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Cover 3: Key traits for prospective Giants


With free agency set to open tomorrow and the draft just around the bend, three writers discuss key traits the team will look for this offseason.

John Schmeelk: I will give my best estimation, but we should all recognize that we don't know the answer to this question. The process of free agency will be a collaborative one with the front office and coaching staff working together to find the best players for the roster. Until we see this group go through a free agency period together, we really won't know the types of players Joe Judge wants.

We can surmise some things based on what Judge has said publicly at his introductory press conference, the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. He is going to want players who are smart, fundamentally sound and physically/mentally tough. Here's the problem for fans: Those aren't attributes you can find by combing through stats or are even always apparent on coach's tape.

They are attributes you learn about players from detailed scouting and talking to other teams' coaches and players who were in the locker room and on the field with them. It's an art as much as it is a science.

There are things I am eager to see. Will the focus on defense be on power and size or speed? On offense, what kind of tight end will they target with the retirement of Rhett Ellison? Is there going to be a concerted effort to find a 6-3 or taller wide receiver? What positions will be a priority for this coaching staff? There's just no way to know.

Those decisions might give us some indication of the scheme Patrick Graham will run and how Jason Garrett views players on the roster. I look forward to seeing it all unfold.

Dan Salomone: Well, if you can help stop the run, run the ball or cover kicks, you're going to be on the Giants' radar. Coach Joe Judge and general manager Dave Gettleman have enough years under their belts and rings on their fingers to know that fundamentals win championships. They want players smart enough to realize that, too.

Football intelligence is certainly high on the list. Knowing what to do and when to do it defined the New England dynasty. Judge was brought up in that culture of situational football, and the results speak for themselves. His and Gettleman's staff are working right now to identify those players, whether they are available via free agency or the draft.

Another component is versatility, which was a big theme at the NFL Scouting Combine. From offensive linemen to defensive backs, prospects sold themselves on their ability to play multiple positions. That lines up with Judge's vision for his team. If the plan calls for it, he wants to run it 50 times one week and throw it 50 times the next. You can't prepare for what you don't know is coming. That applies to schemes – and players.

Lance Medow: If you look at the current Giants roster as well as the 2019 season overall, I think the top priority through free agency and the draft is to find weapons to aid the pass rush. While sacks alone don't tell the whole story, the Giants finished 22nd in the NFL in that department last season with 36. Markus Golden led the team in sacks (10) and quarterback hits (27), but he's currently a free agent. As we know, you can never have enough pass rushers. Case in point, when the Giants won their two most recent Super Bowls, they had a plethora of pass rushers such as Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Fred Robbins, Mathias Kiwanuka, Linval Joseph, Chris Canty and Dave Tollefson. That's never a bad model to follow as it also helps the back end of the defense where the Giants are currently relying on a great deal of youth.

Speaking of the trenches, you can say the same thing about the opposite side of the ball. Dave Gettleman frequently mentions "hog mollies" and you always need your house in order on the offensive line because it impacts the run game and passing attack. The Giants have a question mark at right tackle. Mike Remmers, who started all 14 games he appeared in during the 2019 season, is a free agent. While Nick Gates is an option, the team could look outside of the organization by exploring the market or investing in a young prospect.


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