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Cover 4

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Cover 4: Takeaways from season-ending press conferences


The crew discusses biggest takeaways from the end-of-season press conference with general manager Joe Schoen and coach Brian Daboll:

John Schmeelk: As expected, Joe Schoen held his cards close to the vest when he addressed the media early Monday morning and discussed what is ahead for the Giants in what will be a pivotal offseason. Schoen once again addressed the quarterback situation, which revolves around the health of Daniel Jones. He already stated when he spoke at the bye that the Giants would have to make an addition in the quarterback room this offseason because Tyrod Taylor was an impending free agent, but he added something else on Monday when asked if he might "need to add someone to that room someone who can potentially start and compete with Daniel for a job."

"Well, there's a chance he's not ready Week 1, so yeah," Schoen responded. "You've got to sign somebody that you can hope – again, plan for the worst, hope for the best, like you plan for him not being ready, so you're going to need somebody that can hopefully win you some games early on if he's not ready."

The future of the position will be dictated, in large part, by Jones' health. If he is healthy, it's extremely likely he is the Giants starting quarterback in Week 1 of the 2024 season. As of Jan. 9, however, it is impossible to know what his status will be, and Schoen will be sure to prepare for all eventualities.

It tells me there will be investment in the position this offseason, whether that's in free agency or the draft. In free agency, it could mean a significant investment in the quarterback position on par with what they did with Tyrod Taylor two years ago. Schoen indicated they are open to Taylor returning to that role, which he proved more than capable of handling. Another part of the equation for the backup job is Tommy DeVito, who exceeded expectations when given a chance this year.

Finally, unlike the last few seasons, I will take the time to sit down and watch every drop-back of the top quarterbacks in this year's draft class. The Giants select sixth overall but have three picks in the top 50, which will give them currency to move around in the draft on the first two days. There could be at least six quarterbacks taken in the first two rounds in what is an impressive quarterback class (Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels, JJ McCarthy, Michael Penix Jr., Bo Nix). If the Giants want a player that can start quickly in case Daniel Jones is not ready, using a higher pick would make logical sense.

As Schoen stated at the bye when asked if they would consider taking a quarterback in the first round: "We'll take the best player available. If the best player available for our team is at a certain position, we'll take it. I mean, we won't shy away from it."

In the end, Schoen will do what he thinks is best for the organization long term.

Dan Salomone: Speaking of what's best for the organization in the long run, it's all about the draft. First, Schoen reviewed the 2023 class:

"Like any rookie class, you're going to have highs and lows. I think the first three guys, I think everybody saw their ability. I think (cornerback Deonte) Tae Banks is going to be a really good corner in this league. (Center) John Michael (Schmitz) is going to be a good center and (wide receiver Jalin) Hyatt is going to be a good receiver. I think you saw with Jalin the explosive play ability. The intangibles for John Michael are off the charts, he's got leadership potential. I'd be surprised if he's not a captain down the road. Again, Tae Banks, with rare physical ability, and as he continues to grow and mature; what he did against some of the very good receivers in this league as a rookie, I thought was pretty impressive, so those guys are good.

"I thought (running back) Eric Gray had a good game last night when he was given opportunities. He probably didn't get as many opportunities this year as he would've liked, but that's a testament to Saquon and his availability. And then I thought some of the later round guys did a good job, too. Excited about (defensive lineman) Jordon Riley. Again, those guys have a big offseason coming into next year. We'll expect them to be – either those guys are going to start or depth contributors going into Year 2."

Now for 2024.

The Giants hold the No. 6 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, which is scheduled for April 25-27 in Detroit. The first 18 picks were finalized with the conclusion of the 2023 regular season. The remaining 14 are subject to the results of the upcoming postseason. The Giants have used the sixth overall pick three times in franchise history, including the selection of Duke quarterback Daniel Jones in 2019. The other two came nearly eight decades earlier, and both were running backs. They took Steve Filipowicz, who also played for the baseball Giants, from Fordham in 1943 and George Franck from the defending national champion Minnesota Golden Gophers in 1941.

"I would say overall it's a good draft. We're kind of moving out of that COVID cycle of the players getting the extra years and what not, so overall I think it's a good draft and again. … Chance to have four players in the top 70, I'm excited about that. Again, that's a way to impact the roster and it also gives you currency if you want to move around, or move up, move back, whatever it may be. Those are tools that you can use to continue to execute whatever the plan may be."

Lance Medow: In the NFL, change is inevitable. Rosters never stay the same and coaching staffs tend to follow a similar path. That's a big reason Brian Daboll always says every season is different and you can't expect results to simply carry over. The 2024 Giants will follow a similar blueprint as Daboll's coaching staff will have several new faces on the sideline involved in all facets of the team.

Special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey and offensive line coach Bobby Johnson will not return in 2024. On top of that, running backs coach Jeff Nixon is heading to Syracuse to serve as their offensive coordinator and strength and conditioning coach Craig Fitzgerald to Florida as director of football performance. McGaughey has been with the organization for 10 seasons over two stints and has worked under four different head coaches. That's an extremely rare feat in the coaching industry. Johnson had been with Daboll going back to their days together in Buffalo from 2019-21 and joined him in East Rutherford.

Matt Citak: The 2023 offseason was the first under Schoen and Daboll in which the Giants had enough cap space to make some significant moves in free agency. The first outside free agent the Giants signed, and one of the team's biggest splashes of the offseason, proved to be impactful. The Giants inked inside linebacker Bobby Okereke to a multi-year contract on one of the first days of the new league year. Okereke was voted a captain prior to the start of his first season with the team, indicative of his leadership within the locker room, and followed that up by putting together a dominant 2023 campaign. The 27-year-old recorded a team-high 149 total tackles, the third-most in Giants history and the ninth-most in the league this year, while setting new career-highs with four forced fumbles, 2.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, six quarterback hits and 10 passes defensed. But the most impressive part of Okereke's first season with the Giants was his durability. The fifth-year linebacker played every single one of the Giants' 1,228 defensive snaps this season, making him and safety Xavier McKinney the only two players in the NFL to be on the field for every defensive snap.

Okereke was a home run signing by the front office, but he wasn't the only veteran brought in that made an impact. A'Shawn Robinson saw his playing time increase significantly following the midseason trade of Leonard Williams to Seattle, and the veteran lineman played admirably in the second half of the season, as did fellow defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches. While a hamstring injury sidelined him for five weeks, Darren Waller, acquired in a trade at the start of the league year, still finished second on the team with 52 receptions for 552 yards. Let's not forget that Darius Slayton was a free agent last offseason and was brought back on a multi-year deal. He went on to lead the team in receiving for the fourth time in five seasons with 770 receiving yards. Jihad Ward was also re-signed and picked up a career-best five sacks. Then there's the versatile Isaiah Simmons, who was acquired right before the start of the season and played all 17 games while making his presence felt all over the defense.

In addition to bringing in talented players, Schoen put an emphasis on adding guys that fit into the culture he and Daboll have built since joining the Giants. Heading into the 2024 offseason, the GM made it clear that they will look for the same type of players this time around.

"You go through and you're always evaluating yourself and so I think our free agent process was good," Schoen said. "We brought in guys that fit our culture, they were good guys, they helped elevate their rooms and Bobby O's one of those guys. I think that process overall went well, and again, we've just got to continue to—we've really had one offseason where we've had financial flexibility. Those were some of the guys that we brought in. I'm excited to get together with my leadership group and the pro scouting staff and hopefully have another good offseason and bring in guys that can bring similar value to the team as those guys."

View photos of the previous 25 players selected with the No. 6 pick in the NFL Draft.


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