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3 reasons why Giants will make the playoffs

Posted Jun 10, 2016

NFL Media's Charley Casserly explains how the Giants can make the playoffs:     

General manager Jerry Reese went into free agency and the draft looking to make several upgrades on both sides of the ball.

The Giants made a big splash out of the gate in free agency, headlined by the signings of defensive end Olivier Vernon, defensive tackle Damon Harrison and cornerback Janoris Jenkins to go along with the re-signing of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. A month later, Big Blue brought in six new players via the draft, including cornerback Eli Apple in the first round and wide receiver Sterling Shepard in the second.

>> READ: ELI NAMED TOP 100 PLAYER

The big offseason caught the attention of Charley Casserly, the Super Bowl XXVI-winning GM of the Washington Redskins. On NFL Network this week, Casserly said he believes the Giants, who finished 6-10 last season, are a playoff contender in 2016.

“The offense is pretty much a playoff caliber offense now. They were sixth in scoring last year.”

Casserly listed three main reasons why Big Blue could make it into the postseason:

1. Free Agent Acquisitions

The Giants made serious noise this offseason in free agency, especially on defense. Casserly says those signings should pay dividends from the get-go.

“Vernon has quickness and speed up field,” Casserly said. “Then you bring in a big, physical run-stuffer like Damon Harrison.

So you’ve improved your run defense. Janoris Jenkins gives you the corner on the outside who is a playmaker.”

Jenkins is expected to team up with veteran Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who is coming off a Pro Bowl season in 2015.

No player has broken up more passes (123) than DRC since he entered the league in 2008.

2. Giants Getting Healthy

The new Giants get added to the mix of what was already on the roster.

Jason Pierre-Paul was re-signed after only playing in eight games last season due to a serious hand injury suffered in a July 4 fireworks accident. JPP had 42 sacks entering 2015, but only recorded one quarterback takedown upon his return.

“JPP isn’t going to be playing with a club on his hand, so he’s going to be better,” Casserly said.

>> READ: JPP'S NEW NORMAL

In addition to Pierre-Paul, Big Blue also returns third-year linebacker Devon Kennard and fourth-year defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, who both missed time last season due to injury.

“The Giants’ best linebacker, Devon Kennard, he’s back after missing significant time,” Casserly said. “Hankins is a big defensive tackle who also missed significant time. The Giants are healthy, so they will be better.”

3. The Draft Picks

The Giants drafted six players in the 2016 NFL Draft – three on offense and three on defense. The class was headlined by Apple, who Big Blue took with the 10th overall pick. In the second round, the Giants went offense, taking Shepard with the 40th selection.

Safety Darian Thompson, linebacker B.J. Goodson, running back Paul Perkins and tight end Jerell Adams round out draftees.

>> READ: THOMPSON EYES STARTING JOB

Here’s Casserly’s take:

“Eli Apple gives the Giants three good corners. Then at free safety, I think Darian Thompson is going to start. He’s instinctive and a ball hawk. Then B.J. Goodson, I think he’s going to start at middle linebacker.”

Casserly says between free agency and the draft, the Giants could have six new starters on defense.

“This defense will be dramatically improved,” Casserly added. “That’s why I think they can go back to the playoffs this year.”