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Fact or Fiction: Giants' outlook in 2022 & beyond

FACT-OR-FICTION

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

The Giants' identity will be offensive-minded under the new regime.

John Schmeelk: Fact - It's not a great idea of trying to give a team an identity based on the coaching staff. If the team's defense is better than the offense, does that mean they have a defensive identity? That may very well still be the case next year based on health and where a lot of the team's resources were invested the last few years. This new regime is likely going to do all they can to figure out a way to improve the team's offense and eventually make that a strength, but you can't predict how long that is going to take.

Dan Salomone: Fiction – We've seen head coaches with defensive backgrounds boast top offenses, and vice-versa. The Giants need to get back to a winning identity, no matter which side of the ball propels them. Let's see how free agency and the draft play out – let alone a practice -- before making any generalizations about the team identity.

Lance Medow: Fact – In each of the last two seasons, the Giants have finished 31st in the NFL in points per game. They averaged 17.5 points in 2020 and just 15.2 in 2021. Based on those stats, it's easy to say New York should lean on its defense, but the reality is this offense needs to be much more productive to take some pressure off other facets of the team. Although Brian Daboll began his NFL coaching career on the defensive side of the ball, the majority of his resume showcases involvement on offense. He's well aware that area has to dramatically improve and in order to accomplish that feat, you have to be aggressive.

Matt Citak: Fact – This one was tough, as the identity of the team the last two seasons has been centered around the defense. But with Brian Daboll as head coach, it seems like the Giants' identity will become a lot more offensive-minded in 2022. It's important to remember that while turnovers were an issue for him in 2019, Daniel Jones threw for over 3,000 yards and 24 touchdowns in just 12 games as a rookie. Jones has shown flashes of his potential when given solid protection up front, and with the new regime taking over, shoring up the offensive line seems to be one of the biggest priorities this off-season. The Giants' offense is going to look a lot different next season, and if everyone can stay healthy, the unit could easily become the strong suit of the team.

With the help of Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll, the biggest key to the Bills' success has been their production from picks in the middle and late rounds.

John Schmeelk: Fiction - Drafting Josh Allen was the biggest key to the Bills' success. He is a Top 3 quarterback in the NFL - his emergence and dominant play is easily the most important thing to the Bills' franchise. Their work in free agency and the trade market was essential to their success, too. It was there they found their starting center and guards (Mitch Morse, Daryl Williams, Job Feliciano), their two Pro Bowl safeties (Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer), slot receiver Cole Beasley and star wide receiver (Stefon Diggs via trade).

Their mid-round picks have helped - starting right tackle Spencer Brown, starting wide receiver Gabriel Davis, starting tight end Dawson Knox, nickel cornerback Taron Johnson, starting linebacker Matt Milano - fill out the starting lineup with good players, but the star power has come from top draft picks, trades and free agency.

Dan Salomone: Fiction – The Bills have gotten their first-round picks right, first and foremost. Then, more importantly, they developed them. Joe Schoen believes in "drafting, developing, and retaining our own." While Day 2 and Day 3 picks tend to be the difference between average teams and championship contenders, you need to build the foundation with the top-tier players first.

Lance Medow: Fact – Their 2018 first-round pick, Josh Allen, played a slightly important role in the turnaround but as far as the supporting cast goes, the additions of running back Devin Singletary and tight end Dawson Knox, both 2019 third-round selection, 2020 fourth-rounder wide receiver Gabriel Davis and the potential of 2021 third-round pick offensive lineman Spencer Brown deserve recognition. Those players, especially Knox and Davis, have provided contributions in various areas. If the Giants are going to turn things around, it has to come through the development of previous draft classes as well as the 2022 group because free agency can't fill all the voids.

Matt Citak: Fiction – The Bills undoubtedly have crushed it in the middle and late rounds of recent drafts. OT Spencer Brown (2021), RB Devin Singletary (2019) and Dawson Knox (2019) were third-round picks, while Gabriel Davis (2020) was selected in the fourth round, all of whom contributed to Buffalo's success this season. But the biggest key to the Bills' success has easily been because of the development of Josh Allen. The start of Buffalo's recent success came in 2019, Allen's second season. Allen had a 20-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio that year, including a league-high five game-winning drives. The Bills then won the AFC East in 2020, with Allen finishing second in the MVP race, and again won the division this season with Allen performing like one of the top QBs in the league. As great as their drafts have been, the biggest reason for their success is due to Allen's rise.

View photos from Brian Daboll's first days on the job as the new head coach of the Giants.

This will be the Giants' most important draft since 2004.

John Schmeelk: Fiction - While having two Top 10 picks makes this draft critical, any draft where a quarterback isn't taken cannot be on top of the list. It's doubtful the Giants will draft a quarterback, which makes this draft less important than the 2019 draf,t when they not only drafted Daniel Jones, but also had two other first-round picks (Dexter Lawrence and DeAndre Baker).

Dan Salomone: Fact – Every draft is important, but 2022 will be very significant. As of now, the Giants have two picks in the top seven as part of nine overall selections. The Giants hit the "reset button" this off-season, and this year's class has a chance to define the franchise for the next decade.

Lance Medow: Fiction – You could easily argue the last several drafts have all been important, so you don't have to go as far back as 2004. Moreover, the Giants made the playoffs in 2002, so they weren't that far removed from a postseason berth. That's not the case now as they've experienced five straight losing seasons and eight in the last nine campaigns. The past four drafts have been as critical as the one coming up in April.

Matt Citak: Fact – Without a doubt, this is the Giants' most important draft in a very long time. This will be just the third time in over 40 years that the Giants have multiple first-round picks, and the first time both picks fall in the Top 10. With picks No. 5 and 7, the Giants have an opportunity to add two Day 1 starters and key contributors for 2022 and beyond. Looking at early mock drafts, many draft analysts believe at least one, if not two, offensive linemen will be selected by the Giants with their two early picks. In addition to the first-round picks, the Giants have five total selections within the top 81. With very limited cap space this off-season, nailing these draft picks will be crucial for the future of the franchise.

The salary cap is the top issue for the Giants this off-season

John Schmeelk: Fact - Hitting on their draft picks is obviously the most important thing they will do this offseason, but you would not necessarily consider than an "issue". They do need to get their cap squared away and how they do it will go a long way to determining how many games they can win this year and how well they are set up for the future. The cap can get cleaned up using trades just as easily as cutting players.

Dan Salomone: Fiction - The Giants' brass has talked at length about tough decisions ahead as they relate to the salary cap, but the most important thing between now and Week 1 is getting the draft right. The Giants have a chance to put the organization back on the winning track with their draft capital this year. They did it in Buffalo, and now Joe Schoen, Brian Daboll & Co. will try to do it in East Rutherford.

Lance Medow: Fact – As it stands right now, the Giants don't have much wiggle room when it comes to the salary cap and they're going to need space to sign their draft class, which you could put right up there with the financial break down of the team. Being super aggressive in free agency should be a top priority, however, they do need the ability to at least retain some of their own free agents while adding depth across the roster.

Matt Citak: Fact – After making some big splashes in free agency last year, the Giants enter the off-season in a sticky cap situation. GM Joe Schoen acknowledged the team's cap situation last week, admitting that the front office would have some tough roster decisions to make in the coming weeks. As of now, the Giants sit above the salary cap, meaning they will have to shed some salary just to get below the cap. But as Schoen noted to the media, when he and Brandon Beane first got to Buffalo, the Bills were faced with a similar cap situation which they were able to correct. Although it certainly is an issue, the Giants' current cap situation is nothing that Schoen has not dealt with in the past.

View photos from Joe Schoen's first days on the job as the new general manager of the Giants.

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