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Fact or Fiction: Early stat predictions for 2022 Giants

fact-or-fiction

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

Wan'Dale Robinson will lead the team in catches as a rookie.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Someone else might have more yards or touchdowns, but the second-round draft choice is looking like he will be an immediate factor in this offense. Coach Brian Daboll said after the draft that they already a "very clear vision" for Robinson and how to utilize him. Meanwhile, Daboll's development skills extended beyond the quarterback in Buffalo. He helped identify and groom Gabriel Davis, the 128th overall selection who set the NFL playoff record with four touchdown catches in Daboll's final game as the Bills' play-caller.

Lance Medow: Fiction – In each of the last two seasons, Stefon Diggs led the Bills in receptions, and during that same time, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill accomplished the same feat, respectively, for the Chiefs. The reason that's notable is because those are the two offenses Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka were associated with, and it's fair to make a comparison between those players and the Giants' personnel. The only player that is somewhat similar to Wan'Dale Robinson in stature and skillset is Tyreek Hill, but let's not overlook Robinson is just a rookie. Kadarius Toney and Kenny Golladay are also both threats to lead the team in catches, and I wouldn't be surprised if Toney, Robinson and even Saquon Barkley all spread the wealth given their similar traits.

Matt Citak: Fact – Sterling Shepard has developed into Daniel Jones' go-to guy, while the QB's second year with both Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney should lead to better chemistry between them. However, I'm still going with Robinson to lead the team in catches this season. The rookie has looked great in OTAs, taking advantage of his time with Jones while the other receivers recover from their respective injuries. Robinson had an incredible 104 receptions for Kentucky last season and earned the highest overall PFF grade of any SEC receiver. If he can stay healthy, he could be in for a big rookie campaign.

Kayvon Thibodeaux will lead the team in sacks as a rookie.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Azeez Ojulari's franchise rookie sack record might last only one year with Thibodeaux in the mix. The question is how high will Ojulari go in his sophomore season? This will likely be a close race, but the Giants didn't draft Thibodeaux with the fifth overall pick for no reason.

Lance Medow: Fact – Last season, a rookie led the team in sacks as Azeez Ojulari topped the list with eight so it's certainly not a stretch for Kayvon Thibodeaux to do the same in 2022. Thibodeaux led Oregon in sacks in each of his three seasons with the Ducks, and while that's on the collegiate level, he still at least has a track record of production. I also think Thibodeaux's cause will be helped by the nature of Wink Martindale's scheme. In his four seasons as the Ravens defensive coordinator, no player ever had more than 9.5 sacks in one year as the team's sacks were mainly spread out across the board. That's beneficial for a first-year player, especially if he doesn't put up astronomical numbers.

Matt Citak: Fact – Two rookies to lead the team in two important categories? I'm all for it. Thibodeaux will have plenty of competition to lead the team in sacks, as Azeez Ojulari is coming off a franchise rookie record eight-sack season, while it wasn't too long ago that Leonard Williams racked up 11.5 sacks for the Giants. But Thibodeaux is one of the most talented pass rushers the Giants have had in a decade, and coupled with Wink Martindale's aggressive play-calling, the No. 5 overall pick should hit the ground running. I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if he broke Ojulari's rookie sack record.

View photos from the sixth OTA practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

Safety Xavier McKinney will lead the team in interceptions.

Dan Salomone: Fact – McKinney was the only defensive back in the NFL last season with at least 90 tackles, 10 passes defensed and five interceptions. He's just scratching the surface.

Lance Medow: Fact – In his first full season in the NFL in 2021, Xavier McKinney led the Giants in interceptions with five, and he and James Bradberry were responsible for nine of the team's 15 picks. With Bradberry no longer on the team, that helps McKinney's cause even more plus Xavier's versatility that will enable Wink Martindale to move him around within the scheme. You figure the second factor should aid McKinney in making some opportunistic plays.

Matt Citak: Fact – McKinney led the Giants with five interceptions last season, one more than James Bradberry. Bradberry is now gone, and after the veteran corner, Tae Crowder was third on the team with two interceptions. McKinney has a knack for finding the ball dating back to his college days. The safety registered three interceptions in his final season at Alabama, and then had one pick in his four starts as a rookie. Martindale's blitz-heavy defense should lead to opposing quarterbacks hurrying some throws, which in turn should result in more opportunities for interceptions for McKinney and the whole secondary. Give me McKinney as the team's interception leader for the second consecutive year.

Saquon Barkley is the X-factor for the Giants' season.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka are known for their innovation, and who better to get creative with than Saquon Barkley? "I think Saquon is that type of player that you want to be able to give him the ball and you want him to touch the ball as much as you can," Kafka said. "I think he's dynamic out in space, and he's done a good job in this camp here just being assignment sound, working on the fundamentals. Right now that's what we're looking for."

Lance Medow: Fiction – With Kadarius Toney and Wan'Dale Robinson both in the mix on the offensive side of the ball, the Giants have several players who can do damage out in open space and also serve as a runner. That's why I'm turning to the opposite side of the ball and looking at Kayvon Thibodeaux. With a relatively unproven young secondary, the Giants will need their pass rush to deliver and that means Thibodeaux has the chance to step in immediately and make his presence felt. His production will tell an awful lot about the outlook of the defense.

Matt Citak: Fiction – Barkley is certainly one of the most important players for the Giants this season, but the X-factor for the Giants this season has to be Daniel Jones. The team struggled mightily once Jones got hurt last year, as the offense could not do much over the last six games of the season. If the offensive line can give him time in the pocket, Jones could be looking at a big bounce back year. Jones is the No. 1 X-factor for Big Blue this season, but Barkley is certainly a close second.

View photos of the New York Giants' 2022 roster as it currently stands.

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