Three Giants writers debate how Brandon Marshall will perform with Big Blue:
The Giants will have two 1,000-yard receivers in 2017.
John Schmeelk: FICTION -This might be an unpopular opinion, but I don't think anyone besides Odell Beckham Jr. will get to 1,000 yards. It's not, however, because Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall are not capable of it. In fact, if either player was with Beckham without the other, I would change my answer to "fact." With three very talented wide receivers, not to mention Shane Vereen and whoever the starting tight end is, I don't think there will be enough footballs to go around to get either Marshall or Shepard to 1,000 yards this season. Last year, for example, Shepard and Victor Cruz combined for just 1,078 yards between the two of them. The overall offense will improve even if you don't see another receiver besides Beckham get to 1,000 yards.
Dan Salomone: FACT -You can now attach the term "perennial" to Odell Beckham Jr. when it comes to Pro Bowls and 1,000-yard seasons. Now the Giants went out and signed another in Brandon Marshall, who has hit 1,000 in eight of his 11 NFL seasons. He's also done so in the first season each time he switched teams: 1,014 with Miami in 2010; a franchise-record 1,508 with Chicago in 2012; and 1,502 with the Jets in 2015. And don't forget about the ascending Sterling Shepard. There's a good shot that two of those three hit 1,000.
Lance Medow: FICTION-The Giants haven't had a pair of 1,000-yard receivers since 2011 when Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks both reached that mark. Keep in mind that season involved numerous fourth quarter comebacks when Eli Manning was forced to throw the ball constantly. Many expected the Giants to accomplish that feat this past season with Odell Beckham, Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard all in the mix, but neither Cruz nor Shepard came close to 1,000 receiving yards. You can pencil Beckham in for 1,000 yards in 2017. He's accomplished that feat in each of his first three seasons in the league but with a desire to get more production out of the run game, I don't think another receiver will reach that mark. With that being said, interestingly, Brandon Marshall has reached 1,000 yards in his first season with each of his three new teams since he joined the Dolphins in 2010.
*Brandon Marshall's biggest value will be in the red zone. *
John Schmeelk: FACT -The Giants were 19th in the league last year in red zone efficiency at just over 53 percent. Brandon Marshall should help that number improve. The speed advantage in red zone, and especially goal to go situations, can be negated due to the short field. The same cannot be said about size. Marshall's frame and catching radius will be helpful in the red zone because it allows him to make contested catches. Those are necessary when there is limited space for the offense to operate. Those traits should also help him all over the field when he and Eli Manning execute back shoulder catches. He caught a lot of back shoulder passes with the Jets last year, something that has been less common in the Giants offense since Hakeem Nicks left. It should be a huge weapon for Eli Manning.
Dan Salomone: FICTION -You don't get to 12,000-plus yards and nearly 1,000 catches by excelling in just one area. The red zone is just one part of his real value, which is taking some pressure off Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. Opposing defenses have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at Beckham, but now they'll have to think twice.
Lance Medow: FACT-At 6-4, Brandon Marshall falls in line with other tall wide receivers that Eli Manning has relied on when it comes to the red zone, such as Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer and Hakeem Nicks. He's an ideal target in those situations and his frame will prove useful in jump ball situations in the end zone. It's also important to note that his role as a blocker will also be a valuable asset in aiding the run game in the red zone.
The Giants will not draft a wide receiver this year after signing Brandon Marshall.
John Schmeelk: FACT -This is really just a guess. I'm fairly confident the team won't pick a wide receiver in the first three rounds, but if a good wide receiver is the best player on the board at some point on day three, they will probably take him. Developmental players should never be passed on because of veteran players on the roster since by the time the late round pick is ready to play there is no way to know what the team's needs are really going to be. This is a fairly deep wide receiver class in the middle rounds, so it remains a possibility. But I'll guess and go with fact.
Dan Salomone: FICTION -I've thought all along that no position would really surprise me for the Giants in this year's draft. And this doesn't change that. In 10 drafts as general manager, Jerry Reese has drafted nine wide receivers. Signing Brandon Marshall could take out the possibility of selecting one in the early rounds, but that doesn't mean they won't take one if they like that player.
Lance Medow: FICTION-The 2017 draft isn't just about shaping the roster for the upcoming season but also down the road. Just because the Giants added a veteran wide receiver to complement Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard doesn't mean there's not room to develop another young receiver. Marshall will turn 33 later this month and is an 11-year vet. New York also has to think about its long term plans while looking to bolster the offense for 2017. It's also noteworthy that the Giants have drafted a wide receiver in five of the last six years, so there's an established track record of investing in that position.
A look at Brandon Marshall's six-time Pro Bowl career
The Giants will lead the NFC East in passing yards this season.
John Schmeelk: FACT -The Cowboys are a run-first team. The Redskins look like they are going to lose two of their three top wide receivers in Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. There are still rumors that Kirk Cousins might get moved. The Eagles, meanwhile, have a second-year quarterback and are trying to rebuild their receiving corps. Barring injury, I would be very surprised if the Giants did not lead the NFC East in passing yards. The better question is total yards, which should be a lot closer than it was last season.
Dan Salomone: FACT -I think last year was an aberration. After two career years for Eli Manning under then-offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, the Giants fell to 17th in passing yards per game, 15 spots below Washington. That won't happen again. There is too much talent on offense, especially with the addition of Brandon Marshall, for it not to be in the top 10 once again.
Lance Medow: FACT-During Eli Manning's tenure,* *the Giants have led the NFC East in passing yards just twice (2011, 2015). Last season, they finished second to the Redskins, but who knows how Washington's quarterback situation is going to play out, plus the team appears to be losing two of its top receivers in free agency (DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon). The Cowboys will continue to lean on the offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott to set the tone on offense. That leaves the Eagles as the main competition to the Giants in the passing department. Philadelphia is surrounding quarterback Carson Wentz with a number of weapons this offseason as it just added Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith in free agency. As of right now, I'll give the Giants the edge but watch out for the Eagles as Wentz continues to improve following a solid rookie campaign.