Predicting Giants' Key Stat Leaders for 2021 NFL Season

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2021

Predicting Giants' Key Stat Leaders for 2021 NFL Season

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    The New York Giants made some key additions this offseason who are expected to contribute immediately. In free agency, they added wideout Kenny Golladay and tight end Kyle Rudolph. In the draft, general manager Dave Gettleman selected wideout Kadarius Toney and pass-rusher Azeez Ojulari.

    New York is also expected to have a healthy Saquon Barkley at running back in 2021, meaning Jason Garrett's offense should have a little more potency than it did a year ago.

    Whether any of this is enough to put New York near the front of the NFC East remains to be seen, but the Giants should have reasons for optimism.

    However, being better doesn't necessarily mean improving on last year's six wins and making a serious push for the playoffs. For that to happen, players like Barkley, Golladay and quarterback Daniel Jones will have to thrive statistically. Football is a team sport, but teams do best when their biggest stars make the biggest plays.

    With this in mind, let's examine some of New York's top players and likely statistical leaders for the 2021 NFL season.

QB Daniel Jones

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    Corey Sipkin/Associated Press

    Jones will get at least another year to prove that he can be the Giants' franchise quarterback. While the Duke product has been mostly average in his two pro seasons, he should have the weapons to make a statistical leap this season.

    Golladay is a legitimate No. 1-caliber receiver, Barkley is one of the best backs in the game when healthy and, while Toney is raw, he has home run-hitting potential.

    "Toney flashes plays where he looks like Gumby with his ability to bend and excellent start-stop ability with the ball in his hands, with the capability of turning a short gain into an explosive one," Nate Tice of the B/R Scouting Department wrote.

    The key for Jones will be improving his pocket presence—he took 45 sacks in 2020—and getting the football into the hands of his playmakers. He had just 2,943 passing yards and 11 touchdowns in 14 games last season, but many of his current playmakers were not yet on the roster.

    Don't expect Jones to instantly become an elite signal-caller this season, but he should finally show the statistical production of an above-average quarterback.

    Prediction: 4,120 passing yards, 27 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 450 rushing yards, 6 rushing touchdowns

RB Saquon Barkley

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    For Barkley, it will be all about health in 2021. The 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year suffered a torn ACL last season and missed three games in 2019. Unfortunately, there's no guarantee that he'll play a full season this year.

    "Don't know," Giants co-owner Jon Tisch told TMZ (h/t Mike Rosenstein of when asked if Barkley would be ready for Week 1.

    Should Barkley be healthy for the majority of the season, though, he should be among the league leaders at running back. He produced over 2,000 scrimmage yards as a rookie and topped 1,000 rushing yards in 2019 despite playing 13 games and being hampered by an ankle injury.

    While New York did bring in running back Devontae Booker this offseason, he isn't going to challenge a healthy Barkley for the starting job. Booker might steal a few carries, but Barkley is as dangerous a receiver as he is a runner and should get plenty of touches in the receiving game.

    Expect Barkley to return to Pro Bowl form in 2021.

    Prediction: 1,212 rushing yards, 11 rushing touchdowns, 75 receptions, 513 receiving yards, 6 receiving touchdowns

WR Kenny Golladay

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    Tony Ding/Associated Press

    The Giants are paying Golladay to be their new No. 1 receiver. They inked the four-year veteran to a four-year, $72 million deal in free agency. Like Barkley, though, Golladay will have to stay healthy to make a serious impact.

    Golladay was limited to just five games and 338 receiving yards last season with the Detroit Lions.

    If healthy, though, Golladay is one of the NFL's most dangerous pass-catchers. Playing with a prolific passer in Matthew Stafford certainly helped, but Stafford missed eight games in 2019 while Golladay racked up 1,190 receiving yards and a league-leading 11 touchdown receptions.

    Golladay can and will make Jones a better passer. He produced back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns before dealing with injuries in 2020. He should get back to that Pro Bowl level of play in 2021.

    Expect Golladay to lead the Giants' passing attack, while players like Toney, Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram provide important supporting roles.

    Prediction: 75 receptions, 1,225 receiving yards, 10 receiving touchdowns