I wrote one of these last year and I assure you there’s no need to find it on the internet. Every single prediction was right on the money. I promise. Scout’s honor.
I lied. It was a bit of a disaster, but that’s okay. Bold predictions can’t all be right. That’s why they’re bold. What makes it trickier this year is that three draft picks are linemen and those guys are hard to really have numbers to be bold about, but I’ll do my best. Here goes nothing:
Saquon Barkley (Part 1): This is tougher than it looks on the surface. Expectations are so high for the second overall pick in the draft, what kind of prediction would really be bold? I’ll go with this. Saquon Barkley will have 2,000 combined yards rushing, receiving and returning the football. I think he’ll finish with somewhere between 1,100-1,200 rushing yards, 600-700 receiving yards and 100-200 kick return yards. Tiki Barber had four seasons with 2,000 all-purpose yards for the Giants, but no one else has.
Saquon Barkley (Part 2): In terms of yards from scrimmage, I think he will gain more than any other player ever has in a Giants uniform except for Tiki Barber, who has the four best seasons in team history (2,390 in 2005, 2,127 in 2006, 2,096 in 2004, 1,984 in 2002). Joe Morris has the next best season with 1,749 yards in 1986. Remember, Barkley is not just a running back; he is a weapon. I think you’ll see him all over the formation. Barkley will top Joe Morris’ total and slot in right behind Barber.
Lorenzo Carter: The Giants are going to have to generate more pressure on opposing passers this offseason if the defense is going to improve. Olivier Vernon returns with his 6.5 sacks from last season, but 2017 sack leader Jason Pierre-Paul (8.5 sacks) will be wearing pewter down in Tampa. The Giants should generate some pressure on blitzes, but they will need someone to win one-on-one. I think Carter has the best raw tools to do it besides Vernon. That’s why I think Carter will have the second-most sacks on the team.
4. Will Hernandez: There are no stats for offensive linemen, so this gets a little tricky. Will Hernandez will start all 16 games as a rookie at left guard. The fact he’ll start all 16 games at guard isn’t necessarily bold, but we still don’t know whether he’ll play left or right. We also don’t know if they would move him to the other guard position in case of an injury to a teammate on the offensive line. Hernandez played exclusively at left guard in college, while Patrick Omameh has played both. To me, that makes it more likely Omameh goes to the right side. He could also be a calm veteran presence next to what could be an inexperienced right tackle.5. B.J. Hill and RJ McIntosh:
5. B.J. Hill and RJ McIntosh: The initials brigade should both be rotational defensive linemen for the season. The most sacks B.J. Hill had in college was 3.5 as a sophomore at N.C. State. McIntosh’s single-season high in college was 2.5 in each of his last two years at Miami. I’ll say the duo will combine for 5 sacks this year, with one of the two tying or breaking their college single-season high.
BONUS: Kyle Lauletta: With Lauletta unlikely to play a regular-season game this year, I couldn’t make a preseason prediction one of my five bold predictions. I think Lauletta will have a better completion percentage than Davis Webb in the preseason. Watching Lauletta on tape, I saw a quarterback who anticipates and is extremely accurate in the short and medium range. I think he will look for a lot of safe passes as a rookie in his first action, while Webb will be more confident and advanced, showing off his big arm going down the field. We’ll see if that’s how the preseason goes.