Today's edition of The Mailbag on Giants.com.
NFL.com names the top 50 prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft.
• Where can the Giants make the biggest improvements this offseason: through free agency, the draft, or developing players on the roster?
As we saw with the acquisition of defensive standouts Damon Harrison, Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins, and Keenan Robinson, shrewd free agency moves can result in a significant improvement in a team's fortunes.
But free agency is still a risky proposition. Let's face it, the Giants have had their share of free agent disappointments, as have all teams. I believe the best way to build a team for long-term success is through the draft and developing those players. That's where I believe the Giants will concentrate their efforts this offseason.
• After one season, where does last year's free agency class rank with previous years in terms of production and contributions?
I'm reluctant to say any free agency class is "the best," particularly after one season. But it's safe to say the Class of 2016 it's one of the most productive and influential the Giants have ever signed. Just look at the statistical impact made by Damon Harrison, Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins, Keenan Robinson, and Kelvin Sheppard. The Giants were second in the NFL with 284 points allowed, one season after they were ranked 30th after giving up 442 points, the second-highest total in franchise history. The 158-point decrease in points allowed was by far the NFL's highest; Philadelphia was second with a 99-point drop. The Giants allowed 17.8 points per game, the lowest average by their opponents since 2002, when they gave up 17.4 points a game.
The Giants allowed an NFL-low 26 touchdowns (including a league-low 25 opposing offensive touchdowns). The Giants ranked 10th in the NFL, allowing 5,435 yards (339.7 a game), one season after finishing 32nd by yielding a franchise-record 6,725 yards (420.3 a game). The 1,290-yard improvement was the league's best. So yes, it was a terrific free agency class. But now that they've set the bar high, they'll be expected to perform even better in 2017.