slides to see who lands where.
To keep things interesting, there is a runner-up for most overrated and underrated as well as a winner for each. The former will be announced first, with the winners held to the end to build some suspense.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Focus
Runner-Up: Most Underrated: Drafting Defensive Tackle Johnathan Hankins
Defensive tackles rarely get a lot of attention. They don’t accumulate sack totals comparable to defensive ends, and it is rare to see them intercept a pass, let alone take it to the house for six points.
Despite the lack of exciting plays, the men in the trenches of the defense still serve an important purpose. They are vital to clogging running lanes and can make a quarterback uncomfortable by collapsing the pocket.
Lucky for Big Blue, their second-round draft choice in April, Johnathan Hankins, figures to be good at both in the NFL.
His scouting report reveals that he is not only a physical, strong man, but also quick and agile for his size. The only reason he fell into the second round was because teams were concerned with his propensity to wear down in a game due to playing too many snaps.
Fortunately, this shouldn’t be a problem with New York since he figures to be in a defensive tackle rotation behind starters Linval Joseph and Cullen Jenkins.
The selections of Justin Pugh, Nassib and even Cooper Taylor, who overcame a rare heart condition to make it into the NFL, received more attention than the Hankins addition.
The former Ohio State Buckeye, however, may have a bigger impact than all of them. He will be a contributing member to a defense trying to bounce back from a miserable 2012 performance.
The other draft picks mentioned don’t figure to get much playing time at all. This even goes for Pugh, who has a bunch of veterans standing in his way on the offensive line.
Runner-Up: Most Overrated: Signing Free-Agent Linebacker Aaron Curry
Any time a team acquires a former top-five draft pick at a need position, it is going to get people's attention. Therefore, it is not surprising that Big Blue’s signing of Aaron Curry, who was the fourth overall selection in the 2009 draft by the Seattle Seahawks, has received quite a bit of fanfare.
Despite being considered the safest pick in that year’s draft, Curry has instead been a bust in his four-year NFL career.
The reality, though, is that he is not even a lock to make the Giants 53-man roster.
The 27-year-old is coming off a knee injury that cost him most of the 2012 season with the Oakland Raiders. In addition, according to Patricia Traina of Inside Football, Curry wasn’t exactly impressive in OTA sessions conducted in early June:
To my eyes, Aaron Curry has been a little disappointing. He looks to be a step too slow, and was beaten in coverage a few times. I know that Curry is still relative new, but in the back of my mind, I wonder about whether he’s in the type of condition he needs to be in. He has the rest of June and July to whip himself into optimal shape, so it’s too soon to push the panic button just yet.
Traina is right, Curry needs to be given more time. He better be impressive in training camp, however, because there is a lot of competition at the linebacker position.
Mark Herzlich, Dan Connor, Keith Rivers, Jacquian Williams and Spencer Paysinger all figure to make the team. Since the Giants are not likely to carry more than six linebackers, Curry must grab that final spot or he’ll find himself scrambling to even remain in the NFL.
That would make for a pretty good story too, but one that Curry prefers not to see written.
Winner: Most Underrated: Signing Free-Agent Tight End Brandon Myers
The loss of New York’s 2012 tight end, Martellus Bennett, to the Bears garnered more headlines than the signing of former Oakland Raider Brandon Myers. Maybe it had to do with the fact that Bennett was the first NFL free agent to ink a deal this offseason and that he did it for a lot more money than Myers.
Nevertheless, the Myers signing was a great move by Big Blue for a variety of reasons.
The cap-friendly contract is a good place to start. While the total deal spans four years and is worth $14.25 million, the final three years are voidable. In essence, then, the contract only guarantees Myers $2.25 million for the 2013 season. On the flip side, Bennett’s contract runs through 2016 and is guaranteed for over $9 million.
In terms of his 2012 performance, Myers quietly had a tremendous season as a pass-catcher. He hauled in 79 receptions for 806 yards and four TDs. He was also sure-handed and reliable, catching 78.2 percent of the passes thrown to him. This was a better percentage than the likes of Rob Gronkowski, Jason Witten and Jimmy Graham.
His 10.2 yards per catch was low, ranking 13th out of the 18 tight ends with at least 50 receptions. To be fair, though, Myers wasn’t exactly surrounded by receivers that drew a lot of attention in Oakland. The trio of Denarius Moore, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Rod Streater are average at best, which didn’t allow Myers a ton of opportunities to get overlooked and make big plays down the field.
One knock of Myers is that he is a terrible run-blocker, but this criticism may be overblown. It is true that he did have a -20.4 Pro Football Focus rating (subscription required) in this category in 2012, the worst among all tight ends. However, based on analysis done by Jimmy Kempski at Blogging the Beast, Myers is not as bad a run-blocker as this rating indicates.
He’ll also have the good fortune of working with tight ends coach Mike Pope in 2013. Pope is one of the best at what he does in the NFL and has had a knack of coaching strong run-blocking tight ends in recent years. Since 2008, the worst run-blocking PFF rating by a Giants starting tight end was -0.3 by Jake Ballard in 2011.
Myers may never be a great run-blocker but he figures to be an adequate one under Pope. This will allow him to stay on the field enough to make a significant impact in Big Blue’s passing attack.
Winner: Most Overrated: Drafting Quarterback Ryan Nassib
While the Giants were busy patting themselves on the back for selecting Nassib in the fourth round of April’s draft, they failed to realize that the pick actually created more problems than it solved.
To begin with, it was a wasted opportunity to address the linebacker or cornerback position. Both of these areas remain weaknesses for New York and a fourth-round pick would have been a good time to get a player that can contribute on either unit in 2013.
Instead, the Giants selected a player who clearly has talent, but may never get to play for the team that drafted him.
Eli Manning has yet to miss a game in his nine-year NFL career and, at the age of 32, he figures to have at least three top seasons left in the league. Even when he does start to decline, there is no guarantee that Nassib will be a better option to replace him.
In addition, with David Carr also under contract, the Giants may have to carry three quarterbacks if they want to have a veteran backing up Manning. This would waste a roster spot that could provide positional depth or additional help on special teams.
If Big Blue’s grand plan is to trade Nassib off his potential and a few good garbage-time performances, it may be an overly optimistic thought process. Sure, it worked for the Philadelphia Eagles when they traded Kevin Kolb to the Arizona Cardinals in 2011.
Since Kolb was a bust in the desert, though, teams appear to have learned not to give up a lot for an unproven quarterback. For instance, the Raiders only relented a fifth-round pick and a conditional pick that figures to be virtually worthless to the Seahawks for Matt Flynn back in April.
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