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Fact or Fiction: Most improved position groups


The crew is presented with four statements and must decide whether they are Fact or Fiction.

Based on what you saw and heard at OTAs, the defensive front will be the strength of the Giants this season.

John Schmeelk: Fact - This was my prior opinion heading into the offseason program, I don't think there was anything I could see in unpadded practices or hear at the podium that would change my mind. The Giants have more resources dedicated to the defensive front than any other position and it isn't particularly close. Dexter Lawrence and Brian Burns are both top players at their positions and are compensated that way. Kayvon Thibodeaux was the 5th overall pick in the draft and had 11.5 sacks last season. Azeez Ojulari was a second-round pick with first-round ability. There's a lot of talent on the defensive front and I would expect that group to be the most consistently effective for the team this season.

Matt Citak: Fact – Combine the acquisition of Brian Burns with the emergence of Dexter Lawrence as one of the league's best defensive players and Kayvon Thibodeaux's strong 2023 campaign, and this one is easy. Not only should the defensive front be the biggest strength of the Giants this season, but I expect the unit to be among the best in the NFL, both in 2024 and beyond. If all three of those players can stay healthy, it wouldn't surprise me to see at least two of them reach the double-digit sack mark this year. And I didn't even mention guys like Azeez Ojulari, Boogie Basham and Jordan Phillips serving as complimentary pass rushers. Add it all up and the defensive front's potential is through the roof.

The offensive line is the most improved position group on offense.

John Schmeelk: Fact - This is close between the offensive line and receiving corps. The Giants added Malik Nabers at wide receiver, who has the talent to become the top player at the position. I would also expect natural improvement from the younger players there like Wan'Dale Robinson and Jalin Hyatt. I am still going to go with the offensive line. They have a new coach in Carmen Bricillo, two new starters with solid track records in Jon Runyan Jr. and Jermaine Eluemenor, a healthier Andrew Thomas and potential improvement from Evan Neal and John Michael Schmitz. I think the wide receiver group has a higher ceiling, especially long term, but I'll take the offensive line for immediate improvement.

Matt Citak: Fiction – I expect the offensive line to make a stark improvement following the additions of Jon Runyan Jr. and Jermaine Eluemunor, among others, over the last few months. However, I'm going with the wide receiver group here. Malik Nabers is a game-changer that adds a dynamic to the offense that the team hasn't seen in years. The rookie wide receiver should immediately step in as the top option whenever the offense has the ball. The group also features a healthy Wan'Dale Robinson, who improved throughout last year and is finally going through his first normal offseason since joining the team. Jalin Hyatt heading into his second NFL season should see more playing time and targets, while Darius Slayton continues to display great consistency. The wide receiver group should produce a lot more in 2024.

View all of the top photos from the Quest Diagnostics Training Center as OTAs come to a close.

The secondary is the most improved area on defense.

John Schmeelk: Fiction - I'm going to go with the defensive front. The addition of Brian Burns should push that group to a new level of disruption and consistency. The secondary is depending on a lot of young players to help, but Burns has a proven track record and potential of dominance that will override anything at other positions.

Matt Citak: Fiction – Based on my first answer, it should not come as a surprise that I'm going with the defensive front here. Burns, Lawrence and Thibodeaux combined for 148 total pressures last season, and all three will enter the 2024 campaign below the age of 27. They will each benefit from the presence of the others, as it will be difficult for opponents to double team more than one of these guys at a time, leaving the others in one-on-one situations. I think Jordan Phillips was also an underrated signing, as the defensive lineman picked up 9.5 sacks in his last fully healthy season back in 2019. After the defense finished tied for 28th in the league with 34 total sacks last year, I believe that number will rise drastically in 2024.

The player who gained the most this spring is cornerback Cor'Dale Flott.

John Schmeelk: Fiction - Flott is being slotted in as the starting outside cornerback, but I think the coaches felt good about putting him in that spot based on what he did in his first two seasons. Simply based on how much they have probably learned and improved, I would slide Tyler Nubin and Andru Phillips into this conversation. Both players have gained invaluable experience and showed the coaches the type of players they are.

Matt Citak: Fiction – I have to go with Daniel Jones for this one. Less than seven months after tearing his ACL in the Week 9 matchup against the Raiders, Jones has been back on the field participating in some team drills throughout the spring. The fact that he's been able to take part in any team drills at this point is impressive alone, but the veteran quarterback has also looked good while out there. He's running and moving around, displaying the same athleticism we've seen from him since joining the team in 2019, while connecting on some strong throws. We'll have to wait and see, but it appears as if Jones is on track to being cleared in time for the start of training camp. This would benefit the entire offense as the unit heads into Year 3 in Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka's system.

View photos of the New York Giants' 2024 active roster as it currently stands.