After finishing 6-10 and missing the playoffs for the third consecutive season after their improbable 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, the New York Giants and head coach Tom Coughlin once again find themselves in hot water. Future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Eli Manning hasn’t been playing like himself, and the team as a whole seems to have taken a huge step back from the one that won two Super Bowls in five seasons.
There were questions as to whether or not Coughlin would return as head coach in 2015 after another disappointing finish, but he was invited back officially in March with a two-year contract extension. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, however, was told to pack his bags not too long after the season ended, and the Giants brought back Steve Spagnuolo who was with them during their first championship run back in 2007.
Despite their sub-.500 finishing this past season, the franchise seemed pretty confident in the current roster, only bringing in a minimal amount of help in free agency. The Giants were smart to franchise tag Jason Pierre-Paul, but that’s the only time fans heard their team’s name on SportsCenter. Bringing in Shane Vereen was a good move, and Kendrick Ellis was a solid nose tackle signing for a defense that needs one; but the G-Men definitely could have made more of an effort to ink some big name players, especially on offense.
Entering the 2015 NFL Draft, the Giants still had a handful of issues to address, especially some extra protection for Manning heading into a contract year that may determine whether or not his future in the NFL is with the New York Giants.
Of course adding a little defensive help never hurts, but the Giants really needed a safety and pass-rusher this season. The team has suffered a good amount of defensive bleeding over the past few seasons with some of their best players finding employment elsewhere.
The Giants top players on the board (Amari Cooper and Brandon Scherff) didn’t fall to them at 9th overall, but they still did fantastic with their early picks. It is a little unfortunate for the Giants though. I mean, could you imagine a receiving core of Cooper, Victor Cruz, and Odell Beckham, Jr.?
The G-Men took Miami offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, arguably the most talented tackle in the 2015 Draft Class, with their No. 9 pick; however, it was their second and third round selections that really stole the show.
The Giants traded up to the first pick in the second round in order to grab Alabama safety Landon Collins who, to the shock of many, dropped out of the first round. This pick deserves an A+. The Giants came into the draft dead set on adding some talent to their secondary, and Collins is a day-one improvement for them.
The Giants filled their final big hole in the third round by taking UCLA defensive end Owa Odighizuwa at 74th overall. Another round, another big steal—Odighizuwa is the latest in a long line of great pass-rushers drafted later than expected by Jerry Reese. The Giants needed to bring in some help for Pierre-Paul, and they did it with a fantastic value pick.
The Giants look as good as the 2011 squad heading into the approaching season. A healthy OBJ and the return of Cruz will do wonders for Eli Manning’s numbers, and hopefully the return of Coach Spagnuolo can bring some life back into this defense. We all know it doesn’t take much more than a Wild Card for Eli and Coughlin to make a crazy Super Bowl run, so this team could easily be considered championship contenders come December.
Unfortunately for Coughlin, having a great draft and looking like a great team on paper doesn’t keep you employed in the NFL. If things don’t turn around in the Big Apple, Coughlin and Manning may be back on the job market come January.