Who Are New York Giants' Next Great Playmakers?
When the next general manager and head coach of the New York Giants come in, they will have a lot of decisions to make on how to revamp a roster that has grossly underachieved this season.
But scattered among the rubble are a few young and promising playmakers who have put together some solid showings that are bound to impress the new executive leadership—and perhaps even coax them into building around that talent.
Who are these promising youngsters? Read on to find out.
RB Wayne Gallman
It's quite a while since the Giants have had themselves a two-way threat at running back. In rookie Wayne Gallman, however, they might just have found a guy who can carry the rock and be a threat out of the backfield.
Gallman has 369 rushing yards on 86 carries and 149 receiving yards on 28 receptions with a touchdown this term. His 518 all-purpose yards are second to running back Orleans Darkwa's 603 among the team's running backs.
Unsurprisingly, Gallman has seen his opportunities to touch the ball increase over the last two games—he's had 33 opportunities with the ball in his hands (20 rushes and 13 receptions) compared to Darkwa's 22 (19 carries and 3 receptions).
Moving forward, it would be hard to imagine Gallman not having a bigger role in the next generation of the Giants offense.
TE Evan Engram
When the Giants needed someone to step up after losing receivers Brandon Marshall and Odell Beckham Jr., rookie tight end Evan Engram was there.
Engram has at least one reception in his past nine games since that Week 5 disaster against the Los Angeles Chargers. The 2017 first-rounder has also scored a touchdown in five of his past nine games, and in his past three games, he's accounted for 240 receiving yards on 19 receptions.
Whoever ends up being the Giants offensive coordinator next year will no doubt be happy to have Engram and a healthy Beckham on the field at the same time. The possibilities when deploying these talents seem limited only by the imagination.
DT Dalvin Tomlinson
Rookie defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson has recorded 43 total tackles in 14 games, showing himself to be more of a run-stopper than a pass-rusher. But it's been in his past five games wherein Tomlinson has picked up the pace.
Over that period, he has one sack to go along with 21 total tackles, with his seven-solo tackle showing against the Oakland Raiders a career high. Once Tomlinson refines his pass-rushing abilities, the sky is going to be the limit for this big-bodied young man.
MLB B.J. Goodson
Although second-year middle linebacker B.J. Goodson has missed seven games this year—two early-season lost games were the result of a shin injury, while the past five were a result of an ankle sprain that could cost him the final two games of the campaign—people seem to forget this physical linebacker was a playmaking force in the middle.
In Week 1, Goodson recorded a career-high 18 total tackles (14 solo), which put him at the top of the NFL. When he returned from his shin injury, he recorded 24 tackles over four games, 18 of which were solo, and he had a forced fumble before the high ankle sprain pretty much wrecked his season.
If Goodson can overcome his lower-body injuries and improve his recognition in pass coverage, the Giants might just have themselves a solid anchor in the middle for years to come.
WR Sterling Shepard
Receiver Sterling Shepard is only in his second year, but much like Engram, he has done a nice job of helping to pick up the slack after the team lost Beckham and Marshall.
Shepard has only played in 10 games this season because of ankle and migraine issues, but he still recently passed his total receiving yards output from last year (683) in fewer receptions.
In 2016, Shepard caught 65 balls for the aforementioned 683 yards and eight touchdowns. This year, he's caught 54 balls for 686 yards and two touchdowns.
Interestingly, the Giants have also tried using him an end-arounds a tad more this year. Shepard has four carries for four yards, which isn't impressive—though a large reason for his shoddy production there has been the blocking up front.
Last year, he had three carries for 31 yards, leaving one to wonder whether the next coaching staff might get him more involved with some of these plays.
Patricia Traina covers the New York Giants for Inside Football, the Journal Inquirer and Sports Xchange. All quotes and information were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.